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‘The fourth dimension of warfare: Early techno-thriller fiction and the manned bomber vs. missile controversy of the early 1960s’

Horwood, Ian (2019) ‘The fourth dimension of warfare: Early techno-thriller fiction and the manned bomber vs. missile controversy of the early 1960s’. In: Faria, Dominique, Dobson, Alan, Monteiro, Antonio and Rodrigues, Luis Nuno, (eds.) L'aviation et son impact sur le temps et espace. First ed. Exotopies . Paris, Le Manuscrit, pp. 305-330

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Abstract

The revolution that began with the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk in 1903 liberated man from the surface of the earth, where he had been confined for his entire existence. It also enabled him to travel progressively further and faster than had ever previously been possible; this phenomenon of ‘compression’ of time and space contributed to the development of the seductive notion that airpower might be the pre-eminent arm of military decision. The ultimate expression of this ‘compression’ lay not with aircraft at all, but with the ballistic missile, which provides the ability to attack a foe with devastating force and minimal warning. The lack of warning time was one factor contributing to the sense that defence against such weapons was futile and threatened, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to render the manned bomber obsolete. This paper explores the aerospace phenomenon of time and space ‘compression’, and the manner in which the trend in the development of this phenomenon became part of a debate about the relative efficacy of the manned bomber versus the ballistic missile in the early 1960s, specifically through the prism of an early techno-thriller novel, The Penetrators (1965) by American author Hank Searls.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General)
School/Department: School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3973

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