There is something enticing about closing time. Even the most ordinary supermarket, post-office or call-centre turns into a magical place when the doors are shut and the alarm system is turned on. Everyone who has read Matt Thorne’s Eight Minutes Idle knows what I mean. Everyone who has ever worked in a bar knows too that the staff-after-parties are much cooler than the parties the costumers have during opening hours. It’s hard to imagine what the Science Museum is like after six, so you can picture how excited Bronagh, Anneka and I were Monday night, during the launch of a new Science Museum Booklet: Albertopolis Disparu by Tony White.
The presentation took place in front of the Listening Post, and as long as copies are available, they will be handed out for free on the same spot. This spot was chosen because this enchanting machine, which projects live messages from internet chat rooms onto a giant grid of small screens, was the inspiration for the short story.
As the writer in residence at the Science Museum, White says he came across the preface to a lost work by author James Colvin. The structure of a main story embedded within several narratives is similar to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and typical for the Steampunk tradition this work is placed within. I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'll tell you no more, except that it made me laugh.
Now, if you’re in the vicinity of London, I suggest you hurry to South Kensington and pick up this wicked little piece of art. Apparently, the green cabman’s shelter opposite the V&A has resumed the tradition of educating taxi drivers by handing out free copies of this Science Museum Booklet. But for ordinary human beings the booklet is available at the Waterstone’s in the Science Museum and next to the Listening Post in the museum. And if you’re not in London, I suggest you download the PDF.