Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Internet, as predicted in 1946

“You know the logics setup. You got a logic in your house. It looks like a vision receiver used to, only it's got keys instead of dials and you punch the keys for what you wanna get. It's hooked in to the tank, which has the Carson Circuit all fixed up with relays. Say you punch "Station SNAFU" on your logic. Relays in the tank take over an' whatever vision-program SNAFU is telecastin' comes on your logic's screen. Or you punch "Sally Hancock's Phone" an' the screen blinks an' sputters an' you're hooked up with the logic in her house an' if somebody answers you got a vision-phone connection. But besides that, if you punch for the weather forecast or who won today's race at Hialeah or who was mistress of the White House durin' Garfield's administration or what is PDQ and R sellin' for today, that comes on the screen too. The relays in the tank do it. The tank is a big buildin' full of all the facts in creation an' all the recorded telecasts that ever was made—an' it's hooked in with all the other tanks all over the country—an' everything you wanna know or see or hear, you punch for it an' you get it. Very convenient. Also it does math for you, an' keeps books, an' acts as consultin' chemist, physicist, astronomer, an' tea-leaf reader, with a "Advice to the Lovelorn" thrown in. The only thing it won't do is tell you exactly what your wife meant when she said, "Oh, you think so, do you?" in that peculiar kinda voice. Logics don't work good on women. Only on things that make sense.”

- Murray Leinster, A Logic Named Joe

For Sci-Fi fans: Baen Free Library.

5 comments:

  1. Amazing! Just amazing. Good thing he didn't patent that :)

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  2. Now that would be something :)

    I always treated Murray Leinster pretty high on the Sci-Fi author list, but when I read this I was still shocked. Ingenious.

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  3. Can't be the internet, it doesn't mention porn.

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  4. That comes later in the story :) Remember, this was written in 1946, hard porn was if you mentioned tits.

    And the screen says, "There is a call for you."

    Bingo! There's the inside of a hotel room and Laurine is reclinin' asleep on the bed. She'd been told to leave her logic turned on an' she done it. It is a hot day and she is trying to be cool. I would say that she oughta not suffer from the heat. Me, being human, I do not stay as cool as she looks. But there ain't no need to go into that. After I get my breath I say, "For Heaven's sake!" and she opens her eyes.

    At first she looks puzzled, like she was thinking is she getting absent-minded and is this guy somebody she married lately. Then she grabs a sheet and drapes it around herself and beams at me.

    "Ducky!" she says. "How marvelous!"

    I say something like "Ugmph!" I am sweating.

    She says: "I put in a call for you, Ducky, and here you are! Isn't it romantic? Where are you really, Ducky? And when can you come up? You've no idea how often I've thought of you!"

    I am probably the only guy she ever knew real well that she has not been married to at some time or another.

    I say "Ugmph!" again, and swallow.

    "Can you come up instantly?" asks Laurine brightly.

    "I'm . . . workin'," I say. "I'll . . . uh . . . call you back."

    "I'm terribly lonesome," says Laurine. "Please make it quick, Ducky! I'll have a drink waiting for you. Have you ever thought of me?"

    "Yeah," I say, feeble. "Plenty!"

    "You darling!" says Laurine. "Here's a kiss to go on with until you get here! Hurry, Ducky!"

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  5. Porn is just a side-effect...

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