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"The science fiction method is dissection and reconstruction. You look at the world around you, and take it apart into its components. Then you take some of those components, throw them away, and plug in different ones, start it up and see what happens."
- Frederik Pohl

Launching Laser  
  A set of very high-powered lasers used to power spacecraft.  

Jerome Finney... showed that the spectrum was the light of our own sun, drastically blue-shifted. Some kind of mirror was coming at us, moving at a hell of a clip, but slowing as it came.

"That would mean a light-sail!"

"Why the big deal, Frazer? I thought you already knew."

"No. This is the first I've heard of it. I don't read the Sunday supplements."

Morris was exasperated. "But you knew enough to call a laser cannon a launching laser!"

From The Fourth Profession, by Larry Niven.
Published by Quark in 1971
Additional resources -

Interested readers should also see the entry for laser cannon from Niven and Pournelle's 1974 novel Mote in God's Eye.

The idea of using light pressure to move a spaceship has been around for a long time; it was suggested by Jules Verne in his 1867 novel From the Earth to the Moon; see the entry for light pressure propulsion. The method was explicitly described by Edmond Hamilton in his 1929 short story The Comet Doom; see the entry for ship propelled by light pressure.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Fourth Profession
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to The Fourth Profession
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

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