Call it teleportation, or a portal device.

It's a classic tale where men on earth create a device to teleport one thing from one end of the room to the other. Only it didn't work. So, instead the corporations use the portal to make things disappear as the ultimate get-rid-of-it garbage hole. Over the next two years several people committed suicide using the device, including a murderer.

Thing is, surprise, two years later the other machine which was the receiver starts working, and all the stuff starts to come back. Teleportation, instantly as far as the person using it is concerned, but two years later. Knowing when the people are coming back the police stand by to receive them and the trial for the murderer is all set to go as soon as he falls through.

There are various uses and social upheavals from this. Sure, you have to wait two years, but after that you have a perfect pipeline for oil that can't be blown up by terrorists or interfered with by mother nature. The same for water and gas. Long-term planning for such a thing changes the world too as people have to re-think how to do their logistics. People who are sick or moments away from death can walk through portals to a future two years later where the doctors have planned two years in advance to treat them, or however long it takes to get a cure.

Best of all, a starship can be made with unlimited fuel supplied two years in advance. Even food and water and parts. And people can come back whenever they want on a schedule.

There's a few plot points. One is where people are seeing social changes over several decades. Another where the ship is encountering difficulties avoiding objects, and there's relativity involved, and won't have the fuel two years down the line to avoid it, because there's a four year delay.

I think there was a battle on the starship too, with a drug-overdosing captain, but I'm not sure.

What is this book?

  • 1
    That sounds a lot like the short story "The hoop" by Howard Fast, but with a lot more plot points. Maybe it got extended into a novel? I can't find any indication of that. Dr. Hepplemeyer invents a device that teleports stuff to an unknown location, which gets promptly used for garbage disposal. Eventually everything starts to come back sprouting from underground, ruining everybody's favorite magic way to get rid of stuff. It was a fascinating and whimsical story. Nov 29, 2017 at 4:27
  • Very damn close. But not quite. The beginning, and the new York Mayor I forgot about, but the middle and end are different. Maybe it was part of a series of short fiction shorts that made a full book. I am looking for a full book based on the idea. ut thankyou! Nov 30, 2017 at 1:39

1 Answer 1


Perhaps the 1991 F.M. Busby novel Slow Freight

As I recall the teleportation system acted as you noted with a long delay. Additional details that match include a drug/sex crazed Commander/Captain on a spaceship and the changes to society that you noted due to the teleportation device.

Fantastic Fiction Description and Cover

Brilliant scientist Dr Habegger gives humanity the stars with his new drive system and finally interstellar exploration begins as spaceships head out into the cosmos. Our hero Rance Collier is there at the beginning and goes along for the ride. Among other stimulating exploits he gets caught up with Commander Irina Tetzl, a sex-crazed despot intent on world domination. Even while forced to submit to the sexpot despot's abnormal desires, he remains faithful to his loyal, beautiful and brilliant crew member and girlfriend, Su Tang. This is an average teenage action read. There are good ideas but the writing is dull. Pretty much everything else is OK. I loved the title, liked the cover and have always admired the author's name ("FM Busby" has a mysterious yet decisive air, on the other hand, Francis Marion was perhaps too indeterminate). What has it got? TriV TV, some aliens, a novel FTL drive system plus some sex scenes to help one through the more boring sections.

  • This . . . might, maybe, be it. I'd have to find the book and give it a read to be sure. Even if it's not, it's an author I should become reacquainted with. Thankx. Dec 14, 2017 at 16:43

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