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Tolkien and... Venus

A student inquired: "Did Tolkien ever visit neighbouring planets, like Mars or Venus? How did he cope with the extreme temperatures there?"

 

The truth is, heat was not a problem for J.R.R. Tolkien. Decades of exposure to hot pipe smoke had hardened him to the extreme. For example, he drank his coffee at a temperature of 290°C. How he laughed about these Americans and their mandatory "Coffee may be hot" warnings!

However, he usually capped it at 290°C because then he could keep his pipe in his mouth whilst drinking the coffee. Any hotter, and the wooden pipe would have incinerated.

And yes, Tolkien did visit Venus. He even drank a cup of coffee at 460°C there. He did not even have to cook that coffee, because that is the normal room temperature at this place. Tolkien had forgotten to bring a refrigerator!

What other interesting things did Tolkien do on Venus? For example, he tried molybdomancy, the art of telling the future by pouring lead - which was a futile task because the lead, due to the great heat, would never ever harden. It was one of the few times when Tolkien was actually defeated by physics. He ordered popsicles from Earth to cool the lead down, but Hugo Dyson ate them.

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A comprehensive collection of short truths from J.R.R. Tolkien's life, and the many wonders and miracles he bestowed upon the world. Put together and published here for the first time!

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