Malthusian Horrors: The Dying Futures of ‘No Blade of Grass’ and ‘Z.P.G.’

By Michael Grasso

At the beginning of the 1970s, a sense that techno-industrial man’s ongoing destruction of the environment would ultimately lead to global doom was widespread in the West. Married to these concerns was a parallel worry about the exponential impact of a population explosion due to these same 20th-century agricultural, medical, and scientific advancements…

“Unity, Precision, Thrust”: The NASA Graphics Standards Manual, 1975

n the mid-1970s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was in a period of transition. The final manned Apollo mission to the Moon, Apollo 17, had returned to Earth in December 1972; no further Moon landings were planned. NASA had recently kicked off their Skylab experiments in short-term orbital space station living (and détente-inspired collaboration with the Soviets), as well as announcing a reusable fleet of Space Shuttles…

“Spacy Spheres and Funky Shacks”: The Otherworlds of 1971’s ‘Domebook 2’

In the spring of 1971, it seemed everyone on the fringes of mainstream society in North America was trying to build geodesic domes: soaring gridwork domes made of plastic and steel, of wood, of concrete. Inspired by technocratic engineer-turned-counterculture guru and geodesic dome evangelist R. Buckminster Fuller, hundreds of back-to-the-land hippies sought to use his elementary architectural example…

Tubular Terrors: ‘The Night Stalker’

By Michael Grasso

Like many folks my age, I first encountered crusading news photographer Carl Kolchak (played by the imminently charismatic and recognizable Darren McGavin) thanks to The X-Files creator Chris Carter’s repeated praise of the character as one of the biggest influences on his creation of Mulder and Scully…

Wicked Good TV: Memories of Local Boston Broadcasting in the ’80s

By Michael Grasso

I’ve written quite a bit about my broadcast-television-haunted childhood here at We Are the Mutants over the years; some might even call it a bit of an obsession, honestly. But this week we’ve been challenged to put together some of our memories of specifically local TV, and that’s something that I not only feel nostalgic about, but also tend to get a little political about…