Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Clockbeard Orange

I find myself fascinated by the concept of clockwork mechanisms and automata. I’ve wanted to write a story featuring those for quite some time, but haven’t found the time or the inspiration for it.

To find that inspiration, I keep coming back to this. The first known mechanical computer, dated to about 150 B.C.

The Antikythera Mechanism in all it's rusted glory

The idea that the ancient Greeks (or whoever built it) possessed the know-how to construct a mechanical computer almost 2200 years ago is mind-boggling. The degree of mind-boggledness (new word) depends on who you ask, though…

I read Graham Hancock’s Fingerprints of the Gods about ten years ago, and found it to be a combination of interesting maths and facts, and absolute madness. is theory is that there was some kind of ur-civilization from which all the ancient civilizations (Egyptians, Mayans, Sumerians, etc) sprang. There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I need to reread it soon.


Joel Eklund said...

A love we both share, friend.

The point-n'-click adventure game Syberia (and it's sequel), by Benoît Sokal, have a soft spot in the more romantic sides of my mind, partly because of the automaton theme that stretches throughout the games. The opening scene in the first game is of a funeral, where wind-up automatons carry the coffin of their maker.

And the Antikythera... Christ, probably the only really antique object I'm even mildly interested in owning. Give to me. Now.

beardonaut said...

I just have to write something about automatons...every time I talk/write/read about them, like now, images pop into my mind.

And you would have to fight me for it. Fight!