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"I think we're still on that topic, still trying to figure out what computers are, how they change us, why we use them."
- Neal Stephenson

Solid Power  
  A concentrated form of easily accessed energy to supply any need.  

"...I'll tell you this - Vliet's fortune isn't in money. I learned that before I came here. It's in 'solid power'."

"Solid power" was, he knew, the most super-valuable substance in the solar system. For it wasn't really a substance at all, but compressed energy "frozen" by temporary transformation into artificial atoms.

Trillions of units of power could be compressed thus into an inch-square cube of what looked like blue-white ice. And a suitable transformer would, when desired, turn it back into almost limitless power.

"... Vliet has at least ten cubes of it." Kruppa was saying.

"Whew!" Crane whistled softly. "The stuff's worth a million Earth dollars a cube."

From Revolt on the Tenth World, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1940
Additional resources -

Here's how it works when hooked up:

The thing they had partially built resembled outwardly a stock pump whose spout pointed toward the stockade, and atop which was a broad, round hopper for the supply of carbon required as a chemical "governor" of the process.

Inside this pump-like object was the hastily assembled electrical apparatus which started the disintegration of "solid power' back into pure energy, by smashing one of its artificial pseudoatoms, the process being self-continuing thenceforward until damped out.

Compare to the shipstones from Friday (1982) by Robert Heinlein and the kink springs from The Calorie Man (2005), by Paolo Bacigalupi.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Revolt on the Tenth World
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to Revolt on the Tenth World
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

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