Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"[Science fiction] has become big business, where books are merchandised and promoted and distributed and placed on sale like slabs of bacon or cans of soup."
- Frederik Pohl

Power-Wagon  
  Wagon powered by muscular creature from Etamin 9; uses carbohydrate syrup for fuel.  

In this Hugo award-winning novel, Jack Vance creates a world that combines low-tech organic decadence with technology that is capable of taking humanity to the stars. The aristocrats make use of non-sentient (or barely sentient) creatures from various worlds to support their lifestyle.

Xanten turned back and crossed the landing area to the barracks and garages. Once more, frowning in discomfort, he felt the need for discretion. What times these were when a gentleman must skulk to avoid such as the Meks! He stole up behind the garages, where a half-dozen power-wagons lay dozing.

Xanten looked them over. All were of the same sort, a metal frame with four wheels and an earth-moving blade at the front. Nearby must be the syrup stock.

Xanten mounted a power-wagon, twisted the awake key, tapped the go button, and pulled a lever which set the wheels into reverse motion. The power-wagon lurched back. Xanten halted it and turned it so that it faced the barracks. He did likewise with three others, then set them all in motion, one after the other.

They trundled forward. The blades cut open the metal wall of the barracks, the roof sagged. The power-wagons continued, pushing the length of the interior, crushing all in their way.

Technovelgy from The Last Castle, by Jack Vance.
Published by Del Rey in 1967
Additional resources -

In a helpful footnote, Vance gives us the details on the power-wagons:


(Power-wagon from 'The Last Castle' by Jack Vance)

Power-wagons, like the Meks, originally swamp-creatures from Etamin 9, were great rectangular slabs of muscle, slung into a rectangular frame and protected from sunlight, insects and rodents by a synthetic pelt. Syrup sacs communicated with their digestive apparatus, wires led to motor nodes in the rudimentary brain. The muscles were clamped to rocker arms which actuated rotors and drive wheels. The power-wagons, economical, long-lived, and docile, were principally used for heavy cartage, earth-moving, heavy tillage and other arduous jobs.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Last Castle
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Last Castle
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

Power-Wagon-related news articles:
  - Musclebot: Microrobot with a Heart
  - Biohybrid Robotics USArmy Adds Muscle Tissue To Robots

Articles related to Transportation
San Francisco Autobus
Volvo's Autonomous Truck
Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
Robotaxi By Cruise Premieres in Austin, Texas

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

WiFi and AI Team Up To See Through Walls
'The pitiless M rays pierced Earth and steel and densest concrete as if they were so much transparent glass...'

Climate Engineering In California Could Make Europe's Heat Waves Worse
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Optimus Robot Will Be A Good Nanny, Says Musk
'Nanny is different,' Tom Fields murmured... 'she's not like a machine. She's like a person.'

ESA To Build Moon Bases Brick By Printed LEGO Brick
'We made a crude , small cell and were delighted - and, I admit, somewhat surprised - to find it worked.'

Does The Shortage Of Human Inputs Limit AI Development?
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

Textiles That Harvest Energy And Store It
'The clothes and jewelery drew their tiny power requirements from her movements.'

LORIS Passive-Gripper Climbing Robot
'At the end of each appendage's eight fingers there are tinier appendages...'

Drug To Regenerate Teeth In Humans
'We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence,' said lead researcher Katsu Takahashi.

Coin-Sized Nuclear Battery Good For 100 Years
'...power pack the size of a pea.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.