Monday, March 11
Memories from my teenage years...1Books (1)
As a 14 year old this was one of the books I studied at school.
I have no memories at all about the plot, characters or setting.
All that I know is it was about aeroplane fatigue in the world of a quantum mechanics!
How utterly inappropriate for a young teenager eh?
A brief synopsis just goes to show what a ridiculous choice it was.
Amazing I was not put off English Language for life!
The anti-hero of the story, Theodore Honey, is engaged in research on the fatigue of aluminium airframes. His current project, overseen by Dr. Dennis Scott, is to investigate possible failure in the high aspect ratio tailplane of a new airliner, the fictional Rutland Reindeer.
Honey, a widower, in addition to his work, must bring up his young daughter, Elspeth. The events are narrated by Scott in the first person.
Honey is unimpressive in appearance and is so intensely focused on his work that his relations with the outside world—never that good to begin with—suffer badly.
Throughout the story, people judge him by that appearance, or by his varied and unconventional outside interests, such as pyramidology -- the study of possible esoteric interpretations of the Pyramids.
Honey has predicted, by a (fictional) theory supposedly related to , that it is possible for an alloy structure to fail long before the design life customarily predicted by design standards. He is using a spare tailplane from a Reindeer aircraft in a fatigue test.
Honey's theory predicts that the metal at the root of the tailplane will fatigue and fail with a crystalline fracture. For Honey this seems merely to be an esoteric and engaging problem in pure science; for Scott it is a concern of the first magnitude, as Reindeers are crossing the North Atlantic daily, carrying hundreds of passengers.
Honey's prediction becomes all the more alarming when Scott links it with the recent crash of a Reindeer carrying the Soviet ambassador, which had total flying hours close to Honey's estimate, and which crashed in northeastern Quebec.
The crash report, including photographs, is inconclusive, and Scott feels that the remains of the aircraft must be physically examined.