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The Dark Side of the Sun

Annotations | Information | Quotes

- Just as Strata borrows from Larry Niven, so does The Dark Side of the Sun pay homage to the famous SF-writer Isaac Asimov.

- [p. 5] The Lights In The Sky Are Photofloods

The Lights in the Sky are Stars is the title of a science fiction novel by Fredric Brown (who was most famous for his 'twisted-ending' short-short stories, but who is unfortunately almost completely forgotten today).

- [p. 6] The best dagon fishers could ride a shell with their toes.

For an explanation of the word 'dagon' see the annotation for p. 149 of Men at Arms .

- [p. 24] "'Probability math predicts the future.'"

A parallel to Asimov's psychohistory in the Foundation Series.

- [p. 27] The robot Isaac is obviously modelled on Asimov's well-known positronic robots (and less obviously inspired by a similar robot that appears in Robert Sheckley's Dimension of Miracles). Isaac [the robot] follows a more extended version of Asimov's equally famous 'Three Laws of Robotics', though: on p. 53: "'[...] Eleventh Law of Robotics, Clause C, As Amended,' said the robot firmly."

- [p. 42] "'Beng take them!'"

Beng is Romany (Gypsy language) for the Devil.

- [p. 44] "'In a few days it'll be Soul Cake Friday, and also the Eve of Small Gods,' she said."

These are of course religious festivals on the Discworld as well, though the Soul Cake festivities moved to a different day there (see the annotation for p. 262 of Guards! Guards! ). Later in the book, on p. 89/106, Hogswatchnight is also mentioned.

- [p. 73] "'It has been impossible for the Bank to be physically present here today, Roche limits being what they are, but [...]'"

The Roche limit has to do with tidal pull on an object. It specifies how close a satellite can orbit a planet before it's pulled apart by tidal forces. It stands to reason that the First Sirian Bank, being a planet seven thousand miles in diameter, is a bit wary of Roche limits.

- [p. 74] "'And I wish to notify the Joker Institute that I have located a Joker building, description and position as noted.'"

Absolutely no relation, I'm sure, to Larry Niven's Slavers.

- [p. 117] "That was another Joker achievement, the Maze on Minos."

Minos was the name of the King of Crete who commissioned Daedalus to build the famous Labyrinth to house the Minotaur.

- [p. 118] "'Born of the sun, we travel a little way towards the sun,' misquoted Isaac, tactlessly."

Isaac is misquoting the last two lines of the poem I Think Continually by the English poet Stephen Spender:

Born of the sun, they travelled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

- [p. 133] "It was a skit [...] written in early Greek style. [...] Chorus: 'Brekekekex, co-ax, co-axial'"

The play being performed is an updated version of Old Attic Comedy, as written by the poet Aristophanes. This section specifically parodies Aristophanes' The Frogs, in which a chorus of (logically enough) frogs sings an onomatopoeic song involving the lyric: "Brekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax".

I am told that Steven Sondheim once wrote a musical version of The Frogs, which was performed in a swimming pool at Yale University with both Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep in the chorus.

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