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Book Reviews, Analysis & Possible Spoilers

Fan of Sci Fi, Literature, History, Business/Economics, Philosophy and writing. My readings keep migrating away from the overview and into the technical.

A few favorite passages from "Mason & Dixon"

   "This one's not rising,- 'deed, 'tis gone below the Line,-"

   " 'Tis the Lens. Ev'rything in the image we see is inverted."

   "The Sky, turn'd upside down? Wondrous! You are allow'd to do this?"

   "We're paid to do this," declares Dixon.

   "Kings pay us to do this," adds Mason.

p 332-3


   They are examin'd skeptickally.  "Not from the Press, are you?"

   " 'Pon my Word," cry both Surveyors at once.

   "Drummers of some kind's my guess," puts in a Countryman, his Rifle at his Side, "am I right, Gents?"

   "What'll we say?" mutters Mason urgently to Dixon.

   "Oh, do allow me," says Dixon to Mason.  Adverting to the Room, "Why aye, Right as a Right Angle, we're out here to ruffle up some business with any who many be in need of Surveying, London-Style,- Astronomickally precise, optickally up-to-the-Minute, surprisingly cheap.  The Behavior of the Stars is the most perfect Motion there is, and we know how to read it all, just as you'd read a Clock-Face.  We have Lenses that never lie, and Micrometers fine enough to subtend the Width of a Hair upon a Martian's Eye-ball.  This looks like a bustling Town, plenty of activity in the Land-Trades, where think yese'd be a good place to start?" with an amiability that Mason recognizes as peculiarly Quaker,- Friendly Business.



   Mason squints thoughtfully, Dixon shifts his Hat about till presently nodding, "Why aye, thah's it,- the Lad with the mechanickal Duck...?"

   "Too true, alas.  A Mechanician of blinding and world-rattling Genius, Gentlemen, yet posterity will know him because of the Duck alone,- they are already coupl'd as inextricably as...Mason and Dixon? Hawhawhawnnh.  The Man Voltaire call'd a Prometheus,- to be remember'd only for having trespass'd so ingeniously outside the borders of Taste, as to have provided his Automaton a Digestionary Process, whose end result could not be distinguish'd from that found in Nature."

   "A mechanickal Duck that shits?  To whom can it matter," Mr Whitpot, having remov'd his Wig, is irritably kneading it like a small Loaf, "- who besides a farmer would even recognize Duck Waste, however compulsively accurate?



   "Oh, and more.- "Twas as if this Metropolis of British Reason had been abandon'd to the Occupancy of all that Reason would deny.  Malevolent shapes flowing in the Streets.  Lanthorns spontaneously going out.  Men roaring, as if chang'd to Beasts in the Dark.  A Carnival of Fear. Shall I admit it? I thrill'd.  I felt as if I ran fast enough, I would gain altitude, and fly, I would become one of them.  I could hide beneath Eaves as well as any.  I could creep in the Shadows.  I could belong to the D------l, - anything, inside this Vortex, was possible.  I could shriek inside Churches. I could smash ev'ry Window in a Street. Make a Druidick Bonfire of the Bodleian.  At some point, however, without Human prey, the Evil Appetite must fail, and I became merely Melancholy again."