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

"It's hard to tell stories about critters that are not human. John W. Campbell tried it, in "Twilight," and everybody says it's a wonderful story, and nobody ever reads it twice."
- Jerry Pournelle

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."

Technovelgy 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
Amazon Blimp Parent Drone Concept
Tortoise Mobile Smart Stores
Sony Pocket Air Conditioner Is Phil Dick's Idea!
ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton

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

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.'

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

CyberCab - Tesla Renames The Robotaxi
'A cybercab dogged their heels...'

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.'

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.