Missing: Book Title - reward offered

There was a collection of short stories (3 I believe) published with the intent to explore teleportation. Three sci-fi authors were commissioned for the collection to write about the impact of teleportation. Does anyone know the title of this collection or of any of the stories therein?

If you can tell me, you will be rewarded with a great anecdote ("Yeah, I was online and I answered Nature’s Call! ha ha ha)

One of the stories in the collection described a society that was identical to present day earth except that teleportation booths were as ubiquitous as phone booths. People would literally dial the number of their destination and zap yer there. This prompted a new societal evit of instant riots. Every major news story was followed by hoards of people appearing at the location either to protest, join in, or merely watch. Neat idea.

Another story: Teleportation is commercialized but still quite expensive. It is a status symbol to take your next vacation using this method, and the protaganist was one trying to save up enough, impress his wife, boss, etc (details fading). One aspect I well remember is the description of how the device handles momentum. If you could literally make something disappear in one place then reappear in another, the fact that in the old place you were travelling at a certain velocity means in the you would fly off in a new relative direction in the new location, crashing into furniture, knocking people down, etc. - a detail usually handwaved away in sci-fi. This story tackled it saying the momentum was peeled off and sent into a huge shock absorber in the ocean. Neato.

The third story (unless I’m conflating a different collection) dealt with a very mysterious encounter with what appeared to be a shyster claiming the ability to whisk you away to a paradise. Protaganist buys the ticket, is ushered into a creaky broken down old barn with a bunch of other “suckers” and left for a long time. Dude finally loses patience, says “I’ve been had. I’m outta here.” Just as he closes the door behind him there’s a flash and the others are gone, leaving him with the memory of a glimpse of the paradise that had the sweetest air he’d ever smelled. Shyster (not-so-shyster now) denys all knowledge/recollection of having met the guy and Dude is left with the regret.

I can’t help much with the collection as a whole, but Larry Niven wrote a short story (or maybe novella) along the lines of the first one you described. “Flash Crowd” was the title. Transport booths were set up just like phone booths (and about as common as they used to be, until everyone had cell phones), and news of big events would cause crowds of people to zap over to see it in person.

Actually, some quick googling on “Flash Crowd” came up with Three trips in Time and Space, a collection including “Flash Crowd” by Niven, “You’ll take the high road” by Jack Brunner, and “Rumfuddle” by Jack Vance. I haven’t read those other two stories, so I can’t say whether this matches what you’re looking for.

This must be it! Thanks! I tried looking too, thinking the (now I know) Niven story was called “Flash…” something - but no luck.

You rock!

The concept you described for the second story appears in most of Niven’s stories involving teleportation. There’s a great book of Larry Niven essays that covers teleportation vs. conservation of momentum at some length. His funniest story ever is in that collection: Man of Steel: Woman of Kleenex (subtitled, “Why Superman can’t get a girl”).

I concur about Superman - hilarious!

On the momentum problem- I remember one short story (probably not by Niven, I don’t remember any of his I didn’t like, but maybe): Buncha snobby intellects at a party commenting on the state of the world’s education, or ready acceptance of pseudo-science, or something like that. They speculate maybe earth is being used as some kind of cull process, where the smartest rise to some level of notice and are skimmed off by aliens.

Sho’ nuff, they leave the party and while in their car are teleported aboard an alien ship (gasp! they were right). One of the very first thing out of one of our party goers mouth is “What happened to the momentum” The alien, in english, explains!

Shyeah, I’m zapped by an alien the first thing on my mind’s the momentum.

It is by Niven: the title is (something very close to) “So What Can You Say About Chocolate Covered Manhole Covers?”

There’s a little more to the story than that:

One of the partygoers is one of the aliens.

Now I’m going to have to reread it. I remember that plot point differently:

The partygoer you mentioned isn’t actually one of the aliens; he’s a robot constructed by the aliens.

I’m sure he collection must be Three Trips in Time & Space but the mass damper idea is from the Niven story and the ‘status symbol’ one is the Brunner story but the Vance one, Rumfuddle isn’t as described…

It’s more an alternate worlds story where bored tricksters (‘Rumfuddlers’) have been playing with history on other timelines to place historical figures into different settings for their own amusement.

I don’t know the story you described as the third one…

Y’know…now that you mention it, I think you’re right.

The third sounds alot like a Ray Bradbury short story. Maybe from Dandilion Wine? Or I Sing the Body Electric
Ack! Maybe * October Country*

The third story is definitely by Jack Finney; I think it’s found in his collection The Third Level.

Thanks for the clue! I don’t know if the collection you mention is currently in print but It’s also in his collection About Time (which I know is in print as I bought a copy a few months ago) and is called Of Missing Persons.

Also in that collection is a discussion of the term ‘Rishathra’ (sex with aliens) that appears to transcend its use in the Ringworld series, where its meaning is limited to ‘sex between different hominid species’ - in the discussion, it appears to mean something a lot broader - i.e. just sex with aliens (possible responses to the question ‘shall we indulge in Rishathra?’ are explored, one being ‘You do not have sufficient openings’)