Plasteel in Scifi

Dune is one of those  books – love it or hate it, you must respect its place in “the canon” and the major role it’s played in influencing succeeding SFF works and popular culture.

As I continue my most recent read-through, I continue to pick up on new threads. Read below and see if you spot any scifi tech that’s become somewhat ubiquitous.

Ah-ha – plasteel! I know I’ve seenthis onebefore.

Much like the hypospray, plasteel is apparently a real thing. Perhaps because of its evocative and cool-sounding name it’s been adopted in all sorts of media ever since appearing in…Dune? (Update: Note, see below).

I’ve been unable to find much information about plasteel online, but it was apparently patented by an auto manufacturer in 1973. Likely the material and name were established or in the works for years prior, but Dune‘s 1965 employ of the word predates the patent. Very cool.



Update: Thanks to my esteemed readers, who in the comments section point out some earlier spottings of “plasteel.”


It’s still possible that Dune played a part in the popularization of the word, but doesn’t appear to be the originator.




10 thoughts on “Plasteel in Scifi

  1. The first use I located was a trademark application from 1941 for Plasteel Company.

    The first use in fiction I found was in “Skyrover” by Frank Belknap Long, as Leslie Northern, published in the Winter 1945 issue of Startling Stories.

    Frank Herbert first used plasteel in “Under Pressure” first serialized in the November 1955 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Later published in novel form in 1956 as The Dragon in the Sea.

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      1. I originally thought it was created by Evan Hunter since he used it in stories in the early 1950s. I did a search on archive to find one and found the Frank Belknap Long story predating them by seven years. Still Dune is the best known example and probably the one later examples based themselves on. Making it what TV Tropes calls a Trope Codifier.

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