Monday, July 20, 2009

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alfred Bester's Tiger! Tiger! is based on the Alexandre Dumas revenge and reward classic, The Count of Monte Cristo. Elements of Alfred Bester's book were also inspired by the true story of a man stranded on a raft in the Pacific for four months during World War II. Allied ships repeatedly passed the man by, because it was feared his raft was a lure set by Japanese submarines.

The longest recorded survival alone on a raft is 133 days (4 1/2 months) by 2nd Steward Poon Lim (born, Hong Kong) of the U.K. Merchant Navy, whose ship, the S.S. Ben Lomond, was torpedoed in the Atlantic 750 mi. off the Azores at 11:45 A.M. on November 23, 1942. He was picked up by a Brazilian fishing boat off Salinas, Brazil, on April 5, 1943, and was able to walk ashore. In July, 1943, he was awarded the British Empire Medal.

From Norris and Ross McWhirter's 10 Best Oddities

And, from The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas, 1844:

There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness.”


Until the day when God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, "Wait and hope."

Image from As it says on the Cracked site, "Next time you feel like complaining about how small your apartment is, just imagine living for four months on one of these." (Reminds me of the Tehching Hsieh "prison cell" piece, One Year Performance.)

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