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"The first thing that's wrong with being a science-fiction writer today is that the present has caught up with the future and surpassed it."
- Peter Watts

Skyhook  
  Part dirigible, part plane.  

There was a loud hiss, and a great ghostly bag formed. It began to rise until it was above my platform. The plastic gleamed in the artificial light streaming from inside the warehouse. The bag billowed until it was huge above us, and still it grew as the compressed helium poured out of the inflating cylinders...

The choppers settled onto the bags. Up on top the helicopter crews were floundering around on the billowing stuff to make certain the fastenings were set right...

The troops outside were grinning at us as they cut loose the tethers holding the balloons. Nothing happened, of course; the idea of Skyhook is to have almost neutral buoyancy, so that the lift from the gas bags just balances the weight of the load.

From West of Honor, by Jerry Pournelle.
Published by Simon and Schuster in 1976
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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from West of Honor
  More Ideas and Technology by Jerry Pournelle
  Tech news articles related to West of Honor
  Tech news articles related to works by Jerry Pournelle

Skyhook-related news articles:
  - Dynalifter Prototype Ready For Flight
  - Skyhook Jess Heavy Lifter Like Pournelle's Skyhook
  - Could Blimps Replace Planes For Cargo?

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