"This category [science fiction] excludes rocket ships that make U-turns, serpent men of Neptune that lust after human maidens, and stories by authors who flunked their Boy Scout merit badge tests in descriptive astronomy."
- Robert Heinlein
||Clever portmanteau of "torpedo" and "harpoon", an underwater whaling craft.
|The inner catapult door closed behind Kenneth Torrance, and he slid
into his torpoon. Twelve feet long,
and resembling in miniature a dirigible, was this weapon that made practical an underwater whaling craft.
The tapered stern bore long directional rudders, which curved round
the squat high-speed propeller; its
smooth flanks of burnished steel
were marked only by the lines of the entrance port, which the torpooner
now drew tight and locked. Twin
eyes of light-beam projectors were
set in the bow, which was cut also
by a vision-plate of fused quartz and
the nitro-shell gun's tube, successor
to the gun-cast harpoon.
Ken lay full-length in the padded
body compartment, his feet resting
on the controlling bars of the directional planes, hands on the torpoon's
engine levers. A harness was buckled
all around him, to keep him in place.
His gray eyes, level and sober,
peered through the vision-plate at
the outer catapult door.
Suddenly a spot of red light
glowed in it; the door quivered,
swung out. A black tide swirled
into the chamber. There came the
hiss of released air-pressure, and the
slim undersea steed rocketed out
into the exterior gloom, her light-beams flashing on and propeller settling into a blur of speed as she was
Ken turned on her full twenty-four knots, zoomed above the
dark bulk of the slower mother ship,
whose light-beams flashed across him
for a second, and then straightened
out in a long, slight-angled dive
after the great black bodies ahead.
Aware that some strange enemy
was on their track, the killers had become panicky and were darting away
at their full speed, which was only
slightly under that of the torpoon's
humming motors, and which at times
even surpassed it. Ken saw that it
looked like a long chase, and settled
his lean body as comfortably as he
|From Seed of the Arctic Ice,
by H.G. Winter.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1939
Additional resources -
Compare to Tom Swift's jetmarine.
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