In Gene Wolfe's Book of The New Sun, the sword Terminus Est is filled with some type of fluid, possibly mercury, that makes its weight shift depending on how it's being held. Have any real historical weapons been constructed in such a way, by filling them with fluids or ball bearings or something?
Please recommend an excellent historical novel about life in 17th-century North America (preferably New England). I'm re-reading Toni Morrison's A Mercy right now, and I'm looking for more stuff about the day-to-day life -- chores, food, bartering, the intersection of European colonists with indigenous American populations, etc. I s'pose I'd be okay with a nice non-fiction book, too, but the preference is for fiction.
I'd like to read a book about the Dreamtime of the Australians. I was kind of thinking about reading Chatwin, but these comments have made a little wary; I don't particularly want to read about another outsider's spiritual journey, and I don't want a New Agey attempt-at-universal-religion haphazardly mixed in with basic anthropological records. Can you recommend a solid book about Dreamtime?