What The Fuck Is An Ansible?

He said in his shrill harsh voice, “What’s that?”—pointing to the ansible.
“The ansible communicator, sir.”
“A radio?”
“It doesn’t involve radio waves, or any form of energy…
What it does, sir, is produce a message at any two points simultaneously. Anywhere.”

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K Le Guin, 1969.


An ansible is a fictional device capable of superluminal communication created as a plot device in Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1966 novel Rocannon’s World. Orson Scott Card appropriated the idea for his Ender saga, upgrading it into a type of interstellar combination of Videoconferencing, Telephony and Internet. The ansible basically gives instant data exchange with no limit to distance and bandwidth. It is said that the ansible gets its name from the word “Answerable”, but it is also whispered that the word was chosen because it is an anagram of the word “Lesbian”.

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