100 metaphorical monkeys

I was saddened to hear that Lyall Watson passed away at the end of June. I remember my excitement at reading Supanature back in 1973 for the first time and believing every word. I remember eagerly buying the ‘Romeo Error’ (which was disappointing) and then (in a return to form) ‘Lifetide’ in which I was particularly taken by the 100 monkey theory whereby knowledge could be passed on normally in groups of up to a hundred but beyond that knowledge mysteriously passed to all the other members of that species even if they were on a different island and never came in contact with the original group.

This theory used to fuel all sorts of ideas in my mind about the transfer of religious beliefs, bronze age metallurgy skills and even more recently punk music, so how disappointed was I, to read in the Times orbituary published yesterday  that “he later confirmed that it was, in essence, fiction. It is a metaphor of my own making,”

Now I am a great fan of metaphors in stories but Lyall, how could you mislead us so?

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