February 24th, 2002

Roald Dahl

I was reading the Roald Dahl Omnibus today, and I ran across
this excerpt from "The Great Automatic Grammatisator" that
perfectly illustrates the wit of Dahl. The context of this
snippet is that Knipe, the first speaker, is describing to
Mr. Bohlen the workings of a machine that will automatically
write stories.


"'There are many other little refinements too, Mr.
Bohlen. You'll see them all when you study the plans
carefully. For example, there's a trick that nearly
every writer uses, of inserting at least one long,
obscure word into each story. This makes the reader
think that the man is very wise and clever. So I
have the machine do the same thing. There'll be a
whole stack of longs words stored away just for
this purpose.'
'Where?'
'In the 'word-memory' section,' he said, epexegetically."