JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

The kind of writing ...

... that never fails to make me laugh (due to the sheer absurd logic of it) every time I read it.

One of the three pigs builds a house of sticks, Tom Holt-style:
Still, it was coming along nicely. Once he'd decided to build his new fortified sty out of sticks (why sticks? Dunno. Seemed like a good idea...), he'd taken the time to sit down with a pointed twig and a flat patch of mud and sketch it all out in detail. A nearby blackberry bush had provided the makings of an ersatz abacus, and he'd calculated the various factors - co-efficients of stress against tensile strengths of various woods (elm 68 Newtons per square millimetre, ash 116, oak 97, Scots pine 89, making ash the obvious choice) - before drawing up a final 1/100th scale blueprint with material specs, quantities and a first draft of a schedule of works. Then it had been a a long, hard slog into the woods cutting the sticks and bundling them up into sheaves, all to a standard size and weight to allow completely modular construction; and now he was on the longest and hardest stage of the job, actually fitting it all together.
He'd started off with the south-west African kraal house as his basic design concept, with heavy influence from clinker-built ships, the Eskimo igloo and the classical Roman arch. A high-stacked D-section dome constructed out of overlapping bundles of sticks tied and pinned in an upwards spiral keyed off with a single massive osier knot at the top would, he calculated, give the optimum level of structural integrity (by virtue of the counterbalancing of forces under external compression) without sacrificing the unique insulating properties of thatch. All in all, it was a very impressive piece of work; and although he still couldn't quite see what had possessed him to build a house out of sticks when he could have strolled down to the nearest builders' merchants and ordered a big load of breezeblocks, at least he had the satisfaction of knowing that as stick-built reality went, this was state of the art.

--From Snow White and the Seven Samurai" by Tom Holt.
Tags: reading

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