A Conversation for There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

I apologize for the terminally literal-minded

Post 1


I appreciate you bringing 'Harsh Mistress' to the attention of those who may not have been exposed to it. A most excellent book, in many ways. I don't know if I liked the computer striving for a sense of humour, or the 'throw rocks at it' line better. Certainly the protaganist was a delightful fellow, as was the professor.

It's a pity that the discussions here have been about the literal truth of the phrase, and not the social and political discussions that the story could generate.

I'm not at all certain, however, that this is the origin of the phrase. The computer repair guy was of Russian descent, if memory serves, and I believe I remember him mentioning that it came from his heritage. If this is true, it may be a translation of a Russian phrase. I also have a dim memory of the phrase being used in an old black and white movie that may have pre-dated the book.

Interestingly, if it was coined by Heinlin, it would be a curious combination of a sort of time loop, and perhaps a case of self-fulfilling prophecy, saying it's from the past (where it did not previously exist), only to have it create its own origin. Weird.

Thanks, again. smiley - towel

I apologize for the terminally literal-minded

Post 2


PS: I just realized the you correctly used Tanstaafl at the outset, and switched to Taanstafl at the end.
smiley - towel

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I apologize for the terminally literal-minded

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