Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's Finally That Time of Year Again

Fall arrived in fits and starts this year, but it appears that it is going to finally take hold this week.  As usual, when Halloween begins creeping closer on the calendar, the desire to walk paths a little off the beaten track kicks in.  This year, I present a couple of looks back to the last century.

If you are the sort who enjoyed Luke Skywalker's or Indiana Jones's adventures, recognize the name Flash Gordon, or doesn't picture a fiber overdose when you hear the phrase "pulp serial adventure" you might just enjoy the web series The Mercury Men.  In 1975 mysterious, hostile beings appear in an office building; what nefarious plot have they hatched?  Only the dashing guy in the flight jacket with the fancy pistol can save the day, but he can't do it alone...  The series attempts to evoke the vibe of the old movie serials, and it pretty well knocks it out of the park, complete with the dodgy pacing and somewhat stiff acting.  I suspect at least part of that is on purpose.  Given the tiny budget for the series, the villains are exceptionally well done, and there are some real classic sci-fi moments in the series.  And hey, at less than ten minutes per episode, if you don't like it you won't have to wait long to find out.

If pulp fiction isn't your cup of tea, how about a dose of what once passed for reality?  Visiting topics from the RAND corporation, to drugs, suburbs, flying saucers, and nuclear war, writer Ken Hollings's Welcome to Mars provides a twisting trip through science, science fiction, and culture in the early years of the cold war.  I recommend using iTunes for ease for access, but they are also available via a link on the author's blog.  It really makes one wonder what people fifty years from now will see when they look back on the first decade of this century.  Did I mention there is theremin music?

No comments: