Raymond Chandler and GooglePosted: December 23, 2008
Once upon a time in a land far, far away I wrote a PhD thesis on Raymond Chandler. Even so he can still surprise me. In this letter to H.N. Swanson, March 14, 1953, Chandler parodies science fiction writing and uses the word ‘Google’ (in more or less the right context too, unlike other curious examples):
Did you ever read what they call Science Fiction? It’s a scream. It’s written like this: ‘I checked out with K19 on Adabaran III, and stepped out through the crummaliote hatch on my 22 Model Sirus Hardtop. I cocked the timeprojector in secondary and waded through the bright blue manda grass. My breath froze into pink pretzels. I flicked on the heat bars and the Bryllis ran swiftly on five legs, using the other two to send out crylon vibrations. The pressure was almost unbearable, but I caught the range on my wrist computer through the transparent cysicites. I pressed the trigger. The thin violet glow was ice-cold against the rust-colored mountains. The Bryllis shrank to half an inch long and I worked fast stepping on them with the poltex. But it wasn’t enough. The sudden brightness swung me round and the Fourth Moon had already risen. I had exactly four seconds to hot up the disintegrator and Google had told me it wasn’t enough.’ [emphasis mine].