1916Cover

What if the internet existed a century ago?

It is a simple question with an entertaining answer, as explored by Christian Schneider’s new book “1916: The Blog.” In this lively mix of fact and fiction, Schneider tells the story of his great-grandfather Sebastian, a low-level newspaper typist who in 1916 comes into possession of a futuristic connectivity machine. The typewriter-like device sends written telegraph-style messages to other users through telephone lines, allowing the other users of this secret, experimental technology to read and comment on Sebastian’s musings.

“1916: The Blog” is a knowing satire of the modern internet culture, as Sebastian runs into early-20th Century scams, snake oil salesmen, dating sites, trolls, and conspiracy theorists. The story mixes extensively researched true events from the year 1916 with a fictional narrative documenting the experiences of a low-level newspaper worker in the American Midwest.

The book is written in weekly installments, as if Sebastian were blogging as real-world events unfolded. During the year, Sebastian offers his thoughts on the 1916 presidential race, the United States’ impending entry into World War I, America’s manhunt to find Mexican outlaw Pancho Villa, and the soon-to-be imposition of Prohibition – all without the benefit of a long-term historical perspective. In this sense, he is offering hyperbolic, real-time opinions without complete information, a characteristic that frequently fails to elude today’s modern bloggers.

But most of all, “1916: The Blog” is a funny look at how we have all both changed and stayed the same over the past century. Briskly written with airy language, it offers sharp insights into what promise the internet still holds, and serves as a cautionary tale as to how the gift of interconnectedness is bound to go horribly wrong when real human beings get involved. Human nature will always be human nature, whether it’s 2016 or 1916.

2 thoughts on “1916: The Blog

  1. Chris LOVE your articles. BUT you are NOT old. Keep sending the movies! Say Hi to Morgan and the kids! PS I am so proud of you!

  2. You used and use pseudonym Dennis York? Why hide who you are? You harm humane, courageous human beings who worked and work to save America’s middle class–what is left of it–and 2 other classes from Russia’s extremely racist elite in its secret police and military: Russia’s elite (Putin and pals) are mega racists–like Hitler was, and those under Hitler were–against all other ethnics.

    After my political endeavors in 1960s I went to Russia to work to free Baltic Nations, East Germany, Finland Poland, and Hungary from ethnic racists–the east Slavic Russians–who some 2000 years ago began moving north from their original homeland in mountains of Greece: This is according to the Russian Orthodox Archbishop and Putin when they recently visited the mountain area. While there they stated ( I paraphrase), “This mountain area is where our tribe originated, and over years expanded north to take other tribe’s lands”. (Google it). I add to their statement that the pilfered lands belonged and rightfully belong to the ethnic Finnics, such as Estonians, Finns, Ingerians (Ingermanland), Karelians, Mari, Samis, Setos, Veps, etc., and other ethnics such as Latvians, Lithuanians, Polish, and eastern Bohemians (E. Germans). For what it is worth, I feel I must state the following:

    While I lived in Finland–some half the time nearly every year between 1969-2001–it is the general consensus of knowledgeable retired people in US Embassy and others that, while in Finland, I spearheaded in late spring and summer of 1989 the events that led to the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall on November 1989.! The events were:

    Beginning in April 1989, I suggested to key Hungarians–when they were on a ‘Friendship visit’ to Finland–that they, while they and other east Europeans were under Russian control, dare open up 2 gates on their borders; one gate on border with E. Germany, and other gate on border with Austria. Amazingly In Aug. 1989 they did. First some 200 E. Germans went through gates through Hungary in that summer 1989 to Austria, the West and freedom. The E. Germans were watching. But Gorbachev did not order Russian troops into Hungary to stop E. Germans escaping to freedom as happened when Brezhnev ordered Russian troops into Hungary to quell Hungarian Revolution in 1956.

    Ask your nice aunt that now that you are old, but not yet 82 like I am, that as a nice birthday present to me (my birthday was October 11), should you kindly remove the inhumane comments about me and my mom, that you made some years ago. In heaven my mom has again a nose that she lost from an infection in her nose which she got as 9 old when bullied by a boy on way to school causing her to fall on her face.. She also lost roof of her mouth from infection. If she was reborn, should she demonstrate how she could stick her tongue out from center of her face, so you would believe it? Will Sandstrom

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