related topics
{math, energy, light}
{system, computer, user}
{theory, work, human}
{film, series, show}
{work, book, publish}

An ansible is a hypothetical machine capable of instantaneous or superluminal communication. Ansibles are used as plot devices in science fiction literature.



The word ansible was coined by Ursula K. Le Guin in her 1966 novel, Rocannon's World.[1] Le Guin states that she derived the name from "answerable," as the device would allow its users to receive answers to their messages in a reasonable amount of time, even over interstellar distances.[citation needed] Her award-winning 1974 novel The Dispossessed[2] tells of the invention of the ansible within her Hainish Cycle.


The name of the device has since been borrowed by authors such as Orson Scott Card,[3] Vernor Vinge,[4] Elizabeth Moon,[5] Jason Jones,[6] L.A. Graf,[7] and Dan Simmons.[8] Similarly functioning devices are present in the works of numerous others, such as Frank Herbert[9] and Philip Pullman, who called it a lodestone resonator.[10]

Anne McCaffery's Crystal Singer series posited an instantaneous communication device powered by rare 'Black Crystal' from the planet Ballybran. Black Crystals cut from the same mineral deposit could be "tuned" to sympathetically vibrate with each other instantly, even when separated by interstellar distances, allowing instantaneous telephone-like voice and data communication.

Full article ▸

related documents
Characteristic impedance
Total harmonic distortion
Volt-amperes reactive
Satellite constellation
Transmission medium
Return loss
Superluminal communication
Quantum bogodynamics
Cutback technique
Noise-equivalent power
Polarization-maintaining optical fiber
Normalized frequency
Single-mode optical fiber
Gouraud shading
Dynamic mechanical spectroscopy
Phase noise
Maunder Minimum
Miranda (moon)
Strouhal number
Ring current
Weyl's postulate
3753 Cruithne
Electrical length