Dexter Palmer lives in Princeton, New Jersey. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Princeton University, where he completed his dissertation on the work of James Joyce, William Gaddis, and Thomas Pynchon (and where he also staged the first academic conference ever held at an Ivy League university on the subject of video games).
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Dexter Palmer on writing The Dream of Perpetual Motion
I began writing the work that eventually became The Dream of Perpetual Motion in 1996. Basically, it was a means of procrastination, since it allowed me to write something instead of the papers for the courses I was taking in graduate school. Fittingly, the book that inspired it was one that was sitting in the library stacks next to some other forgotten book that I should have been reading as research for a paper (which was to have been on H. G. Wells novel Tono-Bungay). That book was called Futuredays, and it contained a reproduction of illustrations for a series of cigarette cards drawn by the artist Jean-Marc Côtéin 1900 that purported to show what life would be like in the year 2000.
What was interesting to me from my perspective, just on the edge of the millennium that these images claimed to predict with tongue in cheek, wasnt so much the renderings of alternate forms of transportation that took up most of the collection, but the manner in which some things that apparently seemed fantastic to Côté came off as mundane to me, such as the idea of receiving the news through an audio recording. (On the other hand, there ...
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