Kate, over at Kate Takes 5, has set what sounded like a fairly simple challenge this week. List the 5 inventions you wish were real – things that would make your life easier. Easy, right? Wrong. I’ve been reading and watching SF for almost as long as I can remember and there’s some amazingly cool stuff the writers have come up with that would be so useful to have. Things like Star Trek’s transporters – do away with all that pesky commuting and just beam yourself directly to work. The Doctor’s TARDIS – book not released yet? No problem, nip forward to a year after the release date and grab it from the bargain bin (you’d have to watch your credit card’s expiry date if you’re going to do that). Phasers would be fun – car-mounted, to get rid of those pesky morons on the road. I’m going to grab one thing from each of my favourite SF shows or books, go from there.
Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver
Working in IT, a gizmo that I could scan someone’s computer with and instantly (a) diagnose and (b) fix any and all problems with would be wonderful! Instead I have to rely on the Great God Google and home I roll enough successes on my Google-Fu check.
Star Trek – Holograms
Tricky to pick just one thing from good ole ‘Trek to make life easier. Going to have to go with the portable holo-emitter. Create a hologram of myself, send it in to work instead of me. Create multiple copies of myself! One can do the school run, a couple can go to work (one for each building, perhaps), I can stay at home and write. I’d need some way to merge the experiences of each one.
Babylon 5 – The Starfury
B5 was harder than Trek to choose from, mostly because it was fairly hard science fiction. There were no transporters to speak of, no fancy scanning gadgets like Trek’s Tricorder, nothing that really broke the laws of physics (and wasn’t wholly appropriate to the story). But I do want a Starfury.
Star Wars – Repulsorlift Drives
I know, geek-alarm. The repulsorlift drive is, according to the Star Wars Technical Manuals, the magic gizmo that makes things like Luke’s landspeeder, the Empire’s speeder bikes (and almost anything with the word “speeder” in the name, come to think of it) fly/hover/just generally work. I’d far rather my car did that. No more expensive bills for tyres every year. No more worrying about if you’d just run over something expensive. Like a hovercraft but made of pure awesome.
The Matrix – Instant Learning Widget
If you ignore the fact that you’d have to live in a world where most people are inside a human power plant, plugged into machines that feed you (and the rest) whilst some alien machine intelligence lives off the power you’re generating, the ability to learn skills and the touch of a button would be really, really useful. Especially for those “Daaaaaaad? How does this work?” moments.
Of course, there’s more. Many, many more things I wish were real from all the SF I’ve read and watched. But if you have this, then you have to accept that that is also real. If you have a sonic screwdriver, then maybe there’s a TARDIS out there. If there’s a TARDIS then the chances are good that there are Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Silurians and the whole plethora of goodness and evil that comes in the Whoniverse. Say yes to anything from Trek and here come the Borg, the Klingons, the Romulans… Yes to a Starfury, hello to the Shadows, the Vorlons and the other Elder Races. It’s all checks and balances.
The one gadget I use on a day-to-day basis is a little piece of code called the Demoronizer. I just wish it did what it said on the tin.