Grues and Invisiclues: A Personal Remembrance of Infocom

I first encountered Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series in 1985. I’d caught glimpses of the tatty-yet-much-loved BBC television series from 1981 on my local PBS station, and that sent me to the bookstore to find out what the heck this British science fiction comedy was all about. Over the summer of 1985 I tore through the paperback versions of the first three volumes in the series…

Murder Ballads, Stately Homes, Elven Armies: Steeleye Span on ‘Electric Folk,’ 1974

British folk-rockers Steeleye Span were arguably at the height of their powers and popularity in the mid-1970s, and their television series Electric Folk, broadcast on BBC2 in 1974 and 1975, shows exactly why. The series showcased the band’s blend of traditional British folk music and rock and roll to perfection, with the added bonus of being recorded in some of Britain’s oldest stately manors…

“An Immoral Experiment”: The Spiritual, Political, and Ufological Significance of the UMMO Letters

In the late ’70s and afterwards, UFOs hit the big time in pop culture with countless books about abduction experiences, major Hollywood motion pictures, and quickie B-movie documentaries. But before this turn into widespread exposure, ufology was largely a field defined by tightly-circulated, sometimes even self-published, written and photographic evidence…

California Dreams: Our Cyberpunk Future According to ‘Wild Palms’

By Michael Grasso

The 1980s saw the gradual ascendancy of cyberpunk narratives in popular science fiction. The genre projected Western societal trends seen in the decade—corporate conglomeration, the rise of computer networking and global media, and the ascendancy of Pacific Rim economies, most prominently Japan—into a vision of the future bursting with high technology controlled by a few neo-feudal corporate interests…