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
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

"I feel like I've been very fortunate in that I've stuck like a burr to the dog-leg of the next generation of nerdism. I've been carried into the XXIth century on Bill Gates' pants-cuff."
- William Gibson

Stimic  
  A musical instrument consisting of three flutelike tubes equipped with plungers; thumb and forefinger squeeze a bag to force air across the mouthpieces.  

The stimic is one of the wonderful musical instruments found in The Moon Moth, a brilliant short story by Jack Vance. On the world of Sirene, every person sings his words to others, accompanied by different musical instruments. There is no money on Sirene; each person is evaluated according to his personal strakh, his prestige, repute or glory. Mastery of languge and music is essential in this culture.

Ser Thissell, the main character in the story, has only recently immigrated to Sirene and is practicing diligently. Vance describes the stimic as "an instrument well adapted to the sentiments of cool withdrawal, or even disapproval."

In this excerpt, Ser Thissell (wearing the inconsequential Moon Moth mask) approaches a hostler hoping to secure a mount. Alas, he chooses the wrong instrument and inadvertently insults his host.

"Ser Hostler, I have immediate need of a swift mount..."

The hostler ... inspected Thissell a long moment, then, rather ostentatiously selecting his stimic, executed a brilliant progression of trills and rounds, of an import Thissell failed to grasp. The hostler sang, "Ser Moon Moth, I fear that my steeds are unsuitable to a person of your distinction."

From The Moon Moth, by Jack Vance.
Published by Pocket Books in 1976
Additional resources -

The inventiveness of Vance is inexhaustable; the zachinko, the krodatch, the hymerkin - the list of instruments goes on. Yes, I could give quotes for all of these instruments here - but read the story, it's worth it.

If you are interested in unusual instruments, take a look at Experimental Musical Instruments Links Page.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Moon Moth
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Moon Moth
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

Stimic-related news articles:
  - Skeletar And Dragon Lyre ExoticGuitars - Science Fiction Instruments
  - Logic Gates Built Inside Living Cells
  - Reactogon Synthesizer - Chain Reactive Performance Arpeggiator

Articles related to Lifestyle
Tortoise Mobile Smart Stores
Sony Pocket Air Conditioner Is Phil Dick's Idea!
ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life

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

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...'

Lightyear 0 World's First Production-Ready Solar Car
'It could maintain a steady six miles per hour...'

AI Robots Excel At Trash Sorting And Recycling
'Then they press one of these here thirteen buttons...'

Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
'...without burning a single hydrocarbon molecule to injure the diseased atmosphere any further.'

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...'

Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.'

Prototype 3D Printer Could Print Arteries In Seconds
'...in the tank the new body and the new mind and memory and life has taken almost instant form.'

China Wants 'Hard Kill' Capability To Counter Starlink Satellites
'pirate three-vee satellites sanded out of orbit...'

Low-Cost Gel Pulls Water From Atmosphere Like Star Wars Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance. It had to be coaxed down...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.