The world is putting America in quarantine

The British government has come up with the idea of travel corridors, by which British people will be able to travel to Johnny Foreigner countries for holidays, and come back without quarantine. Nobody, however, has bothered to ask the countries in question if they’re okay with the plan.
So Brits being Brits. No change there.


Whereby you answer your own question.

Having read Fall; or, Dodge in Hell several times now, that passage resonates more and more. I didn’t quite love Fall but I appreciate what Stephenson offers up for our consideration. The hilarity (if one cares to call it that) of the Ameristan chapters includes one of its warlords having hemorrhoid issues. The metaphors are not lost on me.

The first bits of this book:

… involve the cratering of continental Europe as it descends into the Dark Ages. To crib from Stevenson’s prose, thanks to the frostbitten Hibernian shepherds in the hinterlands [of Ireland], literacy is kept alive like a pilot light awaiting its next deployment.

My hat is off to those funny ol’ bookish monks with laughably odd tonsures and ink-stained fingers, guys who managed to save some portion of our written language, scattered in the damp countryside, living in drafty huts (later in monasteries sacked by vikings). I am no fan of the innumerable injustices perpetrated by the Catholic Church [et al.], but I admit I am fond of literacy, and treasure my own. For their part in saving that at least, I am grateful.

Thomas Cahill’s pretty accessible and does his part to make history interesting, lively, and–in a few spots–transcendent. The center of How the Irish Saved Civilization has pictures, including color plates of illuminated manuscripts. Not that anyone here on the bbs needs pictures in their history books, but it gives us a clue about the tone of the book.

Perhaps good reading during the pandemic? Like, as some of us see our patch of the planet hurtling toward its own Dark Age, Round Two?


This is going to be the name for my Blue Man Group cover band.

ETA: happy birthday cake day @frauenfelder and @Mindysan33


“The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down” was a real song; it had lyrics and everything. Was #2 on radio’s Hit Parade in 1937. Here’s a silly version by Shep Fields:

YouTube also has versions by Eddy Duchin and Russ Morgan. Arrangers seem to have had great fun with the song.

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I’m not permitted to take vacations longer than two weeks at a time.


“Fun”? Sir, this is New Zealand.

I wouldn’t say the modern Republicans have an industrialised grievance complex; it’s more like an industrialised persecution complex.

It would certainly explain the all too public examples of wilful refusal to accept other groups’ decisions and points of view.

[excess editorialising expunged]


At this rate, it’s not just Mexico that will pay to build a wall around the U.S…

Is anyone tired of all the winning yet?


…and we deserve it… :poop:


if only “fall” had actually been about that, and not just a single chapter and some hand waving. he discarded every interesting contemporary social issue he brought up to instead write a high fantasy larp rendition of the book of genesis.

i still can’t believe i bothered to read it till the end.


Yeah, Neal Stephenson deciding to tell the fantasy story rather than living in the awesome and wild future he dreamed up was pretty depressing. The fantasy story was fine, but that future he dreamed up was so much more interesting.

I was completely blown away by Moab and the after effects. It’s a brilliant take on the “post truth” world. It’s a terrifyingly believable prediction for the world. It feels far too much like future history for my taste. Even more than that, Neal Stephenson even goes on to come up with interesting and fascinating solutions for surviving the post truth world. He sets up this amazing and terrifying world, with this amazing and terrifying technological and social dynamic going on that is all too horrifyingly believable… and then tells another (nearly) unrelated story in a (nearly) unrelated place.

I almost wish he had just made just made a novella about Moab and Ameristan, so at least it was a complete thought. It’s insanely frustrated how he went from following a fascinating line of thinking about a post truth society to telling a fine but forgettable fantasy tale.

My annoyance is praise. I’m upset to be denied access to the world in his head. I’d love to get Neal Stephenson relaxed, high on a little weed, and comfortable enough to ramble on about the ideas in his head for a few hours.


Me too! Do you think the continuing pandemic could change these archaic rules?

Speaking of a continuing pandemic I believe Trump has big plans for the rest of the world when he gets his third term in office. Quarantine America will they.

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I see what you did there…

I totally agree. The real world was more interesting than the virtual one and his extrapolation of current events was more engaging than the metaphysics of consciousness. But I guess that was his original idea for the book so that is what he went with. Mind you, I didn’t mind the virtual stuff, it’s a brilliant concept but there is just a bit too much time in the middle where Dodge learns to exist in his new world that makes for an incredible lull between the techno thriller of the first third and the quest story of the last third.


Needs more accelerant.

Isn’t that his recipe for writing?

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