Apr 19, 2012

The Madness Continues

In the Hugo Award winning graphic novel "Watchmen", Alan Moore uses an interesting dramatic device where a character in the novel is reading a pirate comic - "Tales of the Black Freighter" - that echoes events going on in the "real world" narrative of Watchmen. The lad who's reading the pirate story never notices that the story he's reading, and the larger story, the one he experiences as "real life", are more or less the same story, but told in different ways.

I had a remarkable experience a few days ago when I was reading my latest passion - a steampunk novel named "Rise of the Iron Moon", by Stephen Hunt, and the words the characters were saying were oddly echoing my personal situation. I won't bore you with details, but it was uncanny how the novelists words were synced with what I was doing, hearing, and seeing at that very moment. It was a "WTF?" thing.

The conceit of steampunk is to invent a world that uses alternate tech (computer = transaction machine), names (England = Kingdom of Jackels) and history (Ice Age = Cold Time) that are essentially congruent with this one. Much like Alan Moore did with Tales of the Black Freighter and Watchmen.

Watchmen was about a faked alien invasion, and Rise of the Iron Moon is about an alien invasion, though I didn't know that when I checked it out, I just liked the steampunky cover art. I've had a consistent fascination with the alien invasion myth, this blog is a testament to that, I think. I'm fascinated by films like Contact, Cocoon, and Independence Day. I wonder about the famous Orson Wells narrated fake Mars invasion. I consider the idea of a faked moon landing.

Caught between worlds, I am vulnerable to trans-myth interpolation. In Rise of the Iron Moon, the squabbling inhabitants of their fair, green planet are suddenly brought together by a greater threat, one so heinous that they are forced to put aside their differences. They build a mighty gun, shaped like a spiral, the projectile being spun around until at last it reaches a velocity capable of escaping earth's gravity. Into this gun they have poured all their resources and efforts, their one last hope of survival.

Obviously, this would be the Large Hadron Collider. It's a weapon. How else would it have been funded?
"In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world" ~Speech to the United Nations General Assembly, 42nd General Assembly September 21, 1987


Riotfish said...

If you haven't read Colin Wilson's "The Mind Parasites" (1967), I recommend it as an early(ish) example of the above fake space invasion theme. It also has fun blurring the lines between reality and fiction.

Devin said...

I just realized reading this post Michael - that I would take a chance on ANY kind of invasion at this point -just on the outside of hope that it might actually turn this place around!!
I would not have felt this way any time (as far as the roll of the dice part) until after sept 11
Oh - taxi cabs with me lately too!!
also just wondered- Mother's Day plus Fatima anniversary -is there any way I wonder to tie these themes together- dont know why I have been so hung up on this the last few hours!!!!
atb, Devin
ps - wrt reading -in 2010 it started like hitting me in the face with novels I would read - the synchs coming in like mad and such -on some level -i just know this somehow - on a deep level anyway -this world is a 'sleight and a fade' (a line from a poem i love) and hopefully we will learn how to break out of this trap in matter - this coccoon- and come to realize our 'actual' butterfly souls and fly up outta here!!

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