Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"One could imagine a very ascetic sort of life ... where the body is ignored. This is something I've played with in my books, where people hate to be reminded sometimes that they have bodies, they find it very slow and tedious."
- William Gibson

Self-Satisfied Door  
  A door that is much more satisfied with its functionality than it has any right to be.  

This kind of device is classic Adams; why restrict the characters to the people or sentient beings? You can instill personality in any device, if you really want to.

“Listen,” said Ford, who was still engrossed in the sales brochure, “they make a big thing of the ship's cybernetics. A new generation of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation robots and computers, with the new GPP feature.”

“GPP feature?” said Arthur. “What's that?”

“Oh, it says Genuine People Personalities.”

“Oh,” said Arthur, “sounds ghastly.”

A voice behind them said, “It is.” The voice was low and hopeless and accompanied by a slight clanking sound. They span round and saw an abject steel man standing hunched in the doorway.

“What?” they said.

“Ghastly,” continued Marvin, “it all is. Absolutely ghastly. Just don't even talk about it. Look at this door,” he said, stepping through it. The irony circuits cut into his voice modulator as he mimicked the style of the sales brochure. “All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done.”

As the door closed behind them it became apparent that it did indeed have a satisfied sigh-like quality to it. “Hummmmmmmyummmmmmm ah!” it said.

From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.
Published by Harmony Books in 1979
Additional resources -

The door's "straight man," so to speak, is a very doleful robot, one which was built before emotional balance in robots was really perfected. In the above quotation, the robot Marvin is reading with an overload of irony.

The idea of the door with a personality is none the worse for having been used before; see the robot door from Philip K. Dick's 1953 story Colony, the Mark IV door keeping robot from A. Bertram Chandler's 1959 story Colony and the toll door from Philip K. Dick's excellent 1969 story Ubik. The earliest reference is probably the phonographic lock from A Journey to the Year 2025, by Clement Fezandie, published in 1921.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  More Ideas and Technology by Douglas Adams
  Tech news articles related to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  Tech news articles related to works by Douglas Adams

Self-Satisfied Door-related news articles:
  - Robotic Singing Benches And Bins With Adam's GPP

Articles related to Lifestyle
Skin Chair For That 'Sitting On A Fat Guy' Feeling
Thync Mood-Changing Wearable Device
Automated Treadmill Adjusts To Your Pace
XPrize's Diamandis Implants RFID Tag In Hand

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Snap Specs - Snapchat Spectacles - Are Video Glasses
'The old woman laid her wire-knitting aside and fixed them with the bug-eyed, opaque gape...'

Reading A Scroll Burned To Charcoal
'The scope was adjusted to generate... an image of the lower section of the book.'

Robot Arrested In Moscow
They should have thrown a net over him.

Oh Great, Fence-Climbing Robots
How long till they add the acid-tipped stingers?

Software Agents Fight Unseen On The Web
'...Worms and counter-worms loose on the data-net.'

Sandisk 1 Terabyte SD Memory Card Surfaces
'They should be Welton Fine-Grains, or they would be too bulky to ship...'

Carbyne, The Ultimate Form Of Carbon
'A continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal...'

Bradbury's Method Used In Search For Bombing Suspect
'He imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into yards, into alleys...'

New Laser Space Debris Clearing More Subtle Than Clarke's
Rather than nudge them up, nudge them down.

Robots Learn To Swarm Safely
'They were bronzy gleams of smooth motion...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.