"What television does is rent us friends and relatives who are quite satisfactory. This is quite something, to rent artificial friends and relatives right inside the house."
In the world of Altered Carbon, it is possible to completely record the unique electrical pattern of your mental self, store it and then download it into a suitable body.
The radio and television transmissions we are used to are literally "broadcast" in all directions. It takes a lot of energy to send a usable signal in all directions. If you wanted to send a transmission to a specific distant planet, the most energy efficient way would be to transmit in a single, specific direction - a "needlecast", a very slender beam.
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'Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world.'
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'
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