I can't recall the name of a short story I read, and Google is drawing a blank for me.

I can only remember one detail that stuck in my mind:

  • There was a coffee machine that powered Faster Than Light Communications. (!)

I am also sure that I read it within the last ten years.

  • 6
    It makes me think both of the Nutrimatic that stole all the processing power from the Heart of Gold AND of the 'Bistromath' drive, in the HHGTTG series... But it doesn't quite fit.
    – K-H-W
    Jul 24, 2013 at 21:59
  • 3
    Also in the HHGTTG the infinite probability drive was created by computing just how improbable it was and feeding that number into a finite improbability generator which also made use of a nice hot cup of tea as a Brownian motion generator. But again, it doesn't seem to fit. Jul 24, 2013 at 22:24
  • It definitely wasn't H2G2, although it is an awesome book/trilogy/series Jul 25, 2013 at 13:26
  • 2
    If it was only light speed communications, there's always Spaceballs: "You call that a radar screen?" "No sir, we call it Mr. Coffee." Jan 18, 2015 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


This story doesn't contain FTL comms 'come coffee machine', but it does feature someone who thinks that a coffee machine is a FTL comms device.

It's Defending Elysium by Brandon Sanderson.

The relevant quote is

Coln frowned, then eyed the coffee machine. “So, it's not the FTL comm unit...”

John Rennie

  • Note that the question states FTL comms (i.e. ansible equivalent) not FTL propulsion.
    – Christi
    Jul 24, 2013 at 23:48
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    Defending Elysium fits the description. The relevant quote is "Coln frowned, then eyed the coffee machine. “So, it's not the FTL comm unit...”" Jul 25, 2013 at 8:19
  • 1
    Ahhh, that's the one. I'll have to re-read that. Strange how my mind flipped it around. Jul 25, 2013 at 13:27

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