Changing / Mixing Units in the Cormac novels?


New Member
Aug 21, 2011
Hey, this seems minor, but it has been confusing me for a while: In Gridlinked, The Line of Polity, and Brass Man, Dragon's dimensions -- and all other distances -- are described in metric/SI units. Polity Agent and Line War use miles instead. At first I thought that I may have picked up specifically American versions of the books, but the prices are listed in pounds and words are spelled the British way -- manoeuvre instead of maneuver, etc -- so I think I can rule that out. So what's up with the sudden change in units?
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I hadn't noticed but on checking you appear to be right; in Gridlinked everything is in metres and kilometres but in Polity Agent everything is in feet and miles. I have no idea why, except that possibly it was for the (not insignificant) American market and rather than have two versions of the book he figured that all English speaking readers would be OK with Imperial units.

If you hang around a while you might get an answer from Neal himself as he sometimes drops in here.
I'm a 'Yankee' so I don't know how things are in the UK

I watch shows like UK Top Gear and they talk in terms of 0-60 mph or 1/4 mile acceleration (a US term) and Tourque in foot-pounds.

so there may be some overlap as we in the US measure car engines by metric size (liters or CCs) rather than Cubic inches for the most part.
I went to school as metres and kilograms were being introduced so I generally know them both. There are two reasons for my change back to miles and pounds. The first is that I have more of a 'feel' for miles and pounds (a can more easily visualize a space ship miles in length than kilometres), the second is a growing resentment about how the metric system is being pushed down our throats here in Britain by the EU. However, now spending a lot of time off on Crete, I'm starting to get more of a feel for metric measures so may change back.

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