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"the [science fiction] writer should be able to convince the reader (and himself) that the wonders he is describing really can come true...and that gets tricky when you take a good, hard look at the world around you."
- Frederik Pohl

Beam-Powered Propulsion  
  Using a powerful energy source as motive power for a projectile.  

Then Bill, with his eye at a telescope, saw a little spark of purple light appear beside the blue globe. A tiny, bright point of violet-red fire, with a white line running from it, back to the center of the sphere. The purple spark grew, the white line lengthened. Abruptly, the newspaperman realized that the purple was an object hurtling toward him with incredible speed.

Even as the realization burst upon him, the spark became visible as a little red-blue sphere, brightly luminous. A white beam shone behind it, seemed to push it with ever-increasing velocity. The purple globe shot past, vanished. The white ray snapped out...

"A solid projectile !" Brand cried. "And driven on the positive ray! Our experts have tried it, but the ray always exploded the shell..."

From The Prince of Space, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Compare to the Ships Propelled By Light Pressure from The Comet Doom (1927) by Edmond Hamilton.

Compare to these propulsion systems: Light Pressure Propulsion (1867), apergy (1880), Beam-Powered Propulsion (1931), Granton motor (1933), Vibration-Propelled Cruiser (1928), geodynes (1936), ion drive (1947), Planetary Propulsion-Blasts (1934), stardrive (1953), solar sail (light sail) (1962), Lyle drive (1961), laser cannon (1966), Bussard ramjet (1976), asymptotic drive (1976), Interstellar Laser Propulsion System (1985).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Prince of Space
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to The Prince of Space
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

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