Zero Degrees of Separation

By: Joshua Glenn
December 6, 2010

Over at Gearfuse, HILOBROW’s Matthew Battles points out that the “Six Degrees of Separation” meme can be traced back even beyond Kevin Bacon fans circa 1994, all the way to Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy’s 1929 story, “Chain Links.”

I’ve never read this story (thanks, Matt!), but I have mentioned Karinthy’s work a few times, before. In a post about Radium Age robot fiction, for example, I noted that Karinthy’s Voyage to Faremido: Gulliver’s Fifth Voyage (1916) takes place on a planet ruled by intelligent machine-folk, who regard organic life as a loathsome disease of matter. And Karinthy rated a mention in a post about the amazing blog A Journey Round My Skull — which takes its name from an autobiographical novel by Karinthy.

My to-do list for 2011: Read “Chain Links.” And everything else by Karinthy!


Kudos, Radium Age SF

What do you think?

  1. Mr. Glenn,

    Thank you for this scrambled-egg bit of info-proliferation.

    Just so I get this straight:

    In the above post, you (1) highlight Mr. Battles’ original Gearfuse post, then (2) segue into mention of (a) your past summary of robot fiction, and (b) your post “Basic Phrenology” which links (i) your aforementioned summary of robot fiction and (ii) a podcast read by Mr. Battles from a book by the same author (Karinthy) that Mr. Battles mentions in his original Gearfuse post (the cover of which you display as seen at ajourneyaroundmyskull).

    While your post provides another netway to Mr. Battles’ interesting memology, and competively-if-insecurely (Karinthy “rates a mention” in your post about another blog?) skims along a few of your indirectly-related posts, a broader result is the association of a bunch of engaging primary sources that might not have seen the light of a computer screen.

    This is, overall, productive infoliferation. Thanks again.

  2. [Thanks. This post contextualizes it well, in a good way. We’ll wait for Google to catch up, whereupon this will be the web’s only reference – for the moment. And I’ll be sure to refer to this in a future replies.) :)

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