First, if I may, a little businesss. As I have noted in posts previous to this, I am working on my fiction writing. As such, I have short stories being published in two anthologies this fall.
From Burning Willow Press, I will be appearing in the anthology Crossroads in the Dark II: Urban Lagends. That tale is based on an urban legend from Angola, NY, where I lived for a time and is called “Pigman Road”.
From Darkerwood Publishing, I am happy to announce that I will be an author for their upcoming anthology Into The Abyss. This story is entirely original and is set loosely in the world that I developed for my upcoming novel. The piece is called “Impetuous Youth”.
Those of you that are fans of the Forteana and/or 80’s sci fi have probably watched “Stranger Things”. This will not be a fanboy rave or rant. I enjoyed the show but I kept thinking to myself as I watched, “what if . . . ” (mild spoilers to follow!)
Yes, on the surface, the events in the show seem implausible. The Department of Energy somehow breeds a superkid capable of extraordinary psychic abilities in the basement of one of the labs? Somehow, in working with the child, the DOE actually manages to rip a hole in the fabric of our reality and release a predator that feasts on the local populace? Young boys (why is it never a group of young girls?) find the superkid and help her learn about friendship so that she is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice when called on to do so?
We have seen it all before but “Stranger Things” did manage to put all the elements into a blender, mix things up and emerge with a show that I will be quite willing to watch if there is a Season 2.
The thing about the show that really drew me though was the acknowledgement, crazy as it seems, that we might not be the only beings in the ominiverse and that this fact does not lead inevitably to outer space but may instead draw us deep into inner space.
I am not a physicist but the science teacher’s explanation of the other dimension that the boys come to call the Upside Down, seemed to me eerily similar to some of my own inner plane experiences where I have ended up in places that were familiar to me but not, at the same time. This paradox needs to be experienced since, like many otherworld experiences it is quite difficult to describe. Words literally fail.
I have talked, on several occassions in this blog, about the concept of some beings being able to come through what I call the etheric realm and enter our world, under certain very specific circumstances. I have also described how those beings may even be able to take physical form in the presence of enough energy (like power of the girl, Eleven, in the show). While those manifestations may not be as long lived as the thing in “Stranger Things”, they happen with enough frequency to freak nice folks happy in their materialist world straight out and cause them to rethink their previous positions.
Another concept that I talk about in this blog a good bit that appeared in the show was the idea of people actually wandering into the Upside Down and either being lost (Will) or finding their way back out by the thinnest of luck (Nancy). While, for the sake of drama and the ‘uck’ factor, the entrance into the Upside Down in the show was filled with goo, in the descriptions of people who believe they have accidentally wandered in and then out of the Otherworld, the entry can be as simple as stepping around the wrong corner or between two trees. In Faerie lore, the realm of the Fey can be entered in certain caves, by standing in a fairy ring of mushrooms at certain times, by performing certain bodily motions (a specfic set of turns in one direction and then the other) or by following a being into that realm.
I found the character of Joyce, despite her chain smoking, to be hauntingly familiar. I think that everyone, when first contacting the real world version of the Upside Down, finds themselves thinking that they have either lost their minds or wishing that they had since it is a whole lot easier to live in a world view where all that one experiences is experienced with the five senses. I have seen any number of young sensitives (incuding myself at a much younger age) drink themselve senseless to shut down their other senses. In the movies, such abilities are seen as powers but, as Joyce discovered in her shattered and nervous way, being able to talk to the Upside Down, in the ‘real’ world, gets you stares at best and the possibility of padded cells and medication at worst. It is only the ontinuing horror of the monster and a driven chief of police that rescue Joyce from such a fate and, folks, that does not happen often outside of TV and movies.
While “Stranger Things” made something of a muddle of it, the writers did even manage to pull in the CIA’s mind control experiments (MKULTRA) as an explanation for Eleven’s powers. I think the scripters might have done better to mention MKULTRA in conjunction with the projects like Stargate (or whatever it happened to be called on a given week) as a way to bring the psychic powers into the mix. I would have to sit down and rough out a screen play to tell you for sure . . .
In any event, I found “Stranger Things” to be well worth watching. It was quite well acted (although Winona Ryder did take Joyce a little over the top, in my opinion) and the Fortean aspects of the show were handled well, taking characters from complete cynicism to forced belief in a pretty believeable manner. I would be interested in seeing what the producers might come up with for a season 2.