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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

Surface Slider  
  A small, lightweight craft.  

"Gersen hired a car, a small surface slider, and skidded south over the broad white turnpike, the inevitable dust puffing up behind him."
From The Star King, by Jack Vance.
Published by Berkeley in 1964
Additional resources -

This is a widely used idea in sf. Compare to the skimmer from Roger Zelazny's 1966 novel This Immortal and the landspeeder from George Lucas' 1978 novel Star Wars.

Thanks to the anonymous reader who provided the quote for this item in comments!

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Star King
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Star King
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

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