Pea Green Boat is an online magazine of curious and compelling miscellany, publishing issues that collect articles and snippets on unique themes. The current issue of PGB (Spring 2012) focuses on The Uncanny.
I should say up front that one of my articles, on “Eyebombing,” is reprinted from this very site. But PGB’s Uncanny issue includes a diverse mix of variations on the topic, which makes for a compelling if not downright entertaining and thought-provoking read. There are plentiful discussions of robots and cinema (Tintin, Tron, Metropolis, Real Steel), interviews with relevant figures and creators (a new interview with author Tanith Lee is a headliner here, along with interviews with bio-ethicist James Hughes and owners of a museum of automata, Michael & Maria Start), and samples of poetry, research, reviews, humor and more on all things uncanny, from the proverbial uncanny valley to the creepiness of dolls and optical illusions. It even includes a reprint of Freud’s seminal essay on “Das Unheimliche” and a nicely-illustrated version of ETA Hoffman’s “Der Sandmann,” which Freud copiously analyzes in his essay.
My favorite contribution in the Uncanny issue of Pea Green Boat is the historical article on “The Uncanny Valley of the Cabbage Patch Dolls,” which traces the frenzied events surrounding this weird-headed phenom from the 80s, citing a book by William Hoffman on the subject that really got me thinking, paired up with a great discussion by Ramona Creel on “Babyland General” — a Cabbage Patch theme park in Cleveland, Georgia that sounds genuinely fascinating. [See Roadside Attractions for more on this real world ‘patch’ — or better yet, drop by the Cabbage Patch Kids website for information on how to set up a visit or to ‘adopt’ your own doll, fresh from the sprout!]