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

"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Organlegging  
  Technology needed to deal in illicitly obtained body parts.  

As far as I know, Niven was the first writer to really work with a topic that is just starting to become a problem, thanks to drugs that make transplantation viable.

What happens when the need for "spare parts" exceeds the supply - the organs that are produced by chance events, like car crashes? You could start with the criminals, like an organlegger who had stolen another person's life to make his body into spare parts. First, you cool the body to the point where preservation of delicate body structures is possible -

The doctor was a line of machines with a conveyor belt running through them. When the organlegger's body temperature reached a certain point, the belt started.

The first machine made a series of incisions in his chest. Skillfully and mechanically, the doctor performed a cardiectomy.

The organlegger was officially dead.

His heart went into storage immediately. His skin followed, most of it in one piece, all of it still living. The doctor took him apart with exquisite care, like disassembling a flexible, fragile, tremendously complex jigsaw puzzle. The brain was flashburned and the ashes saved for urn burial; but all the rest of the body, in slabs and small blobs and parchment-thin layers and lengths of tubing, went into storage in the hospital's organ banks. Any one of these units could be packed in a travel case at a moment's notice and flown to anywhere in the world in not much more than an hour. If the odds broke right, if the right people came down with the right diseases at the right time, the organlegger might save more lives than he had taken.

Which was the whole point.

Technovelgy from The Jigsaw Man, by Larry Niven.
Published by Not Available in 1967
Additional resources -

The term is a corruption of the word "bootlegger." This story is in several collections of Niven's works - highly recommended.

The ultimate danger, when a citizen could live for as long as possible if enough organs were available?

The cause of it all was the organ banks. With good doctors and a sufficient flow of material in the organ banks, any taxpayer could hope to live indefinitely. What voter would vote agains eternal life? The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.

In Anne McCaffrey's 1990 novel Pegasus in Flight, street children are stockpiled for later use as organ donors:

Until we have the right to use infertility drugs in subsistence-level food, there'll be unreported births... And the ones with the right blood factors and healthy organs will be stashed away by the very rich for transplants as needed.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 3 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Jigsaw Man
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to The Jigsaw Man
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Organlegging-related news articles:
  - Real Organleggers: Human Organ Trafficking
  - RFID Tags Proposed To Halt Blackmarket Cadaver Trade
  - Donation After Cardiac Death (Wait, I needed that!)
  - 10K Illegal Kidneys Transplanted Every Year
  - Child Trafficked To Britain By Organleggers
  - Heart-In-A-Box Saves Organ For Later
  - Islamic State Now Organlegging?
  - China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
  - Anti-Forced Organ Harvesting Global Summit

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

Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

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.