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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Magnetic Shell  
  A munition that is powerfully attracted to ferrous ships.  

The recently invented magnetic shell made artillery practice against all vessels of iron a mere mechanical process, demanding no skill whatever. When one of these magnetic shells was thrown anywhere in the vicinity of an iron ship, the powerful magnetism developed within it instantly attracted it to the vessel, which was destroyed by the ensuing contact and explosion. Two ironclads meeting on the ocean need each to fire but one shell to be both destroyed. The inability of iron battle-ships to withstand this improvement in artillery had already set the naval architects of the world upon the work of constructing warships which would not attract the magnetic shell—which was effective even when laid on the bottoms of harbors—and Roland Clewe had been engaged in making plans and experiments for the construction of a paper man-of-war, which he believed would meet the requirements of the situation.
From The Great Stone of Sardis, by Frank Stockton.
Published by Not Known in 1897
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