Now that I’ve finished my book on popular science and science fiction in the interwar era, Astounding Wonder (University of Pennsylvania Press, March 2012), I’ve returned to another project on geography, race, and Asian Americans that I’m calling Barred Zones.
Geoffrey Brooks was one of my two favorite teachers growing up. My sixth-grade teacher, he was young and hip, and he first introduced me to the idea of computers and computing. He was also a Black man, which I noticed at the time but didn’t particularly think about—I was, after all, a sixth-grader. As I look back now, I realize his influence on me not only for the many things he taught me in the classroom but for who and what he was, particularly in the United States in the 1970s. I appreciate him all the more now understanding that historical social context.
In the first panels of the Flash Gordon comic strip, Yale graduate and world-renowned polo player Flash Gordon and his fellow airplane passenger, Dale Arden survive its crash during an intense storm and stumble upon the secret laboratory of Dr. Hans Zarkov. Zarkov explains that the storm is one of many catastrophes caused by a mysterious planet’s approach and forces Flash and Dale to accompany him on a rocket ship to the planet to save the Earth. Continue reading “Mongo, the Planet of Doom”