Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Calster  
  A handheld device that printed legal currency on the spot.  

In the future world of the novel, most of life's necessities are free. However, luxury goods or experiences still cost something. To pay, you use a small box that prints currency for you, right on the spot.

The robot hung up, and I did not have time to ask where I was supposed to look for the calster. I had no idea what it looked like. Getting up from the desk, which, abandoned, immediately shrank and shriveled up, I saw a kind of stand growing out of the wall next to the door; on it lay a flat object wrapped in transparent plastic and resembling a small cigarette case. On one side it had a row of little windows, in them showed the number 1100 1000. At the bottom were two tiny buttons labeled "1" and "0." I looked at it, puzzled, until I realized that the sum of 5000 had been entered in the binary system. I pressed the one and a small plastic triangle with the number one stamped on it fell into my hand. This, then, was a kind of stamping machine or press for money, up to the amount indicated in the Windows - the number at the top decreased by a unit.
From Return from the Stars, by Stanislaw Lem.
Published by Not known in 1961
Additional resources -

This is a strange sort of an idea, although it makes the future seem more real when computerized credit cannot pay for everything.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Return from the Stars
  More Ideas and Technology by Stanislaw Lem
  Tech news articles related to Return from the Stars
  Tech news articles related to works by Stanislaw Lem

Articles related to Miscellaneous
Bush Robots - Fingers On Your Fingers On Your Fingers...
Amateur Innovators - This Is Your Century!

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'

NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-

Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'

Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'

Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.