In this eventful period the colony of New South Wales is already far advanced.
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My first project was to build an ionization gauge control circuit for Professor Edgar Everhart's Cockcroft-Walton accelerator. In those days, vacuum tubes were the active components in electronic circuits. I can still recall the warm orange glow of the vacuum tube filaments and the cool blue glow of the thyratron tubes.
I was a crazy Pee-wee Herman fan when I was in my early teens. Before he had the kids' TV show, he had a nightclub show in L.A., and I had gotten a VHS copy of it. It was a kids' show, but onstage in a bar, so it's sort of poking fun at the kids' show. And I was obsessed with that, and then 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure.'
Harvard was also a little bit of a villain in my first book, 'The Dante Club.' I guess there might be a way to make Harvard more of a sympathetic presence, but it's such a powerful institution that it more naturally lends itself toward not necessarily a negative but an obstructionist element in a story.