Thursday, April 26, 2007

Of catalysis and stranger reactions

Browsing the scifiction archive, was delighted to find to find this piece by Michael Swanwick, which of course reminded me instantly of Primo Levi's Periodic Table. The wikipedia entry refers to all 21 entries as "short stories", but from what I can remember, the majority were memoirs.

From my undependable memory - Hydrogen and Helium were childhood memoirs, hydrogen with the classic eyebrow-erasing chemistry experiment
either Cerium or Chromium a memoir of a desperate concentration camp existence
I have a distinct memory of one being about ammonia or ammonium, which of course can't be right, but it was about a chemical factory, so it probably is "Sulphur"
Either Lead or Iron, is a genuine tale - the life of a middle aged smith or quarryman

but all of them brilliant. It comes as no surprise that the book won this

And even the memory of Levi's books stirs as it did on reading, memories of the more weird-historical paragraphs that seep into chemistry textbooks - images of Sulphur vapour condensing, the rejected slag of an iron extraction, the long long pathways of sulphuric acid production - the alchemical dirt under the fingernails of modern chemistry.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Malang said...

'Tis been many a whiles whiling away useless time that could be put to worse-off use in conjuring our own Across-border lingo.

On Collaboration between alleged foes:

condemnity: Duh condemning enmity, to denote that i am a tad rusty at ghordoping, but just you wait.

CBL's: Confidence Buildig Liesures, of which there need to be more.

Malankeys: hopefully a new astral projection species of the combined linguistic efforts of one messers Malang and one messers Inebriated monkey.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Malang said...

Rusty dusty crusty I am still adamant to coninue.

Spar-crossed lovers: What my foesies consider the premise of cinematic travesties such as Veer Zara.

line-of-console: for the pseudo pacifist weepers greapering on either end of said lines.

Fashism: The one 'ism' to transcend borders and endear us to our foes, based purely on the deperate need that is cosmically skin and/or fabric deep.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Malang said...

I believe we the Ignorati havent given the 'Age of the Moron' its due. So heres to it...

Morantics: A unique non-language of semantics and logic used in past-tense, post waste by a legion of idiots.

Dumbardments: That not-so-subtle intellectual poisioning that filters through the daily press Page-3 sections, usually invlving an excess or decrease in silicon content.

Idiocracy: Okay so this is a rip-off or a rip-off but it is the 'new' Democracy, and we the Ignorati are 'so with it'.

12:00 AM  

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