Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 1882
Genre Fiction
Origin UK
Publisher Penguin
My Copy cheap penguin
First Read December 29, 2022

The Fixed Period

Trollope, who writes these novels about manners and politics in the late 1800s, has a speculative fiction story set on a fictional island off New Zealand set in 1980??? Kind of fun to see the ‘future’ bits, like they still all play cricket but user machines like a ‘steam bowler’ to pitch the ball at hundred of miles per hour, or the gunship that has a cannon that weighs 250 tons.

Noted on January 4, 2023

[Or the ‘hair telephone’] “Then I think I may assume that Captain Battleax will not fire his gun. But if you will allow me, I will ask him a question." Then he put a minute whistle up to his mouth, and I could see, for the first time, that there hung from this the thinnest possible metal wire,—a thread of silk, I would have said, only that it was much less palpable,—which had been dropped from the whistle as the lieutenant had come along, and which now communicated with the vessel. I had, of course, heard of this hair telephone, but I had never before seen it used in such perfection. I was assured afterwards that one of the ship's officers could go ten miles inland and still hold communication with his captain. He put the instrument alternately to his mouth and to his ear, and then informed me that Captain Battleax was desirous that we should all go home to our own houses.”

Quoted on January 4, 2023

The first reformers had to bear such hardships. I don't exactly remember what it was that Socrates wanted to do for his ungrateful fellow-mortals; but they thought so badly of him, that they made him swallow poison. Your Galileo had a hard time when he said that the sun stood still. Why should we go further than Jesus Christ for an example? If you are not able to bear the incidents, you should not undertake the business.

{matt notes: [ heat : kitchen :: incidents : business ] }

Quoted on January 4, 2023

Why could I not return to my wool-shed, and be contented among my bales, and my ships, and my credits, as I was of yore, before this theory took total possession of me? I was doing good then. I robbed no one. I assisted very many in their walks of life. I was happy in the praises of all my fellow-citizens. My health was good, and I had ample scope for my energies then, even as now. But there came on me a day of success, -a day, shall I say, of glory or of wretchedness? or shall I not most truly say of both ?and I persuaded my fellow-citizens to undertake this sad work of the Fixed Period.

Quoted on January 4, 2023

[Trollope Invents an absurdly large gun and also the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction]

"She would never have done it. I don't suppose that big gun is even loaded."

"The more contemptible is her position. She threatens us with a lie in her mouth."

"I know nothing about it, sir. The gun may be there all right, and the gunpowder, and the twenty tons of iron shot. But I'm sure she'll not fire it off in our harbour. They say that each shot costs two thousand five hundred pounds, and that the wear and tear to the vessel is two thousand more. There are things so terrible, that if you will only create a belief in them, that will suffice without anything else. I suppose we may walk down. Crasweller has gone, and you can do nothing without him."

Quoted on January 4, 2023

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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