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"By the time I can take people out to where Hubble is looking, they won't be human anymore, by a long way."
- Larry Niven

Dream-Machine  
  The mechanism that sent standardized dreams into the brain.  

Slih Drin now put the spool of tape into the dream-machine’s holder, and touched a switch. With a faint humming, the spool began turning. Gently, the effeminate Venusian plugged the two wires from the machine into the tiny electrodes in Stanton’s skull. He felt a wave of darkness flow through his brain as he rapidly sank into the sleep.

“Now I leave you to happiness, sir,” he dimly heard Slih Drin saying, as though from a great distance.

Stanton was already deep in shoreless blackness. Soothing electrical vibrations from the machine were drugging his nerves and brain. Then, slowly, light began to appear in the darkness. It was not really light, Stanton’s fading consciousness was aware. It was only an electrical impulse from the dream-machine that gave his brain the sensation of light.

The principle of the dream-machine was old. Long ago, men had learned that the brain received all bodily sensations as electrical impulses through its nerve-system. They had found that if they produced such electric impulses artificially, and transmitted them into the brain, the brain was deceived by them and experienced sensations which seemed perfectly real. Long research had classified the different electric impulses which brought different sensations to the brain. It was only necessary to transmit such impulses to the brain in correct order, by means of a tape-record, to make the brain experience any desired sensations or adventures.

Clark Stanton now felt himself, in his dream, in a small ship that was rushing at thousands of light-speeds toward a glorious galaxy of millions of suns. But he was not Clark Stanton in the dream — he was a younger, stronger, handsomer man. He was steering his ship right into the colossal swarm of suns. He curved around huge, booming dark-stars, dived past the heads of flaring comets, and rushed breathtakingly through vast, glowing nebulae...

Technovelgy from Doom Over Venus, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1940
Additional resources -

The dream-machine could also be used to inflict dream-torture on the user:

“Are you ready to tell now where the Jovian and Martian are with Klain’s brain?” the Chief demanded.

“No, damn you!” Stanton said hoarsely.

“Another spool, Slih Drin,” ordered the Chief. “Break him down.”

The dream-machine started — and Stanton was plunged back again into the darkness of the dream-sleep. This time he awoke to find himself staggering through a terrific frozen-air blizzard on icy Pluto. He was dying on his feet of cold and starvation. The oxygen inside his suit was running out, and his lungs were a gasping pain. The hopelessness of his situation crushed his spirits. He fell, got up and struggled on again, then fell once more and lay freezing, dying —

Abruptly, the dream changed. He was in a space-liner that had been wrecked by a meteor and was falling into the sun. The heat inside it was already terrific. He was gasping for breath, people were falling and dying around him. The seams of the liner were beginning to give way as it rushed toward doom. The metal floor seared his flesh, his blood was boiling in his veins...

Fettered, still shaken by the horrible dream-torture, Stanton was dragged out of the chamber by the two guards and then dragged down flights of dusky cement stairs to the underground levels of the ancient fortress.

Roger Zelazny anticipated this idea in his 1966 novel The Dream Master; see the entry for the dream console. See also the lucid dreamer from Peter Watts' 1999 novel Starfish and the empathy box from Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Also, the Compare to the peeper from Shadow World (1957) by Clifford Simak.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Doom Over Venus
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to Doom Over Venus
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

Dream-Machine-related news articles:
  - Your Inner Sleeping Landscape Is An Advertiser's Dream

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