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.

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    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 '13 at 21:59
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    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. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jul 24 '13 at 22:24
  • It definitely wasn't H2G2, although it is an awesome book/trilogy/series – Megan Walker Jul 25 '13 at 13:26
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    If it was only light speed communications, there's always Spaceballs: "You call that a radar screen?" "No sir, we call it Mr. Coffee." – Nate Eldredge Jan 18 '15 at 17:42

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.

  • Note that the question states FTL comms (i.e. ansible equivalent) not FTL propulsion. – Christi Jul 24 '13 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...”" – John Rennie Jul 25 '13 at 8:19
  • Ahhh, that's the one. I'll have to re-read that. Strange how my mind flipped it around. – Megan Walker Jul 25 '13 at 13:27

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