[BLML] Shturmovshchina (was Hermann) [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]

Richard HILLS richard.hills at immi.gov.au
Thu Jan 3 04:44:50 CET 2013

Mark Forsyth, The Horologicon, pages 137 & 138:

Hermann Inclusis, or Hermann the Recluse, could be said to have engaged in a Satanic shturmovshchina. Hermann lived in the thirteenth century in Podlazice in the middle of Bohemia (which is now the Czech Republic, approximately). But Hermann was not like other monks praying and fasting and living a life of virtuous virginity. Hermann the Recluse was an Evil Monk.

Nobody knows how evil Hermann was or in what particular specialities of evil he excelled, but it was quite enough to attract the notice of the other monks in the monastery, who decided that he was quite beyond any normal redemption or punishment and decided to immure him, which is to say that they put him in a room and then built a wall where the door had once been. This done they settled down, like good Christians, to let him starve to death.


So, Herman the Recluse struck a deal whereby he could expiate his guilt by writing the biggest book in the whole wide world in a single night. He set to work, but like many writers who signed their contract thinking that it would be easy, he discovered the deadline charging towards him like a herd of elephants. He then struck a second deal, this one with the Devil (I told you that Hermann the Recluse was an evil monk). The Devil agreed to help him write the book, but only in exchange for Hermann's soul. Deal done, the book was produced in a single, after which Hermann tried to strike a third deal giving him forgiveness and salvation, this time with the Virgin Mary, who, I suppose, happened to be around. However, just before he could sign on the dotted line, he died and went to Hell.

There are historians and cynics who question the absolute accuracy and veracity of the stories above, but no writer who has ever worked to a deadline would doubt a word of it.

Anyway, the book that was produced survives to this day. It's called the Codex Gigas and is kept in the National Library of Sweden. It's just under a metre tall, half a metre wide, and twenty centimetres thick.

Richard Hills:

Compared to the slender rulebooks of comparable games of skill (for example, chess), the Duplicate Lawbook is an information overloading Codex Gigas. And the shturmovshchina of the 1997 Drafting Committee meant that the 1997 Laws were often ambiguous and/or ridiculous (most notoriously the ridiculous 1997 Law 25B).

Best wishes,

Richard Hills


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