"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."
This is a very early reference to this idea.
Robert Heinlein had a more "modern" version of this in Methuselah's Children, published in 1941; see the traffic control camera.
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'Brandon swung mighty tractor beams upon the severed halves of the Jovian vessel...'
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'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'
Robert Heinlein, Your Self-Driving Car Is Almost Ready!
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'
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