Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Gernsback Continuum (1988)

Setting the stage for the nostalgic reminiscence of yesterday's version of today is noted Cyberpunk author William Gibson. His short story The Gernsback Continuum - a reference to Amazing Stories editor Hugo Gernsback, who coined the term "Scientifiction" for his magazine's content - features a photographer who stumbles upon visions of a parallel universe where all those impossible futurisms of the 1930's and 40's came true.
Sometimes they’d run old eroded newsreels as filler on the local station. You’d sit there with a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk, and a static-ridden Hollywood baritone would tell you that there was A Flying Car in Your Future. And three Detroit engineers would putter around with this big old Nash with wings, and you’d see it rumbling furiously down some deserted Michigan runway. 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. 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. She saw these things as segments of a dreamworld, abandoned in the uncaring present; she wanted me to photograph them for her...

To read the rest, click here.


Jack Horner said...

I want my jetpack, and I don't want it now. I want it seventy years ago. Can you do that for me?

Cory Gross said...

Just get some of whatever that narrator was on and you can, like, totally cross over, man!

lartronics said...

For more information on Hugo Gernsback check out a recent biography available on Amazon.

I found this document when we closed down Gernsback Publications in 2003. It was an old ms that I edited and produced as a book.

Follow the link and you can go to the book and thanks to Amazon’s “look inside” feature, you can even get an idea of what it covers.

Also at http://CreateSpace.com/3119407

Hope you find it interesting.

The book is also available as an E-book for the Kindle or your PC or Mac at Amazon. Here is the link:


Other Hugo Gernsback Titles available at Amazon as e-books for Kindle or your PC:

100 Radio Hookups E-book

The Collected Works of Mohammed Ullyses Fips
A collection of April Fools Articles by Hugo Gernsback

1933 Official Auto Radio Service Manual

Coming soon:

Radio Service Man’s Handybook

Radio-Cracy & Mini Radio Craft

100 Radio Hookups

French Humor & Tidbits

For more information feel free to contact me, Larry Steckler, at PoptronixInc@aol.com