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 kind of take it for granted that our great-grandchildren will regard us as a sort of precursor species. That they won't think of us as human and if we could see them, we probably wouldn't think of them as human either."
- William Gibson

Tasp  
  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
Flyboard Water Jet Shoes Lift Off
Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Augmented and-or Virtual Reality Shoes From Google

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

Jetson ONE Personal Electric Aerial Vehicle
Who says you can't have your flying car?

Starlab By Nanoracks, A Commercial Space Station
'Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.'

Auto-Targeting Fire Sprinkler Systems Now Reality
I think every kitchen should have one of these.

Monarch Tractor - It's Electric, Autonomous and Smart
'Driver-optional' and follows gestures.

'Seabreeze' Apple And UCLA Project To Beat Depression
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test,' the machine said peevishly.'

Hovermap By Emesent Autonomous Mapping Works Indoors - and Out
Perfect for exploring ancient artifacts on distant planets.

Sono Motor's Sion Sun-Powered Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

LEONARDO Robot Has Legs And Thrusters, Can Skateboard, Slackline
'a walking balloon proceeded with long strides of its aluminum legs over a slant of steep upland.'

Xavier Robots On Patrol For 'Anti-Social Behavior'
'This was as close as a robot could get to a cop in uniform.'

Rotating House in Bosnia
'... feel free to turn the house on your own.'

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.