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Day #213/365: Artifacts of a curious mini-genre (and misc.)

File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #35/52.

I’ve mentioned this before but it seems that in the 1970s there was a curious mini-genre of science fiction films, often with big budgets and stars, which dealt with population control and ecological collapse/disaster.

The main culprits? Well, that would probably be Z.P.G., Soylent Green (aka Make Room Make Room), No Blade Of Grass, Logan’s Run, Zardoz, Phase IV, Silent Running… all of which seem to somehow connect with a journey through the flipside of edenic idylls which is part of this year in the country.


Such celluloid stories seemed to vary in their depiction of what form such events would take place and included the replacing of living children with robot offspring and staged depictions of what life was once like, a rather unusual closed food chain choice, new age self-immolation rituals and an escape to the country, shipping the remaining plant life into space, the collapse of society into feudal like barbarism, advanced evolution enabling the control and shepherding of mankind and so on.

And like the previously mentioned paper encapturings of fleeting televisual transmissions and in contrast to modern times which has an almost atemporal access to most of culture at but a swoosh and a tap (see Day #212/365), these celluloid flickerings were also often rather temporary in their viewing and perusing lifespan.

Like their cathode based brethren, one of the few artifacts which would still be on the shelves as it were after a brief theatrical run were the associated novelisation/film tie-in paperback adaptations…

Here are but a few of such things…

A curious mini genre-Soylent Green-Logans run-make room make room no blade of grass phase iv-zardoz-A Year In The Country

Of that curious mini-genre there were a few that escaped novelisation and/or weren’t adapted from a pre-existing story. In the above list that would be Z.P.G. and Soylent Green. I suppose at that time that one of the few other artifacts which might still wend their way into the world after the silver screen showings were the playbills and pressbooks.

So, with that in mind, here is one such appropriate promotional item…

Z.P.G.pressbook-oliver reed-geraldine chaplin-A Year In The Country

I suppose it’s in part the scarcity and rarity aspect of pressbooks from previous eras,  an effect arising in part from them only having previously existed for circulation amongst and for particular commercial groups and purposes, that tends to make me think of them as rather pleasing items,… not dissimilar in a way to how library music has become sought after, foraged for, collected and coveted…

I suppose that the replication and commercialisation of posters and playbills was not at that point as developed an arm of entertainment, though it could be said that the freedom that was then present in the design of such items was in contrast to todays tendency towards (I assume) contract fulfilling cast line-ups in posters (again see Day #212/365).

Along which lines, Silent Running appears to have inspired one or two quite lovely pieces of modern filmic art…

Silent Running-Paul Johnstone Creative Output-Version Industries-Dirty Great Pixels-A Year In The Country-2

The vinyl soundtrack album might be one of the other celluloid story artifacts that could escape into the world back in the 1970s… and I could probably draw a line from the above films to the scientific battle against time of The Andromeda Strain, alongside which, this is a particularly fine looking piece of vinyl…

The Andromeda Strain-soundtrack vinyl lp-A Year In The Country

…and finally, while we’re talking about library music (or rather afficionados, delvers and revivifiers of such things) and slightly away from this particular pages theme but interconnected with some overall themes, I suppose if needs must you could always make-do-and-imagine from household objects and consumables…

The Wickerman-Jonny Trunk-cornflakes-Own Label-Sainsburys Design studio-John Coulthart-A Year In The Country

…that always makes me smile and chuckle when I see it. Thanks to this gent, these gents and this gent for that (is it just me or does the work you’ll find via those just mentioned gents abodes look like some impossible art project that never quite existed rather than something that sat on the tables and in the mother hubbards up and down the land?).

Contemporary re-posterisations: here, here, here, here and here.

Previous pathways which may be of interest: in this secret room from the past, I seek the futurelost celluloid flickering (return to), through to Beyond The Black Rainbow and journeys Under The Skina curious mini-genre…the future lost vessels and artifacts of modern folklore.


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