The first batch reflects a cleaning-out of my files and a couple of drafts as well, plus a couple of things that I thought needed to be said. The initial release will include Not Your Usual Bushrangers, Not Your Usual Australian Hero (tall tales about Crooked Mick of the Speewah), Not Your Usual Gold Seekers (some nuts and bolts background to the Australian gold rush), Not Your Usual War Poems (going beyond 'Flanders Fields'), Not Your Usual Quotations (science quotations of a delectable kind), and Not Your Usual Australian Verse (well, it does actually include all the old favourites, but also a great deal of lesser-known stuff.
For balance, I needed to get one more title to reflect the fact that I really am a science writer. Therein hangs a tale: I was using material previously researched and in most cases drafted, so it was mainly assembly and editing, and it went ahead very fast. I got to 330,000 words, equal to six trade paperbacks, and knew there was a lot more to come, so I rejigged the existing content into four volumes—with at least two more to come, and I have now cleaned up the first volume of Not Your Usual Science.
There is still some technical stuff and some editing to do, but I am almost there. Anyhow, Not Your Usual Science is mainly about how we found answers to many of our questions, so here are a few musings on answers.
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In Old English, an answer was a reply made to a legal charge, a form of defence. Literally, andswaru was taken from two roots: and, meaning 'against', and swarâ, meaning 'swear', so to an Anglo-Saxon, an answer was a 'swearing against', but these days, we see it as a reply to a question or a response to an examination question.
My business cannot brook this dalliance.
Good sir, say whe'r you'll answer me or no; If not, I'll leave him to the officer.
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS:
I answer you! What should I answer you?
The money that you owe me for the chain.