I was thinking about a particular scene from a book this morning. It’s quite clear in my mind, but I can’t for the life of me remember what the book was.
The book is almost certainly 70s era or earlier. Hard SF. The protagonist and some people are interacting with a supercomputer, and they need to get it to accept a new piece of information as 100% true. Protagonist asks how this is done and the answer is that you preface the new information with the key phrase “I tell you three times” ( which is of course a Lewis Carroll reference, and the fact that I didn’t know this at the time is probably a major reason the scene stuck in my head)
Yes, that must be the one. I have definitely read NotB. Sadly what I remember most about the book in general is that it was terrible - normally get a scene stuck in my head is a flag for me to reread something , but in this case maybe not…
But IIRC, the opening chapters of The Number of the Beast first appeared in serialized form in OMNI magazine in 1980.
But, yeah, it was pretty tedious. This nonsense about it being a textbook of how NOT to write was a model for SDMB trolls in the early aughts who claimed that their off-the rails posts and threads were simply sociological “experiments” to see how a population of “test subjects” (that would be us Dopers) would react to a sociopathic proposition.
I would have read it between '81 and '84, and I got all my SF out of libraries in those days … hence the assumption of adding a few years. But since Heinlein is essentially a writer of the '60s, it’s not surprising even the later ones have that kind of feel
This year an earlier draft of “Number of the Beast” was published (rather different from “Number” in the last 2/3s) under the title “The Pursuit of the Pankera.” It’s not great - but better than “Number” (still includes the “I tell you three times” bit). I can’t recommend it, unless you want to read Heinlein’s “Lensman” and “Barsoom” fanfic (which take up a sizeable percentage of the book).