"One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion. So now people assume that religion and morality have a necessary connection."
In this part in the story, the Traders are trying to get their goods into "closed" planets; that is, planets whose rulers are suspicious of technology that is backed by the Foundation.
This item is interesting not just because a force-field "blade" could never bend back and cut your fingers. The force-field penknife is arguably the first reference to a cutting blade made of energy; it may be the inspiration for the lightsaber of Star Wars fame. The planet Coruscant, the central planet for the Empire, was certainly inspired by Trantor, the center of government in the first Foundation book. So Lucas had read the book.
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'The automatic massager began to fumble gently...'
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Keep your head down, Kyle Reese.
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'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'
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'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'
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It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.
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'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'
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'Take care, sir.'
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