The colorful life of Jack Parsons as revealed in the biography Strange Angel by George Pendle will appear on AMC in miniseries form, according to a Deadline report. Ridley Scott and David Zucker will executive produce the series, which will be written by Mark Heyman (Skeleton Twins, Black Swan).
21C is back with new material, plus archival material by or about Hakim Bey, William S. Burroughs, Erik Davis, Philip K. Dick, Ashley Crawford, Mark Dery, Verner Vinge, William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, Jack Parsons, Richard Metzger, Genesis P. Orridge, Kath Acker, JG Ballard, John Shirley, Robert Anton Wilson, Iain Sinclair, Terrence McKenna, Buckminster Fuller, R.U. Sirius, Timothy Leary, Bruce Sterling and more.
Sadly, in 1999, the company went bust, somewhat ironic given that 21•C in that form never made it into the Century after which it was named – the 21st. 21•C stalwart Mark Dery and I made some attempt to resuscitate the title early in the new millennium to no avail.
Yet many of the ideas and issues raised in the original magazine continued to arise, and with them perpetual queries as to how to get copies of the original articles, a nigh impossible task. With the prompting of two other 21•C stalwarts, Darren Tofts and Murray McKeich, it was decided to resurrect a core selection of articles in an archival on-line format. With Mick Stylianou’s wizard like help this was fairly painless. It didn’t take long to decide to add new material and it is hoped that new issues will be posted at semi-regular intervals.
This inaugural on-line issue takes as its theme Apocalypse Noir – the trend toward the apocalyptic, or at the least extremely dark – in contemporary writing. If earlier 21•C’s tended toward the darker aspects of cyberpunk, then the newer crop of writers have given up any pretense of a happy ending. Good luck!
Pasadena Babalon is a new stage play dealing with the life of rocket pioneer Jack Parsons, co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Aerojet General Corporation.
Theater Arts at Caltech (TACIT) director Brian Brophy (Shawshank Redemption, Day Without a Mexican, Star Trek: The Next Generation) will direct the play penned by George Morgan, author of last year’s well-received Rocket Girl.
Babalon takes the audience on a journey through mid-1930s Pasadena up until Jack’s untimely death in 1952. Surrounded by a gallery of characters from Aleister Crowley, L.Ron Hubbard, Theordore Von Karman, and many others, the play examines the nature of genius with its unintended consequences, black magic, military contracts, and the formation of JPL.
John Dee, for example, was one of the leading scientific lights of his age. Without John Dee, there wouldn’t have been an Isaac Newton. The science of navigation was practically invented by John Dee. He was a classic Renaissance man, and yet he seemed to spend the latter half of his life working upon this incomprehensible series of squiggles that he referred to as being Enochian language, which he seemed to believe literally was a form of language with which you could communicate with angels. Now, you look at this table of tiny squares full of little symbols, numbers, letters, and it looks like complete lunacy – and, indeed, most people have dismissed it as such, but given Dee’s undisputed, original intellect, I found it more difficult to dismiss it.
I also started looking at people like Jack Whiteside Parsons. There’s a crater on the moon named after him – the Parsons Crater. That’s because Jack Parsons invented solid rocket fuel, without which it would have been impossible to reach the moon. He was a distinguished scientist. He was also a member of the Golden Dawn – the Caliphate OTO; the Ordo Templi Orientist (OTO). Crowley had been the head of the order at one point. The more I started to look at it, the more it seemed that . . . most of the leading scientists, artists, musicians – most of the key thinkers in human cultural history, seemed to be blatantly and overtly involved in magical thinking of some sort. I mean nearly every artist that you would care to name … You’d think there’d be nothing more formal and scientific than those sort of divided rectangles and squares of Mondrian’s, but no, that was all based upon theosophy. Even baseball was created by a theosophist.