David Parr, actor and magician with the Magic Cabaret, is mesmerized by:
Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel At the recent Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, I met Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, who introduced me to their book Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel, a beautiful, lavishly illustrated hardcover volume that perfectly combines my childhood fascination for robots with my grown-up interest in history. The book depicts a slightly altered reality in which a humanoid robot called Boilerplate was present for key historical events from 1893 through 1918. Along the way, much of the book is devoted to legit history—the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, the beginnings of the labor movement, the outbreak of the Spanish-American War—but in this alt-reality, Boilerplate is a part of the timeline, showing up in photos and handbills and editorial cartoons, looking endearingly fantastical and, at the same time, strangely enigmatic. If you happen to be a history buff with a fondness for retro-futuristic wonders, this book will flip your switch.