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

"[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

Emotional Register (ER)  
  A small disk worn in the forehead that discloses the emotional state of the wearer.  

James Solent is one of the first on his block to receive a new device that will return a proper reserve to the British public.

For London it was one of those hot July evenings in which the human mind is engulfed in a preoccupation with the moist palm, the damp brow, the armpit.
Sweating continently, James Solent emerged into the motionless heat of Charlton Square. With a folded newspaper raised to his forehead in an odd defensive gesture, he came down the steps of the grey trailer onto the grass and paused. The door of Number 17 where he lived, beckoned him; but competing with the wish to go and hide himself was a desire to overhear what the three men were saying.
"Such a gross imposition could only be swung onto a politically indifferent electorate," one said.
The second, lacking words to express what he though of this sentiment, guffawed immoderately.
"Rubbish!" the third exclaimed. "You heard what the Minister of Health said the other day: this is just what’s needed to give Britain back her old sense of direction."
It was the turn of the first man to burst into mocking laughter. Seeing Jimmy standing nearby, they turned to stare curiously at his forehead.
"What’s it feel like, mate?" one of them called.
"You really don’t feel a thing," Jimmy said, and hastened across the square with his newspaper still half-heartedly raised.
He let himself into Number 17. From the hall he could hear Mrs Pidney, the landlady, drowsily humming like a drowned top in the kitchen. The rest was silence. Reassured, Jimmy discarded his paper, revealing the disc on his forehead, and went up to the flat he shared with his brother. Fortunately Aubrey Solent was out, working late at the BIL; that undoubtedly saved Jimmy an awkward scene. Aubrey had grown uncommonly touchy of recent weeks.
The flat contained the usual facilities, a kitchen, a living room (with dinerette), Aubrey’s large bedroom and Jimmy’s smaller bedroom. Everything was so tidy that the one glossy-jacketed LP lying in the middle of the carpet looked to be posing. Skirting it, Jimmy hurried into his room and closed the door.
Just for a moment he played a tune on the panelling with his fingertips. Then he crossed to the looking glass and surveyed himself. The suit Harrods had made him before he began his new job in January was daily growing to look better on him, more like him; for the rest he was twenty-five, his brown hair not objectionably curly, his face round but no ugly, his chin neither aggressive nor recessive.
All, in fact, he told himself, sighing, alarmingly ordinary. "Oh ye of the average everything," he addressed himself, improvising, as he frequently did, a rhymed oration, "Oh, ye of the average height, overtaken by taller folk, undertaken by smaller folk… an average fate one might certainly call a joke."
One feature only was definitely not, as yet all events, ordinary: the shining circle. Three and a half centimetres in diameter, permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead. Made of a metal resembling stainless steel, its surface was slightly convex, so that it gave a vague and distorted image of the world before it.
From The Primal Urge, by Brian Aldiss.
Published by Ballantine in 1961
Additional resources -

Compare to the palm flower from Nourse and Johnson's 1967 novel Logan's Run.

Thanks to icecycle for pointing this one out.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Primal Urge
  More Ideas and Technology by Brian Aldiss
  Tech news articles related to The Primal Urge
  Tech news articles related to works by Brian Aldiss

Emotional Register (ER)-related news articles:
  - Google's Skin Tattoo Lie Detector

Articles related to Surveillance
Cities Detect Gunfire Acoustics With ShotSpotter
PredPol Predicting Crime As It Happens
CUPID Intercept Drone Like Niven's Copseye
Is Privacy Too Expensive?

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

NASA's Highway In The Sky For Drones
Traffic is everywhere.

Palcohol Powdered Alcohol - Try Or Ban?
'I had a small can of powdered alcohol disguised as tooth powder...'

pd.id Personal Drink ID Device Like Dune 'Poison Snooper'
'The jeweled hands clutching drinks (and the unobtrusive inspections with tiny remote-cast snoopers)...'

Monsieur Bartending Robot
'He poured the liquids into his maw...'

Cities Detect Gunfire Acoustics With ShotSpotter
'Sound trackers on the roof...'

Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'

Pengheng Space Capsule Hotel Staffed Entirely By Robots
'A planet-wide chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'

EXACTO Smart Bullet From DARPA
Nicely visualized in what 1984 movie?

Neural Implant To Treat Memory Loss
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

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.