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

"Conspiracy theories are big because they're comforting. Any conspiracy is infinitely less multiplex than the real deal, which is multiplex to the point of being unknowable."
- William Gibson

Message Tree  
  A tree growing out of a huge cliff of crystal provides communication for a world.  

The message tree is a remarkable and creative idea, particularly in the context of the novel. The planet Lithia has virtually no naturally occurring metals on the surface and electrical power is extremely difficult to generate; how can you recreate electronic communications equipment? The answer lies in the piezoelectric effect.

If the night were to turn out to be especially windy, there would doubtless be many voices coming and going to the Message Tree. It loomed ahead of him now, a Sequoialike giant...

As the winds came and went... the tree nodded and swayed. With every movement, the tree's root system ... tugged and distorted the buried crystalline cliff upon which the city had been founded. At every such pressure, the buried cliff responded with a vast heart-pulse of radio waves - a pulse detectable not only all over Lithia, but far out into space as well.

From A Case of Conscience, by James Blish.
Published by If in 1953
Additional resources -

This sort of message device also lent itself well to the story; the world of Lithia was one in which the biosphere was seen as important by the indigenous sapient life.

The piezoelectric effect was discovered by one of more of the Curies around 1880; it is the voltage produced between surfaces of a solid nonconducting substance (dielectric) when mechanical stress is applied.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Case of Conscience
  More Ideas and Technology by James Blish
  Tech news articles related to A Case of Conscience
  Tech news articles related to works by James Blish

Message Tree-related news articles:
  - Tweeting Tree Like Blish's Message Tree

Articles related to Communication
'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation

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

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

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.