Garrison Finish (1893)

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Mon Oct 14 04:25:51 UTC 2002

> This may explain something that has been puzzling me since
> 1967.  In "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" Robert A. Heinlein
> (in one of the final military sections of the book) describes
> spaceships as performing "Garrison didos" (I seem to recall
> the actual wording was "tight Garrison didoes").  OED2 gives
> "dido" as "caper, prank" and some sort of fast maneuver as
> the spaceship neared the end of its approach to the Moon
> would fit the context.
> Problem solved?

Good memory. In Chapter 23, there is the line, "They came in on tight
Garrison didoes, skimming the peaks; I barely saw the chop-off for Luna

I wouldn't be so sure that Heinlein's "Garrison" refers to the horse race
finish though. He has a habit of using proper names in his writing to give
his universe realism. Although, when he does this he tends to use the same
names throughout several books (e.g., Forward, Shipstone) and I don't
remember another Garrison.

Heinlein also uses the word "dido" to refer to a spaceship landing (or
making some manuever on final approach or perhaps to a landing beacon the
ship deploys) in the book "Starship Troopers." I can't find my copy of it,
however, and don't remember the exact usage or meaning. All I remember is
being puzzled by the term because I had no clue what he was referring to.
(The best I could think of was some reference to the Aenied, and I figured
that wasn't it.)

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