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

"As a writer, I don't want to chew my cud. I don't want to have to spit out and regurgitate the same stuff again."
- Harlan Ellison

Pray-o-Mat  
  A device that would offer prayers in exchange for a few coins properly deposited.  

It was a machine, gleaming and metallic, before which they moved.

A man inserted a coin into the mouth of a steel tiger. The machine began to purr. He pressed buttons cast in the likenesses of animals and demons. There came then a flashing of lights along the lengths of the Nagas, the two holy serpents who twisted about the transparent face of the machine.

The man drew down upon the lever that grew from the side of the machine cast in the likeness of the tail of a fish.

A holy blue light filled the interior of the machine; the serpents pulsed redly; and there, in the midst of the light and a soft music that had begun to play a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.

The man wore a beatific expression.

Technovelgy from Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny.
Published by Doubleday in 1967
Additional resources -

The buttons spell out the name, occupation and address of the supplicant.

What would you call such a device?

"Tell me, I saw a machine this morning which I think may best be described as a pray-o-mat - are they very common?"

"Yes," said Jan. "They appeared about two years ago - dreamed up by young Leonardo over a short glass of soma one night. Now that the karma idea has caught on, the things are better than tax collectors. When mister citizen presents himself at the clinic of the god of the church of his choice on the eve of his sixtieth year, his prayer account is said to be considered along with his sin account, in deciding the caste he will enter - as well as the age, sex and health of the body he will receive. Nice. Neat."

The corrupt reincarnation scheme run by the original settlers of the planet make sure that the level of civilization never rises above that of simple faith. Here's how they make sure that the pray-o-mats are never reverse-engineered.
"What of the pray-o-mat which squats before this very temple? Is it on a par, culturally, with a chariot?"

"That is different," said Brahma. "As a divine manifestation, it is held in awe by the citizens and is not questioned for religious reasons..."

"Supposing some local atheist hijacks one and picks it apart? And supposing he happens to be a Thomas Edison? What then?

"They have tricky combination locks on them. If anyone other than a priest opens one, it will blow up and take him along with it."

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Lord of Light
  More Ideas and Technology by Roger Zelazny
  Tech news articles related to Lord of Light
  Tech news articles related to works by Roger Zelazny

Pray-o-Mat-related news articles:
  - Nokia N73 Preloaded For Ramadan
  - Sajjdah 1426 LED Prayer Rug Has Mecca-Glow
  - Information Age Prayer Pray-O-Mat
  - See Jesus? There's An App For That
  - Trinity Chapel Offers Giving Kiosk
  - Kollektomat Tithing Machine
  - Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites

Articles related to Culture
Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
Gaia - Why Stop With Just The Earth?
Splendid View Of Eclipse From Orbit Visualized And Repurposed By Arthur C. Clarke
SensorWake Scent-Based Alarm Clock

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

Optimus Robot Will Be A Good Nanny, Says Musk
'Nanny is different,' Tom Fields murmured... 'she's not like a machine. She's like a person.'

ESA To Build Moon Bases Brick By Printed LEGO Brick
'We made a crude , small cell and were delighted - and, I admit, somewhat surprised - to find it worked.'

Does The Shortage Of Human Inputs Limit AI Development?
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

Textiles That Harvest Energy And Store It
'The clothes and jewelery drew their tiny power requirements from her movements.'

LORIS Passive-Gripper Climbing Robot
'At the end of each appendage's eight fingers there are tinier appendages...'

Drug To Regenerate Teeth In Humans
'We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence,' said lead researcher Katsu Takahashi.

Coin-Sized Nuclear Battery Good For 100 Years
'...power pack the size of a pea.'

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

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.