"The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed.
Our authority is Isaiah 30:26, "Moreover, the light of the Moon
shall be as the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall
be sevenfold, as the light of seven days." Thus Heaven receives
from the Moon as much radiation as we do from the Sun, and in
addition 7*7 (49) times as much as the Earth does from the Sun,
or 50 times in all. The light we receive from the Moon is one
1/10,000 of the light we receive from the Sun, so we can ignore
that ... The radiation falling on Heaven will heat it to the
point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat
received by radiation, i.e., Heaven loses 50 times as much heat
as the Earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann law for
radiation, (H/E)^4 = 50, where E is the absolute temperature of
the earth (-300K), gives H as 798K (525C). The exact temperature
of Hell cannot be computed ... [However] Revelations 21:8 says
"But the fearful, and unbelieving ... shall have their part in
the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." A lake of molten
brimstone means that its temperature must be at or below the
boiling point, 444.6C. We have, then, that Heaven, at 525C is
hotter than Hell at 445C."
From "Applied Optics" vol. 11, A14, 1972
THE BOOK OF ULTIMATE TRUTHS BY ROBERT RANKIN
by Marinos Yannikos
If you're as much a fan of Terry Pratchett as I am, you may have
noticed some books with strange cover illustrations showing
mystic symbols and bearing funny names involving Armageddon,
Antipopes and similar somewhat religion-related subjects, that
are usually located just left of Pratchett's books in your
favourite bookstore's sci-fi/fantasy shelf (assuming they're kept
in alphabetical order). These are Robert Rankin's books, namely
"The Antipope", and the "Armageddon" and "Brentfort" Trilogies.
Despite the quite appealing cover illustrations they've never got
me interested enough to buy them though. Last Tuesday, being
bored to the utmost, and hoping for a miracle that wasn't bound
to happen - I was hoping to find "Men At Arms", the latest
Discworld Novel, available in Paperback - my glance fell upon
what seemed to be a new Rankin book (it was put on display in
such a way that the cover illustration was visible) called "The
Book Of Ultimate Truths". The cover illistration depicted a
Highlander standing in the middle of a road, swinging his
claymore at a cabriolet carrying a tall guy with long, black
hair, and a short one with no hair, everything drawn in a 'pop'
style. The background was decorated with strange clouds, stars
and the odd mystic symbol. I don't know whether it was the
combined effect of that cover art and the title or just my
boredom and disappointment, but I decided to have a closer look
at that book.
Inside, apart from a short, funny biography of Robert Rankin
(which seems to have as its sole purpose to parody those of
Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett) and references to Rankin's
previous work, several people's opinions about Rankin were listed
(this seems to be typical for Corgi Books by the way), among
others, Terry Pratchett: "One of the rare guys who can always
make me laugh." Being a devotee to Pratchett, this stirred my
interest immediately. On the back cover, David Profumo from the
"Daily Telegraph" describes the book as a mixture of Douglas
Adams, Don Leavy, Moorcock, Cervantes, childish cartoons, B-
movies, Munchhausen (spelled incorrectly, as you'd expect from an
English speaker), game shows, psychedelia and detective fiction.
Then, an even more confusing blurb about reincarnation, opening
tins with the teeth, and Nostradamus follows. According to this
short story, the book is about a book called "The Book Of
Ultimate Truths" (remember the "Hitchhiker's Guide To The
Galaxy"?), written by the "guru's guru" Hugo Rune, and the
whereabouts of some missing chapters of it.
It took me about 12 hours to read through the 347 pages, and, I
must admit, it surpassed my expectations by far. It's an
excellent book, the humour lines up very well with that of Adams
and Pratchett, causing me to laugh aloud in the middle of the
night (I try not to think about what the neighbours made of that)
and depriving me of my well-earned sleep for several hours.
Before you consider me an easy-to-amuse reader, I assure you that
I'm not. Not after having read all of Terry Pratchett's and
Douglas Adam's books.
So much for my personal experiences. I'm not going to withhold
some "spoilers" about the book's contents any longer: The main
characters are, apart from Hugo Rune who never actually appears
in the book but who is frequently cited: Cornelius Murphy, the
tall boy from the front cover, his friend Tuppe, who is of a
somewhat dwarvish nature (i.e. very short), and their evil
opponent called "the Campbell". Cornelius is sent on an "epic"
quest by Arthur Kobold to find the missing chapters of Rune's
book, which contain invaluable information about - I'm tempted to
say - "Life, The Universe And Everything" (no, not Adam's book).
Hugo Rune had discovered many of the secrets that are withheld
from us mere mortals, for example, where all the Biros go, where
all the small screws come from when you repair your toaster, why
time seems to fly when you're enjoying yourself, and so on. Of
course, Dark Forces are also after these missing chapters (there
always are, aren't there?), to prevent them from being published.
Throughout most of the book everything seems to be coincidential,
only at the end things become clear, the reader finds out why
Cornelius Murphy was chosen for that quest, who the Campbell
really is, and what part Arthur Kobold really plays.
In an amateurish attempt at comparing the three authors
mentioned here, I concluded that Rankin's characters are
different in at least one major aspect: Most of them, if not all,
are completely insane. The plot of the book is sometimes
confusing, often of a slightly eerie, conspiratorial nature. It's
also fun to read about Rune's encounters with many famous people,
like Gandhi, E. Hemingway, G. Orwell and A.C. Doyle. Strangely
enough, not all of Rune's "lives" listed on the back cover are
mentioned within the book, which can only mean, that either a
sequel is already being worked on, or, Hugo Rune actually appears
regularly in the other 7 books by Rankin that were published by
Corgi (the latter seems to be true at least for the second of the
Now, before you rush out and buy this book, a warning is in
order: If you're a very religious person, you may find the part
of the book involving monks quite offensive. If not, you'll be
glad you aren't. I found this book very amusing, and am seriously
considering to buy at least "The Antipope". For lovers of the
more subtle kind of humourous fiction, this is definitely a must.
Robert Rankin, "The Book Of Ultimate Truths"
ISBN 0-552-13922-X; RRP £4.99
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.