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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

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cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Brick Moon

Posted by John Holbo on 03/18/08 at 08:36 AM

Tonight’s selection goes with last night’s. Late 1860’s US SF. Ergo, for fun, another Lulu edition.

"No," said Q. bravely, "at the least it must be very substantial. It must stand fire well, very well. Iron will not answer. It must be brick; we must have a Brick Moon."

Along with The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Three Little Pigs, Edward E. Hale’s "The Brick Moon" (1869) is one of the three great brickpunk classics of world literature.

Sandemanian technopreneurs look to the bold, bricks & mortar future, with a flywheel-launched, satellite-based global positioning system; but learn valuable life lessons instead.

Brick. It’s awesome stuff.

"The Brick Moon" was originally serialized in The Atlantic Monthly. And there is an interesting thematic connection with the Steam Man, above and beyond the nigh simultaneous publication. Apparently the inspiration for the Steam Man was this. "However, by observing carefully the cause of failure, persevering and perfecting the man-form, and by substituting steam in place of the perpetual motion machine, the present success was attained." Words to live by.

As I was saying, in "The Brick Moon", our protagonists are likewise weaned off unreal dreams. "Like all boys, we had tried our hands at perpetual motion. For me, I was sure I could square the circle, if they would give me chalk enough." Then, having put away childish things, they are soon enough hyrodynamically flywheeling tons of bricks into the lower atmosphere.

Here’s a free PDF.

Arguably, this version of the three little pigs is even better.

If you are more old school, here’s Gilgamesh: "Go up on the wall of Uruk and walk around, examine its foundation, inspect its brickwork thoroughly. Is not (even the core of) the brick structure made of kiln-fired brick, and did not the Seven Sages themselves lay out its plans?"

Brick. Awesome.


Speaking of automata, have you listened to the full lyrics of “My Grandfather’s Clock” lately?  I think “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto” is secretly indebted to it....

By The Constructivist on 03/21/08 at 12:18 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Think how my eyes lashed, and my wife’s, as, struggling though a wilderness of moosewood, we came out one afternoon on this front of yellow clay! Yellow clay of course, when properly treated by ire, is brick! Here we were surrounded by forests, only waiting to be burned; yonder was clay, only waiting to be baked. Polly looked at me, and I looked at her, and with one voice, we cried out, “The Moon!”

Excellent, excellent stuff. Thank you!

By Anatoly on 03/22/08 at 06:39 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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