The Houses of Iszm by Jack Vance:
Science Fiction Inventions, Technology and Ideas

Splendid novel by Vance is both a mystery story and an introduction to an unforgettable world. Iszm, a planet in the Xi Aurigae system, offers amazing houses that consist of living trees with attached pods for living space. The Iszic guard constantly against the possibility that an offworlder would steal a female plant - one that could provide millions of tree-seeds, breaking their monopoly. Very accessible example of Jack Vance, one of sf's great stylists, in perfect form. Select an invention:

Boat-Tree
A tree, the pods of which can be grown as boats.

Cephaloscope
A device used to detect lying.

Feeler-Planes - sensors for 3D models
Special sensors that make extremely detailed three-dimensional models.

Finger Jet Bath
The ultimate in luxury tubs.

House Trees - ultimate tree houses
Living trees grown as houses; large hollow pods serve as living spaces.

One-Man Car
A small transport vehicle.

One-Way Passage
A different way to assure permanent egress.

Pod-Chair
A living chair, grown by the Iszc to perform its function.

Polarized Window
Rather than curtains, use the window to control the light.

Public Vehicle Tube
Underground transportation tubes.

Radiant - just like RFID
A chip that is injected into the shoulder, providing positioning and information about the subject.

Radiant Shield
A device that would effectively prevent an implanted radiant from being detected or read.

Sentry Trees
A set of trees that will allow only those with the safe signal to pass.

Shatter-Gun
A hand-held device that literally scrambles the brains of the victim.

Thought Pattern Divination
Attempting to construct the thoughts of a person by imitating their actions.

Tri-Type Record - 3D reduced to two
A printed card that stores information about a person, including a perfect three-dimensional representation.

 

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