Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

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

"Evolutionary success ... is going to absolutely require mobility on, at a minimum, an interplanetary scale. We either go or we die out."
- Richard Morgan

Videophone  
  A person-to-person communication device offering sight as well as sound.  

As far as I know, the first use of this word in science fiction.

On his desk there reposed an instrument comprising a disc of silvery gray metal, framed in darker gray, and mounted vertically upon a base of similar material. This instrument was Roy’s private videophone, and it was the calls from it of a voice repeating, “NY-19-635,” that occasioned his numerous returns to it. As he returned and answered his number, a face would appear in the disc and inform him in a monotonous voice that no success could as yet be reported on his call. Each time this was a signal for his renewal of the nervous pacing and muttering, accompanied by further rumpling of his hair.


(Videophone by Harl Vincent)

It was preposterous! Here he had been trying for two hours to get a connection with one of his patrons in Paris. Constant reports there had been that something was wrong with the continental video. Pity that the Terrestrial Videophone Company couldn’t keep their confounded voice and vision ether waves working, he thought angrily. Or whatever kind of waves they were! Roy was no scientist.

From The Golden Girl of Munan, by Harl Vincent.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1928
Additional resources -

Harl Vincent made good use of this new expression in his 1929 story War of the Planets:

At that moment the news announcer’s voice burst forth from the videophone:

“Connections have now been established with the great reflector at Castle Mountain. If you darken your rooms, you will find that the newly discovered phenomenon is dimly visible in the disc of your instrument.’’

Walter switched off the lights and drew two chairs close to the videophone.

Thelda joined him there and the two gazed intently at the disc.

The view was very indistinct at first, but, as their eyes became accustomed to the darkness, a small group of weird objects became visible in the center of the disc...

At this juncture their individual call sounded from the videophone and Walter flipped back the news lever to permit the incoming personal call to be made. The disc flashed brightly and the face of his father appeared.

“Hello, folks,” spoke the cheery voice of the man they both loved, “Why in the world are you sitting in the darkness? Oh. I know — you have been listening to the absurd reports of some menace from the skies...

"All right, dear. I’ll be home in ten minutes, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to keep an eye on that son of ours this evening,” grinned Roy, “So long.”

The disc went dark and the voice was gone.

In case you're wondering why videophones had a circular screen, it's because the mechanical scan version of television technology of the Twenties made use of a disc:


(1929 advertisement)

A.E. van Vogt used this same term in 1945 in The World of Null-A:

He closed the door, fastened the three plasto-windows and put a tracer on his videophone.

For an earlier version of this idea, see the telephot from Hugo Gernsback's classic 1911 novel Ralph 124c 41 +.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Golden Girl of Munan
  More Ideas and Technology by Harl Vincent
  Tech news articles related to The Golden Girl of Munan
  Tech news articles related to works by Harl Vincent

Articles related to Communication
Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation
Will The Super Bowl Go To Pay Per View?

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 Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Your Martian Dream Home, Made By Fungi
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.'

100X Improvement In DNA Information Storage
'A record that wouldn't get lost and couldn't be destroyed.'

NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station
Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram

Should We Train AIs To Imagine A Future Of Horrific Disasters
'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.'

Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
'What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible.'

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.'

3D Printed Robotic Tentacles
'... articulate ropes of steel dangling'

Update: Musk Doubles Down On Optimus Prime Humanoid Robot
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Elon Musk: Production Of Robotaxis In 2024
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.