Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By

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

"I kind of take it for granted that our great-grandchildren will regard us as a sort of precursor species. That they won't think of us as human and if we could see them, we probably wouldn't think of them as human either."
- William Gibson

  A device used to see into specific internals of time.  

As far as I know, this is the first instance of this sfnal usage of this term.

I shouldn’t have told the police about my chronoscope. But I put the apparatus in, and I think I got it in right, and John, it makes the near-future images better, but what do you think — it cuts out some of the long-range tracks. It won’t show them all now.’

(The Chronoscope from 'Elimination' by Don Stuart)

His voice seemed quite annoyed, and rather petulant, I thought.

‘It won't?’ I said, quite softly, I think. ‘Let me see.’

‘No. It Won’t show them right. There are five. I saw ’em myself. But this thing won’t work right. It cuts out four of them, and only shows one little short one.

Technovelgy from Elimination, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1936
Additional resources -

Jack Williamson also used this word in his 1938 story Legion of Time:

The hoarse whisper paused, and old Wil McLan limped to the side of the dome. His scarred, trembling hands lifted a black velvet cover from a rectangular block of some clear crystal mounted on the top of a metal cabinet.

“Here is the chronoscope,” he said.

“The latest development of the instrument. Scansion depends upon a special curved field, through which a sub-etheric radiation is bent into the time-axis, projected forward, and reflected from electronic fields back to the instrument. A stereoscopic image is obtained within the crystal screen, through selective fluorescence to the beat frequencies of the interfering carrier waves projected at right angles from below. But I’ll show you Gyronchi.”

(Chronoscope from 'Legion of Time' by Jack Williamson)

THE OLD MAN snapped a switch, manipulated dials at the end of the crystal block. It lit with a cloudy green. The green cleared, and a low cry escaped Lanning’s lips.

For, microscopically clear within the crystal, he saw a miniature world. A broad, silver river cut a fertile green plain dotted with villages. Beyond the river rose two hills.

One was crowned with a tremendous castellated citadel. Its frowning walls and mighty towers were gleaming red metal. Above them flowed banners of yellow and crimson and black. A massive gate opened in the foot of the hill, as he watched, and an armored troop poured out.

“Watch the marchers,’’ rasped McLan.

As it turns out, the word "chronoscope" was in use already to describe a machine with a remarkably accurate measure of time increments. For a science fiction example, in The Man in the Room, by Edwin Balmer and William B. MacHarg, published in Amazing Stories in 1927:

Trant came early to set up the chronoscope in the spare bedroom next to Margaret Lawrie’s on the second floor of the deceased treasurer’s house.

('The Man in the Room' by Balmer and MacHarg)

The instrument somewhat resembled a bras.s dumb-bell very delicately poised upon an axle so that the lower part, which was heavier, could swing slowly back and forth like a pendulum. A light, sharp pointer paralleled this pendulum. The weight, when started, swung to and fro in the arc of a circle; the pointer swung beside it. But the pointer, after starting to swing, could be instantaneously stopped by an electro-magnet. This magnet was connected with a battery and wires led from it to the two instruments used in the test. The first pair of wires connected with two bits of steel which Trant, in conducting the test, would hold between his lips. The least motion of his lips to enunciate a word would break the electric circuit and start swinging the pendulum and the pointer beside it. The second pair of wires led to a sort of telephone receiver. When Margaret would reply into this, it would close the circuit and instantaneously the electro-magnet would clamp and hold the pointei’. A scale along which the pointer travels would give, down to thousandths of a second, the time between the speaking of the suggesting word and the first associated word reply.

Compare to the time machine from The Time Machine (1895) by HG Wells, the Dutch clock from The Clock That Went Backward (1881) by Edward Page Mitchell, the Anachronopete from El Anachronopete (1887) by Enrique Gaspar, precogs from The Minority Report (1956) by Philip K. Dick and the time-telespectroscope from The Exile of Time (1931) by Ray Cummings.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Elimination
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
  Tech news articles related to Elimination
  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

Chronoscope-related news articles:
  - Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time

Articles related to Engineering
The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'Whisper Mode' ala Blue Thunder Researched At Bristol
Moonwalkers AI-Controlled Electric Shoes
Electric Catamaran 'Explorer Eco 40m' Has 'Solar Skin'

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 Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.





Science Fiction Timeline
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.