Indistinguishable from Magic

No, this isn’t a blog devoted to how awesome Aaron Diaz is (although he deserves one >sigh<). This is where I think about alien technology.

As Arthur C. Clark famously said and the Strugatsky brothers demonstrated so well, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That means that if, for example, we ever meet aliens, they will probably be using devices that:

a) make their lives easier or more convenient

b) don’t make any sense

and c) don’t play well with humans (not having been designed for us to use)

So what can we expect from alien magic-technology? Here are some of my ideas. Add yours in the comments.

  1. pixielights (are these glowing, swarming light sources animals of some kind? Robots? Windows into the hearts of stars or other universes? All we know is they fly around, illuminating whatever people look at, and they breed)
  2. the constituator (this field breaks objects apart into their constituent mono-elements)
  3. a foreshort telescope (actually a tube that is shorter on the inside than the outside. A small one appears to be a telescope. A big one is an FTL superhighway.)
  4. A 4D cannon (shoots you or your luggage on a parabola through the fourth dimension, meaning when you “land” you pop into 3-space somewhere far away from where you set off. An alternative means of FTL travel)
  5. inertia canceller. (decouples mass from inertia. Sorry, Einstein.)
  6. a four to threespace down convertor (just like a 3 dimensional gas can suck heat off a 2-D surface, this thing sucks up ambient heat)

Other ideas?

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