"…we store information differently, reading a science fiction story, to make it make sense."
- Samuel R. Delany
||A vehicle with a single leg and rotors to enhance 'hang time.'
|It was the old cry of the hopper races. Five years ago it had been a fad that had swept the solar system: races over broken, barrier-strewn courses. Lucky checked the micropile. It was active. He started the motor arid set the gyroscope spinning. The hopper straightened immediately and stood stiffly upright on its single leg. Hoppers are probably the most grotesque forms of transportation ever invented. They consist of a curved body, just large enough to hold a man at the controls. There was a four-bladed rotor above and a single metal leg, rubber-tipped, below. It looked like some giant wading bird gone to sleep with one leg folded under its body. Lucky touched the leap knob and the hopper's leg retracted. Its body sank till it was scarcely seven feet from the ground while the leg moved up into the hollow tube that pierced the hopper just behind the control panel. The leg was released at the moment of maximum retraction with a loud click, and the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air. The rotating blades above the hopper kept it hovering for long seconds at the top of its jump. For those seconds, Lucky could get a view of the people now immediately below him. The crowd extended outward for half a mile, and that meant several hops. Lucky's lips tightened. Precious minutes would vanish. The hopper was coming down now, its long leg extended. The crowd beneath the descending hopper tried to scatter, but they didn't have to. Four jets of compressed air blew men aside just sufficiently, and the leg hurtled down harmlessly to the ground.
|From Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus,
by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1954
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