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"We were essentially being shell-shocked by rapid change. That was one of the things you needed science-fiction writers for back in the Sixties, because we could cope with the future."
- Peter Watts

Pentavalent Nitrogen  
  A high explosive formed from nitrogen.  

"By the way, what is that explosive-or is it something beyond Tellurian chemistry?"

"It's structure should be clear to you, although you probably could not prepare it upon Tellus because of your high temperature. It is nothing but nitrogen -- twenty-six atoms of nitrogen combined to form one molecule of what you would call -- N-twenty six?"

"Wow!" Stevens whistled. "Crystalline, pentavalent nitrogen -- no wonder it's violent!"

From Space Hounds of IPC, by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Thanks to Winchell Chung for this one.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Space Hounds of IPC
  More Ideas and Technology by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
  Tech news articles related to Space Hounds of IPC
  Tech news articles related to works by E.E. 'Doc' Smith

Pentavalent Nitrogen-related news articles:
  - Polymeric Nitrogen: Science Fiction Explosive

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