Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"I think we're still on that topic, still trying to figure out what computers are, how they change us, why we use them."
- Neal Stephenson

  A device that induces a current in the pleasure center of the brain, at a distance.  

In the future universe of Larry Niven, mankind encounters a very warlike species, the kzin. Described as looking like an eight-foot tall tabby cat, with paws the size of baseball mitts and long retractable claws, the kzin had a warrior culture that demanded fighting at the slightest provocation. The journey has been arranged by puppeteers, an obsessively cautious species. How to travel safely with a kzin?

The puppeteer addressed himself to Speaker-to-Animals.

"You understand that I will use the tasp every time you force me to. I will use it if attempt to use violence too often, or if you startle me too much; you will soon become dependent upon the tasp; if you kill me, you will still be ignobly bound by the tasp itself."

"Very astute," said Speaker. "Brilliantly unorthodox tactics. I will trouble you no more."

"The puppeteer is right," said Speaker. "I would not risk the tasp again. Too many jolts of pleasure would leave me his willing slave. I, a kzin, enslaved to a herbivore!"

From Ringworld, by Larry Niven.
Published by Ballantine in 1970
Additional resources -

Niven uses the word "tasper" to describe a person who pranks with a tasp:

...Usually a tasp is just small enough to aim with one hand."

"Have you ever been hit by a tasp? None of my business, of course."

Teela grinned derision for his delicacy. "Yes, I know what it feels like. A moment of - well, there's no describing it. But you don't use a tasp on yourself. You use it on someone who isn't expecting it. That's where the fun comes in. Police are always picking up taspers in parks."

The puppeteer is a three-legged plant-eating herd animal; ordinarily, not much of a threat to a kzin. The puppeteers as a species rarely engaged in direct physical confrontation (too dangerous); they tended to use long-range planning and indirect actions. The tasp is well-suited to their purposes; it induces a current in the pleasure center of the brain at a distance.

The author remarks that

Tasp is short and easy to say. Such words give away the fact that they are in common currence throughout a culture, like lamp and pan and pen.
The Words in Science Fiction (by Larry Niven)
The same effect can be more easily induced by running a wire directly to the pleasure center of the brain; see droud for more information about directly stimulating your neural pleasure center with an ecstasy plug.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ringworld
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Ringworld
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Tasp-related news articles:
  - iPlant Brain Implant Advocated For Self-Improvement

Articles related to Entertainment
Emoti-Chair Lets You Hear Through Your Skin
It's Boonta Eve! You Can Podrace With Drones
Microsoft RoomAlive - Your Basement Is The Game
Microsoft Patents Immersive Display

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.





More News

GyroGlove Idea For Parkinson's Was Suggested In 1926
'The gyroscope was revolving at the rate of three thousand revolutions a minute, and the slight humming was hardly noticeable...'

Otto Self-Driving Truck Kit Delivers Budweiser Beer
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

Airnest Drone Flight Logging Tool
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'

Untethered Drone Gets Wireless Power
'We'll use my 'broomstick'.'

ESA Plans Akon Projectile To Europa ala Jules Verne
'... might [it] not be possible to project a shot up to the moon?'

Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.

Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'

Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'

How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'

'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.