If you’ve read Accelerando by Charles Stross, you may well remember the street-punk character from the beginning of the book named Spring-Heeled Jack, who bounds around town in a pair of petrol-powered booster-boots. Like any sf author with sense, Stross borrowed the idea from the real world, and CNet has an article that talks about the invention of the boots in Cold War Russia – they really did exist, though they never made it to the consumer market. More’s the pity … [SlashDot]
If you haven’t read Accelerando, you can download it legally for free. It comes highly recommended.