Future Life magazine

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One thing I never expected about the future was that so many of my youthful enthusiasms would keep rising from the past, but here’s another, stumbling into the room reeking of cemetery earth and old newsprint. Future Life was a spinoff from Starlog magazine, and where the parent title concerned itself with science fiction and fantasy in film and television, the focus of Future Life was technology, popular science, scientific speculation, and written science fiction (all from an American perspective, of course); film and TV productions were there to attract general readers but never dominated the proceedings. Future Life ran for 31 issues from 1978 to 1981, and in many ways the magazine was a kind of OMNI-lite: not as lavish as its rival but not as expensive either. For a while this was a magazine I always looked out for (together with Heavy Metal, with whom it shared a music writer, Lou Stathis) but I missed the first nine issues, and many of the later ones before it vanished altogether, so it’s gratifying to find the complete run available as a job lot at the Internet Archive.

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It’s become commonplace today to regard Generation X as the first generation with no optimistic future to look forward to, but Future Life shows how much optimism there was at the beginning of the 1980s. The mood darkened just as the magazine expired, with genuine fears of a nuclear war persisting through much of the decade, and the Challenger disaster reminding everyone that leaving the planet was still a hazardous business. Future Life wasn’t blind to the problems posed by technology—there were features about the dangers posed by nuclear power and climate change—but it remained upbeat about the potentials, especially where space colonies were concerned. Most issues carried an art feature although these were generally about realistic space artists or spaceship painters, with none of the eye-popping weirdness favoured by OMNI. But this magazine was my first introduction to the work of Syd Mead, a few years before Blade Runner made him deservedly famous. On the writing side, many of the articles were by popular science fiction writers—Roger Zelazny on computer crime, Norman Spinrad on a pet theme, the future of drug-taking—which you can now read with the full benefit of hindsight. In later issues there was Harlan Ellison filing a succession of lengthy and inimitable film essays; several pieces by Robert Anton Wilson; and some good music articles with features on Larry Fast (issue 12) and Robert Fripp (issue 14), while Lou Stathis profiled and interviewed Bernie Krause (issue 18), The Residents (issue 19), Patrick Gleeson (issue 22), Jon Hassell (issue 24), Captain Beefheart (issue 25), and everyone’s favourite robots, Kraftwerk (issue 31).

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The Internet Archive currently has all the files stuck on a single page so most people will either have to download everything at once (I’d advise using the torrent file) or sample issues at random. Fortunately there’s a very thorough breakdown of the entire run of magazines here for those who prefer to pick through the detail. In the universe next door we’re reading these back issues while floating above the earth in our L5 space colonies.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Science Fiction Monthly

Weekend links 381

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States of Ecstasy 1 by K. Lenore Siner some of whose work may be seen in Witch-Ikon: An Exhibition of Contemporary Witchcraft Imagery at Mortlake & Company, Seattle.

Emily Temple compiles a list of “40 creepy book covers”. A shame that she (or Lithub) can’t also credit more of the artists and designers responsible. Searching titles at ISFDB would turn up many of the missing names.

• Blogging has suffered in recent years from the onslaught of social media but some persist in maintaining the form as a creative act. Poemas del río Wang is one such, its scope best seen in this alphabetical index.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 510 by Moodprint, Secret Thirteen Mix 232 by Alex XIII Maerbach, a mix for The Wire by Sadaf, and FACT mix 621 by NHK yx Koyxen.

Out next month: Mute: A Visual Document, being a visual history of Mute Records by Terry Burrows and Daniel Miller.

Nick Soulsby on “the myth and majesty of Vangelis’ timeless Blade Runner soundtrack”.

Compound in the new album by Yair Elazar Glotman. Stream it in full here.

Killed by Roses (1963): Eikoh Hosoe’s photographs of Yukio Mishima.

Oriental Traditional Music from LPs & Cassettes

• Hours and hours of Blue Jam. Oo ab welcome.

• 65 books of prints by Katsushika Hokusai.

Alpha (1976) by Vangelis | Rêve (1979) by Vangelis | Flamants Roses (1979) by Vangelis

Weekend links 350

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Transition H50 (2016) by Jessica Eaton.

• One of my weekend posts in 2012 contained details about Taking Tiger Mountain, a low-budget feature film put together in 1983 by Tom Huckabee using footage originally shot in Tangier and Wales in the 1970s. Huckabee’s film is a strange “experimental” work of science fiction, based in part on William Burroughs’ Blade Runner script (no relation to the Ridley Scott film apart from the title), and described here as “a psychotropic apocalyptic odyssey”. The most notable aspect of the film for many will be the presence of a young Bill Paxton in the lead role, something I was reminded of when Paxton’s death was announced earlier this week. Five years ago there was only a short clip of Taking Tiger Mountain available on YouTube but since then a full copy has appeared; watch it here while you can. (The widescreen frame is cropped, and the sound is all in one channel but it’s still watchable.) Tom Huckabee talked about the film’s production (and the Burroughs connections) to Beatdom. A curio that deserves wider attention.

• “With Biller, the references come thick and fast. In The Love Witch, she channels, among others, 50s Hitchcock, Douglas Sirk’s lurid lushness, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s deadpan gaze, Nicholas Ray’s poetry, Sam Fuller’s tabloid style and Todd Haynes’s revisionist sexual politics. […] Then add the Technicolor, widescreen, haute-Hollywood “women’s pictures” of the 50s, a touch of Hammer Studios, The Wicker Man, Rosemary’s Baby and any number of studio melodramas and musicals.” John Patterson talks to director Anna Biller about her new film, The Love Witch.

• Mix of the week is the Anxious Heart Mix by Moon Wiring Club, another excellent blend of electronica, industria and dialogue samples from the outer limits of the televisual sphere. Also of note this week: VF Mix 83, an Adrian Sherwood selection by Pinch, XLR8R Podcast 479 by Chris SSG, and Secret Thirteen Mix 213 by -N.

• “Anthropologically, this was going on all around me: it was amazing and nobody was dealing with it like that, so I just went for it.” Hal Fischer on his photo-art series, Gay Semiotics, which is on display at Project Native Informant, London, until 1st April.

• Coming in May from Luaka Bop, World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, the first-ever compilation of Alice Coltrane’s scarce releases on the Avatar Book Institute label.

Cinephilia looks back at Robert Wise and Nelson Gidding’s film of The Andromeda Strain (1971).

• Psychedelic Speed Freak: Remembering the blistering experimentalism of Hideo Ikeezumi.

• More witchery: S. Elizabeth talks to Pam Grossman about art, film and hex power.

• At The Quietus: Harry Sword on the strange world of Surgeon.

Leonor Fini playing cards

The Feathered Tiger (1969) by Kaleidoscope | Taking Tiger Mountain (1974) by Brian Eno | Plain Tiger (1985) by Cocteau Twins

Weekend links 315

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The Deluge (1920) by Winifred Knights.

Dennis Cooper‘s favourite fiction, poetry, nonfiction, film, music, art & internet of 2016 so far. (Thanks again for the nod to this blog!)

• At Literary Hub: Jonathan Russell Clark on Jorge Luis Borges, and Jon Sealy on why indie presses [in the US] are opening bookstores.

• “It’s not just about the music.” A conversation on the occult practices in the arts between poet Janaka Stucky and Peter Bebergal.

• Daisy Woodward talks to Andreas Horvath about Helmut Berger, Actor, a documentary about Visconti’s muse and lover.

• More Fritz Leiber: Brian J. Showers on his decision to republish Leiber’s horror novel, The Pale Brown Thing.

• Mixes of the week: Sextape 4 by Drixxxe, and Radio Oscillations #96 (Richard Pinhas/Heldon) by Iron Blu.

• The 5th Young One: Pay No Attention to the Girl Behind the Sofa; John Reppion on a television mystery.

• More reading suggestions: Cheerless beach reads for gloomsters and saddies by S. Elizabeth.

• Never the same film twice: Seances by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson.

• How painter Winifred Knights became Britain’s “unknown genius”.

• The Journey & The Destination: An interview with Hawthonn.

Robert Latona goes in search of the grave of Constance Wilde.

• Invisible by Day: photos by Mikko Lagerstedt.

• A Queer Lit Q&A with Evan J. Peterson.

• RIP Michael Herr and Bernie Worrell.

Bridget Riley: The Curve Paintings.

• The typography of Blade Runner.

Japanese matchbox labels

SOS by Portishead

A Rainbow In Curved Air (1969) by Terry Riley | The Great Curve (1980) by Talking Heads | Dangerous Curves (2003) by King Crimson

MMMM

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Post number four thousand coincides with Roy Batty’s birthday, so happy birthday, Roy. Best not wish him many happy returns… It’s also David Bowie’s birthday and album release day but he’s receiving enough attention for that already.

WordPress always sends a statistics summary at the end of each year. The stats for 2015 looked like this:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 900,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 39 days for that many people to see it.

The busiest day of the year was January 18th with 3,460 views. The most popular post that day was The gay artists archive.

No surprise about the most popular section of the site which frequently gets double the traffic of any single post. Input to that section of the blog has fallen off over the past year but I do have a couple more posts lined up when I get a spare moment.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2015.

1 The art of NoBeast June 2007
2 The art of Takato Yamamoto June 2007
3 Phallic casts 2011
4 Compass roses August 2011
5 The art of Thomas Eakins, 1844–1916 March 2006

The phallic casts post had a huge spike of traffic on New Year’s Day for some reason. Some of the attention for these posts will be from Facebook but since I don’t have an account there—and Facebook also hides their referral details—you can’t be certain. As always, my thanks to everyone who takes the time to read and to comment.