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

"For the sciences, the way to change science's perception of things is to wait until all the old farts have died off."
- Larry Niven

Hush Corner  
  A space made private by canceling sound waves in that area.  

In typical style, the device is worked into the story by comparing it with other hush corners in the narrator's experience.

In this scene from the novel, two rocket pilots argue over hiring an actor to "double" for their boss, an important political figure on Mars.

"Will you excuse us? My friend and I must make heap big smoke."

The suite was equipped with a hush corner, enclosing the autograph and the phone. Broadbent took Dubois by the arm and led him over there; they stood and talked urgently.

Sometimes such facilities in public places like hotels are not all that they might be; the sound waves fail to cancel out completely. But the Eisenhower is a luxury house and in this case, at least, the equipment worked perfectly; I could see their lips move but I could hear no sound.

But I could indeed see their lips move. Broadbent's face was toward me and Dubois I could glimpse in a wall mirror. When I was performing in my famous mentalist act, I found out why my father had beaten my tail until I learned the silent language of lips-in my mentalist act I always performed in a brightly lighted hail and made use of spectacles which-but never mind; I could read lips.

From Double Star, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Doubleday in 1956
Additional resources -

One of the strengths of Heinlein's writing (for me) is his ability to directly connect the culture of the 1930's and 1940's with an era in which space travel is commonplace. He does it in this case by mentioning a mentalist act (mind reading) performed live in a large hall.

This piece of technovelgy predates the term "cone of silence," as used by Frank Herbert. Herbert also deals with the lip-reading problem. You might also be interested in Heinlein's futuristic modifications of the hush-a-phone, an actual invention used in the nineteen-twenties and thirties. Don't forget the Fenton silencer, from Arthur C. Clarke's 1957 short story collection Tales from the White Hart.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Double Star
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Double Star
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Hush Corner-related news articles:
  - MIT Conversation Shielding Like Cone Of Silence
  - Accoustic Cloak Achieves Sonic Invisibility

Articles related to Communication
Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation
Will The Super Bowl Go To Pay Per View?

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

New Train Station Offers Minority Report-Style Signs
A whole new world awaits you, John Anderton!

The Far Side Of The Moon, By NASA (2015) And By PAUL (1932)
"We had leisure to make a thorough observation of the hidden side of earth's satellite."

LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'

Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'

Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'

Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'

Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'

SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'

Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'

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.