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"Evolutionary success ... is going to absolutely require mobility on, at a minimum, an interplanetary scale. We either go or we die out."
- Richard Morgan

Emergency Repulsion (Repulsive Ray)  
  A beam of force that repels one object from another.  

This is the opposite of the tractor beam idea (from 'Doc' Smith's 1931 novel Space Hounds of IPC).

Blake quite evidently was trying emergency repulsion. A faint beam of radiance streamed downward, swayed drunkenly from the tumbling movement of the falling vessel... From the side bull's-eye of the room, Georg saw the direct, actual glow of the beam as it momentarily swung downward and struck the Moon surface.
From Blood of the Moon, by Ray Cummings.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1936
Additional resources -

Compare to this very similar idea, the repulsor from Frederic Brown's 1949 story What Mad Universe and the pressor beam from 'Doc' Smith's 1931 novel Space Hounds of IPC.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Blood of the Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by Ray Cummings
  Tech news articles related to Blood of the Moon
  Tech news articles related to works by Ray Cummings

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