(This is the cover of the edition I first read. It's signed - and falling apart, so I don't open it any more...)
I'm sick with an early winter cold. Not good. And my lovely bottle of Cointreau, an annual birthday gift from my sister, has gone below the half full mark while I've been pouring capfuls into my hot honey and lemon drinks, or drinking small sherry glasses full. I use alcohol when I'm sick, always.
So, today I decided to buy a replacement booze. I'm not fond of whiskey though I do have a glass on Dad's birthday with the rest of the family, and even I know you don't drink the cheap stuff, even for a cold.
In the supermarket I spotted a small bottle of Jack Daniels, which is as strong as Cointreau - and which played a large role in Harry Harrison's novel The Technicolor Time Machine.
In case you haven't read it, do! It's one of my favourite funny SF novels.
There's this film company in the 1950s which is on the point of going out of business. The bookkeepers from the bank are coming to visit very soon. The only way they can be held off is with a huge hit. And there's this scientist who has invented a time machine. They do have enough money to sponsor him, in exchange for using it to travel into the past to make a huge but cheap movie about the Viking discovery of America. On their first test run into the early eleventh century Orkneys, they meet a Viking, a local leader called Ottar, snatch him into their time machine and bring him back to speak with an Old Norse scholar, who is going to negotiate with him to be their native guide and hopefully teach him English before the company arrives in the eleventh century to begin filming.
And while he is in the twentieth century, they find he can be kept happy by feeding him burnt steaks - and Jack Daniels. Bottles of Jack Daniels become a part of his wages during the filming, leading to a lot of hilarious scenes.
So, tonight after dinner, I will drink like Ottar the Viking! Not as much, by any means, but at least a taste...