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"IMHO, having students do computer games projects is absolutely the best possible way to teach programming, graphics, software engineering, object oriented programming, etc."
- Rudy Rucker

Farcaster  
  A portal for traveling between distant stars; inexpensive, instantaneous travel to remote worlds.  

One of the common literary devices used to fix the problem of having your characters visit another star system; the problem being that if your characters travel in ordinary space, they will probably be dead by the time they get there.

Simmons does much more with these devices in his story; I don't want to spoil the story by revealing the details. He details very carefully how the use of this device often ruins the very thing people use farcasters to come and see; technology as simple as the interstate highway has brought our national parks to the point of closing to visitors.

News traveled almost instantaneously through the megadatasphere of a hundred and sixty Web worlds. To scratch the curiosity itch one had only to pass a universal card across a terminex diskey and step through a farcaster.
Technovelgy from Hyperion, by Dan Simmons.
Published by Doubleday in 1989
Additional resources -

The farcaster technology was also developed by The Core, a group of disaffected artificial intelligences that effectively seceded from human space.

Compare to the gate from The Gate to Xoran (1931) by Hal K. Wells, the Invasion Gate for Aliens from Monsters of Mars (1931) by Edmond Hamilton, the gateway from Wanderer of Infinity (1933) by Harl Vincent, the Jiffy-Scuttler from Prominent Author (1954) by Philip K. Dick and the Ramsbotham Gate from Tunnel in the Sky (1955) by Robert Heinlein.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Hyperion
  More Ideas and Technology by Dan Simmons
  Tech news articles related to Hyperion
  Tech news articles related to works by Dan Simmons

Farcaster-related news articles:
  - EyeBall: Omni-Directional Smart Eye Sensor Update

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