"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester
||Automatic Hotel (Hotel Hendrix)
||A fully automated hotel; complete services provided from check-in to check-out.
Takeshi Kovacs selects a low cost hotel. The Hendrix.
|The lobby was deserted, but there was a faint glow coming from a counter on the far wall. I picked my way toward it, past low armchairs and shin-hungry metal-edged tables, and found a recessed monitor screen swarming with the random snow of disconnection. In one corner, a command pulsed on and off in English, Spanish and kanji characters.
I looked around and back at the screen. No one. I cleared my throat.
The characters blurred and shifted. SELECT LANGUAGE.
"I'm looking for a room," I tried, in Japanese out of pure curiosity.
The screen jumped into life so damatically that I took a step backwards. From whirling, multicolored fragments it rapidly assembled a tanned Asian face above a dark collar and tie. The face smiled and changed into a Caucasian female, aged fractionally, and I was facing a blonde thirty-year-old woman in a sober business suit. Having generated my interpersonal ideal, the hotel also decided that I couldn't speak Japanese after all.
"Good day, sir. Welcome to the Hotel Hendrix, establishhed 2087 and still here today. How may we serve you... We have a number of rooms, all fully cabled to the city's information and entertainment stack. Please indicate your preference for floor and size."
"I'd like a tower room, west facing. The biggest you've got."
The face recoiled into a corner inset, and a three-dimensional skeleton of the hotel's room structure etched itself into place. A selector pulsed efficiently through the rooms and stopped in one corner, then blew up and rotated the room in question...
"A deposit is required," the hotel said diffidently. "For stays of more than fourteen days the suum of six hundred dollars U.N. should be deposited now..."
|From Altered Carbon,
by Richard Morgan.
Published by Del Rey in 2003
Additional resources -
Later in the story, Kovacs returns to the Hotel Hendrix and it reveals another cool feature:
The upper levels of the Hendrix were in darkness relieved only by the occasional glow of dying illuminum tiles, but the hotel obligingly lit my way with neoon tubes that flickered on in my path and died out again behind me. It was a weird effect, making me feel as if I was carrying a candle or torch.
"You have a visitor," the hotel said chattily...
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