"Write a story in which you steal specialist vocabulary from a subject you know little about."
That was the challenge, but I have written more of a dissertation than a story. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy (if that is the right word) reading it.
The Race for Power and Triumph of Waste
This is the final chapter heading in a book of Modern Inventions given as a school prize in 1916.
At first glance the book is laughable to my modern eyes – the drawings of aeroplanes made of balsa-wood, paper and rope, with their talk of impinging air and cyclic up current – chapters about wireless telephony referring to wave trains – it even mentions television and its selenium cells.
But reading further, the author writes of the human race steadily destroying the world’s reserves of coal, petroleum and wood. I quote – ‘The death of the earth and the sun must both come... but the human race of today is taking care that it shall cease millions of years before...having long ere this exhausted all that it has to live on.’
A hundred years after my father was given this book we still haven’t learned.