Thursday, 27 July 2017

Future Furniture

How often, in Poul Anderson's futuristic sf, do we read about self-adjusting furniture automatically molding itself to the body shape of whoever sits on it - provided that they relax and cooperate, of course?

In the Technic History:

"Torres gave the chair no opportunity to mold itself to him. Perched on the edge, he proceeded harshly..."
-Poul Anderson, "Margin of Profit" IN Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (Riverdale, NY, 2009), pp. 135-173 AT p. 140.

"[Coya] sat down on the edge of the spare lounger, ignored its attempts to match her contours..."
-Poul Anderson, "Lodestar" IN Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (Riverdale, NY, 2010), pp. 633-680 AT p. 649.

Both Torres and Coya are confronting Nicholas van Rijn, which explains why neither is relaxed.

And at the Time Patrol Academy in the Oligocene period:

"Dard Kelm demonstrated the gadgets in a typical room. They were the sort you would have expected by, say, A.D. 2000: unobtrusive furniture readily adjusted to a perfect fit, refresher cabinets, screens which could draw on a huge library of recorded sight and sound for entertainment. Nothing too advanced, as yet."
-Poul Anderson, "Time Patrol" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2006), pp. 1-53 AT p. 8.

Well, who invented such self-adjusting furniture? You are not going to believe it:

"The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us...Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon..."
-HG Wells, The Time Machine (London, 1973), Chapter 1, p. 7 (the opening page of the text)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I like the idea of furniture designed to automatically mold it self to the contours of the persons using them.

Drat! I must have read Wells THE TIME MACHINE at least three times over the years and I don't remember even noticing how the Time Traveler invented self-adjusting furniture! I'm disgusted with myself! (Smiles)