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 writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can't talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful."
- Philip K. Dick

Message Tree  
  A tree growing out of a huge cliff of crystal provides communication for a world.  

The message tree is a remarkable and creative idea, particularly in the context of the novel. The planet Lithia has virtually no naturally occurring metals on the surface and electrical power is extremely difficult to generate; how can you recreate electronic communications equipment? The answer lies in the piezoelectric effect.

If the night were to turn out to be especially windy, there would doubtless be many voices coming and going to the Message Tree. It loomed ahead of him now, a Sequoialike giant...

As the winds came and went... the tree nodded and swayed. With every movement, the tree's root system ... tugged and distorted the buried crystalline cliff upon which the city had been founded. At every such pressure, the buried cliff responded with a vast heart-pulse of radio waves - a pulse detectable not only all over Lithia, but far out into space as well.

From A Case of Conscience, by James Blish.
Published by Del Rey in 1958
Additional resources -

This sort of message device also lent itself well to the story; the world of Lithia was one in which the biosphere was seen as important by the indigenous sapient life.

The piezoelectric effect was discovered by one of more of the Curies around 1880; it is the voltage produced between surfaces of a solid nonconducting substance (dielectric) when mechanical stress is applied.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Case of Conscience
  More Ideas and Technology by James Blish
  Tech news articles related to A Case of Conscience
  Tech news articles related to works by James Blish

Message Tree-related news articles:
  - Tweeting Tree Like Blish's Message Tree

Articles related to Communication
Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
SmileCloud Bubloons Are Custom Clouds
Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
Biggest HiSeas 'Mars Mission' Problem? No Internet

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.