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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Air-Mine  
  Fight invasion from above with an analogous method to mining the surface of the sea.  

“Mine the air!" he repeated incredulously. “But how? How could any mine be constructed to float up in that way, so light as to float on the atmosphere’s surface?"

“There we have recourse again to our analogy," Dr. Howard declared. “If a mine attached to a great hollow globe of air were released at the sea’s bottom, it would rush up toward the surface and float there. In the same way, a mine attached to a great globe in which there is a complete vacuum would rush up through our air-ocean!

“We can construct those globes of the strongest and lightest material known — steelite. As you all know, steelite is the recently devised metal that has immensely greater strength than steel but the merest fraction of its weight. A forty-foot globe of steelite can be made, with a charge of explosives of terrific power attached to it that will detonate when the globe is touched. This done, all air is to be exhausted from the hollow globe by great pumps, until the vacuum inside it is almost complete. The enormous strength of the steelite shell prevents its being crushed by the atmosphere’s pressure as an ordinary steel shell would be. “Released, the vacuum globe with its deadly charge will shoot up through the atmosphere with terrific speed. Its lightness for its size will be such that it will not halt until it floats on the very surface of our atmosphere. We will make these globes in countless thousands, each with its charge, and release them. Each globe will have a device that will repel any other, so that they do not detonate each other.

“We will sow the surface of our atmosphere with these deadly air-mines! Sooner or later the ship or ships cruising to and fro on our atmosphere’s surface will strike one and will be destroyed by its detonating charge. In this way, and only in this way, can we fight back against the beings from space who are inflicting this horror upon us!"

Technovelgy from The Space Visitors, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Startling Stories in 1939
Additional resources -

What was this menace from the sky?


(The Space Visitors by Edmond Hamilton)

“It is that which, in my opinion, accounts for this trawling from above. It may be that for centuries, while we have pondered on the planets and stars, ships from those planets and stars have been coming and going far above us, filled with creatures who have evolved in space as we have evolved in air and fish have evolved in water. We would know no more, dream no more, of the existence of those space ships than the creatures at the seas’ bottoms know of the great liners going and coming far above them.

“But suppose some of these beings, possessing space ships, become curious as to what lies at the bottom of this air-ocean of ours? They could not venture down into it. What would they do? Would they not let their ships cruise to and fro on the surface of the air-ocean, and let down great trawls to drag the bottom far below, just as we men trawl an ocean into whose great depths we dare not descend?

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Space Visitors
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to The Space Visitors
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

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