Earlier this month, Mark A. Rayner, the Ontario-based author of "The Amadeus Net" -- a satirical novel set in the near future, in which it is revealed that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is immortal, makes a living by selling "lost" Mozart works ("Highlander"-meets-"The American Friend"?), and has cofounded a utopian city-state after an asteroid hit the planet in the the 20-teens -- has announced a fun Photoshop contest.
The rules: Alter a vintage ad -- for any product -- by inserting a product from a fictional future. That is to say, a product featured in a book, movie, or TV show set in the future. Post the ad online, and alert Rayner. The winner will receive a copy of "The Amadeus Net," and will also get a walk-on part in his next novel. Deadline: April 20.
Here are a few samples. Do you know from which speculative fictions these products hail? I'll provide answers, and a score key, below.
A: "Soylent Green" (1973, d. Richard Fleischer)
B: "Sleeper" (1973, d. Woody Allen)
C: "Fahrenheit 451" (1953), by Ray Bradbury
D: "Atlas Shrugged" (1957), by Ayn Rand.
E: "Brave New World" (1932), by Aldous Huxley
BONUS: Hank's last name is spelled "Rearden," not "Reardon." Did you catch that mistake? Add one point to your score.
1/5: You mistakenly think Heinlein is a genius.
2/5: You've realized that PKD is a genius.
3/5: You've learned to write "SF," not "sci-fi."
4/5: You're on the fence about "Dune." Brilliant? Or just big?
5/5: You're Battlestar Galactastic.
6/5: You're io9-abulous!
More SF- and comics-related stories: "We are Iron Man!" (Brainiac) | "Post-Apocalyptic Kiddie Movies" (Brainiac) | "The Slacktivism of Richard Linklater" (Slate) | "Black Iron Prison" (n+1) | "Back to Utopia" (Boston Globe Ideas) | "In a Perfect World" (Boston Globe Ideas) | "Philip K. Dick: Hermenaut of the Month" (Hermenaut) | "Journeys to the Center " (New York Times Book Review/IHT) | "Climate of Fear" (Boston Globe Ideas) | "Pulp Affection" (Boston Globe Ideas) | "Eco-Spaceship Redux" (Brainiac) | "Post-Apocalyptic Juvie Lit" (Brainiac) | "The New Skrullicism" (Brainiac) | "Prez" (Brainiac) | "Life Imitates Comic Book" (Brainiac) "Vintage Ads of Fictional Futures" (Brainiac) | "The Partisans" (Brainiac) | "The New Gods" (Brainiac) | "Rarebit Fiend!" (Brainiac audio slideshow) | "Dr. Strange vs. Dr. Craven" (Brainiac)
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
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Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.