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"Science fiction is what scientists would do if they could - if they had enough grant money, enough time, and enough brains to do the wonderful things they would like to do."
- Greg Bear

Toll Door  
  An apartment door that operates on a cash-only basis.  

This idea flows throughout the novel; particular items require an immediate, cash payment.

Joe Chip is sitting in his apartment; he walks to his front door to open it.

The door refused to open. It said, "Five cents, please."

He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. "I'll pay you tomorrow," he told the door. Again it remained locked tight. "What I pay you," he informed it, "is in the nature of a gratuity; I don't have to pay you."

"I think otherwise," the door said. "Look in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt."

...he found the contract. Sure enough; payment to his door for opening and shutting constituted a mandatory fee. Not a tip.

"You discover I'm right," the door said. It sounded smug.

From Ubik, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Doubleday in 1969
Additional resources -

In the past, I've seen bathroom stall doors that only opened for a fee; often when you pull to the curb with your car, you walk over to a device that accepts coins.

Here's another quote:

"Five cents, please," his front door said when he tried to open it. One thing, anyhow, hadn't changed. The toll door had an innate stubbornness to it; probably it would hold out after everything else.

Compare this device with the cheerfully serviceful self-satisfied door from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ubik
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Ubik
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Toll Door-related news articles:
  - PoBot Has Your Back - For 25 Cents
  - Mobile Devices At Core Of Future Appliances

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