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

"The primary attraction [of writing sf] is the sheer pleasure of creating something from whole cloth."
- Dan Simmons

Metal Calculator Planet  
  A planet covered entirely with machinery to a height of twenty miles and covered with a metal roof.  

In this great story by Simak, explorers land on a mysterious, dead planet that appears to consist entirely of burnished metal.

...there was a metal planet, third outward from the sun. Not a lump of metallic ore, but a planet with a surface - or a roof - of fabricated metal burnished to the polish of a bright steel mirror.

And what happens when they find the door to the inside?

It was machinery, of course. It could be nothing else...

There were shafts and pools and disks and banks of shining crystal cubes that might have been tubes, although one couldn't be sure.

There were cubic miles of it, and it glistened like a silvery Christmas tree in the fanning of the helmet lights, as if it had been polished no more than an hour before...

They found the planetary surface - twenty miles below.

From Limiting Factor, by Clifford Simak.
Published by Startling Stories in 1949
Additional resources -

What was the purpose of the machinery?

"An analytical machine is a matter of size," said Buckley. "Each integrator corresponds to a cell in the human brain. It has a limited function and capability. And what one cell does must be checked by two other cells. The 'tell me thrice' method of making sure there is no error.'"

The explorers theorize that the planet was an enormous calculator that was abandoned when it was no longer possible to build any additional elements.

This notion anticipates the idea that the Earth is really an enormous computer built to discover the ultimate question; this idea appears in the work of Douglas Adams.

The stories that later became the Foundation trilogy were published starting in 1942 (and throughout that decade), so the idea of a planet that has been entirely built over is probably Asimov's.

If you enjoy computers on a planetary scale, check out the Gigagnostotron from Stanislaw Lem's 1965 novel The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 4 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Limiting Factor
  More Ideas and Technology by Clifford Simak
  Tech news articles related to Limiting Factor
  Tech news articles related to works by Clifford Simak

Articles related to Computer
The Largest Virtual Universe!
ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead

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

Autonomous BADGER Robot Drilling Machine
'The compacted matter... makes a better tunnel lining than concrete, don't you think?'

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

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.