Dead men tell some tales
- a visit to the Hellfire Caves
, home of one of the most infamous Hellfire Clubs
In 1977 Dial Press of New York published Robert Mayer’s first novel, Superfolks. It was, amongst other things, a story of a middle-aged man coming to terms with his life, an enormous collection of 1970s pop-culture references, some now lost to the mists of time, and a satire on certain aspects of the comic superhero, but would probably be largely unheard of these days if it wasn’t for the fact that it is regularly mentioned for its supposed influence on a young Alan Moore and his work, particularly on Watchmen, Marvelman, and his Superman story, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Alan Moore and Superfolks: Part 1: The Case for the Prosecution
, Part 2: The Case for the Defence
, Part 3: The Strange Case of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore
Century 21 Calling
- Dreamily retro footage of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair
, AKA the Century 21 Exposition
, including a visit to the Bell Systems
pavilion. A slice of space age science propaganda
, the fair gave Seattle some of its most enduring landmarks in the form of the Space Needle
and the Alweg Monorail
, and, of course, brought Elvis to town
OS X is X today!
Meanwhile, Bertrand Serlet, father of OS X, is leaving apple
This is all rooted in a vision I had, of William S. Burroughs as a CIA agent, and Philip K. Dick as his young henchman, going head-to-head with notorious gangster and pervert Adolf Hitler somewhere in Hamburg to find out where Hitler is shipping all the computers he can get his hands on.
- In another world Charles Stross wrote this sprawling work
of Alternate History
instead of the Merchant Princes
books. Fictional books are of course themselves a common them in Alternative History stories, from The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle
to Adolf Hitlers pulp novel Lord of the Swastika
in The Iron Dream
. Stanisław Lem was particularly enamoured with the idea of the fictional book, and wrote two volumes of reviews and introductions for them, lovingly described here
by Bruce Sterling.
Today marks the 200th birthday of Edgar Alan Poe
, and as happens every year the mysterious Poe Toaster
marked the date by placing three red roses and a half-filled bottle of cognac at his Baltimore grave. The identity of the toaster isn't the only question surrounding Poe - his presence in Baltimore and the circumstances of his death remain a mystery
. Some speculate that he may have had rabies
, others that he may have been a victim of cooping
. And while Baltimore embarks on a year long celebration of Poe
some argue that his body shouldn't be there at all
The first known recording of a digital computer playing music
, recorded by the BBC in 1951. The music played on a Ferantti Mark 1
, one of the first commercial general-use computers, and was entered via punchtape
and played on a speaker usually used for making clicks and tones to indicate program progress.