The Zen of SILVER BROWN

The 2020 Year-In-Review Post Has Been Cancelled

Nobody really reads these things anyway, so it’s all good. A lot of great things got cancelled or postponed this year, but at least that gawd-awful reality show starring a certain evil clown washed-up game show host got the axe as well. See? Silver lining.

Not pictured: Jeremy Bulloch and Leslie West, who arrived at this party too late.

The Journey of SILVER BROWN

If The Aliens Don’t Conquer Us We’ll Invent iDæmons

A number of years ago I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I would give it three stars out of five. It teetered into hokey territory in places, and a few of the plot twists were a little too deus ex machina for my taste (somebody conveniently swoops in to save the day whenever Lyra finds herself up shit creek without a paddle). But the concepts and plot devices were interesting at least. The story is set across several different parallel universes, the heroine hailing from a reality where every person’s spirit animal (referred to as a dæmon) walks, slithers, hops, swims, crawls or flies in close proximity to the person at all times. The dæmons can talk to their humans and give kindly advice, but their human is the only one who can hear them speak…

…which somewhat vaguely recalls Ozmodiar, the tiny green space alien that only Homer can see.

Some variant of that concept would inevitably find its way into my own writing. The dæmons in my particular story are depicted as software applications, running within the simulated world in which it is set. Whether or not other people can hear these things speak is an adjustable setting. Like airplane mode, or the wallpaper on your desktop.

The idea of having a human dæmon for a character who is not human was used as a plot device for exactly one scene in the first volume of His Dark Materials, but was never explored more fully beyond that. So I decided to run with it in my own yarn. One of the antagonists is a colossal invertebrate with no vocal apparatus of any sort. Its language is entirely olfactory, comprised of odors it emits through its breath and slime trails and territorial musk. Odors capable of conveying all manner of idea from the mundane to the philosophical, but are mostly undetectable to humans save the ones that smell obscenely bad. Thus it needs a companion humanoid entity to follow it around wherever it goes, translating its odors into something humans can understand…

Kind of like this guy, but with slightly more charm.

The Soundtrack of SILVER BROWN

All Rise for the Transylvanian National Anthem

In the midst of an entire year that has felt like one big Halloween, the observance of the holiday itself almost seems superfluous. That being said, the very existence of an annual celebration of all things macabre and frightening suggests such phenomena are a significant part of the human experience. No matter what happens in any given year, there will always be a Halloween. Here’s some freaky-ass music to play in the background while we’re all dancing with the demons in the blue moonlight