Seabreacher, H.G. Winter's 1939 Torpoon
You know, science fiction fans, I sometimes wonder. I read an old science fiction (or even scientifiction) story, and I ask myself "Is it worth it to include this off-the-wall idea?"
Such was my concern when I read about the torpoon, a somewhat ungainly portmanteau of "torpedo" and "harpoon" from H.G. Winter's 1939 short story Seed of the Arctic Ice:
The inner catapult door closed behind Kenneth Torrance, and he slid
into his torpoon. Twelve feet long,
and resembling in miniature a dirigible, was this weapon that made practical an underwater whaling craft.
The tapered stern bore long directional rudders, which curved round
the squat high-speed propeller; its
smooth flanks of burnished steel
were marked only by the lines of the entrance port, which the torpooner
now drew tight and locked...
Ken lay full-length in the padded
body compartment, his feet resting
on the controlling bars of the directional planes, hands on the torpoon's
engine levers. A harness was buckled
all around him, to keep him in place.
His gray eyes, level and sober,
peered through the vision-plate at
the outer catapult door.
Suddenly a spot of red light
glowed in it; the door quivered,
swung out. A black tide swirled
into the chamber. There came the
hiss of released air-pressure, and the
slim undersea steed rocketed out
into the exterior gloom, her light-beams flashing on and propeller settling into a blur of speed as she was
Ken turned on her full twenty-four knots, zoomed above the
dark bulk of the slower mother ship,
whose light-beams flashed across him
for a second, and then straightened
out in a long, slight-angled dive
after the great black bodies ahead.
And yet - here it is!
I did a story on an earlier version of this vehicle in 2006; see Innespace Dolphin Boat Breaks The Surface .
See more at the Seabreacher website.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/25/2019)
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