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

"A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam."
- Frederik Pohl

MagnaPoon  
  To hitch a ride from a faster vehicle while riding a skateboard (from harpoon).  

The word can be used as a verb ("I've been pooned") and as a noun ("I hitched a ride with a poon"). This interesting piece of technovelgy occurs during the epic pizza delivery scene in Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson's debut science fiction novel. While Hiro, the protagonist of the novel, is engaged in trying to deliver a pizza that is already twenty minutes late, his vehicle is harpooned by a bonded courier on a skateboard.

Thunk. And more red lights come up on the windshield: the perimeter security of the Deliverator's vehicle has been breached.

No. It can't be. Someone is shadowing him. Right off his left flank. A person on a skateboard rolling down the highway right behind him. The Deliverator, in his distracted state, has allowed himself to get pooned. As in harpooned. There's a big round padded electromagnet, on the end of an arachnofiber cable. It has just thunked on the back of the Deliverator's car and stuck. Ten feet behind him, the owner of this cursed device is surfing, taking him for a ride. Skateboarding along like a water-skier behind a boat.

In the rearview, flashes of orange and blue. The parasite is not just a punk out having a good time. It is a businessman making money. The orange and blue coverall, bulging all over with sintered armorgel padding, is the uniform of a Kourier. A Kourier from RadiKS, Radikal Kourier Systems. Like a bicycle messenger, but a hundred times more irritating because they don't pedal under their own power - they just latch on and slow you down.

No need to get rattled. The Kourier will have to unpoon or else be slammed sideways into the slower vehicle.

Done. The Kourier isn't ten feet behind him anymore - he is right there, peering in the rear window. Anticipating the maneuver, the Kourier reeled in his cord, which is attached to a handle with a power reel in it, and is now right on top of the pizza mobile...

An orange-and-blue-gloved hand reaches forward, a transparent sheet of plastic draped over it, and slaps his driver's side window. The Deliverator has just been stickered. The sticker is a foot across and reads, in big orange block letters, printed backward so that he can read it from the inside:

*THAT WAS STALE*

From Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.
Published by Bantam in 1992
Additional resources -

Some reviewers call this scene "the greatest pizza delivery scene in world literature." I won't argue that point. The device is described in some detail in several different places in the book; I also liked the stickers that harpooners use when vehicle owners try to shake them loose with various maneuvers.

Compare to the helix gun from Salvage in Space (1933) by Jack Williamson.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Snow Crash
  More Ideas and Technology by Neal Stephenson
  Tech news articles related to Snow Crash
  Tech news articles related to works by Neal Stephenson

MagnaPoon-related news articles:
  - 50 MPH Rollerblade Ride

Articles related to Transportation
Griff 300 Octocopter Carries You And Friend
British Airways To Offer An Ingestible Sensor To Passengers
Vahana, The Airbus Flying Taxi
Hi-Yo Modobag! Away!

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.