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

"Beyond a thousand years from now humans are not quite recognizably human, and I have trouble finding characters."
- Larry Niven

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.

Technovelgy 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.

And in Trojan Hearse also 1956:

T he Agent flickered, wavered, and disappeared. A smell of ozone filled the War Chamber.

There was a momentary silence, then the plasteel-armored guards fired at the spot. Angry bursts of flame erupted from their rifles and a section of the wall blistered and exploded inward. Shards of plasteel wall material showered the assembled War Council.

Ellison also used it in Wanted in Surgery (1957):

The woman snapped a finger at the taker, and a heavy plasteel door slid back for them.

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
Goldene - A Two-Dimensional Sheet Of Gold One Atom Thick
GNoME AI From DeepMind Invents Millions Of New Materials
Omniphobic Liquid-like Surfaces And de Camp's Telelubricator (1940)
MXenes - Atomic-Thin Metal Sheets Now Easier To Make

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

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

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.