The Best and Worst of Times

It can be hard to make sense of the world at the best of times and even harder to make sense of it in the worst of times. Charles Dickens wrote that the best of times and the worst of times happened simultaneously, along with belief, incredulity, wisdom, foolishness, light, darkness, hope and despair. Perhaps he was right but it seems more likely to me that these things happen in different times in different measures in different places.  Continue reading

The much maligned Mr Scrooge

Dickens wrote well. His characters have traits which we recognised in people today and none more so than the traits of Mr Scrooge which are so well known that we call people “a scrooge” when we think that they are mean and miserly. Whern we do this we are unjust to the fictional Mr Scrooge and to Charles Dickens.  Continue reading

The Fourteen Billion

I was re-reading a collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov. Asimov was born in 1920, and each story is prefaced with an explanation of how he came to write it. At the end of the story the note continues with an end piece. Although Asimov was famous as a writer of science fiction – I, Robot was made into a film but it was not his best work – he was also a scientist of renown. Continue reading