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Subject: Sci fi novels about "Santa Claus machines"? rss

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Hey any sci fi geeks out there, I don't know if this forum is the right place to ask this, but I'm looking for sci fi novels that explore the implications of society possessing machines that can make anything you want at zero or low cost - Santa Claus machines, Star Trek replicators, a full realization of the RepRap project, stuff like that.

What would society be like if you didn't have to worry about working just to buy necessities and could make any object you wanted?

Have any authors tacked this question?

What do you think the implications would be?



 
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CHAPEL
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Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson might fit the bill.
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MWChapel wrote:
Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson might fit the bill.

Excellent, thanks. I actually happen to be sitting here at a library computer at the moment, hoping someone would post some books I could check out before I leave...
:)
 
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You should post your question in Chit Chat too... larger audience.
 
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A For Anything, by Damon Knight.
 
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The series written by Iain Banks set in "The Culture" may well be the best bet. Brilliant stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Culture
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George O.Smith did it at the end of the Venus Equilateral series of stories.
 
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DWTripp wrote:
The series written by Iain Banks set in "The Culture" may well be the best bet. Brilliant stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Culture

Any particular books in the Culture universe?
 
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Thanks for all the books so far. I'm checking these out right now...
 
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tesuji wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
The series written by Iain Banks set in "The Culture" may well be the best bet. Brilliant stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Culture

Any particular books in the Culture universe?


Player of Games is one of the best, but all are worth reading.
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I know a good one! "The Dwindling Sphere" by Willard Hawkins. It's available for free on the net - see http://doctord.dyndns.org/Stories/Hawkins.htm

The short story covers the implications of these machines briefly; the main issue is that when a machine makes something, a lot of the mass that went *into* the machine disappears.
 
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I also read a series of books a while back about a alien civ's self replicating Von Neumann machines evolving into a new mechanical species right in our solar system(The moon Titan) called "Code of the Lifemaker" by James p. Hogan. It's an interesting look at the technology.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
I also read a series of books a while back about a alien civ's self replicating Von Neumann machines evolving into a new mechanical species right in our solar system(The moon Titan) called "Code of the Lifemaker" by James p. Hogan. It's an interesting look at the technology.
Wow, I read "Code..." years ago, when I was in High School. It's one of those sci-fi novels that, while pretty good, I wouldn't have expected anybody else to have read. I thought it was silly but neat.
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Charles Stross is the author that comes to mind. See, for example, Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise, Glasshouse, etc.
 
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mistermarino wrote:
A For Anything, by Damon Knight.


I think I read that back in high school in the early '70s. When I read the question I immediately thought of a certain short story (the name escapes me) in a collection I thought was edited Damon Knight. This one might be it.

In the story people had all kinds of stuff manufactured for them, and they had to try hard to use it up and wear it out. The more stuff they wore out, the more time they got to spend at the office. The hero of the story only went to work on Mondays, but his fathier-in-law went either two or three days a week.

The difficulty in the story was to be able to use up all the stuff that the machines could manufacture. There was a recurring phrase: "Because a pipeline has two ends" that I found very interesting.

Anyway, the hero solves the problem of people not using up all the stuff that was made for them by having their personal robots do much of the work by wearing/using the items.

I hope the story/collection named above is the one you want.

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wmshub wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
I also read a series of books a while back about a alien civ's self replicating Von Neumann machines evolving into a new mechanical species right in our solar system(The moon Titan) called "Code of the Lifemaker" by James p. Hogan. It's an interesting look at the technology.

Wow, I read "Code..." years ago, when I was in High School. It's one of those sci-fi novels that, while pretty good, I wouldn't have expected anybody else to have read. I thought it was silly but neat.


I, too, read Code of the Lifemaker when it first came out, and I thought the book was a lot of fun. (I think I still have my autographed copy.) However, the subject of that book is not what the OP is looking for. I recommend he read it after he's finished this project, though.

 
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Forever Peace, by Joe Haldeman. But its less about the nano replication than it is about....other things.

Darilian
 
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This is a fairly common SF trope. Are you more interest in post scarcity novels or SF that deals with the transition from traditional economics?
 
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I'd definitely like to read some stories about the messy transition society would have if we had replicators.

From reading the reviews of A for Anything that's not the kind of story I'd like to read. I'd like to read a Foundation style treatment where the plot isn't confined to a particular protagonist, who has to discover something, and then rush to do something before all is lost.
 
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Jeff Chunko wrote:

This is a fairly common SF trope. Are you more interest in post scarcity novels or SF that deals with the transition from traditional economics?
Both.
 
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claymore_57 wrote:
mistermarino wrote:
A For Anything, by Damon Knight.


I think I read that back in high school in the early '70s. When I read the question I immediately thought of a certain short story (the name escapes me) in a collection I thought was edited Damon Knight. This one might be it.

In the story people had all kinds of stuff manufactured for them, and they had to try hard to use it up and wear it out. The more stuff they wore out, the more time they got to spend at the office. The hero of the story only went to work on Mondays, but his fathier-in-law went either two or three days a week.

The difficulty in the story was to be able to use up all the stuff that the machines could manufacture. There was a recurring phrase: "Because a pipeline has two ends" that I found very interesting.

Anyway, the hero solves the problem of people not using up all the stuff that was made for them by having their personal robots do much of the work by wearing/using the items.

I hope the story/collection named above is the one you want.



The story you are referring to is "The Midas Plague", by Frederik Pohl. Reprinted in the story collection "The Midas World."
 
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Maybe buy a blank composition book at a stationery store? Because it's not clear anything resembling a civilization can continue to exist in such a world. When a Columbine student can take a hydrogen bomb to school instead of a few guns.
 
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Not the same quality as Bainks, but Michael Moorcock's series "The Dancers at the End of Time" fits the bill.

Or HG Wells "The Time Machine", for another twist on a world without scarcity
 
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wmshub wrote:
I know a good one! "The Dwindling Sphere" by Willard Hawkins. It's available for free on the net - see http://doctord.dyndns.org/Stories/Hawkins.htm


The little boy looked with awe at the scene, and then turned his face upward, demanding, "What are we going to do when this hole gets so big that it takes up the whole world?"

We laughed, but I could sympathize with the question. Man is such a puny creature that it is difficult for him to realize what an infinitesimal thing on the Earth's surface is a cavity, which to him appears enormous. The relationship, I should say, is about the same as a pinprick to a ball which a child can toss in the air.


Very interesting. You'd almost think he was writing about global warming. Except that he (like early global warming theorists) vastly underestimated human society's capacity to massively expand its consumption so that what would have seemed to take hundreds or thousands of years can occur in just decades.
 
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berserkley wrote:
claymore_57 wrote:
mistermarino wrote:
A For Anything, by Damon Knight.


I think I read that back in high school in the early '70s. When I read the question I immediately thought of a certain short story (the name escapes me) in a collection I thought was edited Damon Knight. This one might be it.

In the story people had all kinds of stuff manufactured for them, and they had to try hard to use it up and wear it out. The more stuff they wore out, the more time they got to spend at the office. The hero of the story only went to work on Mondays, but his fathier-in-law went either two or three days a week.

The difficulty in the story was to be able to use up all the stuff that the machines could manufacture. There was a recurring phrase: "Because a pipeline has two ends" that I found very interesting.

Anyway, the hero solves the problem of people not using up all the stuff that was made for them by having their personal robots do much of the work by wearing/using the items.

I hope the story/collection named above is the one you want.



The story you are referring to is "The Midas Plague", by Frederik Pohl. Reprinted in the story collection "The Midas World."


Thanks for clearing that up. It was so long since I'd read the story (30+ years) that I couldn't remember where I found it.

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