Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"Cyberpunk worked when the Internet was in its hand-wound crystal radio phase, when you had to be a sort of hobbyist to do e-mail, and it all had a very steep learning curve. Those days are over."
- William Gibson

Mechanical Mole  
  A self-contained device for digging large tunnels.  

In Oath of Fealty, the same company that operates the Todos Santos Independency, a single structure that houses 250,000 people, is also building a subway under Los Angeles. The use of the device is elaborately explored, in, shall we say, unusual circumstances.

The vehicle Tony Rand was driving was longer than four Cadillacs, and shaped roughly like a .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Thick hoses in various colors, some as thick as Tony's torso, trailed away down the tunnel and out of sight. The visibility ahead was poor. The top speed was contemptible. The mileage would have horrified a Cadillac owner. The best you could say for the Mole was that, unlike your ordinary automobile, it could drive through rock.
From Oath of Fealty, by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven).
Published by Timescape in 1981
Additional resources -

I don't want to spoil the surprise of how this device is used in the novel; let's just say it's the slowest getaway car in history.

Compare to the mechanical earthworm from Death Dives Deep by Paul Ernst (1936) and the automatic shell from The Great Stone of Sardis (1897) by Frank Stockton.

For comic book look at a mole machine, read about Cave Carson: Adventures Inside Earth.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Oath of Fealty
  More Ideas and Technology by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven)
  Tech news articles related to Oath of Fealty
  Tech news articles related to works by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven)

Mechanical Mole-related news articles:
  - Tunnel Boring Machine B6 For Sale

Articles related to Engineering
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
Drones Guided By The Mind Alone

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.





Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.





More News

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

TMS Decreases Belief In God, Increases Belief In Immigrants
'... setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all.'

Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
'Slowly the [robot] horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

Soft Robotics - Now With 3D Printed Sensors!
'A series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce the amount of pressure necessary to snap a bone...'

AI Tool Lynx Insight And The Cybernetic Newsroom
'The structure,... was once a great homeostatic newspaper, the New York Times. It printed itself directly below us...'

Espresso Telescope Searches For Exoplanets
'These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected.'

Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme.

Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.'

Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...'

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.