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

"The immediate problem with our meat brains is that they have no back-up. We can lose the most precious information we have from one bump on the head or stroke. You want a mind system with back-up that can access other databases."
- Bart Kosko

Moon Moth  
  A rather plain and timid mask.  

Everyone on the planet Sirene wears a mask; why should a person be forced to encounter the world with a visage he did not choose? Why shouldn't a person be able to choose a face consonant with his personal prestige, his repute, that he earned himself?

In the story, Edwer Thissell arrives on Sirene as the new ambassador. Used to being treated as an important person, he finds that he has little or no prestige on Sirene. It doesn't matter what your position is - it matters what kind of person you are. Your prestige, your strakh, is the only way you can buy anything; there is no medium of exchange, no money, on the planet. He is told that the Moon Moth is a suitable mask for him.

Thissell unenthusiastically inspected the mask. It was constructed of mouse-colored fur; there was a tuft of hair at each side of the mouth hole, a pair of featherlike antennae at the forehead. White lace flaps dangled beside the temples and under the eyes hung a series of red folds, creating an effect at once lugubrious and comic.

Thissell asked, "Does this mask signify any degree of prestige?"

"Not a great deal."

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

The plot of the novel turns on the wearing of masks; it is quite a clever detective story.

Why do human beings wear masks? Children (and adults) do it for fun, but anthropologists use the term "liminality" to discuss the purpose of mask-wearing. Masks are used when people step outside the limits of ordinary behavior. For example, a person wearing a clown "mask" is allowed to do things that adults are ordinarily not permitted to do. Wearing a mask allows a shaman to become a spirit or a dangerous beast. In the Vance story, a person could change masks if they wished, but they had to have the strakh needed to pull off the new role.

See Lesson in the Social Purpose and Significance of Masks for a lesson plan on how to explore the purpose of masks.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | 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

Articles related to Lifestyle
Seiko Astron Always Knows Your Time Zone
The Ring Clock IS Heinlein's Finger Watch
3D Printed Fashion - Plastirobes And Transdresses
ThreeForm 3D Scans And Digitally Simulates Customer Fashion

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

Will You Live To See EM Pulse Scattering By Ships Nearing Light Speed?
'...half a million kilometers away, the Stardrive went on.'

Jabil Integrated Textile Heart Monitoring
'Della's first present was an imipolex sweatshirt called a heartshirt…'

Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

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.