Armagideon Time

Archive for the ‘Culture’ category

“We tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away.” – Albert Camus, The Plague (1947) Some virulent flu-like disease has been my go-to Horseman of Speculated […]

Unsteady Layer Dumb

July 25th, 2017

(being an excerpt from my forthcoming bestselling novel and big budget movie adaptation) When it came to my research, I didn’t take any shortcuts. Over the past five years, I’d worked my way down the entire recommended reading list. Danielle Steel, V.C. Andrews, John Jakes, Robert Ludlum, Herman Wouk, James Clavell. Michner. Krantz. Forsyth. L’Amour. […]

I started this feature without having a coherent plan,just a nostalgia-tinted swirl of memories unearthed after flipping through some periodicals from the year in question. Now that the project is done, I’m still not sure what I was trying to accomplish, much less whether or not I succeeded in doing so. 1983 was the year […]

Even as my fifth-grade classmates rushed to put childish things behind them, 1983 saw me still enthralled by the plastic treasures of the toy aisle. It’s something I’d hold onto up until my final year of junior high, for a cluster of related reasons. One, I was a shy and awkward nerd who wasn’t in […]

We’re down to the last couple of bolts in this particular quiver, so let’s start wrapping things up with a look at the literature that shaped the most formative year of my childhood. The top of that particular heap was Twilight Zone Magazine, purchased with scrounged pocket change at the convenience store across from Ferullo […]

1983 was the year of the Great Videogame Crash, when the flood of overproduced and undercooked product forced a severe market correction that effectively killed the home console market until the NES started gaining traction a couple of years later. The savvier developers shifted their focus to home computers, which offered more functionality and perceived […]

Up until 1983, the vast majority of the comics I read were back issues or bundled remainders picked up via flea markets or in polybagged three-packs sold at the supermarket checkout aisle. The few new releases that filtered down to me were wild card outliers passed on as gifts or picked up in trades with […]

When 1983 began, I was ten-going-on-eleven, starting the second half of my fifth grade year. That was a significant grade for kids at the Linscott-Rumsford Elementary school because the teacher was a — GASP — man, a polyester-clad F. Murray Abraham lookalike who had a rep for being both a Fun Dude and an impatient […]

When I embarked on my deep dive of Google Books’ digital archive of Billboard, I picked 1975 as my starting date. That year offered the best intersection between my childhood nostalgia and my historical interests — enough faint memories to avoid abstraction while offering a solid vantage point for observing the ascendancy of disco, the […]

30th Century deja vu

May 23rd, 2016

The Mighty Mike Sterling recently fielded a reader question about the Legion of Super-Heroes’ decline from a fan favorite franchise to its current state of sad irrelevance. Mike did a great job breaking down the Legion’s tragic cycle of reboots and diminishing returns, which has been on my mind since I revisited those funnybooks recently. […]

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