No secret to the title this week, just the track I was listening to when I got to work, by Yellow Magic Orchestra (in 1979!)
Last week was a bit more wheel-spinning than I’d like. Trying to get back on track, but I did turn over a few interesting things in the process. All of this research is pointing towards THE FUTURE AMERICA and the three story introductory one-shots I’m writing for it, so if you see a common theme, good for you!
First off, we have a look at the Abel Archer exercise that almost caused global thermonuclear war in 1983:
The music cues for this are outstanding, even if they’re anachronistic at times (“Two Tribes” wasn’t until 85 or 86, if memory serves.) Some nice dovetailing into 1983’s THE DAY AFTER, which is a movie that really deserves its own book, not as a film itself (it’s mostly just okay) but for cultural impact, it was a real turning point, moreso in retrospect.
Here’s electronic musician Suzanne Ciani filmed for OMNI’s video magazine show (I want to say 81-83 or so), designing the sound for Bally’s infamous XENON pinball table. Interesting to see her playing with expectations of female sensuality for an adolescent audience with this.
TWILIGHT’S LAST GLEAMING (1977), directed by Robert Aldritch, starring Burt Lancaster. A lot of this looks like a US TV movie of the week that you’d expect in the late seventies, but about halfway through, things go, well, bonkers. Lancaster plays an ex-Army officer who uses nuclear blackmail to force the US to own up to its strategy behind the war in Vietnam and it doesn’t go well. Is it an accurate historical document? Heavens no. Is it something that’s been cemented into popular myth? You bet.
I designed a vector scan arcade game based on BATTLEZONE that is a story point in THE FUTURE AMERICA. Looks like this:
In the world of THE FUTURE AMERICA, the US is invaded in a Soviet misadventure, most notably Alaska and the Aleutian island chain. Of course, this is a repeat of old history. Go look up the US and Japanese battles over the same territory during World War II. Also, the Aleutians are a lousy place to fight over, but nobody ever said war was a smart idea to begin with. Anyways, this was an interesting design exercise and helped me stretch out some muscles for writing NIGHT EAGLES, which is the story of Toné Akron (then Anthony Wilson) and the men of his squad in the final days of what would be later renamed World War Short.
As for what’s coming up? Actually writing NIGHT EAGLES starts out this week. Need to get a full print quote too, so I can look over paper stocks. This assuming that I print it myself. Considering running a Kickstarter to cover printing and production, but I realize that I’m likely not popular enough to get one of those off the ground. (That’s the secret sauce in a successful Kickstarter, don’t you know? Ssh. Don’t tell anyone. Nobody likes to hear this.) I know plenty of people who do just fine with KS. They also already have a following, and in some cases, their following was built in the early days of KS so their careers are tied to it. Much like when people said “Hey, Radiohead took IN RAINBOWS directly to the internet and it was a huge success, so you can do it too!”) Only, well, they were Radiohead and not just a garage band starting up from nothing. After all this time, I’m basically still a garage band starting from nothing. Sure, I’ve got a handful of friends, and that’s appreciated every damn day. But it’s not enough to throw an $8000 KS over the top. “Why so much?” you ask? Well, taxes, Amazon’s cut and shipping for one.
Back next week.