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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Gravity Web  
  Device for limiting the extent to which a person is subject to gravitational attraction.  

Nice trick, if you can do it. McKie is a BuSab operative who travels to a wide variety of planets, which undoubtedly have a wide range of gravitational field strengths.

There were times during the climb down the narrow path to the lava shelf when McKie felt thankful he had been fitted with a gravity web beneath his skin. If he fell, it would limit his rate of descent to a non-injurious speed.
From Whipping Star, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Galaxy Publishing in 1969
Additional resources -

Some science fiction ideas seem absurd. How could you limit gravity? Gravity is a (relatively) weak force, but a planet-sized mass creates a force that is difficult for us to ignore. Most of the thinking about anti-gravity takes the form of some sort of generator that creates an opposite strength field.

But radio waves can be kept out of a space that is surrounded by a metal mesh screen. What if there was some sort of mesh that would keep out gravity?

For those who think that only people who think that space aliens built the pyramids are keen on the idea of anti-gravity, consider this exerpt from a letter exchanged between noted scientists:

I always rejoice to hear of your being still employed in experimental researches into nature and of the success you meet with. The rapid progress true science now makes, occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born too soon. It is impossible to imagine the height to which may be carried, in a thousand years, the power of man over matter. We may, perhaps, deprive large masses of their gravity, and give them absolute levity, for the sake of easy transport. Agriculture may diminish its labor and double its produce: all diseases may by sure means be prevented or cured, (not excepting even that of old age,) and our lives lengthened at pleasure, even beyond the antediluvian standard. Oh that moral science were in as fair a way of improvement, that men would cease to be wolves to one another, and that human beings would at length learn what they now improperly call humanity.
(Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Priestly, 1780)

Another technovelgy worth considering is what Baron Vladimir Harkonnen uses in Frank Herbert's Dune - the suspensor. Compare to the geopeller from One Against the Legion (1939) by Jack Williamson.

Here's a cartoonist's idea of what this might be like; George du Maurier created this drawing in 1879:


(Edison's Anti-Gravitation Under-Clothing)

You might be surprised how long ago the idea of weightlessness goes back.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Whipping Star
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Whipping Star
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

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