Saturday, August 23, 2014

Alexander Haig

Alexander Haig (1924-2010) appeared in my mind recently, due to the discussion in the media about the 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation.  He was chief of staff under Nixon/Ford, and later Secretary of State under Reagan. He was not fresh in my mind-- I only recalled his coup d'etat-sounding "I'm in control now" quote, after Reagan's 1981 almost-assasination.

So long had it been since I'd thought about him, it was in my mind's eye that he was blended with the face of equally dour and grim Henry Fonda in Leone's Once upon a Time in the West. 

I had to google him, finding that he had died not terribly long ago. I wouldn't have been surprised if he had been still alive, Kissinger-like. He certainly looked every bit a general.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Anatoly Dneprov

Last week I bought a pile of good old mid 1960s sic-fi paperbacks. Among the summer reading gems is  an anthology of Soviet SF, in which I encountered a (for me) unknown writer, Anatoly Dneprov (1919-75)
His tale The Purple Mummy is uncanny. He's writing in the early 60s probably, in the Soviet Union no less, about stuff that is in the air today. The first part of the story is Zamyatin-ish, full of par-for-course lucid utopian city infrastructure. But soon, disquietingly, he discusses machines that we are trying to build now, 3-D printers, making plastic facsimiles of objects gleaned from digital transmissions. Good god, these things are still on their baby steps 50 years later!

If that weren't enough, he's discussing the diagnoses of cancer through these 3D imaging--what the!
That he wrote this when and where he did it, is as uncanny as the story itself. Here I was, sitting under the apple tree, thinking I would encounter some good old future nostalgia, and I get my socks blown off.