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Spock, Picture Day, Robots
This is the latest episode of Don’t Press That Button, a newsletter about books and music and movies and cats and baseball and whatnot. As the name would indicate, we are very cautious about buttons around here. It’s not just the buttons that are obviously dangerous — e.g., “self-destruct” and so on — that concern us. If you ever come across a button that reads, “Endless Supply of Non-Addictive Cocaine” or “Power to Fly” or “Portal to Heaven” or “Lost Beatles Album” or anything else that you badly want, I’m sorry, but you just know that it’s not going to be that easy. There will be a catch, and it will be unpleasant, and you will end up regretting that you pushed the button.
However, I’ve investigated the button below, and all it does is subscribe you to this newsletter. It’s not going to be as good as a lost Beatles album, it’s just my newsletter, but you might like it. If you’re new here, and you’d like to stick around, you can safely do so by clicking on it.
A Science Fiction Tableau
I was straightening up a bit, and a few of the objects that I was arranging suggested a science fiction tableau. Here it is:
With that for a prompt, I will share the following thoughts:
I suspect that the Spock action figure originally belonged to either my brother or sister. While I liked Star Wars figures as a kid, they were only really fun to stage, and that had limited appeal. G.I. Joes had bendable elbows and knees, so they were much better for playing with. Anyway, I don’t recall ever seeing Star Trek figures in the toy aisle, but so far as I can tell, Spock here is basically the same as a Star Wars figure. I think he’s from the first Star Trek filmand I like him a lot. No idea how he’ll extricate himself from the seashell bowl, but I’m sure he’ll manage to somehow. I always dug it when Kirk and Spock and their crewmates beamed places, it was such a cool visual, although from a storytelling viewpoint it must be a constant pain in the ass, making it so that they can’t just beam themselves out of trouble every episode. Cell phones are sort of like this in contemporary stories.
I never remembered Picture Day, so most of my pictures are like the one above, but this is unquestionably the coolest. Great E.T. T-shirt.
The robot is a “Recyclotron 6.0,” part of a line of sculptures called FOBOTs (Found Object Robots). My mom — Happy Mother’s Day again, Mom!— gave it to me as a gift some time ago and, gosh, it’s a fine object. The tag that came with him tells me that the main part of his body is a U.S. Army Multimeter.
In my story, the hero had to defeat a giant malfunctioning Soviet robot named Peaceful Ivan. I felt sorry for Peaceful Ivan, but Cleveland was at stake, so he had to take a beating. I haven’t read that collection in several years, but I feel confident the book holds up. Every writer who participated met the challenge with aplomb.
It was my pleasure to visit with everyone at the Dead Headspace Podcast. You can watch/listen over on YouTube.
I also enjoyed speaking with MyBookGramm on Instagram live. (There’s a special cameo by our cat Frankie somewhere in the middle, so watch closely for that.)
Oblong Books has signed copies of The Curator on hand if you would like to order one.
There have been more mass shootings since my last newsletter. Our country is in desperate need of gun control legislation. My recommendation — and plea — is that we all redouble our commitment to making sure that it happens. We don’t have to live this way. We can’t give up.
If you’d like to help but don’t know how, you can take a look at the Everytown for Gun Safety website. You might also want to bookmark this Gun Sense Candidate tool for the next round of elections so that you can make sure the candidates you vote for are ready to do what’s necessary and pass new laws to protect us from this epidemic of gun violence.
As ever, my thanks for subscribing, and in case you ever have a question or a comment or just want to say hi, if you reply to the email, I will see it. I’m over on Instagram, too, if you’d like to follow along there.
Circa 1979, the year I turned two. Definitely my brother or sister’s Spock. Whatever, I’m keeping him.
Sorry I never remembered to wear anything but a tee-shirt on Picture Day!
FWIW, Tom Bissell’s story was selected for inclusion in Best American Mystery Stories 2009, Will Clarke’s story appeared in Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy Vol. 3, Scott Snyder went on to script an acclaimed run on Batman and to author many other excellent comics, and J. Robert Lennon’s story was adapted as the basis for the television series Unforgettable.