M2 Commentary: Mind-Melds

On one hand, mind-melding the pilots of giant robots is a natural extension of having multiple robot-pilots in the first place. It just makes sense. Have you ever played QWOP? Voltron, a robot with a separate pilot for its left and right legs, should hardly be able to walk! It’s better to say, “no, no, all the pilots are blended together so they can coordinate perfectly.”

On the other hand, I feel like there’s more to it.

M1. The Fall

Professor Akayama could not quantify the duration of her fall after the Hurricane ripped her spaceship in half. Each half of the Zephyr’s head spun into space in opposite directions, while she seemed to spin in place until she lost consciousness. Each time she woke and opened her eyes, she saw the red Hurricane Planet approaching beneath her. She lost consciousness like this seven times, and each time she prayed she could hit the ground and die before she woke once more and had to see the Hurricane again.

She wasn’t so lucky. She splashed face-down in a deep ocean of warm, pearly, pulpy liquid.

She had no strength to swim, but she floated to the surface and rolled face-up. Her lab coat kept her afloat as she languished in half-awareness for, it felt like, nine days. She had to guess at the duration because she saw only red Hurricane Planets speckling the black sky; she would die without the familiar sight of the earth and sun from her moon base. She was too distant to see even the Milky Way.

M1 Commentary: Paradise Lost

Surprise! In M1. The Fall Jay’s centipede-induced hallucinations open with a new episode of LuLu’s Space-Time Acceleration, the show-within-a-story about anime robots fighting a cosmic horror. Professor Akayama apparently survived the destruction of her spaceship and landed on the Hurricane Planet.

I mentioned way back in the day that I saw some possible links to Milton’s Paradise Lost in Akayama DanJay. Akayama DanJay already draws from Dante’s Inferno, so I’m happy to brace more elements of my fiction against time-tested epic poetry. If I can use Paradise Lost to emphasize my imagery, so much the better.

L4. The Magic Circle

Jay found Virgil Skyy and Blue at the first motel he checked that night, as he knew he would. There were no coincidences and tonight Jay felt the Mountain’s magic guiding him to room 102, where he knocked and waited.

Virgil Skyy brushed the blinds aside to peek his visitor with his one good eye. Seeing Jay, he unlocked and opened the door. He locked it behind Jay as he entered. “Will your friends be joining us?”

“I don’t think so.” Jay’s eyes adjusted to the unlit room. Virgil Blue sat cross-legged on a king-sized bed. Their wheelchair sat in a corner. Virgil Skyy motioned Jay into the room and bid him to sit beside Blue on the bed. “Shall we begin?”

L4 Commentary: The Mystery Box

J. J. Abrams, the mind behind LOST and the Cloverfield franchise, has a narrative idea called a mystery-box. A story keeping a secret can engross its audience; just owning a box with a question-mark on it “represents infinite possibility,” says Abrams. “It represents hope. It represents potential.”

Compare this to the idea of “the magic circle.” Says Dutch historian Johan Huizinga, quoted from this Wikipedia article,

All play moves and has its being within a play-ground marked off beforehand either materially or ideally, deliberately or as a matter of course. Just as there is no formal difference between play and ritual, so the ‘consecrated spot’ cannot be formally distinguished from the play-ground. The arena, the card-table, the magic circle, the temple, the stage, the screen, the tennis court, the court of justice, etc, are all in form and function play-grounds, i.e. forbidden spots, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain. All are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart.

Fiction is a space where literally anything can happen. Many fictional worlds follow certain rules for the sake of narrative consistency, but these rules are largely self-enforced by the storyteller and often disagree with the rules of our reality. When we engage with a story, we cross into a magic circle and accept an alternate mode of existence.

1 2 3 19