Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

" fifty years, do you believe that people will be recognizably human?"
- Greg Bear

Biltong Life Form  
  Remarkable organic manufacturing aliens, probably indigenous to the Centaurus system.  

From cars to radios to fine glassware, the Biltong life forms could create beautiful, working copies. The survivors of war relied on the Biltong life forms to make copies - "prints" - of necessary objects.

As fast as the prints wore out, they were replaced by the Pittsburgh Biltong. New prints were made from the original objects preserved from the War.

But there was a problem.

The Biltong was dying. Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park, a lump of ancient yellow protoplasm, thick, gummy, opaque. Its pseudopodia were dried up, shriveled to blackened snakes that lay inert on the brown grass. The center of mass looked oddly sunken. The Biltong was gradually settling as the moisture was burned from its veins by the weak overhead sun...

The Biltong's central lump undulated faintly. Sickly, restless heavings were noticeable as it struggled to hold onto its dwindling life...

On the concrete platform, in front of the dying Biltong, lay a heap of originals to be duplicated. Beside them, a few prints had been commenced, unformed balls of black ash mixed with the moisture of the Biltong's body, the juice from which it laboriously constructed its prints.

From Pay for the Printer, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Satellite Science Fiction in 1956
Additional resources -

Objects that were poorly copied, or copied from copies, ended up being useless.

The works of the tiny Swiss watch were a fused, unformed mass of shiny steel. No separate wheels or jewels or springs, just a glitter of pudding...

Charlotte took the puddinged watch back and restored it to her sweater pocket.

Compare also to the method used in the cosmic express from the 1930 story of that name by Jack Williamson and to Deposition (3D Printing) from Assassin (1978) by James P. Hogan.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Pay for the Printer
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Pay for the Printer
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Biltong Life Form-related news articles:
  - 3D Printer Used To Make Transplant Jawbone
  - Hexapod Robot CNC Router
  - 3D Printing In Ceramics - The Vitraglyphic Process
  - 3D Printing: The End Of Global Supply Chains?
  - 3D Printing Is Here - Pay For The Printer!
  - 3D Printing An Entire Car
  - Strati 3D Printed Car
  - Oak Ridge To Pay For The (Giant, Superfast 3D) Printer
  - MultiFab 10-Material 3D Printer
  - LM3D Swim First 3D-Printed Production Car
  - Pay For The 3D Printer - NexD1 Kickstarter
  - Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer

Articles related to Manufacturing
A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
Self-Assembling Bacteria Build A Pressure Sensor
Artificial Spider Silk

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.





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

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

TMS Decreases Belief In God, Increases Belief In Immigrants
'... setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all.'

Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
'Slowly the [robot] horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

Soft Robotics - Now With 3D Printed Sensors!
'A series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce the amount of pressure necessary to snap a bone...'

AI Tool Lynx Insight And The Cybernetic Newsroom
'The structure,... was once a great homeostatic newspaper, the New York Times. It printed itself directly below us...'

Espresso Telescope Searches For Exoplanets
'These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected.'

Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme.

Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.'

Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...'

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.