The Thrill Electric

Online romance and intrigue, Victorian style! Channel 4 has just launched what it calls an “enhanced comic”, “The Thrill Electric”, which was inspired in part by my book “The Victorian Internet”. I’m not sure about some of the language anachronisms (people only started having “issues” rather than “problems” relatively recently) but I love the way it spins a story around the life of a female telegraph operator. You need to download a plug-in to view it, but give it a try — the result is indeed an enhanced comic-strip, with the elements in each panel moving in that pseudo-3D effect which is also used to liven up old photos in documentaries.

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4 comments
  1. I published a book called Machinamenta recently about creative machines before the invention of computers– things like the Eureka, which wrote Latin poetry while playing “God Save the Queen,” or the Componium, which was an orchestra-in-a-box that composed its own variations on melodies (built by Winkel, who Maelzel stole the metronome idea from.)
    Anyway, I thought that it was the sort of thing you might be interested in– I loved The Turk and The Victorian Internet. Would you like me to send you a copy? If you want to check it out there’s a preview on Amazon.

    (Sorry to leave this as a comment, but I didn’t see any email address.)

  2. tomstandage said:

    That sounds right up my street — I’ll check it out on Amazon! More on the prehistory of AI. I love it.

  3. Cheryl said:

    I never wanted an iPad. They just looked like silly things that people sat and stared at. But then my 68 year old mother bought me one because “I needed it.”.

    I did take it out of the box when she gave it to me and then did not touch it for a few weeks. Three months latter it is my constant companion. After reading a few chapters of “The History of the World in 6 Glasses” I found my way to “The Economist” and made my way here.

    Before getting an iPad I would have downloaded and read “The Thrill Electric.” Now that I don’t View the Internet on my PC as much, I am not sure I will read it anytime soon.

    How much longer will it be before the type of media player that I can download will not be a roadblock to what I am able to view? I have hope. I can download The Beatles at the iTunes store. I hope someone will get greedy and I will be able download the media on my current choice of device. For now sitting in front of my computer is so yesterday.

    • tomstandage said:

      Yes, it’s annoying that the viewer for “The Thrill Electric” relies on Flash. But Flash is clearly on the way out. We’ve stopped building new stuff in Flash at The Economist, for example, in favour of JavaScript/HTML5. So it’s only a matter of time. In the meantime, grrr…

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