Flash Crowd

"Flash Crowd" is a 1973 English-language novella by science fiction author Larry Niven, one of a series about the social consequence of inventing an instant, practically free transfer booth. One consequence not foreseen by the builders of the system was that with the almost immediate reporting of newsworthy events, tens of thousands of people worldwide — along with criminals — would teleport to the scene of anything interesting, thus creating disorder and confusion. The plot centers around a television journalist who, after being fired for his inadvertent role in inciting a post-robbery riot in Los Angeles, seeks to independently investigate the teleportation system for the flaws in its design allowing for such spontaneous riots to occur. His investigation takes him to destinations and people around the world within the matter of less than 12 hours before he gets his chance to plead his case on television, and he encounters the wide-ranging effects of displacements upon aspects of human behavior such as settlement, crime, natural resources, agriculture, waste management and tourism.


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