Looking for a short novel (perhaps from a collection) from sixties or seventy’s. A method of teleportation has been developed whereby people can explore planets by creating a replica of themselves on the target planet. Apparently there are few humans and more and more they spend their time with these teleportation machines. The story opens with the discovery of a new planet with an apparently abandoned city. A team (perhaps only two) begin to explore the city and find that things in the city still work, particularly a transport system. I can’t remember too many of the details of the exploration of the city but ultimately they are confronted by robots(?) and charged with trespassing or perhaps tampering with the city systems. The robots mention that they are caretakers for the residents of the city. The humans ask to see the residents and are finally taken to them. They are totally immobile and are being kept alive artificially. Somehow they kill one of the ‘residents’. The robots put them on trial and they are convicted and condemned to death. Just before the execution the humans ‘disconnect’ and are no longer there. One of the humans then returns to the planet and lectures the robots on the moral implications of keeping the residents alive as they are and the path the robots took to bring them to that existence. The novel ends with the human disconnecting, then getting up from his teleportation machine realizing that humans are becoming too dependent on machines and the fate that may befall them. Any ideas?
April 7th, 2010, 07:46 AM
That sounds a bit like a Clifford Simak story I read many years ago, can't help any more than that, sorry.
April 7th, 2010, 08:10 AM
Thanks for that. I'll see if it leads me anywhere. I probably read the story about 30 years ago so my synopsis may be a little hazy. Thanks again.
April 7th, 2010, 08:19 AM
Are we thinking City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_%28novel%29) by Clifford Simak?
Clue: Dogs. :D
April 7th, 2010, 09:16 AM
No, that's not it. This was not part of a series, though was in a book with a few unrelated stories.
I think the term 'teleportation' may be a bit misleading. As I remember the process the person using the machine physically remains at the machine. A replica is produced at the target destination from material at the destination. Tactile feedback is instantaneous. If the replica bangs his finger the person at the machine feels the pain. They also have the ability to 'disconnect' instantly if required. This is what happens when the robots try to execute the humans for killing a resident. When one of the humans returns to the planet the robots accuse him of cheating them of their justice at which time the human delivers his speech to them, then disconnects.
April 7th, 2010, 11:00 AM
I know Ive read this before. Im thinking it was in one of those 'Best of' science fiction anthologies. Id have to go flip through all of the ones I have to find it though. Ill see what I can do.
April 25th, 2010, 12:59 PM
I most likely read this story between 1966 and 1972. I believe I read 'Wine of the Dreamers' at about the same time. There was a printing of that book in 1968 and again in 1972. The story was quite long and I can only remember there being two other stories in the collection though there may have been one or two more. I also think this was the last story in the book.
May 7th, 2010, 07:52 PM
The book is 'The Orchid Cage' by Herbert W Franke. I was off a bit in my description. It is a novel and not part of a collection and the plot is a bit more complex than my description. And I must have read it in 1973 or later. Of course I read it over 35 years ago.
I found it through a post on Usenet. Thanks for your efforts.