25 Comments

  1. It was his zip code? He needed something that rhymed really good in English for the inevitable musical?

  2. Synchronicity: I just finished reading the book for the first-ever time. Oddly, its a fast read. It is more than 1,400 pages long but you zip through 25 pages in no time. This is partly because Hugo takes 25 pages to do what other authors do on one page.

    If the book said why he assigned that number, I didn’t remember it.

    I do know that many people think the book takes place during the French Revolution which is like thinking “Casablanca” takes place during World War I.

    I mean the French Revolution of 1789 of course. You learn in the book that there were lots of French Revolutions.

  3. My first idea was that it might be a prime number, but when I looked up 24601, I first discovered that it can be factored (73 × 337), but then that the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article explains the connection to Hugo. Oops.
    P.S. The guess by ItsJustMe is very close to the right answer.

  4. For the same reason Ivan Denisovich was assigned number S854: he was given that number by the author-ities.

  5. Little-known fact: he didn’t do so in his first 24,600 rough drafts of the novel, but he kept on tinkering until he got a number that felt “right” to him.

    Alternate explanation: his secret powers of precognition told them that Hugo Gernsback was eventually going to be pissed if 124C41+ had already been spoken for, and as a fellow Hugo, Victor decided to be a nice guy about it.

  6. I remember when my son saw Preparation H mentioned in a movie and asked me what it was. And then we had quite the discussion about what must have been horribly wrong with Preparations A through G.

    (He was 10. I had no excuse)

  7. The soft drink company also had a lot of failures before their big success. Anybody remember 1-Up, 2-Up, 3-Up, 4-Up, 5-Up, or 6-Up?

  8. Shrug: 4th Street Rag, 10th Street Rag and 11th Street Rag were not successful for Euday Bowman, but 12th Street Rag made the big time. Absolutely true; you can look it up.

  9. I heard that Chanel No. 4 was outlawed because the smell could kill people from ten feet way.

  10. Regarding Preparation H–I guess we all know that WD-40 was the true success after WD (Water Displacement) 1 through 39 (which all failed).

  11. @ Anne – I had never heard of that explanation for the “40” before, but the search I thought was going to be a wild goose chase produced confirmation almost immediately, from everybody’s favorite “authoritative” source (Wikipedia).

  12. And C-4 (explosive) is “Compound 4”, after C-2 and C-3 (and, I guess, just C).

  13. JP, I do, at least. Those that don’t should know that, unlike many of the posts leading up to it, Catch-18 isn’t a joke.

  14. There was only one catch, and it was Catch-18. At least, until the editors got ahold of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s