Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's a Niven Fest

So I finally found something to read: I'm going through the short stories of Larry Niven.

A Hole in Space had some good ones, and now I'm reading "Flash Crowd" from Flight of the Horse. Now aside from the typical issues of writing near-future science fiction, the stories hold up really well. One thing I noticed in a recent story was that other than news and interview shows, television was non-existent. Instead "entertainment cassettes" (the story was written in 1973) we sold and people watched them when they wanted to.

My favorite element to the group of stories I'm reading now are the teleportation displacement booths. The booths that are about the size of a phone booth pretty much cover the world and there's one on every block. It's one dollar per transfer, you can get almost anywhere in the world in three jumps: home to airport for the long distance booths, airport to customs if going to another country, and then customs to destination. It's something I know many of us would love just to get out of the traffic.

The side effects of teleportation are flash crowds (rapid gatherings of people from across the country 'porting in to see what's being shown on TV), smuggling (as pirate booths can be set up just on the other side of the border), and the disappearance of cars and planes.

But, it still beats traffic.

1 comment:

JS said...

Of course a teleportation-related traffic-jam might mean you're materializing with someone else's leg or some other bits of anatomy.

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