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"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Attraction Ray  
  In effect, a tractor beam.  

"The Ganymedans evidently had to leave the ship because, as it approaches the planet, something will be done to kill off any unfortunates who are still alive, waiting their chance to fight the invisible enemy. Possibly a penetrating lethal gas that will be forced into the interior. So they evolved the ray to carry the Ganymedan passengers down gently, safely. And we are stowaways," he concluded grimly.

Nona had listened intently to the long recital.

"But why," she expostulated, "was it necessary to have their own people on board? The meteors that riddled the ship were projectiles shot from their station on Jupiter. So was the attraction-ray that pulls the ship down."

"Because they required a sufficient force to disable the radio apparatus. All radio waves used on interplanetary liners are shielded from interference. It is impossible to blank them out. And with the radio intact, every battle flier in space would be on their trail in a hurry."

From Pirates of the Gorm, by Nat Schachner.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1932
Additional resources -

Compare to the attractive ray from Edmond Hamilton's 1928 novel Crashing Suns and the tractor beam from Doc Smith's 1931 novel Space-Hounds of IPC.

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