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Todd Brendan Fahey made the Digital Leap at the close of 1994. Mired to innumerable rejections of his psychedelic thriller Wisdom's Maw: The Acid Novel (Far Gone Books, 1996), pal Gerard Martin offered to place portions of the unpublished manuscript on something called "the Web."
"Sure," Fahey said. "Whatever."
The struggling novelist had played around on GEnie, mostly to gain access to the Grateful Dead tape-trading community, but The Internet remained an enigma. So, when on a cold Louisiana winter evening, in the Educational Technology Resource lab at University of Louisiana-Lafayette, he was shown Levi Asher's Literary Kicks beat pages, the experience, for Fahey, was as profound as his first acid trip, beachside Santa Barbara (green windowpane gel: 500mic, it was).
Recalls Fahey, of his tour through the fledgling Web: "I `got it' instantly. I looked at Gerard and said, `Fuck, this is bigger than TV.' And all he could do was smile."
As a Ph.D. Teaching Fellow in English at USL, spring semester 1995, Fahey hijacked a Technical Writing course and began using his junior-year students as the guinea pigs of Web-page design, calling the class "Technical Writing Across the Internet." The offering raised little more than eyebrows and complaints from USL's English department; by fall, the Internet had exploded across the pages of Time and Newsweek, spawned a dozen NY slicks, and Fahey's Web design course was no longer an anomaly.
Fahey's own Far Gone Books/Wisdom's Maw Web site would quickly gain Magellan's 4-star rating, and through long nights of shameless e-mail self-promotion, he began to receive friendly notes from Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow, Mondo 2000 co-founder R.U. Sirius and other digital hardcores.
The synthesis of psychedelic drugs and the Internet has not been widely written of by the mainstream media, but Fahey and others believe the relationship to run deep.
John Perry Barlow remarked to Fahey, in an as-yet unpublished interview: "I'll go so far as to say, if the government succeeds in its War On (some) Drugs--if everyone who used marjiuana and LSD were to really be put in jails--America would not have an operational computer left."
This remark mirrors Timothy Leary's assertion, to Fahey in 1992, that "Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were barefoot, long-haired acid freaks" and that Bill Gates was known to use LSD while at Harvard.
A nonlinear mode of thinking accompanies the psychedelic experience, as anyone who has ever used acid knows. ...but this is another essay.
Today, Todd Brendan Fahey is at work on A String of Saturdays: The New Southern Romance, a digital novel which he estimates will top out at 800pp, and which will feature innovations on font, sound, texture, streaming video, remote-location Web cam placement, and possibly even scent. He envisions a book which will carry one into a Lewis Carroll-like world, a phantastic fantasy, not unlike the LSD experience itself.
Having mused thusly for Carbon 14: "Is America ready for me? Can I make this gig pay? If so, I am the luckiest bastard alive."
Not yet (says his latest Citibank statement). A pauper visionary. Or, as Timothy Leary remarked, speaking to Fahey of "Captain" Al Hubbard, in 1992, "Nobody ever understands what a pioneer is doing."
Fahey's creative magazine work includes: "Fear & Loathing in Amsterdam: The Smoke Abortion," for Carbon 14 (having been "killed" by NY cigar magazine Smoke), Ken Kesey: Comes Speak the Cuckoo and Timothy Leary: Twentieth Century Neuronaut, for Far Gone; The Original Captain Trips, for High Times; and Hunter S. Thompson: The Champion of Fun, for Fling. His poetry has appeared in Atom Mind, The Dominion Review, Beat Scene Magazine (UK), and George Garrett's Poultry: A Magazine of Voice.
He has served as Moderator to the Original Poetry panel of the National Undergraduate Literature Conference at Weber State University (1992-93), Creative Nonfiction panelist at Deep South Writers Conference (1994), and fulfilled in May of 1992 a writing residency in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, by invitation of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. As an active participant in the little magazine arena, he also edits and publishes Far Gone.
Todd Brendan Fahey is a Ph.D. candidate in English at University of Louisiana-Lafayette, holds the Master's in Professional Writing from University of Southern California, received his Bachelor of Science, cum laude, in Justice Studies from Arizona State University and studied in 1985 at The University of London-Union College. He began graduate coursework in The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State, before his acceptance into the prestigious Professional Writing Program at USC.
Fahey has served as aide to Central Intelligence Agency agent Theodore L. "Ted" Humes, Division of Slavic Languages, and to the late-Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief Lt. General Daniel O. Graham; to former Arizona Governor Evan Mecham (R-AZ), former Congressman John Conlan (R-AZ) and others.
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