Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

By Richard A. Lupoff | Go to book overview

RICHARD A. LUPOFF


Introduction to the Bison Books Edition:
Nineteen Sixty Five and All That

Nineteen sixty-five.

Nineteen sixty-five. It's hard to believe that I wrote this book that long ago, but the calendar doesn't lie and I cannot get it to change its story.

Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States, the Cold War was in full sway, and the reported joke du jour in Vienna went something like this:

Q: What's the difference between an optimist and a pessimist?

A: An optimist is studying Russian and a pessimist is studying Chinese.

There were three television networks in 1965 and most of us got our daily ration of news in thirty-minute doses from our preferred choice— ABC, NBC, or CBS—each evening. They frightened us with footage of Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on his desk at the UN or of Mao Tse-tung (now rendered Mao Zedong) waving to masses of cheering blueclad Chinese who responded by brandishing copies of Chairman Mao's infamous Little Red Book.

The Golden Age of radio had ended with the cancellation of the last great dramatic and variety shows. The day of the disc jockey had dawned and that of the blustering talk-show host lay shrouded in the seemingly distant future. Television was the king of media. Computers were gigantic and slightly threatening machines that whirred and buzzed in their air-conditioned temples. The idea that little devices more powerful than a Univac II or an IBM 709 would someday reside in millions of homes sounded like a technophile's science fiction pipe dream. The idea of a computer you could slip into your briefcase or even your pocket would have seemed laughable.

Cell phones, VCRs, CDs, DVDs, MP3 players and iPods, digital cameras, the Hubble Telescope, spaceships, men on the moon, robots on Mars,

-xv-

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