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Gentry's picture


By Gentry in Teleport Us

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A new form of transportation creates a society unbound by geography.

I wanted to create a utopian/dystopian setup such that the price they pay is so commonplace it's unknown. Each new technology comes with sacrifices that people of the past would inevitably be horrified by. However, as time goes on it becomes a non-issue to the point where people become oblivious to its underlying mechanics. So the line between the two, utopia and dystopia, are entirely interwoven. 

The specific technology I use is currently proven in lab environments (albiet in reverse). This in turn creates my version of a non-human because it's something new that could be argued either way and isn't easily defined.


Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries February 22, 2013 - 1:34pm


I quite like your story, especially the idea of time(space?) travel having... well, certain side effects. Very bizarre and poetic, but strangely, I believe you. Although it's mostly above me, I can tell you've either done your research or have some previous familiarity with the technology. Because there's a lot of tech-talk, I sometimes feel like the story is moving a bit too fast, and I loose track of the timeline. Perhaps you could break up the text a little?

I'm not sure the story ticks the non-human character box, but then it's not for me to decide what qualifies.

Finally, I'd recommend another round of proofreading, encountered a couple of typos (around the middle).  

Thumbs up. Thanks for sharing!

Gentry's picture
Gentry from Bay Area, CA is reading Letters from a Stoic February 22, 2013 - 5:33pm

Thanks for reading! I tend to jump forward quickly while writing but hearing it reminds me to slow down. I could probably add in another device to outline the practical, everyday benefits to this technology while pacing the story out.

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works February 25, 2013 - 5:13pm

At first I didnt think your main character was non-human either. Then, I thought about it a bit more and the being that comes out of the other end of those cylinders is technically a construct and is non-human, technically. I liked the sense of shock in there about it, but i kept wondering, who knows that this is happenning and why do they think its ok not to tell the public?

I loved the way you represented the technology. It was very clever how you talked about it without being overly technical, you seemed to describe its practical and functional elements rather than get bogged down in theory or throwing out heavy jargon.

My vote up or down is based on the prompt of the challenge and how well it is executed. The tech is there, the writing is great, the non-human is there, (though i wish there was more thought about whether or not the duplicates were themselves, but maybe thatd be labelled navel-gazing). The Utopia element seemed very vague and the tech took a prominent role. So far im leaning toward a down vote. I'd like to let you respond before voting though.

Gentry's picture
Gentry from Bay Area, CA is reading Letters from a Stoic February 25, 2013 - 6:44pm

While writing I kept nerding out and going into details of the system by cribbing functionality of the LHC. So, I'm glad to hear that dialing it back was the right thing to do. Haha

The utopian aspect is simply that travel becomes a non-issue and workforces, countries and culture take a global hold. It could be considered a step between our current geopolitical setup and one where the world has agreed upon global governance. The rich can travel all day long but this technology opens it up to anyone, for any reason, for a nominal fee. 

I completely agree with you that I could further explore what being a construct meant. It's one of those things I thought about early on and decided to leave breadcrumbs because if I truly explored it I could could go on for far too long. With this technology however it'd only be a short amount of time before most everyone became a construct. Does that effect personal world view? Life ambition? Genetic data? Evolution? Health? If this becomes accepted what future innovations arise as a result of constant impermanence? These are all longterm possibilites that could be explored over generations. That exploration/structure reminds me of Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke (not that I'm comparing myself in any way whatsoever, simply the exploration of the topic).

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon February 26, 2013 - 3:10am

Whoa. I rarely other authors in a comment, but when I do, it's because you nailed two of my favourites. This story reminds me of The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester and Endymion by Dan Simmons. Both some of the best sci fi I've ever read.

This story compares well to those. Extremely well done.

I think one thing you managed to pull off so well is the trick of having the reader discover something they hadnt thought of - but should have - in the story. Makes you as a reader feel smart. Great feeling. What I’m referring to is ’what happens to the old body when you teleport?’

Extremely cool story. On my top ten. 


Gentry's picture
Gentry from Bay Area, CA is reading Letters from a Stoic March 2, 2013 - 8:23pm

Holy shit, man. Thank you! The Stars My Destination is one of my favorites as well and that's unbelievably high praise. I'll have to check out Endymion. 

I agree that the best fiction lays out puzzles and buries clues that let the reader play along while still delivering a surprising ending. In my own writing I know I can do much better to incorporate that but I'm extremely pleased that aspect came through to you.

Rob Pearce's picture
Rob Pearce from Cambridge, England is reading Lots of unpublished stuff and short story collections March 6, 2013 - 10:20am

I was rather non-plussed, I'm afraid. The device is, to all intents and purposes, a standard Star Trek teleporter. The "technical detail" another reviewer was impressed by is pure technobabble, much of it from familiar sources. I'm afraid it doesn't pass muster with this trained physicist. For example, you specifically say it would be bad to "have jewelry re-align in
your lungs", but you seem to have completely forgotten that it's pretty unfortunate to have your bowels realign in your lungs! Also, Heisenberg.

The question of whether a teleported individual is the same individual afterwards... has been the subject of SF-con bar discussions for decades, and I'm not sure this adds much. That said, it's probably not trying to, as it comes down clearly on one side and tries to use it as a dystopian device. I felt you didn't really make enough of that, though, possibly because you didn't ask whether it matters. Given that the being who emerges from the other end believes himself to be the one that entered, and cannot distinguish himself in any meaningful way, but yet is definitely made of different atoms (and we are all made of different atoms than the ones we began life with) - does it matter if the original atoms were disintegrated as they were scanned or after the confirmation of receipt?

Other than that, it could do with a good proof-read, you should cut down on the rather excessive use of sentence fragments and gerunds, back off the technical detail and concentrate on plot.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 7, 2013 - 8:05am

A classic questions for any sci-fi world where teleportation exists.  Your answer is an interesting one though.  In reality, it sounds like the transporter is a copying machine rather than a true transporter.  It images the original and keeps them around just long enough to eradicate them.  While I like the idea, I see one main issue with it: the energy requirementst to "create" enough matter for even a single transport would be insanely high.  I have no idea how to calculate the totals, just that your worlds power plants and transmission mediums would have to be extremely efficient. 

One minor revising note: "Years ago active surveillance was outlawed years ago because of privacy advocates." I spotted that sentence on about the middle of page six.

Excellent read, Good Work!

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) March 9, 2013 - 9:42am

Happily I seem to be in the minority here, but I really struggled with this story.  I kept skimming forward looking for the story, and then forcing myself back to read it again.  There is nothing wrong with the central premise, I just found nothing to keep my focus.  I found a lot of it was tech-heavy, and I couldn't really identify with the main character.  Perhaps with more of a story arc it would have brought me in a bit more.  It could also do with another edit, as my spell checker was picking up a number of errors.  Perhaps I just didn't get it - others seem to have enjoyed it which is good.  Just too heavy going for me I'm afraid.

Borsiff's picture
Borsiff from Modesto, CA March 29, 2013 - 10:26am

Fascinating world-building that feels legitimately compelling. I struggle with writing sci-fi because I can never seem to come across as an authority on anything scientific. Gentry, on the otherhand, sounds completely at home in this genre. I want more from this world. Please, and thank you.