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Am I That Predictable? >

: One thing I'm planning to do when I have broadband again is start an Etext Roundup to go along with the parade of "X Roundup" NYCB series you've come to know and tolerate. Sure, you can look at The Online Books Page New Listings and subscribe to the Project Gutenberg mailing list to get deluged with notices of new 500k texts put up every day. But if the Web has taught us one thing it's that we need people to figure out which of the texts are interesting and which are the 19th-century equivalents of homepages for people's cats. Since I am by nature a sorter-through of data and a leaper-to of snap judgements, I might as well share you the trouble of finding the interesting texts, subtly indoctrinating you into my preferences as you become dependent on my selections.

Anyway, here's a taste of Etext Roundup: The Moon Metal, a piece of early science fiction which attacks the gold standard. Since the very title reveals the secret of the story, I have no qualms about reproducing this portion of the climactic paragraph to give you the flavor:

"I made up my mind as soon as I had penetrated Syx’s secret that he obtained the metal from those mystic white streaks which radiate from Tycho, and which have puzzled the astronomers ever since the invention of telescopes. I now believe those streaks to be composed of immense veins of the metal that Syx has most appropriately named artemisium, which you, of course, recognize as being derived from the name of the Greek goddess of the moon, Artemis, whom the Romans called Diana."

Clearly, earlier eras had a more relaxed and open attitude toward spoilers.

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