Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-May 11
Couldn't resist giving the thread a title like that.
So I've been thinking about the idea of just.. utterly rewriting Topography Genera, of actually planning it out and drafting it all beforehand. Of taking all that I love from Danielewski and actually doing something with that inspiration. Plus I think it's about time I did some more writing anyway.
Topography Genera, Symphony No. 2
Ultimately, this is still a story of artifice, secrecy, and misdirection. It's all crafted by EAT, the ultimate artist, in an attempt to recreate life. All of this revolves around the central theme of the vanity of art-- does it all being made up make it less beautiful, more beautiful, terrifying, does it weaken the impact, can it strengthen the impact, what? I want to explore and suggest. I want to just say "fuck it" and consciously make a dense story. Though this is definitely still a horror story about slowly uncovering that everything is made up. But that's the deepest layer, let's step a layer back.
The Topography Genera Center research Fossils, which are indirect creatures, forces that the Genera imply all died out years ago so now we only study their fossils. But the Genera also keeps a watchful eye on "blogs" which tell stories of strange happenings, implying these Fossil things have something to do with that. The Fossils will never be directly shown in the narrative, only their effects will be, or people's interpretations of them (read: they'll appear in made-up stories).
That's another thing! Much more of the blogs will be made-up. Blogs like Testing in Progress and The Endless Obsession and even Tale of the Lost Vikings will now be treated as works of fiction even in-universe, though their authors may be up for debate. The blogs are now parables from which we can gather clues about the Fossils, about this world, about the culture we live in.
Direct plot-wise: Liquid Len has just been hired by the Genera (or thinks he has; his memory has been wiped) to blog in their website (I might even do this as a website, for all I know, or I might keep the "I'm forced to put this on a blog" thing, it might seem more significant in light of the "All blogs are fiction" motif). I don't know if this will still necessarily be eight movements, I'm still figuring out the direct plot, that's partly why I came here. I want to at least have an outline of it all before I start any serious attempts at rewriting it all. This does not have to follow the same order as the currently-existing story. Things can be taken out, added in, changed.
But let me post what notes I've got on the characters.
Liquid Len: Audience surrogate? Victim of Cremator, an Unperson Duchess: Scientist with sleeping problem. Doctor Cloud: Philosophical scientist of secrecy. Prevents Dglgmut. Mordecai: Affect of authority, ultimately insignificant. Blackcap: Instigator of conflict (corruption?) Doctor Walls: Maintainer of "secrecy" artifice. The Lost Viking: Beacon of hope searching for a beacon of hope. Shows world of Runners. Stewart Norman: Hopes crushed. Wendy: Romantic ideals (see above). Scarecrow: Exposing the artifice behind inspiration. Otso: Centre is the conceit? It's all made up. They are all actors. The Night Owl: Importance of dramatic conventions. wiseaufan01: Emphasizes parallels with other works to help draw connections and dig deeper. Jesus of Suburbia: Storyteller. FOSSILS EAT: Artist replicating life, exploring art. Cremator: Threat of being forgotten, forcibly or otherwise. Hades: Threat of all hope being lost. Selkie: Threat of being controlled, loss of individuality. Lazarus: Threat of never really winning, of being stuck in an endless cycle. Homunculi: Threat of the unseen, the higher up, the Tower with no top. Ad a dglgmut: Threat of seeing the unseeable. Passacaglia: Not a character, an ever-prevalent motif of obfuscation and misdirection. Striga: Threat of the reveal. (?)
Art-wise, we can still use what we've got. Voice acting-wise, I'll likely get a lot of it rewritten and/or rerecorded. But I intend for this to feel a lot better, a lot more like a proper horror story. A Fearblog to end all Fearblogs, a Fearblog to start all Fearblogs.
So I'm posting all this here to get your thoughts and see if we should include your blogs in this rewrite or not. Up to you.
Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-May 11
New notes, in no particular order:
Ending: The Genera falls along with EAT. Liquid Len is forgotten as well as the behemoth he defeats. The Fossils keep the world going, though not even that will last forever. EAT will come back; art needs to be told.
Liquid Len (Jeremy Luther) is an Unperson by all means, memory wiped by the Cremator and manipulated into joining the Genera. EAT's plans for him are to manipulate everything around him so that he writes a damn good narrative. The Genera put on the guise of a (blog) publishing company, but with too many strange outliers. They want to chronicle everything about the Fossils. They run mysterious science experiments.
Liquid Len hired by the Genera to manage the blog. He is not allowed to see the previous blog, he has to start his own. His job is to post lists of new releases, post "character bios" about the Fossils, and generally keep up a good social appearance. He is allowed to post some examples of blogs he really likes. His favourite is Tale of the Lost Viking, an ongoing serialized work. The Lost Viking writes it all from inside Hell's Kitchen, she writes an escapist work embellishing her old life.
(The Lost Viking's old life: Daughter of the founder of the West branch, she rejected his directions and was cast out of the house, so she wandered the States trying to find something she could do as a young teenager, but ultimately stuck in the underground culture of Runners, victim to the gods of society around her. She relishes the escapist parables of Scarecrow. She's sold into human trafficking, she escapes and vows to fight back against the gods. But that goes horribly wrong and she is captured by the Genera, to wait with Shevanel for certain death as soon as she finishes her story.)
List of parablogs: Tale of the Lost Vikings (rename?): The metaphorical story of a girl stuck in the cycle of abuse and authority. Hell and Earth (rename?): Ancient texts telling the fall of Hades. Testing in Progress: Straightforward, fairly unchanged. Administry for a Cause: Much more artistic now. Truly a companion piece. Worth something in its own right. HELP (can actually be something now!) The Endless Obsession: Fairly unchanged, treated as a not-too-popular off-Broadway production. Otso: Genus Unknown: Now the Tower TV idea? Maybe?
Topography Genera Center North is just another branch's blog, where even more parablogs are posted.
I'm thinking Symphony No. 2 will begin with Liquid Len's "job interview--" he'll wake up after having his memory wiped and the Genera will convince him he had simply fallen asleep at a job interview. Then we'll move on to him getting the hang of his job, meeting Duchess (who is a proper scientist from the get-go this time), meeting Doctor Cloud, meeting Mordecai, reading lots of blogs and posting his favourites. He won't be sent to J. LaBrie this time, he'll meet J. LaBrie of his own accord. It is through him that he will learn about EAT for the first time.
But let's take a step back and think, if this is all EAT's attempt to create art that portrays life, why would EAT's idea of life be so frightening and secret? I think there's something to explore there. Maybe EAT is lonely at the top, but then still why the frightening portrayals? Did someone hurt EAT in the past, scare her? ..or maybe EAT isn't portraying her own life but her own Rapture. It created a work of art that shows her ideal world where EAT runs everything, but as the story goes on her fantasy world crumbles apart and everyone suffers. And when EAT sees where things are going, it keeps the story going to see how it all ends. It wants to know. It needs to know. ..or something, I dunno. That won't be elaborated on much in the story, probably.
Back to the plot, of course the Genera won't like Liquid Len looking into EAT. They'll try to shut him up with suspensions, and eventually we'll have the big "The Cremator wipes his memory again (and also kills J. LaBrie) and the first movement will prolly end around here. (Of course, the Cremator will not be shown, not even his voice this time.)
Duchess goes quiet for the second movement, as we'll speed up the whole Lotophagi subplot. Liquid Len does very little, as this is the slow quiet movement of a faint hostile mystery (Lotophagi) surrounded by the paralyzing stagnancy of the mundane (Liquid Len reads blogs). Then this movement ends with the Night Owl being officially introduced as a character and with Mordecai becoming more of a friend.
Third movement brings the higher-ups to more of a forefront. They'll talk amongst themselves about how to deal with Mordecai, how to deal with Liquid Len, and how to deal with the Night Owl. There will also be implications that even these guys have higher-ups. That government takeover will start to be built up. More blogs will be posted. This movement ends with Lazarus rising, a vague event that happens across a lot of blogs and Otso: Genus Unknown. Liquid Len's actually spent this movement trying to ignore all the stresses of work by spending time with Mordecai, generally making friends and.. stuff, but then Lazarus's rise marks a big reminder that he's stuck in an endless cycle. (Mordecai dies?)
Fourth movement gives us Striga. Liquid Len discovers the Lost Viking's author, an actual person trapped in Hell's Kitchen, through whom he learns a lot more about the Fossils that supposedly run the world. The Lost Viking author is killed, Liquid Len escapes to find he's no longer in the Genera but now in Familiar Territory (or whatever Striga's Genera is called). Here, he is at the centre of the story. Everything is revealed to him, whether he believes it or not. Otso probably comes to a close around here, or maybe he appears in it, or something big happens. The movement ends with him stumbling back into the Genera.
Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-May 11
Codename has been changed to Symphony No. 3, as I've figured out the ideal way to put a pretty bow on things.
Topography Genera will be the third work in the Rapture Cycle, the successor to The Cockroach Metamorphosis. Salmacis drowns the world and reclaims her universe. Then she puts it all on repeat and tries to recreate the life she once had. She tries to make art. And she mourns the things she's now lost. The Fossils become her guilt.
So I'll make sure there's some Genera stuff ready for release around the end of Metamorphosis.
Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-May 11
BEHOLD I HAVE IT. I HAVE THE IDEA. I really liked writing "Hell's Kitchen" and it made me want to somehow push Topography Genera back into gear for real, which means figuring out what to do about this reboot as well as about the first draft that's already up.
Now hear me out.
The first draft stays. Continues. Except this time it's shortened to four movements. The remaining two movements are basically where... literally everything else happens. So there, that's a lot of "what goes here?" now out the window.
After the fourth movement and the story "ends," EAT resets the universe, unhappy with how things went. We get the reboot in four movements. ("Hell's Kitchen" would be considered an Early Bird sneak preview of the reboot to come.)
Voila. Topography Genera stays eight movements, our hard work stays as it is, it gets a lot easier to continue with the story and know where we're going.
I can handle the majority of the work from here. But it would be really nice if you, alliterator who I hope comes back, are able to finish The Supernatural Anaesthetist. Finish it at any pace you want. Doctor Cloud's death now falls on the third movement, probably the finale.
BUT HEY FOR MY OWN SAKE HERE THE NEW OVERALL STRUCTURE OF TOPOGRAPHY GENERA IS:
RISE/FALL. RESET. ALREADY RISEN/FALL. ...or something like that. Maybe just "rise/fall, rise/fall."
Fuck, I dunno, I'm half-asleep. But god, this idea kinda makes it all... work somehow. We can keep all the blogs. Hell, technically people can just jump into the reboot if they really want to and the story will still work, but I'd want there to be a lot more impact reading it from the very start.
Actually yeah, and the second time around the reader will be aware of how all these people die, and they'll be forced to watch in frustration as all the drama simply..... plays out all over again.
FREAKING CYCLES, THIS BECOMES A CYCLE, A TRUE CYCLE AND NOT AN ARBITRARY 8/5 ONE BUT A GENUINE ONE THAT HAPPENS NATURALLY AIN'T THAT THE STICKLER? "8/5" BECOMES THE SYMBOL OF EAT'S ARTIFICE, HER ATTEMPT TO REPRODUCE THE ONE THING IT KNOWS TO BE TRUE ONLY IT TURNS OUT IT EVEN GOT THAT WRONG THAT IS SAD
And the second time around, Topography Genera will focus much more on the mythology of the Genera itself-- the question of the higher-ups, of Hell's Kitchen, of the real connection to the Fossils, of how high this goes. Maybe that'll be a mirror structure-- first two movements of 1 are about Fossils, second two movements of 1 are higher-ups. First two movements of 2 are about higher-ups, second two movements of 2 are Fossils.
So yeah. This is what I want. This is a reboot I think people can get behind.