"The first thing that's wrong with being a science-fiction writer today is that the present has caught up with the future and surpassed it."
The Magnus Effect is a real phenomenon; as far as I know there are no real-world vehicles that actually use it.
The Magnus Effect is the generation of a sidewise force on a spinning cylindrical or spherical solid immersed in a fluid (physicists count gas and liquid here) when there is relative motion between the spinning body and the fluid. It was named after the German physicist H.G. Magnus, who first experimentally investigated the effect in 1853. This is why a ping pong ball or tennis ball will curve when hit with "English."
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