"...science fiction is sort of like a sociological genome. It's a huge range of possible futures, most of them useless; some vital. You never really know in advance."
- Peter Watts
||A holographic projector.
Very early use of this concept.
|His face flashed in a smile when a girl suddenly appeared in the middle of the room, materializing, so it seemed, out of nowhere. She resembled him to some extent, except that she was exquisitely feminine, dark-haired, with a skin of warm ivory, while he was blond and ruddy. Her tinkling, silvery voice was troubled as she asked:
"Have I your leave to stay, Mich'l Ares?"
The look of adoration he gave her was answer enough, but he answered with the conventional formula, "It is given." He rose to his feet, walked right through the seemingly solid vision and made an adjustment on a bank of dials. Then he walked through the apparition again and, standing beside his chair, looked at her inquiringly.
"You haven't forgotten, Mich'l, this is the day of the Referendum?"
Mich'l smiled slightly. It would be a day of confusion in Subterranea if he should forget. As chief of the technies he was in direct charge of the tabulating machines that would, a few seconds after the vote, give the result in the matter of the opening of the Frozen Gate. But the girl's concern sobered him instantly. On the decision of the people at noon depended the life work of her father, Senator Mane. And it was now nine o'clock.
"I am sure they will order the Gate opened," he said instantly. "All the technies are agreed that your father is right, that the Great Cold was only another, more severe ice age—not the death of the Sun. The technies—"
Just as the girl had seemingly materialized, a young man now stood beside her. In appearance he was a picture of pride, power, arrogance, and definite danger. His hawk-like, patrician features were smiling. This olive-skinned, dark young rival of Mich'l was Lane Mollon, son of Senator Mollon, ruthless administration leader and bitter opponent of Senator Mane's Exodus faction.
Lane looked at Mich'l insolently.
"Have I your leave to stay, Mich'l Ares?" he asked.
"It is given," said Mich'l without enthusiasm.
"I'm not calling on you of my own will, Mich'l," the apparition of young Mollon said contemptuously, "but Nida had the telucid turned on as I stepped into the room."
|From If The Sun Died,
by R.F. Starzl.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1931
Additional resources -
Here's a bit more detail:
Lane reached out his hand to the dial, invisible to Mich'l, which operated the telucid apparatus, and immediately the apparitions vanished. Mich'l looked at his own telucid, its great unwinking eye set in the wall. But he did not project his own illusory body to the girl's home. He was a technie—one of the pitifully few trained men and women who kept the intricate automatic machinery working.
People could gather for speeches in the following way:
A deep musical note sounded. Suddenly the myriad inhabitants of Subterranea seemed to be milling around in the room. Actually their bodies were in their dwelling cells, but their telucid images filled the hall. By a simple adjustment of the power circuit, their images, instead of being life size, were made only about an inch high, permitting the accommodation of the entire nation in the hall. Their millions of tiny voices, mingling, made a sighing sound.
Compare to the telestereo from Edmond Hamilton's 1928 classic Crashing Suns.
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