Saturday, April 19, 2008

Brain trust

My new Astral Weeks column looks at BoingBoing brain trustee Cory Doctorow's cool new YA novel Little Brother. A tantalizing extract!

Marcus' voice is seamless for the most part, but when he says, "My brain was really going now, running like sixty," I thought: No 21st century teen would say "running like sixty." In fact, that expression was last in currency at the tail end of the 19th century, in Adenville, Utah, to be precise. That's where John D. Fitzgerald's "The Great Brain" books take place; in the first chapter of "The Great Brain," for example, we see the phrase "working like sixty." Could this yoking of "brain" and "like sixty" -- I thought wildly -- be an unconscious hommage to those delightful books?

(As much fun as reading Little Brother was re-reading Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Great Brain!)

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Blogger doctorow said...

I think it probably was a tribute to Fitzgerald, albeit an unconscious one. I'm a HUGE fan of the books and was raised on them -- even wrote an sf story explictly based on them.


7:50 AM  

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