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)
Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His last article for Ideas was about choosing Congress by lottery.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
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.