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  • Writer's picturePeter McAllister

So what is the connection?

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

Arthur C Clarke Sir Tim Berners-Lee the Playboy Bunny

(images from

Arthur C Clarke published a nice little short story in the mid 1960’s – called “Dial F for Frankenstein”.

The premise of the story was simple – if you connect all the automatic telephone exchanges in the world, then you would create a system that had roughly the same number of switches as there were neurons in the human brain. Every phone in the world rang simultaneously at its inception, and the network went on to prank customers, and escalated to the point where the world as we know it ended.

One person that read that story was Sir Tim Berners-Lee (not knighted at the time) – a name that may be familiar as the inventor of the world wide web – the internet as we know it today.

According to Clarke (and also reportedly by his own words), the “Dial F for Frankenstein” was Sir Berners-Lee’s muse.

Networks becoming sentient has also been a theme in so many movies – take the Terminator franchise as a great example (a big shout to SKyNet if you are listening).

So, it was great to see Playboy magazine playing its part in the technology revolution.

That’s right, January 1965 edition, page 148

That wasn't where I would have guessed that a sci fi short story would first come to light!

I read it in a later anthology as a kid and I was really taken aback by the idea. It was locked away in my mind for years, but I could not resist using the idea in The Code.

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