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

"I've been very obsessive about writing science fiction for far too many years. Anyone with an ounce of sense would have given up years ago."
- Charles Stross

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
Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?
Illustris: The Next Generation Of Universe Simulation

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

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

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.