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

"In science fiction one can say a great many things that are unpalatable, because it's expressed as science fiction you can slip it past their defenses."
- Frederik Pohl

Plasteel  
  Extremely tough form of steel, stabilized with stravidium fibers grown into its crystal.  

Plasteel is best known in sf for its use throughout the universe of Dune, particularly if it is important that the object (like a door) stand up to repeated blows. However, Herbert was not the first sf writer to use the term.

The passage, two paces deep, opened through a heavy door into a square office lighted by golden glowglobes. Jessica passed her hand across the door as she entered, was startled to identify plasteel.

Paul stepped three paces into the room, dropped his pack to the floor...

The door behind Paul slammed open. He whirled to see reeling violence--shouting, the clash of steel, wax-image faces grimacing in the passage.

With his mother beside him, Paul leaped for the door, seeing Idaho blocking the passage, his blood-pitted eyes there visible through a shield blur, claw hands beyond him, arcs of steel chopping futilely at the shield...

Then Kynes was beside Paul and they threw their weight against the door... Kynes indicated the cabinets against the right-hand wall, said: "This way." He crossed to the first cabinet, opened a drawer, manipulated a handle within it. The entire wall of cabinets swung open to expose the black mouth of a tunnel. "This door also is plasteel," Kynes said.

"You were well prepared," Jessica said.

"We lived under the Harkonnens for eighty years," Kynes said.

From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

Although the word is most associated with Dune, Herbert used it a decade earlier in Under Pressure:

What we need is a dielectric as tough as plasteel.

Harlan Ellison also used it in Trojan Hearse, published in 1956.

There was a momentary silence, then the plasteel-armored guards fired at the spot.

The word "plasteel" predates the Dune novels (and Ellison's work). During World War II, aluminum was not available to civilians, due to its importance to the war effort. For certain applications, like steel ice trays, some form of metal was needed that did not rust. Manufacturers used steel coated with plastic to prevent rusting; the combination was called "plasteel" by the company that patented the process in the early 1940's - Plasteel, Inc.

Thanks to Bill at Plasteelcorp.com for help with this one.

Compare to herculoy from The Howling Bounders (1949) by Jack Vance, ultron from Armageddon: 2419 A.D. (1928) by Philip Frances Nowlan, permalloy from Fugitives From Earth (1939) by Nelson S. Bond, magnalloy from The Cave of Horror (1930) by S.P. Meek, helio-beryllium from Out Around Rigel (1931) by Robert H. Wilson and steelonium from Ralph 124c 41 + (1911) by Hugo Gernsback

Comment/Join this discussion ( 3 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

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

Plasteel-related news articles:
  - Plasteel? UM's New Ultrastrong Nanocomposite
  - Two Plastics Merge To Create 'Metal'

Articles related to Material
Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
Polyaramide Is Stronger Than Steel, Light As Plastic
Trinitite, Pentagrams And Isaac Asimov
RUSSE Self-Healing Plastic Works Underwater

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

LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'

Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'

Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'

Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'

Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'

SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'

Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'

Robot Food Delivery Coming To Campus Near You
'... he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
'I stood in line for half an hour for this, and it's just a blob!'

Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...'

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.