And why does the new bridge seem to be attracting such a weird assortment of inexplicable, even paranormal phenomena?
I had originally imagined this tale as story three in my previous collection called Four Square Less One. The story which eventually occupied that slot is called Frustration Causes Accidents and is probably a better fit in that collection. So you can read this story here instead.
I've always been fascinated by the idea of crossings and boundaries, and the bridges people have built between them; you can see my Lyndesfarne Bridge novels for a full-length work on that topic.
Long ago, one of my school science teachers directed me to a little Penguin paperback book entitled, rather grandly, The New Science of Strong Materials, with the slightly less pretentious subtitle Or, Why You Don't Fall Through the Floor.
The book, by Professor J. E. Gordon, is an eclectic mixture of anecdotes interspersed with hard science and engineering, with chapter titles such as Mice in the Gliders and Wooden Ships and Iron Men. It tells the stories of what happens when you ignore some aspect of the properties of materials, and very nearly turned me to Materials Science as a career.
For anyone interested in a historical view of scientific subjects, then I do recommend Professor Gordon’s little book. I certainly read it closely several times as a teenager and it almost certainly affected the way I now see the world around me.
With a nod to Gordon’s book, I very nearly called this piece The New Science of Super-Strong Materials, and Why We Won’t Be Allowed off the Planet. But that seemed a bit long to appear in a table of contents.