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"the [science fiction] writer should be able to convince the reader (and himself) that the wonders he is describing really can come true...and that gets tricky when you take a good, hard look at the world around you."
- Frederik Pohl

P-120 Reconnaissance Robot  
  A multi-legged robot built for speed and silence.  

The P-120 had been originally designed for armed reconnaissance. Built for use against urban guerrillas, it was fast, silent, and deadly. Now, retrofitted for going down into worm nests, its unique capabilities were proving particularly well suited to subterranean missions. Low and pantherlike, Sher Khan had six slender legs and looked like the disjointed mating of an elongated cheetah and a titanium snake; but the uplifted head was larger and more sinister-its jowls were gun barrels...
From A Season for Slaughter, by David Gerrold.
Published by Not known in 1992
Additional resources -

Compare to the slamhound from William Gibson's 1986 novel Count Zero, the mechanical cobra from Roger Zelazny's 1967 novel Lord of Light and the mechanical hound from Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for writing in with the reference and a quote.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Season for Slaughter
  More Ideas and Technology by David Gerrold
  Tech news articles related to A Season for Slaughter
  Tech news articles related to works by David Gerrold

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