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

"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Stimic  
  A musical instrument consisting of three flutelike tubes equipped with plungers; thumb and forefinger squeeze a bag to force air across the mouthpieces.  

The stimic is one of the wonderful musical instruments found in The Moon Moth, a brilliant short story by Jack Vance. On the world of Sirene, every person sings his words to others, accompanied by different musical instruments. There is no money on Sirene; each person is evaluated according to his personal strakh, his prestige, repute or glory. Mastery of languge and music is essential in this culture.

Ser Thissell, the main character in the story, has only recently immigrated to Sirene and is practicing diligently. Vance describes the stimic as "an instrument well adapted to the sentiments of cool withdrawal, or even disapproval."

In this excerpt, Ser Thissell (wearing the inconsequential Moon Moth mask) approaches a hostler hoping to secure a mount. Alas, he chooses the wrong instrument and inadvertently insults his host.

"Ser Hostler, I have immediate need of a swift mount..."

The hostler ... inspected Thissell a long moment, then, rather ostentatiously selecting his stimic, executed a brilliant progression of trills and rounds, of an import Thissell failed to grasp. The hostler sang, "Ser Moon Moth, I fear that my steeds are unsuitable to a person of your distinction."

From The Moon Moth, by Jack Vance.
Published by Pocket Books in 1976
Additional resources -

The inventiveness of Vance is inexhaustable; the zachinko, the krodatch, the hymerkin - the list of instruments goes on. Yes, I could give quotes for all of these instruments here - but read the story, it's worth it.

If you are interested in unusual instruments, take a look at Experimental Musical Instruments Links Page.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Moon Moth
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Moon Moth
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

Stimic-related news articles:
  - Logic Gates Built Inside Living Cells

Articles related to Lifestyle
The Sheep Look Up In Beijing
You Can't Lose The Travelmate Autonomous Suitcase - It Follows You
Double Charging Textile Obviates Clunky Dune Stillsuit Boots
Skin Chair For That 'Sitting On A Fat Guy' Feeling

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...'

ElliQ Robot To Help Israel's Grandmas And Grandpas
'The robant and the tiny old woman entered the control room slowly...'

EU Debates Kill Switches For Robots
'I have a mechanism which our autofac on Mars builds as an... emergency safety...'

Scotland Set To Implement Basic Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Sales Robots More Persistent Than Humans
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing,,, shrilling...'

AI Identifies Suicidal Behavior With 93 Percent Accuracy
'...He padded into the living room, and seated himself by the suitcase; he opened it, clicked switches, and turned on Dr. Smile.'

Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...'

Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'

Largest Micro-Drone Swarm Release Successful
'... Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.