Gleanings From The Past #51



Imagine the theatre of the future. […] [T]he masses will no doubt go to the theatre much as they do now. Only instead of seeing a company of actors and actresses, more or less mediocre, engaged in the degrading task of repeating time after time the same words, the same gestures, the same actions, they will see the performance of a complete ‘star’ company, as once enacted at its very best, reproduced as often as it may be wanted, the perfected kinetoscope exhibiting the spectacle of the stage, the talking machine and the phonograph (doubtless differentiated) rendering perfectly the voices of the actors and the music of the orchestra. There will be no need for the employment of inferior actors in the small parts. As the production of any play will only demand that it be worked up to the point of perfection and then performed once, there will be no difficulty in securing the most perfect rendering that it is capable of.

— T. Baron Russell, A Hundred Years Hence, 1906

Obscure Individuals

In reading the life of any great man, you will always, in the course of his history, chance upon some obscure individual, who, on some particular occasion, was greater than him whose life you are reading.

— Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, 1821


‘”No,” she laughed.’ How on earth could that be done? If you try to laugh and say ‘No’ at the same time, it sounds like neighing — yet people are perpetually doing it in novels. If they did it in real life they would be locked up.

— Hilaire Belloc, On Anything, 1910

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— Clavel’s Catalogue of Books, §c. No. 6, Feb. 1675, cited in Edward Arber, The Term Catalogues, 1668-1709, A.D.: With a Number for Easter Term, 1711 A.D. A Contemporary Bibliography of English Literature in the Reigns of Charles II, James II, William and Mary, and Anne, 1903

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

8 thoughts on “Gleanings From The Past #51

  1. As it so happens, Mr. Russell, we of the 21st century still have theater, some of which fits your description of contemporary mediocrity and some of which rises above all expectations.
    Billoc’s comment reminds me of writing advice I read years ago, which in essence recommended to use “said” more often than any other dialogue tags. Hissing, laughing, spitting, and sighing lines is rather difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Russell must have cemented a spot for himself in the history of optimism when he published that book. The book contains several idealistic visions of the future which I am not sure whether they will even happen a hundred years later from now.

      I think that the “Tom Swifties” is a good parody of this (and the overuse of adverbs). For example:

      “Get away from the dynamite!” Tom exploded.


  2. Considering current evidence of communication evolution from wired telephones to cells calling out to each other, then electronic keyboards transcribing words, not our voices — by 3030, I imagine telepathic transmission of our thoughts. My biggest fear of that happening is that our thoughts clamoring for air space could cause diminished oxygen levels further exacerbating our light-headedness.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. @GoofyEd your Gravatar teases that you have a place in which you ‘Most every Friday, I post a humorous blog from my frivolous thoughts.’ But where is this place? Your Gravatar is silent on the subject 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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