Science Fiction Dictionary: Ideas, Terms and Technology
( 3898 Inventions Available)

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Device Name Book/Story Author Date
Laboratory Planet
A toy planet created in a laboratory; a fully functional world in miniature.
The Pygmy Planet Williamson  1932
Lado-Acheson System
A device for "pumping in" sunlight into an enclosed space habitat.
Neuromancer Gibson  1984
Laminated Mouse Brain Computer
A computing device that makes use of neurons from a mouse.
Think Blue, Count Two Smith  1962
Landing on an Asteroid
An elaborate flight plan for landing a space ship on an asteroid.
Murder on the Asteroid Binder  1933
Landing on the Moon
Men from the earth land on the Moon.
Somnium (The Dream) Kepler  1634
Landing Pit (Drydock and Construction)
A cylindrical hole with anti-gravity screens for use in spacecraft landings and repair.
The Stars My Destination Bester  1956
Landing Stage
Parking spot for space craft.
Atomic Fire Gallun  1931
A supporting structure for a space craft landing on a planetary surface.
The Radium World Kelly  1932
A constructed landing area on a planetary surface for space craft.
Sand Doom Leinster  1955
A small repulsion-based hovercraft capable of high speeds over flat terrain.
Star Wars Lucas  1976
Langston Field
A protective energy shield.
The Mote in God's Eye Niven (w/J. Pournelle)  1974
Language Rectifier
The first reference to machine-translation of human languages.
Ralph 124c 41 + Gernsback  1911
Lanson Screen
An elliptical shield of force large enough to enclose a city.
The Lanson Screen Zagat  1936
A floating island or rock in the air.
Gulliver's Travels Swift  1726
Laser Cannon
A laser source powerful enough to provide significant light pressure to a "light sail."
Neutron Star Niven  1966
Laser Finger
Special powered suit add-on makes you even quicker on the draw.
The Forever War Haldeman  1974
Laser Rifle
A laser weapon shaped (and fired) like a traditional rifle.
Door to Anywhere Anderson  1966
Laser-Induced Plasma
Shoots lightning from your fingertips.
Daemon Suarez  2009
A continuous-wave laser projector; can be used as a weapon or as a cutting tool.
Dune Herbert  1965
Device emits an energy beam.
The Golden Man Dick  1954
Launching Cradle
A place for a spherical space craft to sit in gravity.
Needler Garrett  1957
Launching Facility
A specific spot with support for a space launch.
From the Earth to the Moon Verne  1867
Launching Laser
A set of very high-powered lasers used to power spacecraft.
The Fourth Profession Niven  1971
Law Clerk Robot
A robotic lawyer.
The Midas Plague Pohl  1954
Law Expert System (LEX)
Software capable of rendering a legal opinion.
The Moat Egan  1991
Law of Contact
Non-interference in the development of other worlds.
Orphans of the Void Shaara  1952
Laws Against Human Drivers
The idea that autonomous vehicles should be the only cars on the road, for safety.
Photo Control Brown  1934
Lawyer Program
Software that could listen to legal argument.
Earth Brin  1990
Lead-Bodied Android
A robot designed for use in the nuclear industry.
Robots of the World! Arise! Wolf  1952
Leading Machine
An exploratory device; it takes the form of an autonomous motorcycle.
Paradise and Iron Breuer  1930
A radiation-resistant robot.
The Defenders Dick  1953
Leaf Screens
Bioform displays grown from plants offering flat surfaces - like leaves.
Sparrowhawk Easton  1990
Leak Disk
Simple device to temporarily close a leak in a spacecraft.
Islands in the Sky Clarke  1952
Learning Robot
A robot that learns from its own experiences.
Callahan and the Wheelies Barr  1960
A special metal helmet for electro-education.
The Knowledge Machine Hamilton  1948
A device that would read aloud an electronic text book.
Return from the Stars Lem  1961
Legislation Analyzer
Device analyzes potentially biased bills.
The Trouble With Bubbles Dick  1953
Lens Image
A presentation of the night sky, calculated for any planet or point in space.
Second Foundation Asimov  1953
A kind of seeing device like a short-range telescope.
The Doom From Planet 4 Williamson  1931
Induces sleepy mindedness.
The World Jones Made Dick  1956
Levitating Path
Anti-gravity metal used to make a floating walkway.
A Sound of Thunder Bradbury  1952
Levitator Pack
Handy anti-gravity when you need it.
Gears for Nemesis Gallun  1942
Allows free flight in the interior volume of a vast sphere in space.
Lost City of Mars Vincent  1934
Standard blaster pistol with terrifying power.
Triplanetary Smith  1934
Extremely tough crystalline metal.
Subspace Explorers Smith  1965
Leyden Ball
Device for hunting underwater; transfers a powerful electrical charge to the prey.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Verne  1875
Librareome Project
Blasting libraries into bits to create a library of perfect digitized electronic books.
Rainbows End Vinge  2006
Life Bank
A storage facility with the genetic material that was produced by Earth's ecosystem.
The Ophiuchi Hotline Varley  1977
Life Blanket
Sentient moss which, when draped over the shoulders of a human being, becomes fully self-aware, providing valuable services.
Ogre Simak  1944
Life Chamber
A machine-mediated, fully immersive experiential environment.
The Chamber of Life Wertenbaker  1929
Life Detector
A device that was capable of detecting living tissue within a set radius.
Cease Fire Herbert  1958
Life Detector Shield
An electronic field that is intended to shield living tissue from a Life Detector.
Cease Fire Herbert  1958
Life Phial
Similar to a food pill, food in concentrated form.
Improvements So Extraordinary The World Will Shudder Lease  1893
Life Recorder
Record the details of your life.
The Dream Master (He Who Shapes) Zelazny  1966
Life Tubes
Escape pods for space ships.
Liners of Space Vanny  1930
A small space-worthy craft that can be jettisoned from a larger ship, to save its crew.
Spacehounds of IPC Smith  1931
A device that captures a person's life experience in software.
Soft Death Rucker  1986
A non-alcoholic beverage, but similar to wine.
In the Deep of Time Lathrop  1897
A life record made constantly.
Halting State Stross  2007
Life-shield Blanket
A device that is capable of shielding the person using it against ordinary forms of detecting living beings.
Heretics of Dune Herbert  1984
An emergency escape or survival craft.
The Invisible World Repp  1940
An enclosed biosphere; a pod-like greenhouse attached to a space-going vessel.
Tides of Light Benford  1989
Lift Chair
A single occupant lifted by great birds.
The Last Castle Vance  1967
Light Absorbing/Emitting Ink
Ink that can absorb light and then emit it in a burst for advertising purposes.
Gravy Planet Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth)  1952
Light Beam Propulsion (Light-Ship)
Use of brilliant light as motive power for a space ship.
The Radium World Kelly  1932
Light Pressure Propulsion
First mention of the idea that light itself could be a form of propulsion for spacecraft.
From the Earth to the Moon Verne  1867
Light Speed
Using the speed of light at a unit of velocity.
Out Around Rigel Wilson  1931
Light Traps (Dyson Sphere)
Surrounding a sun, a set of devices to capture or focus solar power.
Star Maker Stapledon  1937
Light-Absorbing Paint
Space stealth!
Earthlight Clarke  1955
Lighting Panel
A large panel that presents illumination without heat.
Let There Be Light Monroe  1940
A sword the blade of which is formed by a beam of visible light which cuts like a laser.
Star Wars Lucas  1976
Light-Sail Ship
A spacecraft that used a huge sail moved by light pressure.
Think Blue, Count Two Smith  1962
A creative work that was both sculpture and light.
Light Verse Asimov  1973
A laser tuned for use as a cutting tool.
Ringworld Niven  1970
Lightweight Vacuum Armor
A simplified space suit, used where conditions were similar to Earth rather than in the more rigorous conditions of space.
Hotel Cosmos Gallun  1938
Liquid Metal
Metal that can be sprayed on.
The Dual World Barnes  1938
Liquid Mirror Telescope on Mars
A large telescope using a spinning bowl of mercury as the mirror.
Old Faithful Gallun  1934
Tiny intelligent building blocks.
The Diamond Age Stephenson  1995
Little Bird
A remote-control "eye-in-the-sky" miniature drone plane (UAV).
Darwin's Children Bear  2003
Live Carpet
A carpet made of living fibers; the backing is a digestive system.
Queen of Angels Bear  1990
Live Memo
A paper memo or short letter that reads itself and can even argue with or exhort its reader.
The Simulacra Dick  1964
Live News
The modern concept of a news broadcast.
In the Year 2889 Verne  1889
Living Advertising Character
Modifying an ordinary person to create a living likeness of a company's brand symbol or character.
The Stars My Destination Bester  1956
Living Book
A small creature that is used to contain and play back information.
The World Below Wright  Collins So
Living Grass Carpet
An indoor area covered with grass, in the manner of a carpet.
Stranger in a Strange Land Heinlein  1961
Living Machines
Robots that are able to learn.
The Mentanicals Flagg  1934
Living Metal Cubes
Tiny metal cubes and pyramids that work together to create larger shapes.
The Metal Monster Merritt  1920
Living Space Ship
A space ship made of a living substance, in this case cellulose.
Proxima Centauri Leinster  1935
Lobster AI
Scan a lobster brain, get a learning machine.
Accelerando Stross  2005
Local Time Clock
A clock for use in airships that always indicates the time for the place they are flying over.
The Silent Destroyer Juve  1929
Devices that work together to form ad-hoc networks.
A Deepness in the Sky Vinge  1999
A method for a plane to know its location over the Earth.
The Iron World Kline  1937
Logical Pathogen
Malware concealed in DNA.
The Medusa Chronicles Reynolds (w/S. Baxter)  2016
Machines that let you request information, and then display it for you on a screen.
A Logic Named Joe Leinster  1946
Logics Service
A networked service that retains all of your personal information, schedules and phone messages online.
A Logic Named Joe Leinster  1946
A autonomous flying device that hovers protectively over a defined area.
The Algebraist Banks  2004
Loitering Micro-Missile
A small missile that does not need line-of-sight and can move at a slow pace until it finds its target.
Invader on My Back High  1968
Loogie Gun
A non-violent weapon that shoots a gooey mass to immobilize a person judged to have criminal or violent intent.
Snow Crash Stephenson  1992
Low-Gravity Velodrome
A bicycle track in an orbital resort.
Neuromancer Gibson  1984
Low-scale Detectors
Magnifies even the smallest sound.
Brigands of the Moon Cummings  1930
Lucid Dreamer
A machine that guarantees productive REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and therefore dreams.
Starfish Watts  1999
Lucky Dragon ATM
An automatic teller machine with attitude.
All Tomorrow's Parties Gibson  1999
A trunk made from sapient pearwood.
The Color of Magic Pratchett  1983
Luggage Robot
Perfect helper at robotic hotels.
The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge Harrison  1970
Luminescent Vial
A glass tube full of luminescent algae; used to provide some measure of light underground.
The Dragon Masters Vance  1962
Luminous Stake-Markers
Illuminated pole designating a staked claim on the surface of a planet, moon or asteroid.
The Radium World Kelly  1932
Lunar Advertisement
An 'ad' on the lunar surface that can be seen by its audience on Earth.
Watch This Space Clarke  1957
Lunar Concrete
A building material using lunar dust or similar surface material as a main ingredient.
Mona Lisa Overdrive Gibson  1988
Lunar Disneyland
A vast cavern excavated on the Moon - used for entertainment. Very large scale entertainment.
The Phantom of Kansas Varley  1976
Lunar Greenhouse Tunnel
A multipurpose conservatory on the Moon.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Heinlein  1966
Lunar Ice Mining
The practice of mining for ice on the moon.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Heinlein  1966
Lunar Mining
Very early (first?) reference to mining operations on the moon.
Brigands of the Moon Cummings  1930
Lunar Monorail
A monorail constructed above the surface of the Moon.
Earthlight Clarke  1955
Lunar Observatory
Putting an observatory on the far side of the Moon could have advantages.
We Have Fed Our Sea Anderson  1958
Lunar Tunnel (Human Pendulum)
A tunnel through the center of the moon, and the man who fell through it.
Captive of the Crater Sharp  1933
Lunar Used Spacecraft Lot
A sales lot for used spacecraft
Methuselah's Children Heinlein  1941
Lunar Web
The moon ensnared by cobwebs.
Hothouse Aldiss  1962
Lunocycle (Lunar Bicycle)
A bicycle specially adapted for lunar travel.
The Rolling Stones Heinlein  1952
A bar of solidified light.
The Black Star Passes Campbell  1930
Luxobe Crystals
They give light.
Moon Crystals Haggard  1936
Luxvid Eyes (Jensen Wide-Angle)
Artificial, unmoving implanted eyes.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Dick  1965
Lyle Drive
Propulsion system for use inside the solar system.
Stranger in a Strange Land Heinlein  1961

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