View Full Version : Glasshouse by Charles Stross (Star Trek related)

09-07-2007, 12:46 PM
Iím reading a very interesting novel based on the Star Trek transporter and replicator technology. Glasshouse by Charles Stross (the novel doesnít reference Star Trek of course but itís clear that is the influence)

You know how in Star Trek the transporters break a person down to molecules and then reassembles them? This novel takes the concept all the way out to itís maximum potential, exploring what that would really mean for a society to have.

If a computer was powerful enough to break matter down to molecules and reassemble it, why would anyone want to be reassembled as flawed human beings? They wouldnít.

The technology would eliminate illness, handicaps, disfigurations ect for one. But perfect humans (whatever the individual perceives as their own perfection) is only the tip of the iceburg. Humans would be able to become any creature they wanted, real or imagined. Animals. Aliens. They would be able to augment their bodies any way they wanted Ė grow an extra set of arms, become centaurs or mermaids. Gender would have no meaning, people would become male or female at will, switching back and forth.

Also they would be immortal. The computer could back up a copy of a person perfectly, if they died they would simply be recreated. Reborn as they were at the moment of their last backup. If they were injured, they would just step into the transporter and be repaired. Replicators produce all food and material a person could want, also like Star Trek, so there is no need for work.

The novel Glasshouse presents this concept well. As Stross sees it, the only downside of this life would be emotional. Would living like that cause insanity? What would a persons sense of identity be if you could be recreated so drasticly at will? What is the stress of immortality on a person?

Itís a truly fascinating concept. Obviously Star Trek could never persue these ideaís, you canít produce a TV show with such a high concept realisticly. But this idea has got my imagine working! Anyone know of other books that have explored this?

Jamie Howdeshell
09-07-2007, 12:47 PM
Sounds interesting. I'll check it out.

Caley Tibbittz
09-07-2007, 12:48 PM
Star Trek really glosses over the whole transporter=immortality thing.

09-07-2007, 01:27 PM
Star Trek really glosses over the whole transporter=immortality thing.

They have to, they wanted a show people could identify with. Characters who were still basiclly human (even the aliens).

Besides, think of what the budget of a show like this novel would be.

09-07-2007, 01:28 PM
There's even more. Given enough energy as input, since E=m*c*c or m=E/(c*c), with the proper scan of an object it could be perfectly duplicated. So any person could be duplicated an infinite number of times. The same is true for food. Kill one cow, scan the meat, then duplicate an infinite number of steaks. Or cars. Build on perfect car by hand if necessary, scan it and then duplicate as many of them as wanted. And so on and so on. The end of poverty, hunger and so on. If there were sufficient energy supplies and since we're positing the existence of a transporter, then positing the energy supply, e.g. matter-antimater engines, isn't such a stretch.