Thursday, November 18, 2004

Thinking I'd just add another link to the old link-bar

I discovered what promises to be a good bit of Sci-Fi online: The Great Explosion, by Eric Frank Russell.

Here are the first three paragraphs of the


WHEN AN EXPLOSION takes place lots of bits and pieces fly all over the scenery. The greater the wallop the larger the lumps and the farther they travel. These are fundamental facts known to every schoolchild old enough to have some sneaky suspicions about the birds and the bees. They were not known or perhaps they were not fully realized by Johannes Pretorius van der Camp Blieder despite the fact that he was fated to create the biggest bang in human history.

Johannes Etc. Blieder was a lunatic of the same order as Unk (who first made fire), Wunk (who designed the wheel), Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, the Wright Brothers and many others who have outraged orthodoxy by achieving the impossible. He was a shrimp of a man with a partly bald head, a ragged goatee beard and weak, watery eyes hugely magnified by pebble-lensed spectacles. He shuffled around on splayed feet with the gait of a pregnant duck, had been making glutinous sniffs since birth and never knew where to put his hand on a handkerchief.

Of academic qualifications he had none whatever. A spaceship bound for the Moon or Venus could thunder overhead as such ships had done for a thousand years and he would peer at it myopically without the vaguest notion of what pushed it along. What's more, he wasn't the least bit interested in finding out. Four hours per day, four days per week, he sat at an office desk. The rest of his time was devoted wholly and with appalling single-mindedness to the task of levitating a penny. Wealth or power or shapely women had no appeal to him. Except when hunting a handkerchief his entire life was dedicated to what he deemed the ultimate triumph, namely, that of being able to exhibit a coin floating in mid-air.

Now you know almost as much as I do. It won't take you long to pass me, since I don't have a whole lot of spare time these days, and I haven't mastered photoreading yet (assuming it's possible).

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