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Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 08:29:41 -0500
From: "Fernando Q. Gouvea" 
Subject: (urth) TIDDAOSAOS

I've gotten myself into doing a short "book seminar" on "The Island of
Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories" at my college. It's six
one-hour sessions, and students get credit just for coming, so it'll be
crucial to make it interesting. I expect a lot of "I don't get it"
comments, so I want to be ready with interesting things to say about the
stories. Any pointers anyone might have to comments on the stories would be
welcome. (I already know to search the Urth archives, of course.)

In the first session, we'll probably be looking at the first three stories,
"The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories", "Alien Stones", and "La
Befana". Luckily, these are not as difficult as some of the stories that
come later in the book. 

On re-reading "Alien Stones", I did find myself wondering about one thing:
if the aliens are some form of artificial intelligence, why do they have
star charts that the captain can inspect? Wouldn't any such charts simply
be kept as software? Is this just a slip of Wolfe's imagination (Homer nods
again?) or is there something I'm missing?



Fernando Q. Gouvea                      
Department of Mathematics          Editor, FOCUS and MAA Online
Colby College                      Mathematical Association of America
Waterville, ME 04901               http://www.maa.org

Discovering the Church is apt to be a slow procedure but it can take place
if you have a free mind and no vested interest in disbelief. 
   -- Flannery O'Connor


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