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"I am first of all not a science fiction writer I write, I suppose, what the Latin Americans call magic realism."
- Harlan Ellison

Decorative Implant  
  Small devices that can be implanted subcutaneously in the body and then controlled consciously.  

Babel-17 has a variety of kinds of body modifications; scales, feathers, walrus-sized incisors - if you want it, you can get it. I chose this item because it shows a marriage between technology and medicine. In our current thinking, we want to have some sort of conscious control over prosthetic devices - to regain something like normal function. In this novel, the characters seek to express themselves or go beyond their normal capabilities.

"It's listed in your catalog as 5463," the Customs Officer declared. "I want it there." He clapped his left hand to his right shoulder.

The surgeon returned ... with a tray full of fragments. The only recognizable one was the front half of a miniature dragon with jeweled eyes, glittering sc ales, and opalescent wings: it was less than two inches long.

"When he's connected up to your nervous system, you'll be able to make him whistle, hiss, roar, flap his wings and spit sparks..."

From Babel 17, by Samuel R. Delany.
Published by Not Available in 1968
Additional resources -

Every time I see someone with a body piercing, I think about how simple these modifications are compared with what you could think of - compared with what Delany already thought about in 1968.

For a look at alternative dentition, take a look at toothbud transplants, from Neuromancer, by William Gibson, written about 15 years later.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Babel 17
  More Ideas and Technology by Samuel R. Delany
  Tech news articles related to Babel 17
  Tech news articles related to works by Samuel R. Delany

Decorative Implant-related news articles:
  - Union Of Driver And Vehicle (and Astronaut And Spacecraft?)
  - Useful Body Modifications - The Ruler Tattoo
  - Stable Motor Memory For Mastery Of Prosthetics
  - Augmented Reality Tattoo Flaps Wings
  - Low-Cost, Implantable Electronics Get Closer

Articles related to Medical
Tech Tats Prototype Sfnal Devices
Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
Computer Predicts Psychosis Better Than Psychiatrists
Lab-Grown Kidneys Implanted Successfully - In Animals

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