Monday, 22 December 2008
Adrift in the Coffee Shop
This book was a favourite of myself and my two brothers. We continually passed it around like a naughty magazine, serial reading of what was our first science fiction book. I'm not really a fan of this genre, unless it happens to be the earth-bound stories of Ray Bradbury- lightning conductor salesmen running ahead of thunder storms, that sort of thing. But this tale of three friends on a motorbiking holiday (two bikes are named- a Brough and a BSA) was utterly absorbing. The anonymous bike breaks down, and thinking that a roadside shed may provide repair tools they instead discover an aluminium spaceship. Of course they get in it, mess about with the controls and the whole thing unexpectedly roars off into space. It was written by Prof.A.M.Low, who served in the First World War in the Royal Flying Corps Experimental Works, and at the time of writing the book was President of the Interplanetary Society. Why have I been reminded of this? Well, yesterday we were in the much less arcane local Milanese-style coffee shop, and the boys had milk shakes. The impossibly pink liquid came in curious clear plastic containers that are designed to retain the contents when they take-off across the room. "What could we make of these?". Hmmm, I thought.