Book meme – the answers

The answers to yesterday’s book meme:

  1. Frith, Pipkin, Blackberry – Frith is the sun god, and the other two are rabbits in Watership Down by Richard Adams. Well done for spotting it first.
  2. Pastor Williams, Decuman, Lord Stansgate – Williams is the American Ambassador, Decuman an older schoolboy and Lord Stansgate the unseen head of the Holy Office in the alternative Catholic England of Kingsley Amis’ The Alteration, as guessed by an anonymous visitor posting from a German IP address.
  3. Bruce (the father), Helen (the mother), Joan (the girlfriend) – one of two that nobody got, but if I had given Bruce and Helen’s surname – Bechdel – it would have been obvious that this is Fun Home by their daughter Alison.
  4. Ulysse Mérou, Zira, Arthur Levain – Mérou and Levain are space explorers; Zira is one of the indigenous inhabitants of the planet where they crash, the only one of the three whose name is also used in the film version of La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle (in English, Planet of the Apes). Well done, .
  5. Duncan, Colin, Malcolm – the other one that nobody got. Again, if I had given their surname – Makenzie – it would have been obvious that this is the cloned patriarchal family running Titan in Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke.
  6. Bendico, Don Calogera, Ciccio – Bendico is the dog, Don Caolgero the mayor and Ciccio the church organist whose vote was stolen in Il Gattopardo by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. Well done again, .
  7. Lake of the biology department, Atwood of the physics department, Captain Douglas – I didn’t want to make it too obvious by including the other scientist, Professor Frank H. Pabodie of the engineering department, in H.P. Lovecraft’s investigations At The Mountains of Madness. My German visitor got this one first.
  8. Thorn, Gran’ma, Bartleby – Thorn and Gran’ma are the key humans, and Brtleby a semi-domesticated rat-creature, in Jeff Smith’s graphic novel Bone, as spotted almost immediately.
  9. Rupert Potter, Benny Golightly, Selina Potter – the three children who are the central characters of Patricia Wrightson’s wonderful Australian urban fantasy, An Older Kind of Magic, identified again by my German visitor.
  10. Ellen Emmett, Phil Graber, Dr Moreby – Ellen and Phil are two of Conrad’s companions, and Dr Moreby their cannibalistic captor, in Roger Zelazny’s first (and Hugo-winning) novel, This Immortal / …And Call Me Conrad

Thanks for playing, all, and I’ve been fascinated to watch this on other people’s ljs.

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1 Response to Book meme – the answers

  1. gareth_rees says:

    Spoilers ahead!

    Suppose n ≠ 0 (modulo 5). Then n4 = 1 (modulo 5). (This is a consequence of Fermat’s little theorem, or you could easily check it by hand.) So n4 + 4 is divisible by 5 (and so can only be prime if n = 1).

    Suppose on the other hand that n = 0 (modulo 5). If n is even, then so is n4, and so is n4 + 4.

    So suppose that n is an odd multiple of 5, that is, n = 5(2a + 1) for some a ≥ 0. Then

    n4 + 4 = 10000a4 + 20000a3 + 15000a2 + 5000a + 629

    But consider the product,

    ((10a + 4)2 + 1)((10a + 6)2 + 1)
    = (100a2 + 80a + 17)(100a2 + 120a + 37)
    = 10000a4 + 20000a3 + 15000a2 + 5000a + 629

    So n4 + 4 cannot be prime in this case either. (For example, 54 + 4 = 17 × 37; and 154 + 4 = 197 × 257.)

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