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First used in 1966 in Rocannon's World and expanded on in 1974 in The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin; Le Guin states that she derived it from answerable.

See also The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (1968).

The ansible has more recently been adopted by Orson Scott Card, first in Ender's Game (1986) and then in successive works in his Ender's Game series.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈæn.sɪ.bəl/, /ˈɑːn.sɪ.bəl/


ansible (plural ansibles)

  1. (science fiction) A hypothetical device that enables users to communicate instantaneously across great distances; that is, a faster-than-light communication device.
    • 1966, Ursula K. Le Guin, Rocannon's World, reprinted in Worlds of Exile and Illusion, Macmillan (1996), →ISBN, page 25:
      “You remember the ansible, the machine I showed you in the ship, which can speak instantly to other worlds, with no loss of years– []
      “An ansible would theoretically be powered by subatomic particles that have undergone quantum entanglement, which utilizes Einstein's 'spooky action at a distance', allowing the alteration of one particle to instantaneously alter the state of its paired particle. []
    • 1985, Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game, reprinted by Macmillan (2002), →ISBN, page 251:
      [] The master ansible is there, in contact with all our invasion fleet; the ships are all working, ready to fight. []
    • 2008, Elizabeth Moon, Victory Conditions, reprint by Random House (2009), →ISBN, page 39,
      Ky had allotted two hours here, time to strip the news from the ansible, share it, even discuss it, but she didn’t plan to have everyone clustered and vulnerable.


See also[edit]




From English ansible.


ansible m (plural ansibles)

  1. (science fiction) ansible