Sunday, November 29, 2009


Oh, yeah, that -- um, I'm in a bit of a rush, as happens; I have Family Thanksgiving today, followed by a BlogMeet (at which I will show up late). Of course I have done Nothing Contributory To Getting There so far, having been distracted by housecleaning. (Really!) And by Monster Hunter International -- gee, that's a good book! (It's an uncommon subgenre. Marion Zimmer Brady did a few that were similar, maybe a bit more hippieish and a larger admixture of the Cthulhu Mythos; think Hellboy without Hellboy. And then there's F. Paul Wilson on one side and some of K. W. Jeter's work on the other, shading off into Tim Powers' later novels, but that's still not a whole lot and none of the others have put that Travis McGee spin on it).

A little freaked out right now: I went to look up an interesting book, Agnew H. Bahnson, Jr.'s The Stars Are Too High, only to discover Mr. Bahnson worked on -- held patents in! -- electrodynamic propulsion and died under unusual circumstances a few years after the book was written. However, said book describes an attempt by quite human engineers to use a working "flying saucer" they've built to the trick the world's governments into getting along. The effort, as I recall, fails; and as none of it ever happened (AFAIK), it'll have to be chalked up to wishful thinking, probably along with any "electrogravatic" effects of his experiments.

...Probably. Or maybe there's more to this Hidden Frontier stuff than I'll admit to.


Stranger said...

I do not see anything on gravity per se in Bahnson's patent list.

From the rather sketchy patents it would appear Bahnson was working on electrostatic motors, as well as accelerating exhaust nozzle velocities with an electrostatic charge.

That was a big deal with Hermann Oberth and the German Rocket - or was that interplanetary?- society in the Schicklegruber era.

Sometime around 1948 Hugo Gernsback's Radio Craft, perhaps it had become Radio and TV News by then, had an extensive writeup on putting a megavolt plus charge on a screen in a V2 type's exhaust, raising efflux velocity into the miles per second range.

Allegedly giving escape velocity to quite a sizable vehicle with only a small quantity of fuel.

But gravity? Offhand, if I had some fluid with a specific gravity of 100 or so, a toroidal coil large enough to go around a vehicle, and a pump that would stand the pressure, I would make the attempt. But lacking the means, knowledge does little good.


Crucis said...

I have a pb copy of that book somewhere in my "library." It's a bit frail now since it's probably forty years or so old now.

Shoot! Now I'll have to dig for it.

Ian Argent said...

OTOH, from the "science marches on" category - I think the Venus Equilateral one with the 13-farad capacitor as a warhead is a good example. I think you can do that now without the hinky dielectric fluid and cram it into the specified volume?

Roberta X said...

Stranger:Bahnson, not so much; but even a little digging finds T. Townsend Brown working with Bahnson in the late 1950s and Brown is pretty much Mr. Electrogravatics.

Me, I'm withholding judgment.

Roberta X said...

Ian, you could buy a few dozen of these. Or several hundred and equalizing resistors, if you wanted to achieve higher potentials. :)

Good ol' DigiKey.

Ian Argent said...

I think I'd still need that non-arcing alloy and a multiple-G constant-accel power plant... (Though the seeking system for their torp should be pretty easy to gin up).

Sendarius said...

Seems to me that the hardest part of any scientific advance is convincing the engineers that it CAN be done.

To that end, I read a short fiction story, lo these MANY years ago, that related the (successful) attempt by NASA(?) to get engineers to build the first anti-gravity device.

They did so by showing them a film that was purportedly the record of the first flight of such a device, that unfortunately exploded, killing ALL of those that knew how it worked.

Anybody know the name of the tale, and its author?

wv: sconed - hmmm

Anonymous said...

I have a first edition of this book signed by Mr. Bahnson on May 28, 1959. Have had it for years; never read it.