Saturday 18 May 2013

A $3 Pohl dance

I bought this. It is a copy of the unrevised Gladiator-at-Law by Pohl and Kornbluth from the mid sixties. I bought it before I started uni, back in a time when I actually had the time to engage with things and take in new information that one might argue isn't directly necessary for passing one subject or another.

I bought it with every intention of reading it. I have at times been quite partial to the works of Frederik Pohl. He is a prolific flesh factory of those older-school ages of the genre, those precious metal eras that people talk about. Both gold and silver. I've always had a great appreciation for authors who consistently produce material for decades on end, and he has done that. His first published work was in the late thirties and I'm pretty sure he is still out there doing it.

I still haven't read this book though. I see it a lot, and I wonder what is in it as I do other things. I've been dancing around this book for months now, promising that I will get my three dollars worth.

I imagine that my three dollars worth is in there, because not only is Pohl a pen to be reckoned with, but Kornbluth is the kind of person you read stories about. This guy, the one listed up there on the cover  next to Pohl, read a multi-volume encyclopaedia. In alphabetical order. For educational purposes. Anybody who's brain comes to these kinds of conclusions has more than likely got at least three dollars worth happening on the page.

I'm not so worried about the three dollars really. I am more concerned that I might have gotten more out of wondering what is inside than I will ever get from actually reading it. LOOK AT THAT TITLE! and that cover! I hope that is the eponymous legal pit fighter. He figures prominently in what I imagine might be inside. He appears to be a cyborg who has gone down the office-chair model of cybernetic prosthesis route.
As Thadius scooted smoothly to the desk at the opposite wall he thought briefly about the last time he had had to make use of the various arena combat techniques described in Carter's Guide to Contract Law, 17th Ed. The years had changed him, but not as much as that trident had. 
It had been seven years since Thadius Faulkirk, gladiator-at-law, had been impaled with a trident and lost the use of his legs, back, neck and the back of his head during Stone v NorTex, represented by Faulkirk v Simon. At the time he had opted not for the standard humanoid cybernetic components, but instead elected to go with an experimental prototype based on the office-chair. Many had said that he was mad. For Thadius the novelty was yet to wear off.
Considering his client's position, Thadius would need something unconventional to win this case. But as it turned out, the man with the office-chair legs was well versed in unconventional.
In my head there is also this whole backstory in which he was never good at office-chair jousting when he was at law school, so after the accident he goes to find his law school's office-chair jousting champion and learns to fight and cross examine anew. 

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