Harry Stephen Keeler
1 First Quotation from Harry Stephen Keeler
|visiphone n.|| 1915
John Jones’s Dollar in Black Cat Aug. 45/1
On the 201st day of the year 3214 A.D., the professor of history at the University of Terra seated himself in front of the Visaphone and prepared to deliver the daily lecture to his class, the members of which resided in different portions of the earth. The instrument before which he seated himself was very like a great window
sash, on account of the fact that there were three or four hundred frosted glass squares visible. In a space at the center, not occupied by any of these glass squares, was a dark oblong area and a ledge holding a piece of chalk. And above this area was a huge brass cylinder toward which the professor directed his subsequent remarks. |
In order to assure himself that it was time to press the button which would notify the members of the class in history to approach their local Visaphones, the professor withdrew from his vest pocket a small contrivance which he held to his ear. Upon moving a tiny switch attached to the instrument, a metallic voice, seeming to come from somewhere in space, repeated mechanically: ‘Fifteen o’clock and one minute—fifteen o'clock and one minute—fifteen o’clock and one min——’ Quickly, the professor replaced the instrument in his vest pocket and pressed a button at the side of the Visaphone.
As though in answer to the summons, the frosted glass squares began, one by one, to show the faces and shoulders of a peculiar type of young men; young men with great bulging foreheads, bald, toothless, and wearing immense horn spectacles. One square, however, still remained empty. On noticing this, a look of irritation passed over the professor’s countenance.