JF Ptak Science Books Post 11
I can hardly help myself oh my brothers, hardly contain myself from writing about some of the truly incredible, nonscience scientific works that I have collected over these last years. One of the most interesting is the following work by David Gordon . It isn’t so much “interesting” really as it is illustrated, where all of the interest is. This is the only known example of the depiction of an extra-terrestrial New York City pictured with the earth in the background. Huh? Yes, this is the Big Apple in space—not its OWN space but THE space, outer space—somehow, impossibly, removed to some something-or-other (actually in this case, a “bubble”) that, while not being the Moon, was something like it, though not actually a solid and without gravity, floating on a base of floating effluvia, but, well, you get the picture. Whatever we’re floating on here (actually it is identified as the “perisohere” (don’t ask)) is very big and very very close to the home planet.
Mr. Gordon, sweatily ensconced in a too-thick smoking jacket while pecking out this opus delectius, self published this effort in 1941, and then unleashed it on the world, or his neighborhood, asking such self-exiling questions as “why does the earth and other heavenly bodies remain in the air and submerged”. I can get most of that except the “submerged” part. That's where most of the efforts like this seem to go horribly wrong--the vestigial spark of insanity inserted into a almost-coherent thought, as in "The Yankees look like almost-contenders for 2008 if they could strengthen their pitching and adjust their over-aggressive use of middle relievers sanitary flux". Well, this doesn't really apply here with Mr. Gordon, as normalcy is abandoned right at the outset, thanks to his very original cover art (and we are told on the title page that the cover art is actually "35 by 24 inches and in full colors" making it big and colorful and art brut).
And then of course we get to the crux of the biscuit—the removal of New York City into a peripheral bubble.
I don’t know why there is a rocket-propelled dirigible in the picture.
Mr. Gordon’s idea would’ve been far less interesting if it wasn’t illustrated. And it is easy to pass it by, as I almost did, because it is somewhat sci-fi mundane at first blush, until you realize that is New York in space. (I can see the Daily News headline now as the city leaves the planet for someplace else: “New York to World: Drop Dead”. This of course is a rip of one of the all-time headlines, ever, supplied by the New York Daily News when NYC appealed to the Feds for a bailout from bankruptcy in 1974. Raisin-eyes Jerry of course said “no”, and the rest is history…)
I know that it is hard to believe, but according to OCLC/WorldCat there are no copies of this work in any libraries, period. I can see why. And now it at least is rescued from the great dustbin that awaits us all…
I just love this little pamphlet.
Also—I’ve added a close-up of the Midtown-to-Downtown area, just so you can see the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island in the distance….it is definitely NYC.