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Cults and Alternate Universes

These last few months have been pretty busy for me. Besides the day job that forces me to work under two assumed names, I have worked alongside two projects.

WHO WANTS TO BE A CULT LEADER?

My good friends Phil and Cindy, who work on Cram Magazine with me, have created a card game based on their interests in the modern skeptic movement popularized by Carl Sagan and others. The premise of the game is that the player takes the role of a cult leader, and has to gather the most power through numbers of followers and renown. I jumped into the production, serving duties as the writer of the story and world the aforementioned followers are a part of. I don’t want to get into many details as I am writing my process on the Cram Games blog (yep, we’re keeping the brand name). There is a more detailed take on my role in my first post.

TUNING THE TRANSFREQUENCY 

Transfrequency PreviewAfter, I don’t know, years of talking and coming up with ideas, my friend Rob and I have taken the first steps into making our own webcomic series, Transfrequency.

The simple synopsis is that it is a story about two friends stuck traveling through universes after a freak accident where one of them attempts to see his girlfriend via a exportation device. It came from an old idea we came up with when we were making strips about ourselves back in our college days. We took ourselves out of the equation and took the original idea of multiverses and make, I’m not going to lie,  a pop-culture blowout. Kirby dots, Civil War robots, mysterious travelers, are parts of what will mostly likely become just a parody/love letter to all the genre stuff we’ve both grown up with.

The website is still clunky, so I won’t bother putting up the link yet, but Rob is drawing and I’ve stopped re-editing and just straight-up write the damn scripts that needed to be written.

That’s all I can say at the moment. I’ll start putting down some of the research for Transfrequency from time to time on the main blog. Now, back to the grind.

 

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On the Subject of the Twelfth Album

I am a huge fan of alternate histories, whether massive or minuscule in its scope. Most people turn to Harry Turtledove, and with good reason, but other people have done interesting takes with the concept. Take Stephen Baxter‘s short story  The Twelfth Album.

The story starts with two dock workers stumbling onto a mysterious black album with the word God written on the lower left hand corner. In it was a shocker: An album by the Beatles from an universe where they made one more album after Abbey Road. The songs in the album are (in our universe) ones from their solo albums, so some of the titles sound familiar, but the way they were arranged  are definitely something different. Take into account the last track on this incredibly peculiar album, in  Baxter’s words ( thanks to user  Necanthrope from  everything2):

This would be the the ultimate track–the twelfth track on the twelfth album.

The last new Beatles song we would ever hear.

Because, of course, by now we both believed.

It was recognizable from the first, faded-in, descending piano chords. But then the vocals opened–and it was Lennon.

“It’s ‘Maybe I’m Amazed,'”, I said, awed. “Mcartney’s greatest post-Beatles song–”

“Just listen to it,” said Lightoller. “He gave it to Lennon. Listen to it.”

It didn’t sound like the version from our world, which {McCartney], battered and bruised from the breakup, recorded in his kitchen.

Lennon’s raw, majestic voice wrenched at the melody, while McCartney’s melodic bass, Starr’s powerful drumming, and Harrison’s wailing guitar drove through the song’s complex, compulsive chromatic structure. And then a long coda opened up, underpinned by clean, thrusting bass, obviously scored by George Martin.

At last the coda wound down to a final, almost whispered lament by Lennon, a final descending chord sequence, a last trickle of piano notes, as if the song itself couldn’t bear to finish.

The stylus hissed briefly, reached for the run-off groove, and lifted.

That is pretty powerful, at least to me, growing up watching the Anthology documentary and knowing all the turmoil the band was going to at that point in history. As it stands, some people aren’t fans of the story, but opinions are like..well, you know. I want to get my hands on the story myself to get the whole deal. Oddly enough, people have taken this idea and run with it. This guy here might have taken it a  little too far, but I do want to see if he gets a cease and desist from EMI. Hey, it happened to Danger Mouse, right?

As a side note, I wonder if Kieron Gillen has ever wondered about tackling the Beatles for his Phonogram stuff, but that’s another thing altogether.