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

"Building one space station for everyone was and is insane: we should have built a dozen."
- Larry Niven

Plastic-Eating Bacteria  
  Mutated bacteria able to 'eat' or dissolve rubber and plastic.  

A tiny organism appears to have been brought back from the region of space nearest the Earth.

"the organism...Mutated to a noninfectious form. And perhaps it is still mutating. Now it is no longer directly harmful to man, but it eats rubber gaskets."

"The airplane."

Hall nodded. "National guardsmen could be on the ground, and not be harmed. But the pilot had his aircraft destroyed because the plastic was dissolved before his eyes."

Technovelgy from The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton.
Published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1969
Additional resources -

Here's what it's like when bacteria eats plastic unexpectedly.

...the post team had heard transcripts of the flight transmission between the Phantom [jet] and Topeka Central. For the most part it was dull, except for the final moments before the pilot crashed.

The pilot had said: "Something is wrong."

And then, a moment later, "My rubber air hose is dissolving. It must be the vibration. It's just disintegrating into dust... Everything made of rubber in the cockpit is dissolving."

A similar scenario forms the basis for the 1971 novel Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters by Gerry Davis and Kit Pedler:

"In the shaft leading to the [ventilation] grille a mindless, groping mass of malodorous corruption was thrusting its way silently towards the surface. Buoyed up by bubbling foam it steadily rose. Single units in an obscene abrogation of normal order divided and made two. Two became four and four, eight. Endlessly supplied with food, each unit absorbed nutrient and in a soft, ancient certainty fulfilled its only purpose - to multiply, to extend and to multiply...

"In the Coburg Street control room of the London Underground system,there was a full emergency... In a dozen tunnels, trains ground down to a halt. Hordes of terrified commuters made their way anxiously along dark, musty tunnels to the lights and safety of the next station. There were minor explosions, fires, and the failure of a million wires andcables. As the dissolution of plastic proceeded and accelerated in rate,the elegant order of the system gradually turned into complete chaos.

"On the surface, in the freezing December air, the smell of the rotting plastic began to hang permanently in the air. A cloying, wet, rotting smell similar to the smell of long-dead flesh. It filled streets , basements and factories. Traffic lights failed, causing irresolvable jams.... The breakdown of plastic spread into BroadcastingHouse.... A gas main with polypropylene seals on its pressure regulatorserupted into flame.... Plastic cold-water pipes softened, ballooned, andburst, flooding into shops, homes, and restaurants.

"Slowly and inexorably, the rate of dissolution increased; failures occurred in increasing succession until, within forty-eight hours, the centre of London had become a freezing chaos without light, heat, or communication."
(Thanks to Winchell Chung for mentioning this.)

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Andromeda Strain
  More Ideas and Technology by Michael Crichton
  Tech news articles related to The Andromeda Strain
  Tech news articles related to works by Michael Crichton

Plastic-Eating Bacteria-related news articles:
  - Amazonian Fungus Eats Polyurethane
  - Bacteria Eats Plastic; What Could Go Wrong?
  - The Plastic Eaters - Amazon Fungus Lives On Plastic
  - Worms Eat Plastic Now
  - Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
  - Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic

Articles related to Biology
Let's Make Slaver Sunflowers! Engineering Plants To Reflect Light
Machete-Wielding Philodendron Isn't Going To Take It Anymore
Tsunami Forecasts Improved By Ionosphere Signals
EctoLife Concept Video Artificial Womb For Baby Mass Production

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

Vast Apartment Living Will Get Even More Vast
'What is your population', I asked. 'About eighty millions.'

NASA Wants Self-Driving Or Remote-Controlled Vehicles For Lunar Astronauts
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street of Hydropole. Robot-guided, insulated from noise and cold...'

Elon Musk Says Robotaxis Will Be Ready This August, 2024
'The car had no steering wheel, and no one drove!'

Moonwalkers AI-Controlled Electric Shoes
Now that's power walking that Hugo Gernsback would have approved.

Steve Jobs: 'Capture The Next Aristotle - With AI'
'It was disturbing to think of the Flatline as a construct...'

No Tips! Robotic Food Delivery In Phoenix
'...he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Electric Catamaran 'Explorer Eco 40m' Has 'Solar Skin'
'On went the electric-yacht faster and still faster.'

Orbital Mechanics, The Liftoff, The Turnover, The Retrograde Burn
'...the huge vessel had spun, with a sickening lurch, through a complete half-circle, the instant the power was reversed.'

Harvest Power From Tears And Blinking With Smart Contact Lens
'...he realized that it was not quite a clear lens. Speckles of colored brightness swirled and gathered in it.'

Europa Clipper Plate Carries A Special Message
'...a universal cryptogram yet it is one which can be interpreted by any intelligent creature on any planet in the Solar System!'

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.