The teleporter is one of the classic technologies of science fiction stories and it usually is portrayed as a positive, a marker of just how far a society has advanced from our own. This story, however, spins it into something much darker.
In response to this piece tracing where teleporters have appeared in science fiction — and just where they might go next — a discussion began about the kinds of stories that could be told about teleporters, including the popular teleportation storyline where each teleportation essentially creates a clone of the traveler.
Particularly intriguing, though, was this thread about stories where teleportation is revealed to be a bad habit that those clones can't quite seem rid themselves of:
If Star Trek was a new concept today, I would love to see them introduce a kink into the transporters where the more times you travel, each copy that is rematerialized is slightly off from prior to transport and over time, years perhaps. These errors build up over time with deleterious effects. And the writers can add some science-y kind of explanation that due to the nature of quantum uncertainty in the nature of matter at that level, its impossible for someone to go thru a transporters exactly as they were before they were beamed. No matter how refined the technology.
Are you talking about the teleporter doing a bit damage akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes, in that it's a habit that's hard to break but slowly shortens your lifespan and causes complications for people who accept the risks, or are you hoping it's more like a mini- regeneration that means you're never quite sure who will come out of the teleporter when it has to be used? Because I think both ideas have some mileage.
Agreed, it's been explored a bit from the very outset of Star Trek, but there are so many great stories regarding the transporter yet to be told. Episodes involving the transporter are always among my favorites. I'd love to see a crew travel to another wasteland/horror dimension where all of the degraded originals have ended up and gone insane; kind of like a twist on the dead copies from The Prestige.
So like Crichton did in Timeline? They termed it "transcription errors" , and explained it as being similar to faxing a faxed document; a few times and it's no big deal, but do it enough and the errors start to build up.
What do you think? Tell us about your favorite science fiction stories involving teleportation — and what kinds you'd like to see — in the comments.
Image: Paulo Barcellos Jr.