My Holy Shit! List

Rands in Repose has done an interesting post, The Dark Underbelly of Holy Shit, in which he lists and explains the things that have made him exclaim, Holy Shit!

I decided to do my own. Mine is not limited to digital technology, however, and stretches back to my early childhood. So, in chronological order:

1) Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation
It brought children’s TV to an entirely new level. Marionettes with exciting technology, explosions, great music, and it all seemed so real! (Supermarionation)

2) The Avengers
No, not just Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel, the entire package. It showed me that TV could be better than it was, more imaginative, more stylish, and just plain weird. (The Avengers)

3) The Rocket’s Blast Comic Collector
The first fanzine I ever saw. There were other people out there who thought comics had value and they did other fanzines too! It was like a hidden club and I’d found the secret entrance. (RBCC)

4) Harlan Ellison
My introduction to a writing voice and what a writer should be. (Harlan Ellison)

5) Super-8 moviemaking
Movie-making was no longer in the hands of fatcat Suits. Unfortunately, within two years of my discovering this, Super-8 would be wiped-out by home video and the entire idea would do a Reset. It really still hasn’t recovered despite all the new digital tools. (Super 8 mm film)

6) Rock Follies
It has never been matched. All of MTV was nothing but a pale poor remake without a plot. (Rock Follies)

7) Ayn Rand’s works
A book could be about something. (Ayn Rand)

8) My first full-time job
I worked for a cutting-edge consultancy that was in the center of the digital revolution and we could see the changes that would happen. Alas, I was too stupid, too poor, and too honest to get rich from it. It also ruined me for all future employment.

9) The Source and CompuServe
My introduction to the online world, which was more exciting than the Apple II+ computer at work I was using. (The Source, CompuServe)

10) Bulletin-Board Systems (BBSes)
You didn’t need an expensive mainframe or minicomputer to set yourself up online! These were fanzines again! Bill Blue’s monthly PAMS list was the RBCC of its time. (BBS)

11) Ted Nelson’s books
I remain in awe of how many decades he was ahead of everyone — and still is. (Ted Nelson)

12) Dave Winer’s CB Mama program
It worked with CompuServe’s CB Simulator. It showed me we didn’t have to settle for what others deigned to give us online and could correct their poor design decisions. (CB Mama)

13) The Breakup of AT&T
There is no way to describe to anyone who didn’t live through it what that meant. The cellphone you have is all due to that consent decree. So many things we have today would have never existed. (Bell System divestiture)

14) The Macintosh
What else is there to say? My first encounter was with a LISA, but it was the Mac that was just plain beautiful. Too bad the pricetag placed it out of my reach for years. But it created many years of new work for me!

15) PlayNET
It existed before AOL, had a graphical interface, and was way ahead of its time. (PlayNET)

16) Blake’s 7
When Chris Boucher took over the series, he expanded TV science fiction in ways I didn’t think was allowed or even legal. (Blake’s 7)

17) Dennis Potter
Pennies from Heaven was a revelation. TV could be like a novel and TV itself could be Art. (Dennis Potter)

18) Palm PDA
This was like having the original Mac — in my hand! (Palm PDA)

19) The Return of Steve Jobs
I still can’t believe Amelio bought NeXT. Or was he so tired that he just decided to give Apple back to Jobs?

20) Ken Bruen’s works
He not only introduced me to crime fiction, his writing spoiled me by setting such an unbelievable standard that continues to floor me. (Ken Bruen)

21) Russell T. Davies’ Doctor Who revival
He achieved what was thought to be the impossible. And it continues to this day with Moffat at the helm and the incredible Matt Smith as The Doctor.

22) iPhone
It still gives me chills when I think back to its introduction. It exceeded the change made by the original Macintosh.

23) webOS
I didn’t think it was possible to improve on the way the iPhone did things. I was so wrong!

All this against a backdrop that included things like man going into space, political assassinations, The Beatles, the first color TV made with transistors, men landing and walking on the Moon, Apollo 13, Sony inventing the home VCR, the Compact Disc, stereo sound coming to TV, the Challenger disaster, the Twin Towers falling, and much, much more.

I’ve been through this list all day. I still think I’ve left something out. But that’s how it goes. Feel free to remind me in Comments.

Update: Now with corrected numbering!


Filed under Personal

10 responses to “My Holy Shit! List

  1. Keishon

    What a great list. Ken Bruen is in a class all by himself even today. Speaking of Bruen, I still have The White Trilogy to finish. His voice/style of writing was different back then compared to now. Very interesting. Also, The Hackman Blues is coming back in print looks like in December of this year.

    • mikecane

      Bruen’s Brant series is a whole different thing than his Taylor series. Hackman was the first of his I read. Like a damn drug, it was!

  2. Jason S.

    Where is the original Prisoner?! How come that masterpiece isn’t on the list?

    • mikecane

      I didn’t see the original Prisoner until very late, as a PBS repeat in the 1980s, I think. By then it was just another excellent British TV program. By then I’d seen many others. But yes, it was still impressive.

  3. Your list inspires me…this isn’t my complete list, and it’s not as geek heavy as yours, but….

    Help/A Hard Day’s Night on the big screen

    Star Trek (the original series first run)

    Stranger In a Strange Land



    My first con (chambanacon 1986)

    Discovering usenet in 1991

    My first worldcon (Chicon 2001)

    The Heinlein Centennial

    Driving to the Arctic Circle

    My Kindle

    (I HAVE to post this to my journal)

  4. I have very few of these with THINGS because I just tend to take them as they come, but kittent made me do it:

    The phone-in registration system at BYU (mid-80s).

    PC Anywhere/IRC/Yahoo mail, which I stumbled into all on the same day because I had to use them interchangeably.

    Yahoo Finance’s monthly fantasy stock trading contests.

    The day I was interviewing for a position as a stockbroker and realized that it was a sales job. Blurgh.

    • mikecane

      That last one shouldn’t count because it’s a negative Holy Shit! If I included those, the list would be eleventeen times longer!

      • No. It was a positive because I’d been romanticizing it since I was 10 or so and my dad taught me how to read the stock tables. (He didn’t know what stockbrokers, did, either.) It let me off the hook of a goal left unaccomplished.

        It also made me wonder what other shit jobs/occupations I’d romanticized over the years. Seriously, it was an awesome Holy Shit.

  5. What a wonderful list! What happened to 8?

    • mikecane

      I failed in my final proofreading, not double-checking the numbering. It had been edited a lot during the day, with more things being added and moved around, so 8 temporarily got lost in the re-numbering but now it’s there in the final fix.

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