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Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 13:57:36 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: (urth) Seventeen

--- Michael Straight  wrote:
> I recently found out that another SF writer is enamored of the number
> seventeen: apparently most of Steven Brust's novels have 17 chapters
> (starting with the first Dragaera novel, which features a society with
> 17 "Houses").

For what looks like the full story on Brust and 17, see 

> So what is it about 17 that Wolfe and Brust (and others?) might latch on
> to it?  That it is prime?  Fondness for magazines like Sassy and YM?

In college, I took a course in mathematical logic from Paul Benacerraf.
Whenever he did a numerical example in his lucid and interesting
lectures, he would say something like, "Take an arbitrary number--
seventeen, for instance."  Finally a student asked him why it was
always 17, and he gave a parodic proof that 17 is the most arbitrary
number.  So it shows up in all kinds of strange places.

By the way, I like Steven Brust's sf a lot, even though it's not much
like Wolfe's.

Jerry Friedman

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