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

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Device Name Book/Story Author Date
Cattle and other creatures that create gene-designed biomachinery in their wombs.
Piecework Brin  1990
Tiny bits of fabric that were self-cleaning; gloves made of this material always stayed clean.
The Diamond Age Stephenson  1995
Face Dancer
Mimicry enhanced through genetic manipulation.
Dune Messiah Herbert  1969
Face Recognition Sunglasses
Sunglasses that connect with a remote database to perform face recognition.
The Water Knife Bacigalupi  2015
Face Seal
A dive mask for deep sea diving.
Starfish Watts  1999
The transparent front of a space suit helmet.
Skylark Three Smith  1930
Factory Crawler (or Harvester Crawler)
A mobile factory which filtered and processed the sands of Dune for the spice, mélange.
Dune Herbert  1965
Fairy Digits (Tiny Waldoes)
Waldoes used for very fine work.
Waldo Heinlein  1942
A pocket-sized counterfeit currency detector.
The Killing Machine Vance  1964
False Animal Repairman
A specialized roboticist who repaired robotic animals.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Dick  1968
Family Atomics
Noble houses had their own atomic weapons.
Dune Herbert  1965
A set of four simulacra, one adult male, one adult female and two children; the family next door.
The Simulacra Dick  1964
Fan Ray
A protective ray screen in the shape of a cone.
The Onslaught From Venus Phillips  1929
High tensile strength material; used in collapsible structures opened by "fanning" them out.
Dune Herbert  1965
A portal for traveling between distant stars; inexpensive, instantaneous travel to remote worlds.
Hyperion Simmons  1989
Farming Trantor
Taking apart a vast city, and returning to farming the land.
Second Foundation Asimov  1953
The portion of the Moon's surface that faces away from Earth.
We Have Fed Our Sea Anderson  1958
Describes something that exceeds the usual speed limit on physical objects of 186,282 miles per second in vacuum.
Islands of Space Campbell  1931
A communications technology that provides immediate communication between star systems; faster-than-light communication.
Hyperion Simmons  1989
Feeding Room
An automated child care.
Le Monde Tel Qu'il Sera (The World As It Shall Be) Souvestre  1846
Special sensors that make extremely detailed three-dimensional models.
The Houses of Iszm Vance  1954
Feelies (Feely)
Device adds the tactile element to entertainment.
Brave New World Huxley  1932
A device that reverses an infatuation for a particular woman.
The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age Lem  1965
Fencing Mirror
A dummy fighting instructor for the young Kwisatz Haderach-in-training.
Dune Herbert  1965
Fenton Silencer
A device to cancel noise over a broad area.
Tales from the White Hart Clarke  1957
A counter-surveillance tool to detect the presence of listening devices.
If This Goes On... Heinlein  1940
Combination television, news camera and surveillance device.
Riders of the Purple Wage Farmer  1967
An agricultural robot.
Who Can Replace A Man Aldiss  1963
A device that dematerializes a person and then sends forth a ray that will then rematerialize a person at the end.
Easy Money Hamilton  1938
A device that used stimulation of a large skin area to impart images to the user.
Freezone Shirley  1985
Filament Paper Book
Very small book, made for space travelers in an era when the smallest added weight was costly.
Dune Herbert  1965
Filing Crystal
Part kiosk, part storage system.
Babel-17 Delany  1966
Filling Station Moon
The idea that Man could first go to the Moon to obtain fuel or propellant.
A Daring Trip To Mars Valier  1931
A video magazine.
Sunward Flight Zagat  1943
A storage medium for information, both text and video.
Dune Herbert  1965
Filter Program
Using programs to filter Internet results; a person need see only what they want to see.
Earth Brin  1990
Filter Wheel
A device for filtering liquid or gas to obtain a pure sample of a selected molecule.
The Diamond Age Stephenson  1995
Filterable Virus
A special virus that is instantly carcinomatous.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Dick  1965
Perfect for dystopian future air pollution.
The Sheep Look Up Brunner  1972
A nose plug worn to collect moisture from exhaled air.
Dune Herbert  1965
Finely Divided Dust Propellant
Reaction mass to drive spacecraft.
Earthlight Clarke  1955
Finger Jet Bath
The ultimate in luxury tubs.
The Houses of Iszm Vance  1954
Finger Watch
A ring that contains a working timepiece and a display.
Key Decision Fyfe  1951
Fire Storm
When clouds of antimatter dust encountered ordinary matter spaceships.
Collision Orbit Williamson  1942
First Contact
The initial encounter with a non-human race.
Proxima Centauri Leinster  1935
Fixed Star Advertising
In which the positions of the fixed stars are changed to form advertising.
Pi in the Sky Brown  1945
Flame Barrier
A form of protective force field.
The Storm van Vogt  1943
Flame Disintegrator
Ravening flames from a hand-held device.
The Eternal Wanderer Schachner  Astounding
Flame Pistol
A hand-held weapon that incinerates opponents.
Invisible Ships Vincent  1931
Flame Projector
Handheld device shoots flame.
Water-Bound World Vincent  1932
Flash Crowd (Flash Mob)
What you call a group of people who suddenly appear at an interesting location.
Flash Crowd Niven  1972
Flash Suit
Special suit for practice battles.
Ender's Game Card  1985
Flashlight Laser
Small cylindrical device that generates a green beam of variable intensity and focal length; can illuminate or cut.
Ringworld Niven  1970
Flat Cat
A nearly two-dimensional furry little beast.
The Rolling Stones Heinlein  1952
Flat Photo
A two-dimensional pictorial representation of a three-dimensional real space. A picture.
Hyperion Simmons  1989
Flatscreen Movie
Like holographic or three-dimensional recordings, but showing only two dimensions.
Orbital Resources Barnes  1991
A small pill used to turn ordinary water into a flavored beverage.
Foundation and Empire Asimov  1952
Flavor-Fix Rheostat
Technology makes sure that the flavor of automatically-produced food is perfect.
The Jester Tenn  1951
Flesh Gun
A weapon that burns the skin and meat off the victim.
The Computer Connection Bester  1974
Flesh Men
Thinking beings that are not mechanical robots - human beings.
Robots of the World! Arise! Wolf  1952
Flesh Putty
A flesh replacement, good for putting in bullet holes.
Titanium Noir Harkaway  2023
Flexible Armor Suit
A pressure suit that, while flexible, becomes rigid like armor upon impact.
Neutron Star Niven  1966
Flexible Car Map
A nonrigid map that extrudes from the dashboard of a car when needed.
Heavy Weather Sterling  1994
Flexible Frank
An all-purpose household robot.
The Door Into Summer Heinlein  1956
Flexible Metal Arms (Tentacles)
An interesting description of how mechanical tentacles might function.
The Metal Giants Hamilton  1926
Flexible Sprung Boots
Boots designed to be flexible when walking, but upon a hard step, will have a spring characteristic.
Inherit the Stars Hogan  1977
Flexible Stem
A long flexible tube that can expand and contract its length quickly.
The Killing Machine Vance  1964
Flexible Wall Sheet Display
A large clear sheet that displays information.
The Mechanical Monarch Tubb  1958
A work system that actually tells you when you've put in your time.
Master of Space and Time Rucker  1984
Special wheels designed for getting around on the Moon.
2001: A Space Odyssey Clarke  1968
Flexy (or Flexies)
A flexible, quasi-living computer.
Pushing Ice Reynolds  2005
Flicker Drive
A space ship drive that allows instantaneous travel across the galaxy.
Fremder Hoban  1996
A covering that allowed robots to absorb incident light or emit light, as needed.
Wetware Rucker  1988
Flight Stick
A personal flying vehicle, stripped down to the basics.
The Flight of the Horse Niven  1969
Flip to Brake
Maneuver to put the tail end (with rocket output) in the forward direction of travel to use for lowering velocity.
Murder on the Asteroid Binder  1933
A small craft used for short-range journeys.
Vortex Blaster Smith  1941
A one-man cargo space craft.
A Spaceship Named McGuire Garrett  1961
A device that allows the user to literally float in the air
Armageddon: 2419 A.D. Nowlan  1928
Floater (Vehicle)
A conveyance distinguished primarily by antigravity power.
The Machine Campbell  1935
Living entity genetically designed for use as a houseboat.
Whipping Star Herbert  1969
Floating Booths
Comfortable bar booths that float around and come together for conversation.
Handicap Niven  1967
Floating Building
An apartment building that floats a few feet off the ground.
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said Dick  1974
Floating Castle
A vast building floating freely above the land surface of Ringworld.
Ringworld Niven  1970
Floating Island
Large artificial islands floating on Earth's seas.
Saturn's Race Niven (w/S. Barnes)  2000
Floating Lunar Dust
Electrostatically charged particles that float above the surface of the Moon.
Dust Rag Clement  1956
Floating Robot
A robot that floats in mid-air.
The Floating Robot O'Brien  1941
Floating Spherical Pool
Control of gravity permits mid-air pools of water.
One Against The Legion Williamson  1939
Floating Villa
An artificial island several acres in extent.
Doom Over Venus Hamilton  1940
Fluid Metal Letters
A smooth metal display able to display words.
Vulcan's Hammer Dick  1960
Fluor Strips
Lighting long narrow devices.
Sacred Martian Pig (Idris' Pig) St. Clair  1949
Combination flying motorcycle, kitchen and autodoc.
Ringworld Niven  1970
Flying Car
Flying police car has VTOL.
Blade Runner Scott  1982
Flying Crowbars
Kinetic energy weapons deployed from space.
Footfall Niven (w/J. Pournelle)  1985
Flying Eye
A remote-controlled device for surveillance overflight.
The Repairman Harrison  1959
Flying Harness
Device allows free movement in the air.
Skylark of Space Smith  1928
Flying Platform
Simple black squares that fly and hover.
Locked Worlds Hamilton  1929
Flying Robot Drone Probe
A remote-controlled flying drone used for remote investigation and surveillance.
The Man in the Maze Silverberg  1969
Flying Saucer
Spacecraft flown by the androgynes of Titan - under control of the Puppetmasters.
The Puppet Masters Heinlein  1951
Flying Wing
A V-shaped plane capable of flight to the edge of the atmosphere.
Triplanetary Smith  1934
Flywheel Cycle
A motorcycle powered by a flywheel.
The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge Harrison  1970
Flywheel Launcher
Gigantic flywheels that build up enough power to launch a spacecraft - hurl it into the heavens!
The Brick Moon Hale  1869
Foam Station Sprayer
A device that stills the stormy Great Red Spot on Jupiter.
Red Storm on Jupiter Long, Jr.  1936
Psychoactive microbe improves the attention-focusing ability of those infected.
A Deepness in the Sky Vinge  1999
Fold Box
A chest that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
Glory Road Heinlein  1963
Folding Computer Terminal
A foldable pocket computer.
The Merchants of Souls Barnes  2002
Folding Terminal
A computer that unfolds itself for use.
The Mountain in the Sea Naylor  2022
A strange two 'wheeled' animal.
First Lensman Smith  1950
Food Brick
Appropriate manufactured food for any species.
Ringworld Niven  1970
Food Factory
Mechanized production of food by entirely artificial means.
Exiles of the Moon Schachner (w. AL Zagat)  1931
Food Pellets
Sustenance in a concentrated form.
The Republic of the Future Dodd  1887
Food Pills
A substitute for ordinary nutrition.
A Strange Trip Hopkins  1885
Food Preparation Machine
An automated device for the production of complete meals.
Unto Us A Child Is Born Keller  1933
Food Tablet
All of your nutrients in one easy-to-swallow form factor.
John Jones's Dollar Keeler  1915
Foot Loops
Hold yourself down in zero gravity situations with this low-tech device.
The Power Planet Leinster  1931
Force Pencil
Device straps to forearm, projects a force beam.
Gather, Darkness! Leiber  1943
Forced Scholars
Hothouse intellectuals.
Le Monde Tel Qu'il Sera (The World As It Shall Be) Souvestre  1846
A barrier to objects, created by projected forces.
Islands of Space Campbell  1931
Force-Field Penknife
A pocket-sized knife, the blade of which is a force-field.
Foundation Asimov  1951
A large, hand-held spear of force.
Buck Rogers, 2430 AD Nowlan (w/D. Calkins)  1929
A variation on the force shield idea.
The Dweller in Outer Darkness Long, Jr.  1939
Electrical stimulation of the pleasure centers of the brain.
Riders of the Purple Wage Farmer  1967
Forward Warehousing
Using the trunks of cars as little warehouses.
Stealing Worlds Schroeder  2019
Fossil Shell Coin
The use of rare natural shells of an extinct species, for money.
The Coming Race Bulwer-Lytton  1871
Fottengill Process
An early mention of the idea that energy can be derived from random noise.
Gypped Biggle, Jr.  1956
Fractal Knife
The blade uses a fractal geometry to increase its cutting surface.
Virtual Light Gibson  1993
Free Fall
Phrase describing how bodies move in orbit.
Islands of Space Campbell  1931
Free Play (The Mind Game)
A computer simulation that presents an enjoyable game for young people that is also used for psychological evaluation.
Ender's Game Card  1985
Free Return Trajectory
The idea that it would be possible for a projectile to go around the Moon and then return to Earth.
From the Earth to the Moon Verne  1867
Free Robot
A robot without a master.
Robot Unwanted Keyes  1952
Free Telephone Call
All telephone calls are free - in exchange for short commercials.
The Subliminal Man Ballard  1963
Freedom ID
A chip inserted into the hand for identification (and surveillance) purposes.
Spark Twelve Hawks  2014
Freedom Machine
A birth control device developed using nanotechnology.
The Diamond Age Stephenson  1995
Free-fall Couch
Furniture that achieves the comfort of free-fall, the weightless condition normally achieved only in space.
Hyperion Simmons  1989
Freeside Orbital Resort
A resort that orbits the Earth.
Neuromancer Gibson  1984
A chamber for long term sleep between the stars.
Think Blue, Count Two Smith  1962
A vast floating island in international waters.
Freezone Shirley  1985
Short for "refreshing chamber,", it is the future of personal hygiene technology.
Methuselah's Children Heinlein  1941
Frictionless Cups
Cups with a special surface to which liquid does not adhere.
Protector Niven  1973
Frictionless Toilet
A toilet bowl that does not require water, because its surface is frictionless.
The Mote in God's Eye Niven (w/J. Pournelle)  1974
Fruit-Picking Machine
An humanoid machine for automatic fruit picking.
The Hidden Colony von Hanstein  1935
Abbreviation for "faster than light".
The Enchanted Forest Leiber  1950
Fuel Tree
Plants raised as fuel.
Anathem Stephenson  2008
An 'autopropulsive projectile'.
Facing The Flag Verne  1896
A material the color of which is blacker than black.
The Shadow of the Torturer Wolfe  1980
Full-Motion Building Advertising Facade
An advertising display that covers an entire skyscraper; it provides full-motion video to onlookers.
Blade Runner Scott  1982
Full-Shift Set Variable
Infinite possibilities built into a game machine.
Return Match Dick  1967
Fusion Power
Creating energy from nuclear fusion reactions.
The Judas Valley Vance  1956
Fusion Sunlight Tube
Central light source for a spun cylinder space station.
At the Bottom of a Hole Niven  1966
An alien assigned to become an expert in just one person.
The Mote in God's Eye Niven (w/J. Pournelle)  1974

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Science Fiction
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