June 29, 2007

The Jacket / Project Gutenberg

Thanks to The Primate Brow for putting me on to a great book about time travel, The Jacket (The Star-Rover) written by Jack London and published in 1915.

All my life I have had an awareness of other times and places. I have been aware of other persons in me. ­Oh, and trust me, so have you, my reader that is to be. Read back into your childhood, and this sense of awareness I speak of will be remembered as an experience of your childhood. You were then not fixed, not crystallized. You were plastic, a soul in flux, a consciousness and an identity in the process of forming-- ­ay, of forming and forgetting.

You have forgotten much, my reader, and yet, as you read these lines, you remember dimly the hazy vistas of other times and places into which your child eyes peered.


It is time that I introduce myself. I am neither fool nor lunatic. I want you to know that, in order that you will believe the things I shall tell you. I am Darrell Standing. Some few of you who read this will know me immediately. But to the majority, who are bound to be strangers, let me exposit myself. Eight years ago I was Professor of Agronomics in the College of Agriculture of the University of California. Eight years ago the sleepy little university town of Berkeley was shocked by the murder of Professor Haskell in one of the laboratories of the Mining Building. Darrell Standing was the murderer.

I am Darrell Standing. I was caught red-handed. Now the right and the wrong of this affair with Professor Haskell I shall not discuss. It was purely a private matter. The point is, that in a surge of anger, obsessed by that catastrophic red wrath that has cursed me down the ages, I killed my fellow professor. The court records show that I did; and, for once, I agree with the court records.

Darrell is put in a restraining device, The Jacket, at San Quentin and it induces a trance in which he can travel through space and time.


This book is available for free, through the internet, thanks to Project Gutenberg. You can download it, reformat it, read it on the screen, print it out, whatever you like.

Click here to download The Jacket from Project Gutenberg.

Project Gutenberg is the world's oldest digital library, started in 1971 by Michael Hart who began by typing in hundreds of public domain books. Later came volunteer typophiles, and then scanners. Currently there are over 100,000 books in the collection. Here are the top 20 downloads from June 28, 2007:

1. Manual of Surgery by Alexander Miles and Alexis Thomson (678)
2. Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period by Paul Lacroix (426)
3. Jokes For All Occasions by Anonymous (397)
4. Searchlights on Health by B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols (333)
5. The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English by Ray Vaughn Pierce (288)
6. Woman as Decoration by Emily Burbank (282)
7. Kamasutra by Vatsyayana (281)
8. The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce (257)
9. Our Day by William Ambrose Spicer (253)
10. Illustrated History of Furniture by Frederick Litchfield (238)
11. The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed (224)
12. The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci — Complete by Leonardo da Vinci (220)
13. The Bontoc Igorot by Albert Ernest Jenks (216)
14. The Real Mother Goose (212)
15. Amusements in Mathematics by Henry Ernest Dudeney (206)
16. The Mafulu by Robert Wood Williamson (202)
17. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (201)
18. History of the United States by Charles A. Beard and Mary Ritter Beard (199)
19. Ulysses by James Joyce (198)
20. Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 01 by Elbert Hubbard (190)


At June 29, 2007 9:59 PM , Anonymous dave ploeg said...

I love that one of the most downloaded books is the Dudeney Math book. He is a master math problem creator. I have his "536 Curious Problems & Puzzles" on my bookshelf that I bust out on occasion just for fun.

At June 30, 2007 4:09 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

I'll have to check out that one.
I imagine every medical student in the U.S. has a palm pilot loaded with a copy of the Manual of Surgery.

At July 02, 2007 1:56 AM , Blogger Papa Twister said...

I'm stuck in Folsom prison and time keeps draggin' on...

At July 02, 2007 7:20 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

I'm printing out Ulysses now


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