I read this book about 24-Nov-2007. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1953. This note was last modified Sunday, 25-Nov-2007 15:23:36 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Sort of a quick reread, but some things still catch my attention.
Mostly negative, of course.
It's so remarkably stupid that the computers produce binary output that a person has to convert to some other form to enter into the starship controls. It's so remarkably stupid that the log tables are on paper. Remember, the original mechanical almost-computers like Babbage's difference engine were made for the purpose of computing books of tables, and they directly produced typeset output in decimal. In the mid-19th century. It's silly of Heinlein to think that the state of the art would fall back so fast, even in the guild-bound world he created.
Guilds—ick. Hereditary guilds—super double ick.
It's also amazingly stupid that they manage to lose all the copies of the tables. I don't care what the guild says, at least one set should be kept prominently on the bridge, and anybody trying to remove it should be shot. They started with three full guild members, so shouldn't they have had three copies to begin with?