Malacandra wrote: ↑
Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:26 pm
And Larry Niven once again - humanity in Known Space (by the time of Beowulf Schaeffer in "Flatlander" and later Louis Wu in "Ringworld") had teleport booths, and the Puppeteers went one better with "stepping discs".
I always got the feeling the Niven wasn't happy with his teleportation. From day one, he included important issues in the description like the preservation of angular momentum - which limited the ability of a user to teleport from the pole of a planet to it's equator. On the Ring, the longitude around the ring through which an entity could travel on "stepping discs".
(This is probably more of an issue for single lump masses (like a human, or dinner) than for the single atoms or ions of H2 that travel into the fuel tanks, since some single toms can probably be shipped back to ease the strains on the system.)
Somewhere in his essays, Niven discusses the idea of limiting the number of "unobtanium"-plated plot devices in a story in order to have an interesting story. Teleportation, without limits, would mean that all "locked door" mysteries disappear ("people soon learned to put their booths out in the porch, not in the living room" to quote one of the Beowulf Schaeffer shorts). Unobtanium impervious hulls means that warfare becomes ... problematic (several of Niven's stories work out how to destroy a General Products hull without killing all witnesses). Continuous recording and unlimited computer memory means that characters will never forget a piece of data, wrecking a major plank of the "detective" story - until people "can't remember where I put that tape", or just misunderstand the lies they're told.