Thursday, January 16, 2014
The Chicken And the Egg
The post-production of Glow has been a reawakening experience for me. While writing the damned thing, I kept getting two feelings: "This has been done before" and the other was "Will anybody understand what I am talking about?". So while writing up the world After The Bomb, I use that term loosely, I kept repeating those thoughts to myself.
The concepts behind Glow are of course the TSR game Gamma World and movies like Planet of the Apes from the early 70s. The times around the the inspiration process helped insure it would a bit different from other post-holocaust games. I knew too much about biology and physiology to know that massive amounts of radiation does anything organic any good. And since 1986, no one was too worried about the C.C.C.P. dropping nukes on freedom-loving Western democracies, but chemical spills and out of whack nuclear plants kept the mutant future dream alive.
In 2001, I was riding on the train one day on the way home from work, two threadbare guys celebrating the advent of their paycheck apparently, were nearby. Fellow drunks recognize each other so they started including me in their conversation. It was really because I didn't run away the moment that they sat down, but I do get chemical enjoyment and being a wage slave. One of them read a 9-11 propaganda poster above our heads thanking every train rider in advance for calling about mysterious packages left on train cars. One of the fellows suddenly became worried so he posed the question to me, "What's to stop terrorists from bombing Cleveland."
"The bomb has already been dropped on Cleveland." I replied after thinking for a bit. "Poverty."
That conversation helped solidify a couple core concepts of my vision of a dark future. Speaking of dark futures I really liked the dsytopian societies of the 70s sci-fi flix like Zardoz, Logan's Run, the Planet Of the Apes, and Mad Max. The 80s follow up flix, namely Beyond Thunderdome and 2019: After the Fall Of New York are probably the most influential works to any post-apocalyptic game designer ever, so I definitely needed to include some of the imagery, but not let them overshadow things..
Meanwhile, environmental technologies have steadily advanced since the 80s, while the media of our modern world has become increasingly illiterate when it comes to chemistry and biology. And this numbing process of things has not helped anybody understand all the industrial mishaps that are always happening. These events' by-product, making vast portions of hospitable lands into survivable toxin dumps. This led to the introduction of the game, presented here and unedited.
"...It was many littler things. Repeated massive oil spills over large biospheres. Insidious applications of engineered genes that unbalanced the evolved environment to where the benefits of them were lost in the damages. Over-marketing of a new medical advancement for purposes way beyond the ailment that they were designed to cure. Those paying attention were drowned out by the almost infinite amounts of information and data points being presented, mostly for the entertainment of everyone, that were more interesting and less depressing. A few nations started throwing some biological weapons at each other, and then escalated to a few nuclear missiles being unleashed here and there... "
The more I addressed the first thought, the question still plagued me. That question is "Will anybody understand what I am talking about?"
Just after sending up the pages to the editor, LinZ, Bill Bricker, Brick from now on, and I started pondering on the cover. I told him "Something with rubble, Logan's Run characters, and livestock gone awry... But nothing cheesy (wink)." He, being an amazing artist, as well being from the same geographic region and a similar creative subculture that I am, got it. The sketch above is dissimilar enough to the actual cover that I don't mind using it as an illustration of the tone and texture of my post-apocalyptic game. The humor may be a bit subtle but the ironies of this world will be glaring.
Now it should be expected that the artist and author should get each other. What I didn't expect was that world would start illustrating my points for me.