Spent most of this week fighting a cold. I’m a lot better now, but was pretty out of it for about half the week.

I spent most of the weekend listening to Gulliver’s Travels. It has some great adventures starting with Gulliver’s visit to the island of Lilliput and it’s tiny inhabitants. Unfortunately, as the book goes on, it gets more political and less adventurous. When he finally gets to the land of the Houyhnhnms – an island inhabited by sophisticated talking horses and savage man-beasts – Gulliver just sits around talking about England. (I suppose the first generation of My Little Pony wasn’t so good either).

Gulliver’s travels does have some interesting insights into the past. It was published about 100 years before Louis Pasteur discovered germs, so there were a few paragraphs explaining how moral degeneracy brings about disease. He also had a few paragraphs on a visit to Japan where he had to pretend to be Dutch and begged the Japanese emperor to not have to step on a crucifix (I believe at the time the Japanese had kicked out all Europeans except for the Dutch and required the crucifix stomping to deter any missionaries from setting up shop).

Gulliver’s Travels may also be the first published book with a flying saucer. There’s a race of scientists who’ve built a city on a platter which they fly through the sky with magnets. And if there’s something below that they don’t like, they can just cut power to the magnets and flatten it. As good as any modern day space ray!