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"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Recoil Pistol  
  A handheld device that permits a spaceman to manuever in zero gravity.  

Garry left his spaceship hoping to find a missing crewman. How can you move around in airless space with nothing to push against?

He snapped up the recoil pistol attached to the suit and squeezed the trigger. Only a certain tension followed by a feeling of relaxation told him that he had moved for there was no air to resist his passage...

For hours he moved about by the recoil shots...

From Exiles of the Moon, by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat).
Published by Wonder Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Compare to the reaction pistol from Diamond Planetoid (1937) by Gordon A. Giles, the Personal Jet Thrust from Robert Heinlein's 1948 novel Space Cadet and the Electrical Tether from Garrett P. Serviss' 1898 story Edison's Conquest of Mars

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Exiles of the Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)
  Tech news articles related to Exiles of the Moon
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)

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