Game Of Thrones: In my subconscious it’s taken a sci-fi/geo-political drama twist.

1 05 2012

Game Of Worlds

Ahhh, the sublime pleasure of following a big TV series and letting it pervert your subconscious as you fall asleep.It’s happened with The Wire marathons (I still say “police” as “pol-lice”) and Battlestar Galactica (where I sided with the Cylons and don’t act like you are surprised) and now it’s happened with sex and sorcery fest Game Of Thrones.

If I have one problem with the fantasy genre it’s that it lives in the past. Now I’m not against historical entertainment (although using “historical” to describe Spartacus is stretching things a little it’s still appallingly good fun) but I get a little uneasy when Fantasy glorifies a luddite world in which democracy and equality hasn’t been invented yet. I’m a republican (in the British sense, not the horrific America sense of the term) so swearing fealty to some noble twat because of his birthright sits badly with me. I’m with the anarcho-syndicalist in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, leaders will only fuck things up (unless they are of the Machine variety!)

So this morning my mind tweaked Game Of Thrones into a form more pleasing to my ideology;

What if a technologically advanced world of 7 billion people on the brink of collapse accidentally created  a wormhole to a sparsely developed land of medieval kingdoms who still believed in magic?

The dream opens with a learned and cynical stranger advising a boy-king without a kingdom on who these strange and powerful new ursurpers are in the land of Westeros. With their powerful machines, odd customs and miraculous medicines they have established a foothold on the land and hookwinked lords and bannerman into allowing vast mines and oil drilling to take place. Their peasentry have been turfed off their turnip farms to operate jack hammers and carry pipelines through virgin forests.

Though to the boy-king’s eyes the strangers operate in magic the teacher from afar assures him it’s not magic but something called “science” which makes their miracles come to life. Mirrors that tell stories and show sporting events, noisy contraptions that hover and fly across the land, lamps which burn forever and light up the night sky so the stars are blocked out, huge metal monsters on wheels that dig up the ground like the giants beyond the Wall and most of all a supernatural link connects all the outlanders via little boxes in their hands or things in their ear. The teacher tells the boy that his people are in constant contact with one another regardless of distance. When political machinations occur in Kings Landing the outlanders know about it on the other side of Westeros. What is more, through their mechanical eyes in the sky the outlanders have seen things of the boy’s world only spoken of in legend, strange blue people in the icy north and fire-breathing dragons and vast ruined cities in the deserts of the East. And the Outlanders want to know more.

From a rain soaked pre-fab cabin the Site Administrator pours over last night’s reports as he sups what passes for coffee on this world. Oil and gas production from the Dornish Marshes continues it’s steady increase, millions of gallons of precious energy helping to put Europe back on the world map again. Minerals and metals from mines in the Vale Of Arryn coming in via the new railroad, delivering the raw materials that have brought the economies of the Eurozone back from the brink. But despite all this good news the Administrator feels a great unease, an unease shared by many back home, back through the wormhole accidentally opened ten years ago by a daring experiment at CERN.

The price of Europe’s second renaissance comes at the exploitation of a whole continent. Sure, the nations of Europe have a long tradition of imperialism but those days were supposed to be long behind them. To compete with the new super-power of China and keep their heads above the up and coming BRIC economies the liberal Europeans have had to unearth some dark habits from their past.

Would that the Wormhole been opened in China (and it will surely be any day now when their own wormhole project gives fruit) then the outside world would never have heard about the scandals and crimes committed by rogue operators. The barbaric conditions of the Rio Tinto mines near Harrenhal wouldn’t have been leaked to the Internet by activists and the rebellion would never have happened. Had the citizens of Europe not been so passionate of their right to free speech the Administrator would not have been forced to deploy military units to “pacify” the situation there.

Such acts made the facade the Administrator put up to smooth relations with the people of this world (and the more left wing  members of his own people on this world) ever more difficult. “We healed their sick, cleaned up their filthy cities and showered the upper castes with trinkets and baubles” thought the Administrator  “but some of the more wily characters in Westeros are catching on to what a one sided deal they are really getting from us. We never should have let that little fella onto the Internet, not that he wouldn’t have worked things out for himself eventually anyway.”

The Administrator had a lot of respect for the new king on the Iron Throne, he knew how to play the game and sidelined many dangerous players with little bloodshed (although the massacre at Pyke and the drone strike at Dragonstone were notable exceptions) but he was never sure which side the diminutive guy was on.

The Administrators PA buzzed in the first meeting of the day. It would be a difficult meeting for it was to be with the Director of Sustainability and as the Administrator glanced across the vast and ugly building site that was Base Alpha  (also known as the “Dirty City Of Eternal Lights” by the locals) the Administrator admitted she had a point. Back home they said that by 2030 Earth needed another planet of equal size and resource to sustain her expensive lifestyle (and thank the playful scientists of CERN) they had found one, but the people of Earth were making the same mistakes with this planet as they were with their tired and worn homeworld.

Confidential reports however, hinted that this world wasn’t entirely defenseless against the might of 21st century Earth. Drones had reported strange things going on beyond the impressive wall the locals had built across the North. Relics brought in by traders from the East in exchange for a 3D entertainment system (and the fuel cells to power it) showed levels of technology beyond even that of the home planet. They called it “magic” but the Administrator couldn’t accept that as an explanation and the boffins in the top secret labs of Base Alpha found evidence that past civilisations of this world had a mastery of genetics and nano-technology that were at least a century ahead of Earth’s if not more.

Drone cam footage of Dragon attack near Qarth

New Job, Inception and the conflict between reality and fantasy

5 08 2010

Adrift in a sea of dreams....

So tomorrow I’m going in for a meeting with children’s entertainment company to discuss marketing via social networking and the possibilities of using technology in their plans for a television series such as CGI and again promoting the series via the internets.

This is great, I am very excited by this but as always very wary. It is my pessimistic and self doubting nature to be concerned about tomorrow, I have a lot invested in this and were it to fail it would be a considerable blow to my confidence. The meeting could very well be the belated start to a career related to my degree in media and more importantly the start of a fulfilling and rewarding journey where I feel I can really contribute at something in a way that comes natural to me, rather than have to fit my square peg into the round hole of soul destroying employment as I have done in the past.

The problem is, while social networking and media are a keen interest of mine I’ve never done anything with it in a professional capacity before. I’m not 100% certain what to expect tomorrow and what is expected of me and that fills me with fear. Fear that I might be living in a dream world that’s about to collapse, that the fantasy scenario in which I know what I’m doing and I have the confidence to do it might come crashing down and I come to on some dingy warehouse, bewildered, clutching a totem and complaining that the rug I’m lying on is a fake.

This leads me to the film Inception which I finally got round to seeing last night. For those few of you who haven’t seen yet I shall be vague, it is such a captivating and well made film I wouldn’t want to spoil the delicious pleasure of seeing it for the first time. Suffice to say one of the main themes is the conflict between reality and fantasy and whether it is healthy to live in that warm and comforting fantasy when you have responsibilities in the real world (the festering shithole that it is.)

Now I have a very active imagination, so much so that like Leonardo Di Caprio’s character I have a complex universe inside my head that is as rich and textured as the horribly mundane real world in which I have the misfortune to inhabit. When I say “universe” I am being pretty literal about too for there are many thousands of star systems, worlds, habitats, cities, people, cultures, technologies, sights, sounds and experiences contained within. In Inception Di Caprio and his wife made a city of their dreams, I have a whole universe of dreams to myself.

Just part of the universe within my mind, each point is a star, a place and an environment as real to my subconscious as the dreams are to the characters in Inception

This stems from when I was a child with no brothers and sisters. Instead of the constant battle for attention and vernal dominance over one another that my life would have been if I were cursed with siblings my playtime was spent letting my imagination run riot. As time went on this fantasy world grew in complexity and scale and as I made the awkward transition into adolenscence the universe in my mind became a happy place to retreat to when the real world and the unpleasent people within it became too much for me. Of course not being a mentalist I knew it was just a dream and that I would have to wake up and go to school at some point.

This dreamscape might also explain my fondness for the more fantastical side of fiction and my interest in hallucinogenic drugs for both are tools to escape to a more rewarding and life affirming place than the grey life I usually find myself in. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware of what the real world is like, the horror, the violence, the intolerance, the stupidity, the pettiness, the general failure of Humanity to live up to it’s ideals but sometimes I just get so sick of it I retreat to a place more infinate in possibility and joy. This is not to say my retreat is a perfect state, bad things still happen and in the interest of realism and entertainment there is conflict but I have  far more control over this realm and the rewards are so much more satisfying than the meagre coins, possessions, spiritual lies and compromises that are the “rewards” in this materialistic and empty world we share. Some are lucky to get more, but then they usually have a lot of money to enable them or a detachment from reality similar to my own but dressed up with words like “religion” and “ideology.”

To reel this back into my original point every so once in a while daydream crosses over into reality. It is perhaps the most driving force within me, to make my imaginings and dreams come true. It does happen every once in the while and when it does it is the most rewarding thing in the (real) world for me. But it is also one frought with danger, my mind can get carried away, I choose to believe the fantasy more than the reality because it is better and less painful in the same dilemma that Dicaprio’s character in Inception faces. I might conciously ignore the downsides of something and instead run away with the unreal because it is so intoxicating and fulfilling only for me to have to admit actuality at a later date and curse myself for being so foolish when deep down I knew it was never to be.

On the other hand my pessimist nature can get the better of me. I worry myself into believing that I will die alone and in an existential funk, that my dreams coming to nothing and I become nowt but a joke on the sidelines of life watching more successful people pass me by. As with anything in life the key to success is striking a balance, to have the notion and then the ability and drive to make it happen.

I only hope the demons of my self doubt don’t scupper the deal tomorrow or that harsh, brutal reality doesn’t run into me like a freight train.