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 forged a concept which is relatively simple and possibly unique in theology, and that is, the irrational is the primordial stratum of the universe."
- Philip K. Dick

  Artificial life, tougher than protoplasm.  

We got back to his old house under the trees of the campus. From a cabinet in his quiet living room he took a plastic box. In it was a small, oblong bar of pinkish substance that wriggled slightly, as if it were animated.
"Touch it,Ē Dr. Lanvin commanded.
I obeyed. The stuff was warm, and in response to contact with my finger, it writhed violently. "Unh ó what in hell!Ē I grunted.
"Itís something a big commercial laboratory managed to produce for abstract reasons,Ē he answered. "It isnít any one substance, but its structure does include quite a few complex silicone compounds. Chemically itís not static. Processes and structural changes are going on inside it constantly. Its microscopic texture is cellular, like animal tissue. Pour, say, sugar dissolved in water on it, with the addition of certain salts, and it absorbs the solution slowly, along with oxygen from the air, to produce a kind of tissue-combustion, heat and movement. But it can convert sunlight, or simple heat from an outside source, or electricity, into motion, too. And it grows. Cut a piece of it off, and that will grow, too, as if reproduction had occurred. So ó would you call it life of a sort? Itís a lot more rugged than common life. Here, Iíll show you, Charlie . . .Ē
Doc picked up a small soldering tool. When its point glowed red hot he held it close to that pinkish oblong. It did not recoil from the heat. Instead, as if impelled by some inherent automatism or instinct, it curled itself around the tool, and, hissing softly, seemed to enjoy the warmth. When Doc switched off the current, it uncoiled itself as if in disappointment. It wasnít burned.
"Call it íprotoplastí as its creators do ó a tougher, upstart brother of protoplasm ó life. It isnít molded. But what if, in a vastly improved form, it could be someday?Ē
I frowned. "An animal?" I questioned. "Artificially made? Or ó a man? An android, that is? Pure fantasy, of course, yet A robot, with a robotís ruggedness, but made completely in human form. Servants maybe?Ē
Technovelgy from Dawn of the Demigods, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Planet Stories in 1954
Additional resources -

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dawn of the Demigods
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Dawn of the Demigods
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

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.