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"I've come across more and more people who've actually tried reading science fiction and can't make it make sense."
- Samuel R. Delany

Metal Worms  
  Huge wriggling metal war engines.  

It landed; apparently from the moon...

Curiosity thereupon gave valor enough to a few people who dared to approach the monster from the moon. Tapping proved it to be hollow and it was found to be constructed of a steel-like metal, corrugated, and reenforced with thick ribs of the same metal, at twenty feet junctures on its exterior. Three circular openings like three enormous trap-doors, each of them fully fifteen feet in diameter, took up almost the entire surface of its nose and gave it the horrid, dragonlike appearance that it embodied. In height it measured fifty-two feet.

But that's not all.

Within three hours of its landing on earth, ten long, slender, worm-like tubes, each of them in the neighborhood of one hundred feet in length and ten or twelve feet high, had emerged from the three circular trap-doors at the head-end of the lunar torpedo. They seemed of the same metal as the torpedo itself, and had no discernible openings, and differed very little from it in shape ; instead of being rigid as was the parent ship, these metal worms were flexible, almost snake-like in their structure. They seemed to be made of a long series of narrow hoop-like segments and tapered down to a tail. They traveled with curving snakish motions with great rapidity and employed a terrific crushing power in the manner of the boa-constrictor or the giant python. Armed citizens and the police of the vicinity found them to be bullet-proof. Cartridge and buckshot alike glanced like so many dried peas off a stone wall off their convex metal sides...

(Metal Worms from 'Vandals from the Moon' by Marius)

An oncoming Southern Pacific freight train headed for the Los Angeles yards, however, spurred one of the flexible metal monsters into immediate action to display its prowess. One second after the screeching locomotive had been sighted by the nearest one of the Lunite warmachines, this ironclad worm turned its head toward the tracks and with a queer wriggling movement soon reached a nearby iron railroad bridge. Wrapping itself twice or three times around a number of steel girders, it tore the structure in a moment from its strong foundation of concrete blocks, twisting the thick steel as if it were wire. The locomotive engineer put on the brakes a moment too late and twisted steel and shattered wood piled up into a colossal funeral pyre for its dead crew.

Technovelgy from Vandals from the Moon, by - Marius.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1928
Additional resources -

Compare to the robot snake from Bait for the Tiger (1952) by Lee Chaytor, the robot earthworm from War with the Robots (1962) by Harry Harrison, the mechanical cobra from Lord of Light (1967) by Roger Zelazny, the digger worm from With Friends Like These (1985) by Connie Willis and the robot snake spy from Mariposa (2009) by Greg Bear.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Vandals from the Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by - Marius
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