The Null Device
Freaky Trigger has one of the best music-book concepts I've seen:
The book was being edited by SR and was called Biology, named after the famous Old Skool Rave party organisation. It was a series of essays exploring the interface between biology and music taste - race, gender, endo/ectomorphs and dancing, the extent to which attractiveness defines taste (music scenes and the idea of "beautiful people"), notions of blindness in blues and rock, plus more general explorations of the theories of evolutionary biology as they might apply to pop! WOW, I thought, this sounds like it's going to be a great read! I was about to click and read more but then I woke up.Unfortunately, it only exists in a dream.
A while ago, I picked up the box set of The Prisoner, and have been gradually making my way through the episodes I hadn't seen, one at a time.
I recently watched the episode titled "The Girl Who Was Death", which features a mad scientist who thinks he's Napoleon. As I watched it, I found myself thinking about the old cliché of delusionally insane people thinking that they're Napoleon. It seems to pop up a lot in films, TV and other media of a certain age (Looney Tunes cartoons, for example), tapering off around the 1960s (though still making the occasional appearance, in things like Highlander sequels); and there even was a famous pop song referencing it. Nowadays, one doesn't hear about nuthouses full of Napoleons; more modern sufferers of delusions are apparently more likely to think they're Jesus; either that (I once heard) or superheroes or ninjas or such.
I imagine that this has to do with the historical figure of Napoleon having cast a much longer shadow earlier in this century than he does now. When Napoleon loomed large in the public consciousness, a padded cell probably looked a lot like Saint Helena. It wouldn't surprise me if the I-think-I'm-Napoleon cliché was an old Vaudeville device or similar, dating back well before World War 2 (which somewhat demoted the French emperor's standing in the league of scourges of Europe), and the mass-media-saturated post-war world (whose brighter, more vivid archetypes undoubtedly displaced 18th-century history books from the public consciousness).
The ever-shifting landscape of public image affects how we see things. For one, the villain in The Girl Who Was Death reminded me of none other than Xeni Jardin.