Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Hunter's Computer

I've always been pretty fascinated by computers. I got my first computer in 1985/6, I think. It was a Commodore Plus/4 and was one of the strangest ones you could get. I think my parents were sold it by an over-enthusiastic salesman in York (I imagine he had a stock-room full of them and needed to get them shifted). Anyway, I learned to type and program on it and I could play "Jack Attack" so that was okay. 

It must have been about this time that Evan Hunter got his Apple IIe computer, I imagine. It had been introduced in 1983 and was to become the longest serving computer in Apple's range, staying in production until the '90s. If only their products lasted/were supported that long now. Curse you, built in redundancy.

We know this was the machine Hunter used, as an article in the Washington Post ("Ed McBain's Mysterious Method") refers to him using it in 1990. I don't really know why I find this sort of detail so fascinating. Perhaps because we still envisage the author as being sat in front of a manual typewriter, savagely bashing at the keys, cursing and scrumpling up another sheet of paper - the ding of the bell as another sentence is committed to the page. Of course authors, especially successful ones, would have moved to word-processors and computers as soon as they could. Douglas Adams was a famous advocate of technology, particularly Apple products, having pipped Stephen Fry to the post in buying the first Apple Macintosh sold in London.

So there you are. Have a read of the Washington Post article linked above and have a look at the Centre For Computing History's page all about the Apple IIe. Tools of the trade!

- Paul

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Solo-Pod - Ed McBain Books in the 1950s: DYNAMIC K.E.N.N.E.T.H.

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Podcast Solo Episode!
Whilst we get organised for our next podcast proper (Ed McBain's "The Heckler") we've provided this little stopgap, with a look back over the books we've covered that were released in the 1950s. 
During this solo excursion, Paul recaps the books, the adaptations, who's who in the squadroom and tells you all about K.E.N.N.E.T.H., our scoring computer, via some newly discovered archive evidence. Detective Steve Carella pops by as well.
Please continue to get involved via Twitter (@Hark87Podcast), email (Hark87Podcast@gmail.com) and via the comments and reviews on the podcast platforms. We really appreciate your listening to our podcast and look forward to a great 2018 sharing our Ed McBain love with you all. 
(Additional script by Robert Charnock. Additional music provided under Creative Commons from freesfx.com)

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Roger Moore and the Crimefighters

In the new Bonus episode you'll hear me (Paul) surprise Stevo and Morgan with a second-hand book I'd come across that weekend. It was too good an opportunity to miss sharing this with them. I mean, just look at the cover!

This is a good example of why you should always take the time to investigate the different shelves in second hand bookshops, but especially in charity shops/thrift stores. Very often the staff make an attempt to categorise and alphabetise the books, but they're looked over by so many people it's hard to trust to that fact. Usually there's some gold hidden between the forty-seven copies of The Da Vinci Code and celebrity biographies. I found "The Siege" on a "4 for £1" shelf. There were no other books there that I wanted and ended up paying 50p for it.

It's really extraordinary. It's like having a book series come out these days with, I don't know, Daisy Ridley appearing in it as herself, using her career-connections to act on a hunch about human trafficking or something. To be honest I would read that, but only if it was written by Doctor Who author Rona Monro, to keep the pattern of the book/celebrity/author connections. The author of "The Siege", Malcolm Hulke, wrote a good run of Third Doctor stories in the 1970s, including the plastic-dinosaur extravaganza, Invasion of The Dinosaurs (1974). Clearly he was so immersed in the world of Doctor Who production and life at BBC TV centre, he's written it into the book as an important factor.

I hope you enjoy listening to our response to this novelty on the last bonus episode. I'm sure the next one we do will be more McBain based, but I'm not promising anything...

Listen to this bonus episode herex

Ed McBain's Give The Boys A Great Big Hand - Episode 11, Bonus: The Incredible Malcolm Hulke

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Bonus Episode!
And what a bonus episode it is! After discussing our copies of the 87th Precinct book, with Paul demonstrating his inability to grasp the relative costs of pre-decimal currency, we get down to some important business.
Imagine a world where Roger Moore appears as himself in a children's crime-fighting story-book written by Doctor Who writer Malcolm Hulke, all set in or around an African Embassy and the BBC in 1977... now, STOP IMAGINING and listen to our reactions as we discuss "The Siege" - the first entry in the Roger Moore and The Crimefighters series! A book that almost defies description!
Listen out in the background for mysterious Mic-stand-spring noises (sorry) and contemplate why George Lazenby never organised children into an impromptu militia.
See you in the New Year for probably more discussion back on the topic of Ed McBain and "The Heckler". Merry Christmas!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Ed McBain's Give The Boys A Great Big Hand - Episode 10: Dropping A Steam Engine Onto A Battleship

Hark! It's the 87th Precinct Podcast.
Ten books and four years into the 87th Precinct series, and we've reached 1960 and the grisly but gripping tale of severed appendages, rainy weather and missing musicians. Along the way you can learn about the great fashions on offer at "Urban Suburban", the history of UK publishers T V Boardman and hear Stevo morph briefly into a pensive lion.
We do our review of music and culture for 1960 and reveal the shocking secrets of Jeff Lynne's collusion with robot overlords. All this and Ed McBain too!
Thanks for listening and please continue to like, share and review. We also want to direct your attention to the website wearecult.rocks in general and the article by Paul, here, about the books.
Bonus episode out soon and get your (still attached) hands and eyes moving over "The Heckler" for the next episode.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Ed McBain and The 87th Precinct

Hark! It's an 87th Precinct Podcast Article!

Once again the website We Are Cult is kindly playing home to our expressions of love for McBain and the 87th Precinct books. You might remember we appeared as Podcast Of The Week a little while ago.This time they're featuring an article by Paul. You'll find a little bit about McBain himself, stuff about captivating qualities of the 87th Precinct books and some explanation about why we started the podcast.

Click the link below to have a read!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Side-Pod - Star Trek Assignment Earth: DISCO BEAR

Hark! It’s an 87th Precinct Podcast Sidepod!

We slip time-streams today and end up in the 23rd Century before being whizzed straight back to the 20th Century, 1968 to be precise, as we look at what could have been Star Trek’s swan-song. The episode “Assignment: Earth” was the final episode of season two of Star Trek at a time when the show was threatened with cancellation. This episode was intended as a back-door pilot for a new spin-off.

So how does this relate to the gritty and down to earth world of Ed McBain and the 87th Precinct? Well, it’s linked by two very thin strands. The main star of the episode is the best on-screen version of Detective (2nd Grade) Steve Carella, Robert Lansing as Gary Seven and also Leonard Nimoy who starred as a skinny-tie wearing, car-hiring, drug-running baddy in the 87th Precinct TV series in 1961.

Joining Paul for the chat is illustrator, educator and all-round sci-fi nerd, Adam Paxman. Search for his various art outputs online: Mister Paxman’s Glorious BastardsThe Museum of Fragmented Shadows and BurningZebra: The Abandoned Storybook – a treasure trove of grotesques, horrors, intrigue, sci-fi, adventure and philosophy in various forms.