Miskatonic University Press

Mickey Spillane on computers


A quote from Dead Street, by Mickey Spillane (and Max Allan Collins, who finished it up after Spillane died in 2006), published in 2007 by Hard Case Crime. Retired cop and typical Spillane hero Jack Stang is investigating his long-lost fiancé's past, and talking to the man who was her boss two decades ago:

"She was a very able person. We used to say she could even think like a computer."

"Computers think?"

"With the high-tech advancements, so one would certainly suspect."

"But not twenty years ago?"

"Well, they were on their way. Improvements were coming daily. New kids right out of college ... and some even younger than that ... were introducing developments that had unbelievable potential."

I nodded, thought a moment, then asked him, "Looking at it now, how does that 'potential' stand?"

He knew what I was thinking and his wrinkled face broke into a wry smile. "For its time, it seemed incredible. There are few words to express what it's like now. Only a genius can understand the workings of a computer today. And as for today's potential, it takes another computer to arrange any conversation at all."

"Bettie was smart," I remarked, "but below genius level."

"How would you know?"

"Because she was in love with me," I stated quietly. "Machines don't have love affairs."