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

"The permanent government now is the anchorpeople. They don't get elected, and year after year they're responding emotionally to this or that."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Tasp  
  A device that induces a current in the pleasure center of the brain, at a distance.  

In the future universe of Larry Niven, mankind encounters a very warlike species, the kzin. Described as looking like an eight-foot tall tabby cat, with paws the size of baseball mitts and long retractable claws, the kzin had a warrior culture that demanded fighting at the slightest provocation. The journey has been arranged by puppeteers, an obsessively cautious species. How to travel safely with a kzin?

The puppeteer addressed himself to Speaker-to-Animals.

"You understand that I will use the tasp every time you force me to. I will use it if attempt to use violence too often, or if you startle me too much; you will soon become dependent upon the tasp; if you kill me, you will still be ignobly bound by the tasp itself."

"Very astute," said Speaker. "Brilliantly unorthodox tactics. I will trouble you no more."

"The puppeteer is right," said Speaker. "I would not risk the tasp again. Too many jolts of pleasure would leave me his willing slave. I, a kzin, enslaved to a herbivore!"

From Ringworld, by Larry Niven.
Published by Ballantine in 1970
Additional resources -

Niven uses the word "tasper" to describe a person who pranks with a tasp:

...Usually a tasp is just small enough to aim with one hand."

"Have you ever been hit by a tasp? None of my business, of course."

Teela grinned derision for his delicacy. "Yes, I know what it feels like. A moment of - well, there's no describing it. But you don't use a tasp on yourself. You use it on someone who isn't expecting it. That's where the fun comes in. Police are always picking up taspers in parks."

The puppeteer is a three-legged plant-eating herd animal; ordinarily, not much of a threat to a kzin. The puppeteers as a species rarely engaged in direct physical confrontation (too dangerous); they tended to use long-range planning and indirect actions. The tasp is well-suited to their purposes; it induces a current in the pleasure center of the brain at a distance.

The author remarks that

Tasp is short and easy to say. Such words give away the fact that they are in common currence throughout a culture, like lamp and pan and pen.
The Words in Science Fiction (by Larry Niven)
The same effect can be more easily induced by running a wire directly to the pleasure center of the brain; see droud for more information about directly stimulating your neural pleasure center with an ecstasy plug.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

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

Tasp-related news articles:
  - iPlant Brain Implant Advocated For Self-Improvement

Articles related to Entertainment
Actors Reject, Makers Embrace, Posthumous Movie Resurrection
Will Future Games Require Hallucinogens ala Phil Dick?
Emoti-Chair Lets You Hear Through Your Skin
It's Boonta Eve! You Can Podrace With Drones

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

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

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.