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

"To get anywhere, or even live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer."
- Robert Heinlein

Organlegging  
  Technology needed to deal in illicitly obtained body parts.  

As far as I know, Niven was the first writer to really work with a topic that is just starting to become a problem, thanks to drugs that make transplantation viable.

What happens when the need for "spare parts" exceeds the supply - the organs that are produced by chance events, like car crashes? You could start with the criminals, like an organlegger who had stolen another person's life to make his body into spare parts. First, you cool the body to the point where preservation of delicate body structures is possible -

The doctor was a line of machines with a conveyor belt running through them. When the organlegger's body temperature reached a certain point, the belt started.

The first machine made a series of incisions in his chest. Skillfully and mechanically, the doctor performed a cardiectomy.

The organlegger was officially dead.

His heart went into storage immediately. His skin followed, most of it in one piece, all of it still living. The doctor took him apart with exquisite care, like disassembling a flexible, fragile, tremendously complex jigsaw puzzle. The brain was flashburned and the ashes saved for urn burial; but all the rest of the body, in slabs and small blobs and parchment-thin layers and lengths of tubing, went into storage in the hospital's organ banks. Any one of these units could be packed in a travel case at a moment's notice and flown to anywhere in the world in not much more than an hour. If the odds broke right, if the right people came down with the right diseases at the right time, the organlegger might save more lives than he had taken.

Which was the whole point.

From The Jigsaw Man, by Larry Niven.
Published by Not Available in 1967
Additional resources -

The term is a corruption of the word "bootlegger." This story is in several collections of Niven's works - highly recommended.

In Anne McCaffrey's 1990 novel Pegasus in Flight, street children are stockpiled for later use as organ donors:

Until we have the right to use infertility drigs in subsistence-level food, there'll be unreported births... And the ones with the right blood factors and healthy organs will be stashed away by the very rich for transplants as needed.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 3 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Jigsaw Man
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to The Jigsaw Man
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Organlegging-related news articles:
  - Real Organleggers: Human Organ Trafficking
  - RFID Tags Proposed To Halt Blackmarket Cadaver Trade
  - Donation After Cardiac Death (Wait, I needed that!)
  - 10K Illegal Kidneys Transplanted Every Year
  - Child Trafficked To Britain By Organleggers

Articles related to Biology
'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
Sea Slug Feeds On Sunlight With Genes From Its Food
Forget Longevity, How About Super-Intelligence?
The Bioengineered Uterus

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

Electronic Tongue Knows Beer Better Than You
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle.'

NASA's Robotic Mining Competition
''Dave,'[Powell] said. 'You're a stable, rock-bottom mining robot...'

Should Humanity Switch To Robotic Pets?
'What about an exact electric duplicate of your cat?'

L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin
'...She helped the doctor spray on surrogate skin.'

LG Display Creates OLED Wallpaper
'A television that unrolled like a poster...'

Cool Foldable Mini-Quadcopter
'Eddie pocketed the bee cam...'

NASA's Subvocal Speech System
'She took a subvocal input device from its rack...'

Cicada UAV Dropped In Swarms
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'

AI's Now Being Taught Anger
Actually the Prime Radiant was just a display device.

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.