I closed my eyes tight and swung around in the seat. Dead steam-table food and it took them thirty minutes to find an ice bucket for the retsina. Whereas the post-war world he lived in was lacking with “cars-no wings for it-and the promised superhighway to drive it down” (460). There’s a British obsession with the more baroque elements of American pop culture, something like the weird cowboys-and-Indians fetish of the West Germans or the aberrant French hunger for old Jerry Lewis films. I shot one in San Jose an hour before the bulldozers arrived and drove right through the structural truth of plaster and lathing and cheap concrete.
They were blond. Kihn attempts to pull him from the false consciousness that he is feeding into.
Change ). I interviewed a sixteen-year-old girl who’d been assaulted by a bar hade .”. Although the narrative and language of the story did not interest me much, my reason for choosing this was that the themes of hallucination and alternate realities along with the setting of the story really stood out to me. Kihn combed his thinning blond hair and went off to hear what They had had to say over the radar range lately, and I drew the curtains in my room and lay down in air-conditioned darkness to worry about it.
I suppose it started in London, in that bogus Greek taverna in Battersea Park Road, with lunch on Cohen’s corporate tab.
Sanity had ceased to be an issue; I knew, somehow, that the city behind me was Tucson—a dream Tucson thrown up out of the collective yearning of an era.
I rushed to the nearest newsstand and gathered up as much as I could find on the petroleum crisis and the nuclear energy hazard.
“The Gernsback Continuum” is a short story by William Gibson published in 1981. Ever see Nazi Love Motel ?
Merv acts as the conspiracy theorist post-modernist with his “skeptical despair about the reality” described in postmodernism(112). The severed head of a bear. She was talking about those odds and ends of “futuristic” Thirties and Forties architecture you pass daily in American cities without noticing: the movie marquees ribbed to radiate some mysterious energy, the dime stores faced with fluted aluminum, the chrome-tube chairs gathering dust in the lobbies of transient hotels. He brought along a very fashionably dressed young woman named Dialta Downes, who was virtually chinless and evidently a noted pop-art historian. The Thirties had seen the first generation of American industrial designers; until the Thirties, all pencil sharpeners had looked like pencil sharpeners—your basic Victorian mechanism, perhaps with a curlicue of decorative trim. “Last week I was in Virginia. For the most part, the change was only skin-deep; under the streamlined chrome shell, you’d find the same Victorian mechanism. Which made a certain kind of sense, because the most successful American designers had been recruited from the ranks of Broadway theater designers. However, one could imagine that Hugo, one of the most well know creators of these alternate worlds may have had some objections to a mirrored Nazi utopia.
An architecture of broken dreams.”, And that was my frame of mind as I made the stations of her convoluted socioarchitectural cross in my red Toyota—as I gradually tuned in to her image of a shadowy America-that-wasn’t, of Coca-Cola plants like beached submarines, and fifth-run movie houses like the temples of some lost sect that had worshiped blue mirrors and geometry. This mimics the ideal Germany that Hilter set out to create. Before he entirely loses himself in the totalitarian utopia he understands the semiotic ghost that Merv was describing. Then he begged off, pleading an early-morning date with the Elect. She’d have seen the devil if she hadn’t been brought up on The Bionic Woman’ and all those ‘Star Trek’ reruns. “Yeah, that is a weird one. You’ve read Jung, you should know the score. Fragments of the Mass Dream, whirling past in the wind of my passage. I backed onto the highway and headed for Los Angeles, wincing and shaking my head. I’ve worked hard for that.
She is a noted British art-historian that possesses a deep obsession for American culture.
I imagined them thronging the plazas of white marble, orderly and alert, their bright eyes shining with enthusiasm for their floodlit avenues and silver cars.
Kihn had left a note on my door; he was flying up north in a chartered plane to check out a cattle-mutilation rumor (“muties,” he called them; another of his journalistic specialties). That it was real, entirely real. You could hide the Empire State Building in the smallest of those towers. The light came from somewhere behind me and threw shifting shadows inside the car.
The air was thick with ships: giant wing-liners, little darting silver things (sometimes one of the quicksilver shapes from the sky bridges rose gracefully into the air and flew up to join the dance), mile-long blimps, hovering dragonfly things that were gyrocopters ….
The air was thick with ships. …, And one day, on the outskirts of Bolinas, when I was setting up to shoot a particularly lavish example of Ming’s martial architecture, I penetrated a fine membrane, a membrane of probability. The main thing was not to worry.
When 1 isolated a few of the factory buildings on the ground glass of the Hasselblad, they came across with a kind of sinister totalitarian dignity, like the stadiums Albert Speer built for Hitler. During the high point of the Downes Age, they put Ming the Merciless in charge of designing California gas stations. He snaps back to reality only to view the world realistically. Lots of them featured superfluous central towers ringed with those strange radiator flanges that were a signature motif of the style and which made them look as though they might generate potent bursts of raw technological enthusiasm if you could only find the switch that turned them on.
And I know that none of it will follow me to New York; my vision is narrowing to a single wavelength of probability. Cohen works for Barris-Watford, who publish big, trendy “trade” paperbacks: illustrated histories of the neon sign, the pinball machine, the windup toys of Occupied Japan.
While I was waiting, I thought of myself in Dialta Downes’s America. It was all a stage set, a series of elaborate props for playing at living in the future.
There’s no place for her to function in this society.
Ironically the narrator mentions stadiums built by Albert Speer for Adolf Hitler. The Gernsback Continuum was a really confusing short story for me, probably because of the way it was written.
They were both in white: loose clothing, bare legs, spotless white sun shoes. I saw a dozen shots of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Johnson Wax Building, juxtaposed with the covers of old Amazing Stories pulps, by an artist named Frank R. Paul; the employees of Johnson Wax must have felt as though they were walking into one of Paul’s spray-paint pulp Utopias. I pulled over, then, and a half-dozen aluminum beer cans winked goodnight as I killed the headlights. The dash was still there, the dust, the crushed filter tips. That plane was part of the mass unconscious, once. I wondered what time it was in London, and tried to imagine Dialta Downes having breakfast in her Hampstead flat, surrounded by streamlined chrome figurines and books on American culture.
I’d driven all night and was feeling it.
Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. As the he carries on, the juxtaposition of the world that never was and the present is provoking. To create the website, the American Heritage Society is partnering with the leading engineering societies including ACS, AIAA, ASABE, ASME, ASCE, and IEEE to put together in one location over 2,000 detailed essays on the history of engineering and the enormous range of contributions that inventors and engineers have made to our modern world.
And the shark-fin roadsters have gotten scarcer, and freeways discreetly avoid unfolding themselves into the gleaming eighty-lane monsters I was forced to drive last month in my rented Toyota. How would you feel if those futurescapes of fifty years ago materialized today? All across the continent, daily, people who were more normal than I’d ever aspired to be saw giant birds, Bigfeet, flying oil refineries; they kept Kihn busy and solvent.
Even worse, Hollywood was full of people who looked too much like the couple I’d seen in Arizona.
If it keeps the saucer people off my back, it can keep these Art Deco futuroids off yours.
They’ve got it on cable, here. Is White America Really Ready to Reject Trump’s Fascism?
“If you want a classier explanation, I’d say you saw a semiotic ghost.
When I do still catch the odd glimpse, it’s peripheral; mere fragments of mad-doctor chrome, confining themselves to the corner of the eye. “But I saw it, Mervyn.” We were seated poolside in brilliant Arizona sunlight. Favoring the architecture of his native Mongo, he cruised up and down the coast erecting raygun emplacements in white stucco. is created by American Heritage Publishing.
That afternoon I spotted a flying wing over Castro Street, but there was something tenuous about it, as if it were only half there. Try it. All these contactée stories, for instance, are framed in a kind of sci-fi imagery that permeates our culture. I nearly wrecked the car on a stretch of overpass near Disneyland when the road fanned out like an origami trick and left me swerving through a dozen minilanes of whizzing chrome teardrops with shark fins. Grayson County.
Here, we’d gone on and on, in a dream logic that knew nothing of pollution, the finite bounds of fossil fuel, or foreign wars it was possible to lose. License: CC BY 2.0. My neck was stiff and my eyeballs felt gritty in their sockets. Roads of crystal soared between the spires, crossed and recrossed by smooth silver shapes like beads of running mercury.
… Look, I’m sure you’ve taken your share of drugs, right? You never actually saw it take off, but it flew away to Dialta Downes’s never-never land, true home of a generation of completely uninhibited technophiles. Wright’s building looked as though it had been designed for people who wore white togas and Lucite sandals. The Thirties dreamed white marble and slipstream chrome, immortal crystal and burnished bronze, but the rockets on the covers of the Gernsback pulps had fallen on London in the dead of night, screaming. Sometimes they’d run old eroded newsreels as filler on the local station. They still hadn’t seen me. It is possible to photograph what isn’t there; it’s damned hard to do, and consequently a very marketable talent. Then I looked behind me and saw the city. Ever so gently, I went over the edge—and looked up to see a twelve-engined thing like a bloated boomerang. I phoned Kihn from a gas station.
The Innovation Gateway a project of the highly respected, 30-year-old Invention & Technology—America’s only popular magazine of the history of engineering. “Hell of a world we live in, huh?” The proprietor was a thin black man with bad teeth and an obvious wig.
They were American. But you saw a different kind of ghost, that’s all. 500-year-old Modernism: a look at the future via the past, 20 Things Most People Learn Too Late In Life. And in the Dream, it was their world. I’d gone over to shoot a series of shoe ads; California girls with tanned legs and frisky Day-Glo jogging shoes had capered for me down the escalators of St. John’s Wood and across the platforms of Tooting Bec.
Television helped a lot. Five Scientific Signs Your Partner Might Cheat, Mata Hari in Living Color is Absolutely Stunning, 7 Things You Should Never Do in the Morning, The World Has Just Witnessed A “Pearl Harbor Moment” In Armenia. When I do still catch the odd glimpse, it’s peripheral; mere fragments of mad-doctor chrome, confining themselves to the corner of the eye.
I could buy aliens, but not aliens that look like Fifties’ comic art.
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