Monday, November 29, 2010

Dumarest: Eloise (1975)

This books opens with an unusual glimpse into the heart of the Cyclan where Master Nequal, the Cyber Prime, is issuing orders to make the capture of Dumarest and the retrieval of the secret of the affinity-twin a priority. Dumarest himself has been serving as a crewman on the Tophier, but realizes that the Cyclan is closing in on him. He charters a ship, the Styast, hoping to have it plot a random course that the cybers can't predict. The ship is a wreck, and the crew a seedy bunch that includes the washedup musician Arbush who plays the gilyre. Thanks to a hint from the minstrel Dumarest learns the crew is planning treachery, and he gets off Quick time just in time to have a laser pointed at him. He quickly turns the tables on them, but just then the ship is hit by a warp, a sort of interstellar storm thrown out by supernovas. The warp casts them a half million light years across the galaxy to crash land in the polar regions of the planet Camollard. Only Dumarest and Arbush survive and as they struggle across the icy wastes avoiding the quasi-human Krim they stumble upon a city. It's Instone, a utopia run by the master computer, Camolsaer, and it's servants the robotic Monitors. The inhabitants all lead a life of luxury, although the Monitors compel them to do pointless make-work jobs. They quickly befriend Adara, a native of the city, and Eloise, a dancer who was rescued ny Adara when her plane crashed and who has been trapped there ever since. And they are trapped. Instone has no connections with the outside world. And the price they pay for their utopian life is the regular Knelling, a time when each inhabitant is assigned a number, a bell is rung, and those for whom it tolls are "converted." Eloise, who is sick of wimps like Adara, has been waiting for a real man like Dumarest. But she knows he's just the kind of rugged individual the system can't stand, and he'll be one of the first eliminated during the Knelling. There only hope is to escape before that happens.

Despite Dumarests suspicions, the Cyclan are not behind his complications he encounters in Instone, except in the general sense that their pursuit of him is a constant threat. This is a nice change of pace from the earlier volumes where they were always revealed to be behind the mischief. In place of that predictable plot element we now have the one where every woman finds Dumarest sexually irresistible.

The city of Instone seems implausible to the point of absurdity. It's a utopia which provides people with every luxury imaginable, but if the overindulge they are deemed unfit and culled by Camolsaer. But since Camolsaer is providing them with the luxuries in the first place, wouldn't it make more sense just to ration their access to the things they're over indulging in? The whole utopia comes across as just a straw man for the self-reliant Dumarest to knock down in order to demonstrate the evils of providing for people's needs.

Dumarest has given up carotid pinching in favor of slapping people in the face. He dispenses it as a cure for hysteria, administering a dose to an average of one man and one woman each book. No doubt he will distribute more doses in the books that follow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dumarest: Zenya (1974)

While doing research to find Earth in the library on Paiyar, Dumarest is approached by the beautiful Aihult Zenya Yamaipan, daughter of the powerful House of Aihult. Her grandfather, Aihult Chan Parect, the head of the house of Aihult, wants to meet with Dumarest, and she says he may have the answer he's looking for. He waits to meet with the patriarch in the company of the other decadent members of the house, including the sultry Lisa Conenda contentious Zavor, who picks a fight with him. Dumarest breaks his nose to teach him a lesson. At dinner, which consists of an "assortment of dishes was for titivation, not sustenance" Dumarest is privately contemptuous of the proud and arrogant aristocrats and their mistreatment of Brother Eland. The monk is there to ask permission to set up a small portable church to tend to the poor. Parect and the others are contemptuous of him and he's locked up. Dumarest comes to his aid gaining his release. That night, Zavor tries to assassinate Dumarest, who is severely wounded even as he kills the cruel aristocrat. He comes to in the care of one of Parect's physicians and the old man makes him an offer he can't refuse: find his wayward son, Salek, who has run off to the planet Chard or Parect will inform the Cyclan of Dumarest's location. Aware of the threat the cyber's pose to him, and knowing that Salek has studied ancient legends, Dumarest reluctantly consents.

Accompanied by Zenya, he arrives on Chard, only to find it in a state of war. It's a world that is economically dependent on a mono-crop, growing a versatile plant called lofios "a plant which provides fruit, fiber, and rare oils for the making of perfumes and unguents." Recently several villages have been destroyed and the inhabitants slaughtered. The blame has fallen on the "primitive" native Ayutha. The captain of the ship Dumarest has traveled on lies to a Chard soldier, telling him that Dumarest is a soldier from Samalle, "one of the Warrior Worlds, dedicated to military training, a supplier of mercenaries." The people of Chard are eager to have an experienced military man helping them, and Dumarest quickly finds himself in charge of their military, hoping to find Salek even as he strives to win the war.

This is notable for being the first book where it turns out that the Cyclan aren't behind the trouble. In every previous volume they've been the cause of the social turmoil, but not this time. However, there is the seemingly obligatory catfight between Zenya and Lisa for his sexual favors. As for Dumarest, he's become more even handed in his slapping, hitting not only Zaenya but also a backtalking military surgeon on Chard. He also takes to the role of military office with surprising alacrity. There's no mention of him having served in the military before now, yet he's quite at home deploying troops and barking commands.

And it's in this situation where some of the contradictions of his character come to the fore. While commanding the army he acts the martinet and issues strict orders, even threatening to shoot his own troops if they disobey. Moreover, he takes the role of hard nosed military realist to such an extreme that he even utters the fascist chestnut, "Among races, like men, only the strong have the right to survive." Yet this is the same man who not long before went out of his way to help Brother Eland and who has always been favorably disposed toward the Universal Brotherhood whose mission is to help the weak. And prior to this, despite his own violent rugged individualism, he's expressed nothing but contempt for the warrior ethos, in Technos even declaring, "War, by definition, is a confession of failure. It requires little intelligence to beat a weaker man with a club." Yet here he is thinking and acting as if he were thoroughly schooled in the arts of war. How these contradictions in his character will play themselves out will be seen as he continues to search for Earth.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Riya's Foundling

Science Fiction Stories, 1953

"Riya's Foundling" by Algis Budrys

"Now, if the animal we know as a cow were to evolve into a creature with near-human intelligence, so that she thought of herself as a "person" ..."

Produced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Jack and the Check Book

Jack and the Check Book (1911) by John Kendrick Bangs


I. Jack and the Check-book
II. The Great Wish Syndicate
III. Puss, the Promoter
IV. The Golden Fleece
V. The Invisible Cloak
VI. The Return of Aladdin

E-text prepared by Annie McGuire

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Doctor Mop-top

Some classical music in honor of Doctor Who's birthday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

X Minus One - The Coffin Cure

"The Coffin Cure" by Alan E. Nourse

Form back in 1957 comes a little story about researchers who think they've found a cure for the common cold.

Courtesy of the Internet Archive and The OTRR.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dumarest: Jondelle (1973)

After his encounter with the powerful alien Tormyle in the last book, Dumarest is now somewhere back near the center of the galaxy on the planet Ourelle. It's a balkanized planet, split between various ethnic populations. After selling some crystals he mined on a nearby world, he happens across some thugs trying to kidnap a young boy, Jondelle. He prevents the crime, but is severly wounded by a laser in the process. He given care by the child's mother, Makgar, who acts as a doctor to the native Hegelts who act as peons on the farm she and her husband, Elray, own. Jondelle idolizes Dumarest, who shows him some knife fighting tricks. This outrages Elray, who doesn't want the boy raised to be a killer. Dumarest tells him off, say the boy must learn to stand up for himself. Makgar agrees, saying, "I want Jondelle to be strong." She's fallen for Dumarest and offers to leave her husband for him. While they're off talking together the farm is attacked by a raiding party of Melevganians, a nation of literally insane people from the lands beyond the deserts to the south. As Dumarest and Makgar hurry back to save Jondrelle, she takes time out to curse Elray for his non-violent ways. "The damn coward! If he lives through this, I'll tear out his throat!" Despite Dumarest's best efforts a few of the raiders escape with the boy. The farm has been destroyed and Elray killed. Makgar, who had been badly wounded, is glad he's dead. Dumarest promises the dying woman that he'll rescue her son, a promise that take him into the insane Melevganians' capitol, where he finds an unexpected ally.

This story is basically a Western yarn transposed into a space opera setting. The same basic story cam be found in films like The Searchers (1956). As such it's a glorification of the myth of the rugged individual as embodied by Dumarest. It's a tough universe and only tough guys like him are equipped to handle it. But this celebration of machismo has it's dark side, and twice in this novel Dumarest slaps women in the face.

This illustrates in a very shocking and graphic way the sadomasochism that underlies these stories as well as so much of popular fiction. It's a subject the late Philip José Farmer explored in his classic book, A Feast Unknown (1969). Whether or not Dumarest continues to behave with such brutality will be revealed as he continues his search for Earth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dumarest: Mayenne (1973)

Dumarest is getting paranoid, and not without reason. His numerous scrapes with the Cyclan have left him suspiciously eying his fellow passengers on the ship he is traveling on, trying to figure out which of them is the Cyclan agent. There's quite an assortment of voyagers. One is Mari Analoch, the aged procuress seeking to open a new brothel. And there's Ilgazt Bitola a young fop, as well as Harg Branst, the ship's resident gambler. Also aboard are Eisach Daroca, a dilettante, Lady Lolis Egas, the young, spoiled, aristocrat and her bodyguard, the "squat amazon" Hera Phollen. Then there's Vekta Gorlyk, a reserved book dealer, and Sac and Tek Qualish, two dour brothers who are consultant engineers, as well as Chom Roma, an obnoxious entrepreneur. The ship is crewed by Captain Seleem and officer Karn. And finally there is the beautiful Mayenne, a Ghenka, a special type of singer who takes twenty years to train and can enchant with her voice. Anyone of them could be working for the evil cybers. When Lolis and Bitola try to get some kicks by looking at a beast kept in the cargo hold, it accidentally gets loose, killing several people and disabling the engines before Dumarest kills it. The ship is dead in space and all hope seems lost, when a song the Ghenka is broadcasting on the ultra-radio for her own amusement attracts the attention of a powerful alien. It's an intelligent planet from outside the galaxy that calls itself Tormyle. It brings the ship onto itself and makes a habitable zone for the humans. It's so powerful they hope they can convince it to fix the ship. But when some of them disappear they realize Tormyle plans to experiment on them. It wants to understand them, and wants the answer to a question: What is love?

This is a more overtly science fictional tale than most of the previous books. Many of them could just as easily have been staged as heroic fantasies, what with all the knife fighting and gladiator combats. By contrast, this installment has something of a Star Trek feel to it, with the humans having to outwit a vast alien mind. There's some good character interactions throughout, but the problem of discovering the Cyclan agent gets forgotten until they confess all at the end of the book. It doesn't generate any dramatic tension and the revelation seems somewhat anticlimactic.

The soft sexism of some of the earlier books is unfortunately resurfacing. There's a lot of talk of "woman's intuition" and "a woman's logic" which is portrayed as being irrational. And not only do almost all the women fall in love with Dumarest, but the reason Tormyle wants to know about love is because it's got the hots for him too. I think that's stretching things a bit too far.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Outline of Conan's Career

The classic essay from 1938, "A Probable Outline of Conan's Career," by P. Schuyler Miller and John D.Clark, Ph.D. as reprinted in 1977 in the pages of Marvel Comic's Savage Sword of Conan #16.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dumarest: Veruchia (1973)

While on the planet Selend searching for clues about the Original People, that mysterious religious sect that may know the whereabouts of Earth, Dumarest is incapacitated by an assassination attempt. When he recovers he finds that the authorities have confiscated his funds to pay for the cost of treatment and are planning to deport him. Fear that the Cyclan is manipulating events, Dumarest escapes custody and cuts a deal for a Low passage, paying for it with the ring Kalin had given him, but not before removing and destroying the stone which contains the stolen Cyclan formula. As it later turns out he has memorized the formula and acquired enough skill in chemistry to concoct it. His desperate escape lands him on Dradea, a feudal world ruled by the hereditary Owner, Chorzel, and an aristocracy of High Tenants, while below them are the subtenants and landless ones. Under the influence of the cyber Surat, Chorzel has begun staging gladiatorial spectacles. Dumarest is one of the gladiators, hoping to earn enough to continue his journey. He has to fight a crell, large, vicious flightless birds bred for fighting. In the crowd of spectators, Veruchia, an aristocrat stigmatized by an unusual skin discoloration like a web pattern, places a large bet on Dumarest against her cruel cousin Montarg, who bets on the crell. When Dumarest triumphs he finds himself invited to an upper-class party and accepts a job as bodyguard for Veruchia, who quickly falls in love with him. When Chorzel, who had collapsed at the stadium, dies, it's revealed that Veruchia is a rival claimant to the throne along with the nasty Montarg. But in order to prove her claim she must first locate the First Ship on which people first came to the planet and which is now is as legendary as the Earth.

There are some passages in this book that suggest a tempering of the strong dichotomy between Apollonian inhuman intellectualism and Dionysian human passion that we've seen before now. As Dumarest fights the crell he observes that it's "still a beast with a limited brain governed more by instinct than calculated decision." It's his ability to outthink the beast as much as his physical prowess that brings him victory. So wile the emotionless Cyclan are still the villains of this space opera this suggests that there is a Golden Mean to be struck between rationality and instinct.

I do have to wonder why the word hasn't gotten out that the Cyclan are secretly working to subvert governments. There's no sign of anything like a press corp in this future universe, but certainly rival factions like the Universal Brotherhood, who have contacts in high places and harbor no love of the cybers, or Guild merchants who stand to suffer financial loss because of cyber subversion, would start warning governments that the Cyclan is up to no good. Given the number of their plots that Dumarest has foiled there's more than enough evidence of what they're really up to. As it is it looks like it'll be left to Dumarest alone fight them.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fire and Ice (1983) Trailer

Vintage sword-and-sorcery from the legendary Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta with a script by Marvel Comics' Conan alums Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas. Scream, Teegra, scream!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shadow of Dreams

by Robert E. Howard

Stay not from me that veil of dreams that gives
Strange seas and and skies and lands and curious fire,
Black dragons, crimson moons and white desire,
That through the silvery fabric sifts and sieves
Strange shadows, shades and all unmeasured things,
And in the sifting lends them shapes and wings
And makes them known in ways past common knowing--
Red lands, black seas and ivory rivers flowing.

How of the gold we gather in our hands?
It cheers, but shall escape us at the last,
And shall mean less, when this brief day is past,
Than that we gathered on the yellow sands,
The phantom ore we found in Wizard-lands.

Keep not from me my veil of curious dreams
Through which I see the giant things which drink
From mountain-castled rivers--on the brink
Black elephants that woo the fronded streams,
And golden tom-toms pulsing through the dusk,
And yellow stars, black trees and red-eyed cats,
And bales of silk and amber jars of musk,
And opal shrines and tents and vampire bats.

Long highways climbing eastward to the moon,
And caravans of camels lade with spice,
And ancient sword hilts carved with scroll and rune,
And marble queens with eyes of crimson ice.

Uncharted shores where moons of scarlet spray
Break on a Viking's galley on the sand,
And curtains held by one slim silver band
That float from casements opening on a bay,
And monstrous iron castles, dragon-barred,
And purple cloaks with inlaid gems bestarred.

Long silver tasseled mantles, curious furs,
And camel bells and dawns and golden heat,
And tuneful rattle of the horseman's spurs
Along some sleeping desert city's street.

Time strides and all too soon shall I grow old
With still all earth to see, all life to live:
Then come to me, my silver veil, and sieve,
Seas of illusion beached with magic gold.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dumarest: Technos (1972)

Dumarest's promise to a dying comrade, Lemain, that he will deliver a message to the man's father takes him to Loame, an agrarian planet with a society like that of the ancient Roman latifundia. The planet is under siege by an invasive plant species, the thorge. Making things worse is the tribute they must pay to the expansionist planet, Technos, a meritocracy where an individual's social standing is determined by the number of degrees they hold. This tribute takes the form of a thousand young men and women every year. When Dumarest learns that Elaine Delmayer, the daughter of a deceased antiquarian, is now living on Technos, he contrives to have himself included in the upcoming tribute in order to gain access to that planet, which strictly regulates immigration. The planet is ruled by a Supreme Council, the chairman of which is Leon Vargas, the Technarch. Advised by the insidious cyber Ruen he hopes to exploit the current state of war to abolish the council and establish himself as absolute dictator, if his increasing paranoia doesn't overcome him first. Only determined council members like Mada Grist stand in his way. Dumarest will need all his skill to find Elaine Delmayer in this repressive and tightly regulated society and find another clue to lead him to Earth.

This book marks the first time a woman isn't killed after having sex with Dumarest, which is a welcome change of pace. It also sees the return of capable, independent women in the characters Elaine Delmayer and Mada Grist. The latter finds Dumarest sexually irresistible, which is justified in the context of the story, but it is also typical of the series. These books are mainly a male power fantasy, with Dumarest acting as a surrogate for the reader.

This book also highlights the Nietzschean aspects of the series, with the Apollonian regulated and intellectually oriented society of Technos becoming dysfunctional and only the energetic Dumarest and his inherent Dionysian instincts that can save it.

It also raises the question of Dumarest's motivation, but like the previous books it doesn't provide a satisfactory answer. When Odysseus undertook his voyage home after the fall of Troy, he did so to bring his troops home, and to return to his wife and son as well as his vast estate. Dumarest has no such direct ties to Earth, which is just his vaguely remembered childhood home. It's hard to believe he would risk imprisonment and death just to get meager scraps of information about it's location. But whatever his reasons his odyssey continues.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dumarest: Lallia (1971)

"This is a bad one, Earl." Nimino's voice was barely a whisper. "We're dealing with fanaticism and aberrated fears—an ugly combination."
So comments Dumarest's shipmate on the small, battered, old trading ship, The Moray. After he saw the ships handler killed by a mutant Dumarest wasted no time taking his job. He had subbdued a theif after the ring given him by Kalin which contains a secret formula the Cyclan will kill for. He soon found the thief dead and wants to get off-world before he's blamed for the murder. So he joined the motley crew of The Moray, Nimino the navigator with an eclectic belief in the supernatural, Lin the starry-eyed young steward, Claude the violent, alcoholic engineer, and the captain Bernard Sheyan, who has a deep seated fear of outer space. Their one passenger is Yalung, a dealer in precious stones. The ship sets out to trade in the Web, a group of worlds in a nebula that is treacherous to navigate. Eventually they make their way to Candara where the conservative and superstitious locals ask them to adjudicate the case of Lallia. She is an outworlder they have allowed to live among them. After her presence stirred up jealousy and envy they accused her of witchcraft. The offworlders are to decide her fate, and must do so in a way that won't threaten their profits.

This book gives us a closer look at shipboard life, especially of a small trader. It also highlights a problem with the reliance by space travelers on drugs like quicktime. When someone takes quicktime their metabolism slows down and consequently time subjectively seems to pass quicker. It also means that they slow to near immobility compared to someone not on the drug. That means that when crewmen like Dumarest take quicktime the would be unable to deal with any emergency that might arise. So it's not surprising that aside from a short scene at the beginning of the book there's no use of quicktime.

While the role of women was strong in the early books, it's been slowly deteriorating. Lallia, despite being strong willed (and a shady character) is little more than a prize to be won by Dumarest. She's "a female animal" who finds fulfillment in serving his needs. The one interesting thing about their relationship is when they enter in to a "ship-marriage" which will last only as long as they want it to or until they leave the ship's crew.

While they visit several planets in the Web, the one that stands out is Tyrann. If that name is familiar it's because a planet of the same name is found in Issac Asimov's The Stars like Dust (1951). And that previous Tyrann was located in the Nebula Kingdoms. This seems to be a direst reference to Asimov's book. It gives the impression that Dumarest's quest is taking place in Asimov's Galactic Empire. If that's true then Dumarest is in luck because the Nebula Kingdoms are within 500 LY of Earth. But it's unlikely his journey will end any time soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Before Burroughs

Today the swashbuckling Planetary Romance, or sword and planet yarn as some have taken to calling it, is synonymous with the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs. When he burst onto the scene in 1912 with his story Under the Moons of Mars, written under the name Norman Bean, he set the standard for outré Ruritanian adventures. So it's easy to forget that he wasn't the first to write stories like that.

The most well known of his forerunners was Edwin L. Arnold , the author of the 1905 novel Lieut. Gulliver Jones: His Vacation which was later reprinted as Gulliver of Mars. It tells the story of the eponymous swabby who comes into possession of a magic carpet that whisks him of to Mars where he engages in swashbuckling adventures to win the hand of Princess Heru. Recently he appeared in Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's comic book, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Less well known but just as significant is Frank Atkin's novel, A Trip to Mars (1909), which he wrote under the name Fenton Ash. In this adventure, two Earth boys witness a UFO which turns out to be a Martian spaceship that takes then to the red planet where they encounter super science wonders like flying yachts and become embroiled in a war.

Both of these books anticipate much of what later made ERB famous. Yet today they're all but forgotten. When there was a brief revival of the sub-genre in the sixties and seventies it took the form of pastiches of ERB with scarcely a nod to these earlier works.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Necrom (1991)

Since Mick Farren has scarpered off to Blighty I decided to wish him farewell by reading his book Necrom (1991) for Halloween. It's a somewhat supernatural tale of multiple dimensions and the awakening of the eponymous Old One which may herald the end of the world.

The story centers on Joe Gibson, an alcoholic and washed up rock-star who was a member of the world famous band The Holy Ghosts. He's just getting over the breakup of a long term relationship with a woman named Desiree and is generally down on his luck. Then he's contacted by the mysterious and wizened Casillas, a member of a secretive mystical group called The Nine, who informs him that an ancient cosmic being named Necrom is stirring and that Joe may be vital to the effort to stop him. He's put under the watchful eyes of the streamheat, a trio of severe Nordic-types in matching blue jumpsuits who hail from a different dimension (and who have their own agenda). They whisk him off to London for safekeeping, putting him in the care of the urbane occultist Gideon Windemere and his beautiful secretary, Christobele. While there Joe has his first encounter with Yancey Slide, a Sumerian demon, or idimmu, who looks like Clint Eastwood in his prime, and his cohorts, the demoness Nephredana and Yop Boy. They hint to him that his current companions aren't on the up-and-up, something Joe suspected when he found that the infamous Satanist Sebastian Rampton was among The Nine. Soon Joe is forced to flee to an alternate universe, dodging UFOs, demons and his own suspect handlers along the way. Just what are their plans for him, and will he go along with them?

Necrom reiterates many of the elements in Farren's earlier DNA Cowboys series. As in the previous books there is a looming threat which the protagonists marshal against and a good deal of dimension hopping. There's also the presence (offstage) of doppelgangers, in this case Joe's from the alternate universes. And like the earlier books there is little in the way of a formal plot. The novel focuses on Joe Gibson reacting to his shifting circumstances, pursuing an existential odyssey through a changing landscape and trying to make sense of it all.

If the book has a weakness it's that, despite being the center of events, Joe doesn't have much depth to him. Maybe that's a comment on the personality of the average rock star, but the result is he feels rather shallow. The other shortcoming is that by the end of the novel very little is resolved. While I respect that Farren eschewed a pat ending, he does it in such a way that I was left with so many questions that I felt the story wasn't really concluded satisfactorily.

The concept of an ancient evil awaking has obvious overtones of Lovecraft to it, but Farren steers away from any overt Cthulhu Mythos references. Instead he draws on Sumerian mythology, which I found an interesting touch. And despite the supernatural elements this is at heart a science fiction novel, with most of the weirdness rationalized to one degree or another. It's remarkable that this book predates the X-Files phenomena by several years as it anticipates many of the themes of that show, only with more sex and drugs. If it had been expanded into a series it might have tapped into that show's popularity. In any case it reads as a trippy excursion into a psychedelic multiverse.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Martian Electric Spaceship

"This artist's concept from 1962 show a three hundred-sixty ton spaceship, powered by a forty-megawatt nuclear-electric power plant, transporting a three-man crew to Mars. As envisioned by Marshall Space Flight Center engineers, a five-ship convoy would make the round trip journey in about five hundred days."

An interesting concept for a spacecraft and a perfect name for a band all in one.

Update: Negative no more.

[via Internet Archive]