SMPTE color bars; via Duke Univerty Libraries

The Writer Today faces opportunities and hurdles undreamt of in the time of Mary Shelley, whose 1826 novel The Last Man can be found in a serialized form-in-progress here at Nostalgistudio. Assuming an internet connection, every barrier to knowledge seems to have fallen, if you push. Research has never been such a breeze; the instantaneous fact is joined online by entire libraries of digitized books, print journals and magazine runs of every provenance, age and description, enormous amounts of them offered at no cost to the amateur researcher. And along with fact-checking them and filling new books with fine true detail, editing them has almost certainly never been physically easier—though it can still be time-consuming. As to the hurdles faced by The Writer Today, when most every barrier to publication is lying in pieces, a very big one would be the vast size of the competition, never bigger.

What could raise the odds of breaking through to success?

Why not have a few playlists, in various media, on-line. For the readers are out there, lots of them—but they’re word-weary. Often, for part of every day, sometimes for days at a time, they can’t bear to read another word, much less open a book, much less a novel; the demands on their power to absorb information are so great, the extra effort feels impossible. These stressed, book-avoidant, mildly logophobic readers need and deserve to be met on their own ground by The Writer Today, and entertained in the pertinent, high-quality fashion found among the playlists below.


Watch some of the Soviet-era films that figure in the novel’s plot, and visit some of its settings—including Ukraine’s beautiful Odessa at the height of its pre-War glamour. You can also listen to the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s magnificent account of Temnaya Noch, the popular song that plays in the Birobidzhan night market scene.


You’ll find a good introduction to Volume 1 here, including footage of the since-demolished Brighton Beach Bath & Racquet Club as it looked around 1987. There’s also an original animation featuring text from the heroines’ first big sex scene in Volume 2.

SPOTIFY: thelastman.bog

Listen to some of the musical pieces that have been inspirational to the project, alongside selected short poems, sounds, and the only existent recording of Virginia Woolf’s voice–talking about Words, of all things.   

IMAGES: L’antenna, Cover details, November 1958 and December 1966 issues; via Internet Archive

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