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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

Amphibious Skimmer  
  Amphibious drone with blades.  

"Here we go," said Kittiwake. "Any moment now."
And there they were, breaking the surface, bobbing up out of the ocean. Skimmers. Moa turned her binoculars onto them, a trickle of chill sweat running down her spine. These were the things that had killed her father. At first, they seemed like smooth metal balls about two feet in diameter, with four red lenses that looked uncomfortably like eyes spaced around their upper hemisphere. As Moa watched, they rose a little way, until they were hovering a few inches above the water. They swivelled towards the drones that were speeding across the waves.
"How many do you see?" Kittiwake asked. "Three?"
"That's right. Three," Moa said. ...

They shot across the sea, raising fins of spume behind them. As they went, a multitude of blades unfolded from their round bodies and began to spin. By the time they reached the drones, each one was a whirling blur of sharp edges. They smashed into their targets like cannonballs, reducing them to splinters in moments. Then they sped off on a new course. Another drone was torn to shreds, throwing bits of wood in the air...and the Skimmers stopped, coming to a dead halt. ...
"They made it," Moa breathed. She looked up at Kittiwake, who was grinning. "Three of them made it through."

From Storm Thief, by Chris Wooding.
Published by Scholastic in 2006
Additional resources -

Compare to the Claws from Philip K. Dick's 1953 short story Second Variety and to the Wabbler from Murray Leinster's 1942 short story The Wabbler.

Thanks to Connor Lawrence for sharing this reference with us.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Storm Thief
  More Ideas and Technology by Chris Wooding
  Tech news articles related to Storm Thief
  Tech news articles related to works by Chris Wooding

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