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

"The trouble with too much genre SF is that it's so obviously the product of the conscious mind."
- William Gibson

Creditor Jet-Balloon  
  A small, hovering device that hounds debtors.  

Note that in the following quote the word "tropic" is pronounced with a long "o" and derives from the Greek root word tropos for "turns".

A creditor balloon.

"Oh, there you are!" the balloon piped at the amorphous mass of living tissue confronting Rachmael; it descended, tropic to the eye-eating creature. Obviously, it had located its target.

"Ugh," the eye-eater mumbled in disgust; with its pseudopodia it batted irritably at the invader.

"You must keep your credit standing up and in good repute!" the balloon squealed as it bobbed and descended...

"As a matter of fact..." it drifted very slowly toward Rachmael. "I think I personally hounded you not too long ago, sir. You are -" It considered as, within, electronic circuits linked to its agency's central computer banks. "ben Applebaum!" it shrilled in triumph. "Zounds! I've caught two deadbeats AT THE SAME TIME!"

From Lies, Inc., by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Fantastic in 1964
Additional resources -

Earlier in the novel, Rachmael ben Applebaum is described as "A man pursued by those monster creditor balloons that bellow all your personal defects and secrets."

Over Rachmael ben Applebaum's head floated a creditor jet-balloon, and from within its articulation-circuit a flat but handsome, masculine-artificial, however-voice boomed, magnified so that not only Rachmael but everyone else crowding the ped-runnels heard it. The amplification was designed this way; you were singled out and simultaneously exposed; public ridicule, the jeers of the always-present crowds, was brought into play as a force working at you . . . and, Rachmael reflected, for the creditor, free.
"Mr. Applebaum!" The hearty, rich but machine-sponsored voice echoed, rolled and boomed, and a thousand human heads rotated in expectation, glanced up with amused interest, saw the creditor jet-balloon and spied also its target: Rachmael ben Applebaum trying to get from the parking lot where he had left his flapple and into the offices of Lies Incorporated, a distance of only two thousand yards-but enough to make him visible so as to become the creditor balloon's target.
"Okay," Rachmael grated, and strode on, not breaking gait; he made for the fluoron-illuminated entrance of the private police agency and did not look up; he pretended-as if this were possible-to ignore a sight which, in the last three years, he had learned to know fully.
"Mr. Applebaum," the balloon boomed. "As of this Wednesday, November 8, 2014, you owe, as inheritor of your late father's assets and debts, the sum of four million poscreds to Trails of Hoffman Limited, a major backer in your late father's-"
"Okay!" Rachmael said violently, halting, peering up in futile anguish . . . the desire to puncture, deflate and bring down the balloon was overwhelming-yet what could he do? By UN ordinance, a creditor could hire such harassment; this was legal.
And the grinning crowd knew it. Saw in this for them a brief but amusing ent-show: entertainment. However, he did not blame them; it was not their fault because they had over the years been trained this way. All the info and edu media, controlled by the "disinterested" UN public affairs bureaus, had tinkered with this facet of modern man's complex character: his ability to enjoy the suffering of someone else whom he did not even know.
"I cannot," Rachmael said, "pay. And you know it." Above, the jet-balloon heard; it had exceeding marvelous aud receptors. But it did not believe him or care if what he said was true; its job was to hound him, not to seek the truth. Standing on the runnel as it automatically carried him along, Rachmael said, as reasonably as possible, "At present I have no funds, because continuously up to now, one by one, I've paid off as many of Applebaum Enterprise's creditors as I can."
Tauntingly, the mechanical voice from above boomed, "At three sigs on the poscred. Some settling of accounts." Rachmael said, "Give me time."

Dick was fascinated by the idea of robotic devices that somehow were able to home in on human beings; see this description of the homotropic news vending machine from his 1963 novel The Game Players of Titan.

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

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

Articles related to Media
'Facetime Facelift' Beautifies Video Chats
Meeting Wendy Of Wendy's
Narrative Science And Phil Dick's Homeostatic Newspaper
BookTrack Adds Sound To Books

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

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

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.