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DOWN with art as a means to ESCAPE A LIFE that isn't worth living!

It is hard for me to imagine, but I am more than forty years old, indeed very close to fifty years! I know, dear reader, you will be startled to hear such a thing, since all you encounter on my blog are absurdities, and many seemingly juvenile links to old comic books and science fiction artists. But there is reason encoded behind the screen of disconnected trivia that you find here. In fact, I am arranging these posts into a secret code; nor would it especially please me to know that you have figured it out…the news is not pretty! These are clues, do with them what you will. But mind you, time and decades are flashing past like lightning! Like a cinder snapping out of a burning log in the fireplace, ride this moment like a rocket…

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Alien Fungus Alert

It’s been raining for a few days here, and I noticed some strange fungus growing on a stump along the Minuteman Bike Path. Little did I know that two days later it would be erupting into a giant ora

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Planetary Agent X and False Democracy

At first, the survey of political systems in Mack Reynolds‘ interstellar spy novel, Planetary Agent X, seems quite whimisical and superficial. There are planets full of anarchists, and planets crawling with feudalism, nihilism, socialism, and what have you. There are some playful jabs at democracy, individualism, and even the tyranny of the uninformed voters (a la John Stuart Mill). The tone is not as playful as Ron Goulart, but definitely not very serious either. So it came as a pleasant surprise when the protagonist, Ronny Bronston, is given a sarcastic lecture by his handler, the mysterious Tog Lee Chang Chu, on the disasters brought about by “industrial feudalism.” How strangely familiar!

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Surreal SF art of Carlos Ochagavia

This beautiful illustration for the cover of Daughter of IS (1978), by Michael Davidson, is a wonderful example of the science fiction art of Carlos Ochagavia. The background is rendered in a light,

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Jaunts and Jollities Unbeknownst to Us

What a fitting discovery while badgering through the mountain of cheap book carts at Brattle Book Shop, when I happened across a fine copy of Jorrock’s Jaunts and Jollities. Originally published in 1838, this farcical book on fox-hunting and gad-about adventures, was written by Robert S. Surtees, who is an amusing stylist, to say the least. The overall tone of the book is very reminiscent of its predecessor picaresques, such as Humphrey Clinker, and it’s followers, for example Jerome’s Three Men On a Bummel… in which a cast of characters go off on a jaunt that allows the author to skewer them and the societies they are escaping from or escaping into.

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Super-organism of the human hive

The topic of Skinner’s rural-urban continuum came up in a staff meeting today, where my colleague Sumeeta referred us to a recent column by Steven Strogatz in the NYTimes. The idea is along the lin

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Kiss me again, you drunken bum

“Another drink… I’m already sloshed!” While searching for old Rarotonga comics with Antonio Gutiérrez art, I happened across this strange gem from 1951, which apparently is the first appearance of Rarotonga. I’m sure there must be other examples, but so far I can only find a single cover of Rarotonga from the early series.

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1950s Astronauts Testing Spacesuits

By far the most downloaded images from Yunchtime are the astronaut and cosmonaut photos from the 1960 edition of Das Bildbuch der Weltraum Fahrt that I picked up in Vienna. So I thought I should scan

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Ride for Peace Over the Roof of the World

The wonderful Muzafar Bhaid is riding his bicycle for peace across Pakistan! From the highest mountains of the world in Hunza region, the intrepid Muzafar is taking annual stages on his way to Islam