The Gernsback Continuu1

The Gernsback Continuu1 - Brittany Shaw April 16, 2008 The...

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Brittany Shaw April 16, 2008 The Gernsback Continuum On Science, Technology, and American Culture William Gibson’s story is a "coolly accurate perception of the wrongheaded elements of the past-and a clarion call for a new SF esthetic of the Eighties" (Ross). “The Gernsback Continuum” follows an unidentified narrator after he has been contacted by Dialta Downes to take pictures of various architectural designs from the past decade. “She was talking about those odds and ends of “futuristic” Thirties and Forties architecture you pass daily in American cities without noticing: the movie marquees ribbed to radiate some mysterious energy, the dime stores faced with fluted aluminum, the chrome-tube chairs gathering dust in the lobbies of transient hotels” (Gibson). As Ross later points out in his interpretation of the story “the streamlined design of factory buildings, gas stations, diners, and movie marquees-finned, flanged, and fluted-recalls a future perfect that never was, a tomorrow's world fully planned and designed by technophiles faithful to the prewar ethic of progressive futurism”. The narrator also tells us about the designers from that era, explaining that they were populists who were trying to give the public what they wanted. At that particular time, what the public called for was the future. Similarly, science fiction, especially in the thirties “ made a special case for itself as an "advanced" genre of popular
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The Gernsback Continuu1 - Brittany Shaw April 16, 2008 The...

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