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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Photophone  
  A device that provided a view of the other booth.  

The photophone was not as handy, of course, as the portable visiphone which we now use. One stepped into a small booth, and, facing the mosaic mirror which filled one side of the room, adjusted the calling dials on the right wall. As soon as the party answered the call, one immediately saw a full- length reflection of the interior of the other booth, complete in natural colors, lighting and all; so that it was much the same as a face- to- face conversation. A similar mirror on the left made it possible for three parties to talk at once. Of course there were more elaborate booths for official business. One talked in his natural tones, there being no need to place receiver to ear or to keep near a mouthpiece. The diaphragms were conveniently located at the right. Conversation was distinct and of natural...
From The Planeteer, by Michael Flynn.
Published by All Story Weekly in 1918
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