Best 5 Episodes from theTwilight Zone

Dogeron 'Dog' Kenan #2in Comic Zone

8-bit Music Jukeboxin The Free Bundle Games

Plus!

The OutsiderRereading H.P Lovecraft

Ray Bradbury's The Pendulumin Fantastic Horizons

How to Build libraryIn the Hobbyist Corner

& More!

Reading Now

Comics, Video Games, Books, Hobbies, Retro, Literature, Sci-Fi, Entertainment, Classic Movies, DIY and everything you need for your hobbies. Finally, a magazine for the rest of us.

Time until the next issue arrives

Editorial

Letter from the Publisher


Dear Readers,

Welcome to another issue of The Free Bundle! Our last issue featured a cover story where we asked ourselves if Battle Angel Alita would live to fan’s expectations. Turns out we were right; Robert Rodriguez was the right choice to direct what will be remembered by fans as the first successfully executed live-action movie about an anime made by Hollywood.

This issue, though, we will be talking about Jordan Pelee’s Twilight Zone. Well, not exactly. Since there’s only been a couple of Teasers about the new series, we are going to pass on making any predictions about the show. What we are going to do, instead, is showing you the best episodes from Rod Serling’s Classic Twilight Zone. Everybody has a favorite and these are ours!

Speaking of classics, our designers burned the midnight oil and we are happy to announce we are now featuring a new menu that’s buond to become a classic! To give it a try, simply open the menu at any time from the left top corner of the screen, see what happens.

On another note, we are actively looking for writers to do guest posts, scroll down to know more.

Like always, we have video games, literature, movies and a new issue of our own Dogeron DOG Kenan webcomic strip! More coming over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Javier Cabrera

Editor-in-chief

Carlos Cabrera

Artwork

DJ Hendrickson

proofreading

Tiffany Amber

Contributing writer

Cordwainer Bird

Contributing writer

Maurice Leblanco

Contributing writer

Derek Thomas

Contributing writer


The Pendulum, written by Ray Bradbury and co-authored with Henry Hasse and illustrated by Lawrence Sterne Stevens, first published by Futuria Fantasia in 1939 / 1941 reprint. Robotech, registered trademark of Harmony Gold USA, Inc. The Free Bundle is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Harmony Gold USA. The Free Bundle is intended for personal and non-profit use only. H.P Lovecraft reproduction copyright by Mister Sam Shearon. Buy the fantastic prints from his website at: https://mistersamshearon.bigcartel.com/product/h-p-lovecraft. Weird Tales Magazine is a trademark of Viacom. The Astronaut drinking on the moon is copyright and trademark by Carlsberg group.

CABRERA BROTHERS FREE BUNDLE is published bimonthly by The Cabrera Brothers Company. All rights reserved through the world. Cabrera Brothers FREE BUNDLE, Issue 1, Winter 2018. Copyright 2018 Cabrera Brothers. All intelectual properties featured in this issue, the distinctive likenesses thereof and related elements are trademarks of each of its own authors and trademarks holders. For advertising and Custom Publishing, please contact our editor.


The Free Bundle Games

The Free Bundle Games

The Free Bundle Games

We began by featuring the work of independent game developers and will proudly continue doing so.

8-bit Music Jukebox Challenge

How much do you know about video games history? Can you guess which famous 8-bit game this soundtrack belongs to?

This month we bring you something different, something special. Instead of our usual top 5 indie games, we want to play a little game with you.

Introducing The Free Bundle 8-Bit Jukebox Challenge, first edition. A game where you test your knowledge of video games history.

Can you guess (without using Google) which world famous video game this 8-bit soundtrack belongs to and in which consoles was it published?

Click to watch with sound on Youtube

Guessed yet? No? Well, if you do, there might be a little surprise for you. Write our mailroom and let us know your best guess. Winners will be announced in the next issue of The Free Bundle (issue #3), along with our top five indie games to play for the second quarter of 2019, so stay sharp, and stay tuned.


Readme.txt

For those cyberpunks who surf on the go, we launched an exclusive 100% free newsletters service.

Get alternative stories from The Free Bundle delivered to your inbox.

Always awesome. Forever free.

Try our Newsletters


Cover Story

Cover Story

Cover Story

Summon the ghost of Christmas yet-to-come and read the scoop before it even happens.

Best 5 Episodes from The Twilight Zone

With the much anticipated revival of the acclaimed and beloved TV series, now hosted by Jordan Pelee, we here at The Free Bundle are proud to bring you the best five episodes from classic The Twilight Zone TV Show.

Why five and not ten, you might ask? Well, because five is the magic number. Three and you run short. Ten and you are obligated into throwing a few extra that aren’t quite as exceptional as the rest, just to fill the quota, or entertaining to watch… and that is the word here, isn’t it? Entertaining.

As with any other genre, science-fiction first needs to be entertaining. Not educational, not full of sermons about war, life, and death, but entertaining. Each of us knows already too much about the facts of life, don’t we?

We are big fans

It is true. Here at The Free Bundle, we are big fans of The Twilight Zone. From the radio drama show to the comics, back to the TV series that started it all and even the many attempts to revivals (yes, we sat through those too!).

In fact, we know so much about the Twilight Zone, that we are going to give you a never-seen-before behind the scenes from the production of each one of the five episodes in our list.

Will the revival of the beloved science fiction anthology by the now Super Bowl-famous Jordan Pelee become a success? Or will the fandom be forced to watch in stupor how gold gets to turn into clay as it happened with the 2002 TV series?

We, of course, will be writing an in-depth analysis of the first couple of episodes once they air, but after seeing the two revivals and the 1983 movie, we can only place our most educated guess:

There will be wonderfully written episodes by some of the most talented writers of the moment, perhaps we even get a surprise or two with a nearly perfect reboot (such as the promised Nightmare at 20,000 feet, already masterfully executed by John Lithgow in the 1983 movie of the Twilight Zone), which is always a delight for us science fiction fans.

But the rest? Let’s just say we cross our fingers.

In the meanwhile, without further ado and submitted for your approval, the very best five Twilight Zone episodes from the classic TV show.

5) “The Hunt”

Season 3, Episode 19

The Hunt, The Twilight ZoneThe Hunt, The Twilight Zone

An old man and a hound dog named Rip, off for an evening’s pleasure in quest of raccoon. Usually, these evenings end with one tired old man, one battle-scarred hound dog and one or more extremely dead raccoons, but as you may suspect that will not be the case tonight. These hunters won’t be coming back from the hill. They’re headed for the backwoods of the Twilight Zone.

This episode gives us Hyder Simpson, an old man with a very special friend: an old hound named “Rip”. Hyder and Rip’s story begins with them dying after Rip gets into a nearby lagoon while hunting raccoons with his master. Hyder goes after his friend, only to wake up next to Rip in limbo, which is no different than what they already know as home. After visiting his wife, Hyde and Rip wander around the countryside until they come across what looks like the Gates of Heaven.

Hyde gets invited inside, of course. The poor fool has not an inch of malice in his good heart. But before he can agree, there’s a catch. He will have to leave Rip behind: dogs are not allowed into Heaven.

The Hunt is one of the most emotional episodes of the classic series and perhaps the only one featuring a theme that touches a chord very close to home for any animal lover.

Production Trivia

Written by Earl Hammer, Jr and directed by Harold Schuster, with Arthur Hunnicutt as Hyder Simpson and Dexter Dupont as the angel. Although at the time this episode was deemed as poorly produced, badly directed and amateurishly acted by some, it ended up into becoming a favorite for many Twilight Zone aficionados. Years later, Hammer created a series called The Walltons with similar characters which he based on the old woman and his wife from this episode. “The similarity is not accidental,” he says, “at the time I was working on a series of short stories called ‘The Old Man and the Old Woman.’ Those characters which I used in ‘The Hunt’ also were later to become the Grandma and the Grandpa Walton for my new series’.

Towards the end, The Hunt has one memorable moment. The old fool, Hyder Simpson, walks away from entering into what he is being told is heaven when the supposed angel at the gate refuses to accept his dog, only to find out he was in fact about to enter into Hell and that the angel is no other than the Devil, trying to lure into damnation.

When Hyder asks one of the angels why they don’t let dogs into Hell, the reply he gets becomes one of the most heartwarming lines of the entire series: “You see, Mr. Simpson, a man, well… he’ll walk right into Hell with both eyes open–but even the Devil can’t fool a dog!”


4) “A Stop at Willoughby”

Season 1, Episode 30

A Stop at Willoughby, The Twilight ZoneA Stop at Willoughby, The Twilight Zone

This is Gart Williams, age thirty-eight, a man protected by a suit of armor all held together by one bolt. Just a moment ago, someone removed the bolt, and Mr. Williams’s protection fell away from him and left him a naked target. He’s been cannonaded this afternoon by all the enemies of his life. His insecurity has shelled him, his sensitivity has straddled him with humiliatiion, his deep-rooted disquiet about his own worth has zeroed in on him, landed on target and blown him apart. Mr. Gartt Williams, ad agency exec, who in just a moment will move into the Twilight Zone–in a desperate search for survival.

Gart Williams, a man who used to love his job now can’t wait to get away from it. His boss, his colleagues, even the woman he married to appear to constantly bring him down. Like many others in this position, Mr. Gart Willams can’t quit his job or leave his wife. He feels trapped, without options, near the breaking point. The man longs for a simpler life every night on his train ride back home.

And it will be during one these late night trips home that Mr. Gart Williams will take a detour the Twilight Zone when he runs into a stop that shouldn’t be on his commuter train line: Willoughby.

A small town where time doesn’t seem to have passed and folks warmly greet each other by name, kids go fishing on Sundays and where a man can sit back, ease the foot off the gas pedal and enjoy life at his own pace.

Just what Mr. Gart Williams needs.

Production Trivia

Directed by Robert Parrish, written by Rod Serling, with James Delay as Gart Williams and Jason Wingreen as the train conductor. A Stop at Willoughby is perhaps the only other episode, besides Walking Distance, where we can see how Rod Serling went back to his roots as a screenwriter for Hollywood. He was, after all, well known for presenting audiences with subjects such of the raw competitive world of corporate executives, such as The Velvet Alley, played by legendary actor and comedian Leslie Nielsen (Naked Gun), playing a much more grim role for Serling.

There is also a very real possibility that Velvet Alley had been Rod Serling’s first attempt to produce something of the caliber of A Stop at Willoughby. Sadly for us, most of Mr. Serling’s old productions from these days were lost, since Playhouse was a live show and tape recorders were rare back then.

It is possible that from all the episodes of The Twilight Zone, A Stop at Willoughby, along with Walking Distance, will always resonate very deeply with the middle-aged viewers. After all, there is no way not to be immediately taken by surprise by the rawness of Mr. Williams story. A “must-watch” episode for all those who have blown thirty candles on their cakes.

3) “Time Enough at Last”

Season 1, Episode 8

Time Enough at Last Twilight ZoneTime Enough at Last Twilight Zone

Witness Mr. Henry Bemis, a charter member in the fraternity of dreamers. A bookish little man whose passion is the printed page, but who is conspired against by a bank president and a wife and a world full of tongue-cluckers and the unrelenting hands of a clock. But in just a moment, Mr. Bemis will enter a world without bank presidents or wives or clocks or anything else. He’ll have a world all to himself, without anyone.

Henry Bemis is a myopic avid book reader. Everything good old Henry wants to do in life is to be left alone so he can read his books. The thing is, neither his boss nor his wife (who ends up by blacking out every line in every page of Henry’s personal library to keep him away from reading) seems to accept mild-mannered Henry has a passion for fiction.

One day, during lunch hour, Herny sneaks down into the bank vault hoping to escape a world of interruptions so he can read undisturbed. Sadly for Mr. Henry Bemis, no quiet awaits for him down there, only another page in the book of the Twilight Zone.

Production Trivia

Starring two-time Oscar nominee Burgess Meredith (Rocky, Batman’s Penguin) as Henry Bemis. Directed by John Brahm and Written by Rod Serling, but based on a six-page short story of the same name by Lynn Venable. The story appeared in the January, 1953, issue of the If magazine. In Lynn’s version of Time Enough at Last, a bookworm by the name of Henry Bemis survives a nuclear blast only to found himself without glasses.


2) “To Serve Man”

Season 3, Episode 24

To Serve Man, The Twilight ZoneTo Serve Man, The Twilight Zone

Respectfully submitted for your perusal – a Kanamit. Height: a little over nine feet. Weight: in the neighborhood of three hundred and fifty pounds. Origin: unknown. Motives? Therein hangs the tale, for in just a moment, we’re going to ask you to shake hands, figuratively, with a Christopher Columbus from another galaxy and another time. This is the Twilight Zone.

A race of aliens called the “Kanamit” arrive earth bringing a pace offer: they wish to aid mankind in every possible way by sharing their superior technology. Within a short span of time, the Kanamit end famine, provide a planetary defensive force field and supply a cost-effective power source to all the nations of the world. Their peaceful intentions are supported by a book the Kanamit left behind at one of their meetings in the United Nations. Once translated, the book title reads To Serve Man.

Production Trivia

Written by Rod Serling. Starring Lloyd Bochner as Chambers, Richard Kiel as Kanamit and Susan Cummings as Pat. Directed by Richard L. Bare. The story was adapted by Serling from a story by Damn Knight by the same name. To Serve Man became an instant classic for its plot twist and a cult classic that follows the show’s reputation to this day.

About the story, Damon Knight said: “To Serve Man was written in 1950, when I was living in Greenwhich Village and my unhappy first marriage was breaking up. I wrote it in one afternoon, while my wife was out with another man”.

One of the things Rod Serling changed from Damon’s script was the way the aliens looked. In Damon’s story, the Kanamit resemble pigs. Rod Serling instead went for a more sci-fi look, dressing the tall aliens in large robes so they could bring angels to mind. Richard Kiel (Jaws, from James Bond movies) ended up being perfect for the role.

There have been some rumors about the name given to the aliens, but “Kanamit”, contrary to popular belief, never was thought as a pun on ‘cannibal’ (or at least that’s what Damond said).


1) “Walking Distance”

Season 1, Episode 5

Walking Ddistance Twilight ZoneWalking Ddistance Twilight Zone

Martin Sloan, age thirty-six. Occupation: vice-president, ad agency, in charge of media. This is not just a Sunday drive for Martin Sloan. He perhaps doesn’t know it at the time, but it’s an exodus. Somewhere up the road he’s looking for sanity. And somewhere up the road, he’ll find something else.

Walking Distance might be the highest rated episode in the entire history of the TV series. While driving his car in the countryside, Martin Sloan, a modern corporate executive, stops to have his car serviced at a gas station near the hometown of his youth. While waiting for the mechanic to fix it Martin decides to take a stroll to kill some time and visit the old neighborhood, see how things changed since he left.

Only they didn’t.

After walking into town, ordering some ice cream and going to the town’s square, Martin will realize he inadvertently traveled back in time to his own childhood.

Production Trivia

Starring Gig Young as Martin Sloan, written by Rod Serling and directed by Robert Stevens. About how Walking Distance was born, Rod told Kay Gardella of the New York Daily back in 1959: “I was walking on a set at the MGM when I was suddenly hit by the similarity of it to my home town. Feeling an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, it struck me that all of us have a deep longing to go back–not to our home as it is today, but as we remember it. It was from this simple incident that I wrote the story.

Ronnie Howard (Happy Days) was cast as a neighborhood child. The houses we see on the set were originally built on MGM’s Lot 3 for the movie Meet me in St Louis. The carousel was rented and set up on a backlot park. This is perhaps the most “Bradburyesque” script by Rod Serling, who definitely found himself more comfortable writing with a more dark and realistic style (_Velvet Alley, Where is everybody, The Lonely). In Walking Distance, Rod Serling dips his toe into fantasy and does it masterfully.

The cast was one of the best (Gig Young is simply brilliant in this one), the director was a class act as well and the production, for some screwy reason, didn’t have any major problems–which all lead to one of the most remembered and discussed episodes of the series. It shows what speculative fiction can be when treated with respect and not as simple “cheap entertainment”.


# BONUS EPISODE

We know, we know. We only said five of them: but the original Twilight Zone series hosted by Rod Serling was a bomb, really. Writers such as Richard Matheson (“I Am Legend”, “The Shrinking Man”, “Button, Button”), Ambrose Bierce (“One of the Missing”), Jerome Bixby (Star Trek “Mirror, Mirror”, “The Man from Earth”), Damon Knight (“Masks”, “To Serve Man”) and even Ray Bradbury (“I Sing the Body Electric”), besides the ones Rod himself wrote (“The Howling Man”), are some of the best science fiction stories of all times.

With that in mind, here is one episode that didn’t make it into the list, but it really should have.

“Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”

Season 5, Episode 3

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Twilight ZoneNightmare at 20,000 Feet Twilight Zone

Portrait of a frightened man: Mr. Robert Wilson, thirty-seven, husband, father, and salesman on sick leave. Mr. Wilson has just been discharged from a sanitarium where he spent the last six months recovering from a nervous breakdown, the onset of which took place on an evening not dissimilar to this one, on an airliner very much like the one in which Mr. Wilson is about to be flown home—the difference being that, on that evening half a year ago, Mr. Wilson’s flight was terminated by the onslaught of his mental breakdown. Tonight, he’s traveling all the way to his appointed destination, which, contrary to Mr. Wilson’s plan, happens to be in the darkest corner of the Twilight Zone.

There are a lot of iconic episodes in the Twilight Zone, but Nightmare at 20,000 Feet makes it for the most memorable one (and well deservedly so). In the middle of a lightning storm, passenger Bob Wilson spots a gremlin ripping up one of the wings of the plane he travels on with his wife. He struggles to convince, first everyone else that there is a sort of animal trying to destroy the plane, then himself that he’s hallucinating due to his fear of flying, Bob Wilson will fight a battle with his own fear at 20,000 Feet, in the Twilight Zone.

Production

Starring William Shatner (Captain Kirk, Star Trek the Original Series) as Bob Wilson, with Christine White as Ruth Wilson and Nick Cravat as the Gremlin. Written by Richard Matheson and based on one of his short stories of the same name originally published in the anthology Alone by Night (Ballantine, 1961) and included in Matheson’s Shock III (Dell, 1966).

About the greminlin (which was a man with a plastic mask on a stock flurry suit) Matheson said: “I was not pleased to say the least. You know, I was actually hoping for them to use the man who was inside the gorilla suit. (Nick Craver) Oh man, he looked exactly as I described the man on the wing of the plane: all they had to do was use him!”

The episode was a sudden success, mostly due to Shatner’s impeccable portrait of the character: a man on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

Rod Serling tells a cute story about the whole thing:

“Matheson and I were going to fly to San Francisco. It was like four weeks after the show was on the air. I had spent around three weeks in constant daily communication with Western Airlines preparing a given seat for him, having the stewardess close the curtains when he sat down, and I was going to say, “Dick, open it up”. I had this huge, blownup poster stuck on the outside of the window, so that when he opened it there would be this gremlin staring at him. So what happened was we get on the plane, there was the seat, he sits down, the curtains are closed, I lean over and I say “Dick–” at which point they start the engines and it blows the thing away. It was an old prop airplane… He never saw it. And I had spent hours in the planning of it. I would lie in bed thinking how we could do this.”

After hearing Rod Serling unsuccessful prank on Richard Matheson, we couldn’t help but prank the readers of The Free Bundle in the same spirit.

One last note: did you ever noticed that strange triangle airline planes have on the seat near the wing?

Stewardesses and crew members use that symbol for several reasons (such as to mark the best spot to check for ice on the wings or other problems), but did you know that the mysterious triangle gets nicknamed, to this day, as the “Shatner seat”?

Something to keep in mind the next time you choose your seat on a plane.



Fantastic Horizons

Fantastic Horizons

Pulp Magazines are rising from the ashes. Here is the greatest of speculative fiction.

A failed scientist will attempt to break free from the clutches of time.

The Pendulum

Up and down, back and forth, up and down. First the quick flite skyward, gradually slowing, reaching the pinnacle of the curve, poising a moment, then flashing earthward again, faster and faster at a nauseating speed, reaching the bottom and hurtling aloft on the opposite side. Up and down. […]

[…] Back and forth. Up and down. How long it had continued this way Layeville didn’t know. It might have been millions of years he’d spent sitting here in the massive glass pendulum watching the world tip one way and another, up and down, dizzily before his eyes until they ached. Since first they had locked him in the pendulum’s round glass head and set if swinging it had never stopped or changed. Continuous, monotonous movements over and above the ground. So huge was this pendulum that it shadowed one hundred feet or more with every majestic sweep of its gleaming shape, dangling from the metal intestines of the shining machine overhead. It took three or four seconds for it to traverse the one hundred feet one way, three or four seconds to come back.

THE PRISONER OF TIME! That’s what they called him now! Now, fettered to the very machine he had planned and constructed. A pri—son—er—of—time! A—pris—on—er—of—Time! With every swing of the pendulum it echoed in his thoughts. For ever like this until he went insane. He tried to focus his eyes on the arching hotness of the earth as it swept past beneath him.

They had laughed at him a few days before. Or was it a week? A month? A year? He didn’t know. This ceaseless pitching had filled him with an aching confusion. They had laughed at him when he said, some time before all this, he could bridge time gaps and travel into futurity. He had designed a huge machine to warp space, invited thirty of the worlds most gifted scientists to help him finish his colossal attempt to scratch the future wall of time.

The hour of the accident spun back to him now thru misted memory. The display of the time machine to the public. The exact moment when he stood on the platform with the thirty scientists and pulled the main switch! The scientists, all of them, blasted into ashes from wild electrical flames! Before the eyes of two million witnesses who had come to the laboratory or were tuned in by television at home! He had slain the world’s greatest scientists!

He recalled the moment of shocked horror that followed. Something radically wrong had happened to the machine. He, Layeville, the inventor of the machine, had staggered backward, his clothes flaming and eating up about him. No time for explanations. Then he had collapsed in the blackness of pain and numbing defeat.

Swept to a hasty trial, Layeville faced jeering throngs calling out for his death. “Destroy the Time Machine!” they cried. “And destroy this MURDERER with it!”

Murderer! And he had tried to help humanity. This was his reward.

One man had leaped onto the tribunal platform at the trial, crying, “No! Don’t destroy the machine! I have a better plan! A revenge for this—this man!” His finger pointed at Layeville where the inventor sat unshaven and haggard, his eyes failure glazed. “We shall rebuild his machine, take his precious metals, and put up a monument to his slaughtering! We’ll put him on exhibition for life within his executioning device!” The crowd roared approval like thunder shaking the tribunal hall.

Then, pushing hands, days in prison, months. Finally, led forth into the hot sunshine, he was carried in a small rocket car to the center of the city. The shock of what he saw brought him back to reality. THEY had rebuilt his machine into a towering timepiece with a pendulum. He stumbled forward, urged on by thrusting hands, listening to the roar of thousands of voices damning him. Into the transparent pendulum head they pushed him and clamped it tight with weldings.

Then they set the pendulum swinging and stood back. Slowly, very slowly, it rocked back and forth, increasing in speed. Layeville had pounded futilely at the glass, screaming. The faces became blurred, were only tearing pink blobs before him.

On and on like this—for how long?

He hadn’t minded it so much at first, that first nite. He couldn’t sleep, but it was not uncomfortable. The lites of the city were comets with tails that pelted from rite to left like foaming fireworks. But as the nite wore on he felt a gnawing in his stomach, that grew worse. He got very sick and vomited. The next day he couldn’t eat anything.

They never stopped the pendulum, not once. Instead of letting him eat quietly, they slid the food down the stem of the pendulum in a special tube, in little round parcels that plunked at his feet. The first time he attempted eating he was unsuccessful, it wouldn’t stay down. In desperation he hammered against the cold glass with his fists until they bled, crying hoarsely, but he heard nothing but his own weak, fear-wracked words muffled in his ears.

After some time had elapsed he got so that he could eat, even sleep while travelling back and forth this way. They allowed him small glass loops on the floor and leather thongs with which he tied himself down at nite and slept a soundless slumber without sliding.

People came to look at him. He accustomed his eyes to the swift flite and followed their curiosity-etched faces, first close by in the middle, then far away to the right, middle again, and to the left.

He saw the faces gaping, speaking soundless words, laughing and pointing at the prisoner of time traveling forever nowhere. But after awhile the town people vanished and it was only tourists who came and read the sign that said: THIS IS THE PRISONER OF TIME—JOHN LAYEVILLE—WHO KILLED THIRTY OF THE WORLDS FINEST SCIENTISTS! The school children, on the electrical moving sidewalk stopped to stare in childish awe. THE PRISONER OF TIME!

Often he thot of that title. God, but it was ironic, that he should invent a time machine and have it converted into a clock, and that he, in its pendulum, should mete out the years—traveling with Time.

He couldn’t remember how long it had been. The days and nites ran together in his memory. His unshaven checks had developed a short beard and then ceased growing. How long a time? How long?

Once a day they sent down a tube after he ate and vacuumed up the cell, disposing of any wastes. Once in a great while they sent him a book, but that was all.

The robots took care of him now. Evidently the humans thot it a waste of time to bother over their prisoner. The robots brot the food, cleaned the pendulum cell, oiled the machinery, worked tirelessly from dawn until the sun crimsoned westward. At this rate it could keep on for centuries.

But one day as Layeville stared at the city and its people in the blur of ascent and descent, he perceived a swarming darkness that extended in the heavens. The city rocket ships that crossed the sky on pillars of scarlet flame darted helplessly, frightenedly for shelter. The people ran like water splashed on tiles, screaming soundlessly. Alien creatures fluttered down, great gelatinous masses of black that sucked out the life of all. They clustered thickly over everything, glistened momentarily upon the pendulum and its body above, over the whirling wheels and roaring bowels of the metal creature once a Time Machine. An hour later they dwindled away over the horizon and never came back. The city was dead.

Up and down, Layeville went on his journey to nowhere, in his prison, a strange smile etched on his lips. In a week or more, he knew, he would be the only man alive on earth.

Elation flamed within him. This was his victory! Where the other men had planned the pendulum as a prison it had been an asylum against annihilation now!

Day after day the robots still came, worked, unabated by the visitation of the black horde. They came every week, brot food, tinkered, checked, oiled, cleaned. Up and down, back and forth—THE PENDULUM!

…a thousand years must have passed before the sky again showed life over the dead Earth. A silvery bullet of space dropped from the clouds, steaming, and hovered over the dead city where now only a few solitary robots performed their tasks. In the gathering dusk the lites of the metropolis glimmered on. Other automatons appeared on the rampways like spiders on twisting webs, scurrying about, checking, oiling, working in their crisp mechanical manner.

And the creatures in the alien projectile found the time mechanism, the pendulum swinging up and down, back and forth, up and down. The robots still cared for it, oiled it, tinkering.

A thousand years this pendulum had swung. Made of glass the round disk at the bottom was, but now when food was lowered by the robots through the tube it lay untouched. Later, when the vacuum tube came down and cleaned out the cell it took that very food with it.

Back and forth—up and down.

The visitors saw something inside the pendulum. Pressed closely to the glass side of the cell was the face of a whitened skull—a skeleton visage that stared out over the city with empty sockets and an enigmatical smile wreathing its lipless teeth.

Back and forth—up and down.

The strangers from the void stopped the pendulum in its course, ceased its swinging and cracked open the glass cell, exposing the skeleton to view. And in the gleaming light of the stars the skull face continued its weird grinning as if it knew that it had conquered something. Had conquered time.

The Prisoner Of Time, Layeville, had indeed travelled along the centuries.

And the journey was at an end.

Ray Bradbury’s first professional publication (co-authored with Henry Hasse). First published in Ray Bradbury’s Futuria Fantasia, Fall 1939




Literature

Literature

Literature

Literature

From Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury all the way through Herman Melville and the best literature of all: comic books.

Rereading H.P Lovecraft's Short Story 'The Outsider'

We dissect one of the master of weird fiction's most notable short stories, a tale that mixes gothic fantasy with horror: the outsider.

There is no doubt about the place H.P Lovecraft earned with his writing in the world of horror, but while many know him for his Cthulhu mythos there is yet a vast amount of material to be studied about the man. From letters to other writers, to essays on how to write terror and even travel logs he kept during his many travels.

It is because his Cthulhu mythos and Necronomicon are so strong that most people usually overlook his many works.

In that line, one of Lovecraft’s most reprinted stories is perhaps one of the least known: “The Outsider”. First published by Weird Tales Magazine (June 1926), this short story successfully combines gothic fiction, horror, and fantasy. Its epigram, taken right from John Keats’ 1819 poem The Eve of St. Agnes marks the being of a different Lovecraft story.

You can read The Outsider here.

Our nameless narrator lives secluded in solitude in what he describes to be an ancient castle in the middle of a dark forest. He has not had any human contact in his entire life, nor he has heard a human voice.

Since the castle has no mirrors, any reference he has from people comes from the many ancient books in his vast, dusty library. Surrounded by tall trees blocking out sunlight, the man dwells in eternal twilight, alone, with only critters and rats as a company.

It is no secret that the beginig of “The Outsider” was partly inspired by the opening paragraphs of Poe’s Berenice:

I know not where I was born, save that the castle was infinitely old and infinitely horrible; full of dark passages and having high ceilings where the eye could find only cobwebs and shadows.

The stones in the crumbling corridors seemed always hideously damp, and there was an accursed smell everywhere, as of the piled-up corpses of dead generations.

One day, the narrator decides to climb up the only tower that reaches beyond the tall trees and makes it outside. To his astonishment, he finds himself blinded by moonlight: his castle was buried deep underground. He stumbles his way through the empty fields until he finds a Castle he seems to recognize, although it has been altered from what he remembers.

Through the window, our narrator sees there is a ball. People dance, dine, seems to be having a good time. He walks to an open window and jumps in only to find himself in the middle of a human stampede: people are panicking over something that stands at the other side of the room.

Something grotesque.

And although I am tempted to say what it is, its best if you read The Oustider and discover it yourself.


The Free Bundle produces specialized content on science fiction, literature, comic books, table top games, films and video games across our signature sections and e-mail newsletters.

Anyone is welcome to pitch in an idea for an article and become a contributor writer for The Free Bundle.

Do you want to write an article about Stan Lee and what his life meant to you? Maybe you want to write about your last Dungeons & Dragons game and how it went south. What about about that Netflix show you binge-watched last weekend, or that Stephen King book you read.

Whatever it is, we are always open to hear your elevator pitch and publish your article on the next issue of The Free Bundle.

# Submissions Guidelines

Examples of your previous work are useful, but not required (blog article, long post on a forum or reddit, etc). Just try to keep your pitch short and to the point. Include a link to your social media profile (we want to meet you!) and make sure you are not trying to advertise to us or to our to audience. If your idea for an article is good, exposure will follow organically.

  • Start guest blogging
  • Build a writing portfolio
  • Get quality exposure
  • Connect to an audience of more than 16,000 readers a month
  • Contribute to a real online magazine

Are you ready?
Submit your pitch


Lights! Cameras! Action!

Lights! Cameras! Action!

Lights! Cameras! Action!

Netflix is way too small for us—we discuss Korean films, Anime series and classic movies.

Robotech, Macross and The Protoculture of Dreams

In this issue, we will take you on a trip through Japan during the mid eighties to explore how a once Super Dimensional Fortress Macross became Robotech.

With Sony about to produce a Robotech flick, time has come for us close the doors and discuss the role of Carl Macek and Harmony Gold USA in the history of Anime.

I have an attempt to murder to confess. Two, actually. One occurred a few years ago when I was around twenty-five years old in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I drove all the way from my office near Plaza de Mayo to my parents home with a bagged body in the truck of my car. I never meant to murder — few men do. At least their first time. My second attempt is, by all means, premeditated and fully conscious. But more on that later.

When I turned on the curb there was no doubt in my mind: I meant to dispose of the body. I wanted to erase any and all evidence of my victim’s existence.

“Leave her over there,” my mother said, “I will take care of that tomorrow.” So I did, then left.

When I turned on the curb there was no doubt in my mind: I meant to dispose of the body. I wanted to erase any and all evidence of my victim’s existence.

Today, almost ten years later, my mother pointed me to a patch of dirt in her humble little garden. “That’s where I buried her,” she said. My jaw dropped. There it was, my victim, growing tall and strong, its thick branches full of leaves, shining like small mirrors against the sun.

When I brought that plant to her in the middle of the night almost ten years ago, its condition was more than agonizing. It was minutes away from being manure. It stank to death.

Fortunately, my mother nursed my victim back to health, keeping me from turning into a plant murderer, and the plant itself from becoming manure, all while teaching me a very important lesson.

Where I saw rotten roots, she saw a beautiful tree that now grows taller than any building or house in the neighborhood, up past the ropes full of wet clothes waiting to dry out, reaching high into the skies and piercing holes on its way through the clouds.

She saw it the same way one little editor saw Harry Potter instead of the story of a kid with a magic wand back when there was no market for children’s books. She saw it the same way Pat Powers, owner of Celebrity Productions saw that Walt Disney’s mouse could bring smiles to the faces of hundreds of families when the big movie houses of the time only saw a rat wearing pants.

To see what’s not there is the treasure some entrepreneurs spend a lifetime seeking and never find, and it is the reason why, for the second time in my life, I will attempt to murder. This time, consciously aware of the consequences of my actions, for what I will try to kill is the misconception about the birth of the Robotech saga by using the best weapons in a writer’s toolbox — metaphors and stories.

For this, I will take you to a raining Japan in the early eighties. It is midnight and young Carl Macek of Harmony Gold has been commissioned to suggest a TV series to dub into the English language for American distribution. He is a talented upcoming producer who already had hands in the distribution of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s successful (and controversial) Shaka Zulu miniseries to western audiences, but right now, Macek finds himself way over his head.

[…] young Carl Macek of Harmony Gold has been commissioned to suggest a TV series to dub into the English language for American distribution.

You see, back then Anime was virtually unknown outside Japan. You could travel to any point on the planet and people there wouldn’t know Japanese teens watched cartoons of their own. Everybody would assume kids everywhere watched American products being translated to other languages. What’s even more criminal, nobody had the slightest idea that there was a whole toy industry booming over in Japan thanks to Anime.

Somehow, Macek had caught wind of all this and was willing to bet his position at Harmony Gold that it could be good business for the company to secure the distribution rights of one of these strange but delightful attractive foreign cartoons.

There was a catch though; the weekday schedule for the American broadcast audiences required sixty-five episodes per run when most Anime series lasted for around forty. To make matters worse, the one Carl Macek was there to evaluate was only thirty-six episodes long.

Any other producer would have walked away right there and then. After all, there were plenty of miniseries being produced abroad with fairly popular actors that could have been easily bought and, if needed, translated for the American viewers.

But Carl Macek believed different. He saw the tree were others saw only rotten roots. In his mind, Anime was a far more lucrative venture than signing yet another miniseries. If done right, he could not only secure the rights for distribution for the Anime series, but an entire line of toys and even films.

It took quite a fight, but he managed to delay the company’s decision and fly to Japan, where he got off a plane not knowing the language, or anyone who could guide him, and with only enough money in his pocket for a couple of days. You might be thinking desperation was on the man’s face when he stepped off that plane, but you would be thinking wrong. He had the stare of those men going west during the Gold Rush. The stare of opportunity. Of the new.

There were no smartphones that could provide instant access to satellites back then. Instead, there were folding maps the size of a welcome mat one had to fight to fit into a pocket. No electronic dictionaries or translators either, but mere pocket books one had to thumb in the middle of busy streets.

But Carl Macek believed different. He saw the tree were others saw only rotten roots. In his mind, Anime was a far more lucrative venture than signing yet another TV miniseries.

If the necessity to call back home arose, one had to either ask to be allowed to use the phone (something extremely rare to be granted being a foreigner in the Japan of the eighties) or find loose change to go fishing for a pay phone that worked.

Food stands didn’t have photos for “gaijins” to point to their preference and say “Ah! That’s the one I want” either; one had to read, search into the small pocket dictionary, translate, then make the pick the way one walks on thin ice — with extreme care. As advanced as Japan might have been in the eighties, it would be a long time until technology made it into the foreign-friendly nation that it is today.

Carl Macek walked those crowded streets, alone. He deciphered those Martian hieroglyphics, spoke the language of the natives with signs and twisted words without help, and ran crazy mad from the hotel to the train station, until he found himself siting in the same room with no other than Noburo Ishiguro.

Noburo was the hand that helped Astro Boy fly like a kite across the future, fighting crime and injustice. He was also among the ones who sent the Space Cruiser Yamato to Mars so it could retrieve the device that was said would protect billions from the impeding invaders and their mortal radiation. He was also there to slide a key under Lupin the Third’s jail cell, so he could escape and rob banks and invaluable art masterpieces while outsmarting inspector Zenigata. Noburo was all that, and he was also one of the top men working in a new series titled Battle City Megaload for Studio Nue, which would eventually get renamed Super Dimensional Fortress Macross.

While what the Anime Studio Nue was working on was fairly new, it had seen a quiet success in Japan among adults, of all things! Mainly because of the themes its story touched — a complex love triangle in the middle of a space war, stirring away the escence of Macross from the usual comedy-for-kids most viewers at the time were used to watching.

Besides Noburu’s talented team, the development of a possible line of toys that could be tied in with the series also weighed into Macek’s decision to go after Macross. But the Studio had only produced thirty-six episodes out of the sixty-five needed for American syndication, and sponsoring more episodes was out of the question — they would have to be hand drawn, which would take months if not years to produce.

What Carl Macek did next, though extensively debated, even to this day, was without a doubt born out of love for fiction. Instead of walking away he suggested Harmony Gold buy two more Anime series besides Macross, so they could be used to fill the rest of the slots needed for American syndication.

Can you believe that? The man was commissioned to Japan to find one miniseries and he phones back home, weeks later, telling them they shouldn’t buy just one, but three! What producer would do something of the kind these days?

What Carl Macek did next, though extensively debated, even to this day, was without a doubt born out of love for fiction.

Where others would see a brick wall, Macek saw the seed of an empire that would extend for over thirty-five years spanning an entire line of toys, films, TV and home video sequels, novelizations, comics and live concerts! There is even a real Valkire plane, straight from the TV series, touring the shopping malls of Japan! The damn thing transforms from a combat airplane into a two-legged robot, imitating the same mechanism Noburo and his team dreamed on paper! Thirty-five years of culture created because a man dared to love fiction instead of using it as mere business.

My God, thirty-five years, that’s almost as old as I am!

But for all this to happen, Macek had to first rewrite part of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. He adapted all thirty-six episodes to a whooping eighty-five by stitching together the two other Anime suggested to Harmony Gold, not as a butcher like many suggested over the years, but as an experienced First World War surgeon operating in the battlefield tent of a small hotel room in Japan, creating thus a storyline that connected all three unrelated series together surprisingly well.

That is how Super Dimension Fotress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada flew through Carl Macek’s open window in a rainy Tokyo’s summer night, got into his typewriter and became what millions would know as “Robotech”.

Yes! That typewriter resting over a plastic hotel room chair with the light summer rain coming in through the window became the Jordan River in which Icharu Hichiko was baptised as Rick Hunter! It was the moses in which the infamous Protoculture was given its mysterious and controversial meaning and also the door to a global market for the Japanese Anime industry.

Sins were committed along the way, though; entire scenes swept under the rug for their adult content, central plots moved back and forth, flashbacks made of sliced chunks of stills, names and nationalities changed, transformed, so the story could have continuity. All true. But what is also true is that, for some dammed reason, it all worked fantastically well! As an epic Space Opera, Robotech was great fun to watch, even to this day! Dragon Ball Z, Ranma 12, Evangelion and many others would sprout years later out of the seed that Carl Macek and Harmony Gold helped plant. The tree it became, growing taller than they ever could have imagined, branches crossing the oceans all the way to the Americas where, to this day, a new generation of animators dream influenced by the Japanese masters of the eighties.

We have only but started to taste the sweetness of Robotech’s fruits. Hopefully, my attempt to murder any misconception about Carl Macek, Harmony Gold and the Robotech saga has been successful. You would be amazed to know, if you don’t already, that before passing out, Macek went on to leave Harmony Gold and fund Streamline, responsible for bringing Robot Carnival, Doomed Megalopolis, Wicked City, Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle of Cagliostro, Laputa Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and, most notably, Akira to western countries.

Good grief, to see all these seeds waiting to grow tall in someone’s imagination yard! A space opera over here, cops protecting Empire City from Big Boss’ crooks over there, perhaps a lost castle in the clouds that way, floating above towns and villages, untouched for centuries as Miyazaki’s Laputa was, a handful of vampire-demons coming straight from the entrails of Wicked City, crawling in the dark corners of the reality and Kiki, flying up, up into the morning sky over her mama’s broom to deliver a cake to an ungrateful teenager birthday girl.

How could anyone have resisted that! How could they have just walked by without seeing what Macek did! What would I give to have been in that room when he loaded a sheet of yellow paper on that typewriter and punched in the words “Rick Hunter” for posterity. Or next to him on the street, holding the umbrella as he phoned home to announce “everyone, Robotech is born!”

This article appeared in Medium, Oct 27, 2017.




Hobbyist Corner

Hobbyist Corner

Hobbyist Corner

Warhammer 40k, Table Top Games, Arduino computers, Homebrew and everything in between.

A Map to Where Muses Live, or How to Build Your Home Library

What Harlan Ellison, Guillermo del Toro, Ray Bradbury and Tolkien have in common? They all built a home library. We explore how and why build one too.

I urge you to arms; we are in great danger.

Writers, artists, architects, musicians, entrepreneurs; all of us. There are hard choices ahead of us and swift action must be taken before history repeats itself.

You see, upon contrary to popular belief, the burning of the Library of Alexandria was not a single day event. but a curse of our own ego that spans through years of abuse and disdain for our culture, condemning us even to this day.

Once a great Egyptian library dedicated to the nine goddesses of the arts with spacious lecture halls, green gardens that stretched as far as pyramids grew, shelves that held an immeasurable collection of human knowledge, Alexandria became fire, then burnt scrolls, then dust. It went from the keeper of the world’s culture to crumbs left on the plate of humanity.

[…] Alexandria went from the keeper of the world’s culture to crumbs left on the plate of humanity.

Well, I say kill me with a sword and I will die, but kill me after I’ve finished my work and, like the caterpillar hiding in its chrysalis, I will be reborn into a monarch butterfly! So, just as the caterpillar, it is time for us to spread our wings and fly!

But first, something must be done to ensure our work will outlive us. The chrysalis must be built. The luxury of believing the digital realm will last forever, as some sort of eternal keeper of our creations its is as dangerous as a crazy general with a torch in his hand standing in front of Alexandria.

If we refuse humanity, if we chose to believe the digital gods, the night will fall–upon all of us. It may come after the hand of a solar flare caresses earth’s atmosphere, or after someone barks orders into the intercom of a bunker until a button gets pushed. It may even happen after a virtual disease copy itself onto every storage system on the planet at the speed of tomorrow. It may come as something new, it may come as something none of us has even heard about yet, but rest assured; it will come.

Should we no listen to reason and continue on this path, our work will become invariably destroyed. Alexandria will burn, once again.

This time, I am afraid, our love-hate affair with technology will be the match that lits the fire. Our tendency to centralized systems has put us under Poe’s pendulum once again.

The culprit? Not Julius Caesar telling his generals to burn his fleet at the shores of Alexandria, but a home appliance. That’s history, laughing at us.

This time, I am afraid, our love-hate affair with technology will be the match that lits the fire. Our tendency to centralized systems has put us under Poe’s pendulum once again.

If you ever experienced the helpless “file corrupted” phenomenon while using a computer, then you understand why it is imperative for everyone who creates to move away as slow and steady as possible from the digital format; or be doomed.

Buried deep in the caves of Spain, France, and all over the world, the Neanderthal teaches us to hunt. To fish, to hide, to survive. His chosen weapons; ink and scroll. Ink made out of charcoal, spit, and dirt. The cave walls as his eternal scroll. Thoughts that survive to this day and, as the caves they have been painted on, will survive long after we are gone.

But what will survive from us in ten, fifteen thousand years? Will that book we wrote last weekend in a Word processor survive us? Will that digital canvas carry your painting to the future? Or your sculpture? How many of your originals?

When Elmore Leonard past away, he donated more than 450 originals drafts penned by hand to the University of South Carolina. There are boxes and boxes of letters (around 30,000 pages in total) by late author Ray Bradbury still being curated at the Center of Ray Bradbury Studies at the Indiana University. The Vatican safe keeps DaVinci’s soul only because he poured it into his journals.

Same goes with Mark Twain, Thomas Edison and many others who have cared enough to leave their legacy on a piece of paper. How many of us are really conscious of what we are doing by torching our own creative legacy every day when we walk away from our desks without a hard-copy of what we’ve done?

Without realizing it, we’ve become our own Julius Caesar’s, setting on fire our ships, not being able to return home and erasing, without really wanting it, our steps on the proverbial sands of time.

Best Seller author Tom Clancy at his home libraryBest Seller author Tom Clancy at his home library

Enough prophecy. My plan of action: to erect my own Alexandria, right here, in the middle of the house. But not any library, mind you. This will be an archive, a secret fountain of inspiration and knowledge, a playground for the mind and the imagination, growing only for those with the soul left to see and understand.

It will be raised high and away from those who despise culture. Away, hidden from the glassy eyes of bureaucrats of the state, from the thick red tape of moral censors and from those who have lost half a brain idly tapping their phones. Their hooves won’t destroy this Alexandria, nor have a saying on its content.

Why at home? For the same reasons, great architects build parks in the middle of busy cities! Because libraries are living organisms! They give us life with every second we are around one of them. Plants breathe our CO2 and in return, gift us with air. Books breathe our ignorance and, in exchange, kind us with the most valuable gifts; knowledge. Humility. Wisdom. On our selves, on the world around us. On what was, what is, on what soon will be.

It should serve to inspire us and better us in our daily tasks. It should be our fortress of solitude, our bat-cave, our watch-tower. If possible, it should be a quiet spot, reserved only for the eyes of those we deem worthy allowing entry.

Space, you may think, may present us as a problem. True, it just might. But don’t dispair: the real Library of Alexandria was moved to the Serapeum temple after the initial fire took place, so you see there is no reason why yours shouldn’t grow the same way. It can start as a small project, become a corner, later a room, maybe then even a house, as it happened for talented film director Guillermo del Toro.

See, while some build a library in their homes, Del Toro built an entire house around of his; he calls it The Bleak House, a name Charles Dickens would probably agree on.

Space was as much of a problem for him as it is for anyone else, but after working on his own library for a few months, it became quite clear that more space than what he initially had was needed. The result? He moved out and allowed his library to grow wild. The place now fulfills the honorable purpose of lodging an archive of the amazing.

And as an irrefutable argument, I present you with a fact: lately, I’ve been noticing how many tech enthusiasts build their own server space right at home. Some use the empty space under the stairs, some the basement, some use the attic, some an unused closet, or the garage, some even make room inside an old a cabinet or a book shelf on a hallway. Their purpose? Moving heavy files through the computers of the house in high speed.

[…] while some build a library in their homes, Del Toro built an entire house around of his.

If someone who’s only trying to stream clips of the latest family vacation to the in-laws to the living room can find a space at home to build a computer server, why can’t us creators do the same?

It is vital to understand that we ought to think about our archive as if it were doctor’s apothecary cabinet; we go to it in desperation when we either wish to do some research, need something from its shelves to better ourselves, or a college is in town.

The late Harlan Ellison decorated his house, the Aztec Temple of Mars, with this sole purpose. Although I’ve never had the pleasure to visit his study, a documentary opened the doors for us. In his home, Harlan’s entire study was dedicated to the craft of storytelling, with hundreds of books on fiction, magazines, comics, music records, trading cards, awards and everything wonderful that helped heal his imagination from the modern mediocrity of the medium.

Ray Bradbury’s famous office was so cluttered with masks, books, paintings, posters, and sculptures that there was hardly any space left for him to walk over to his desk! Lucky us, we can catch a glimpse of it for a few seconds in the intro of his TV series, The Ray Bradbury Theater.

But building an archive is no easy task, no matter how little or how much space we are willing to invest onto the enterprise. In my particular case I am afraid that, for the moment, mine will be no larger in size than a small fridge. Yet, it will still be treated and curated with the love and attention that a vault of cultural valuables, worthy of the name of Alexandria deserves. Because it will be, as we squareheads like to call it in computer programming, version 1.0.

Building an archive is no easy task, no matter how little or how much space we are willing to invest onto the enterprise.

Now, stacking books may sound a rather straightforward and dull task for some, barely deserving of an essay; but truth to be told, it is merely the first step into a comprehensive archive that can fatefully serve our proposes. Something those studying the fine art of archiving history know very well.

Documents, sculptures, the so-called “zines”, memorabilia, paintings, photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, music, comics; they all are to be taken into account if we intend to build a cornerstone of the wisdom of the stature of the great Egyptian Library.

Large corporations understand the undeniable value of having an in-house archive: Disney, Best Buy, Boeing, Delta Airlines, Procter & Gamble or IBM only to name a few. Even companies like Coca-Cola are devoting large portions of their time and resources into keeping an archive. Future generations of marketers and entrepreneurs can instantaneously travel back in time to the company’s first days and find out as much as they wish about how they mesmerized an audience of millions with their products. Even the Vatican has an archive right within the walls of the holy city! And what a fantastic place to visit that is!

So, as long as we stay true to our objective, which is the preservation of our work, history and professional culture, then the size or resources of our archive should not be a pressing problem for us at the moment. There is always time to expand, to improve.

An archive is the Rosetta stone future generations will use to translate our creative life. They will look at our books, the paintings we stored, the letters, the music that inspired us and say “Oh! So that’s why that story was written!”, or “Oh! So that’s where the idea for that building came from! For that painting! For that composition! For that sculpture!”

The contents should be carefully chosen, of course. Cataloged and preserved with specific criteria, which will be different for each individual as it is different for each craft, from writers to painters or musicians: there is not one size that fits all. Every item should be jealously preserved in a way that they won’t suffer the merciless passage of time.

Film director Guillermo del Toro sourronded by his own archive of the extraordinaireFilm director Guillermo del Toro sourronded by his own archive of the extraordinaire

Humidity will be our number one enemy from now on. I’ve taken the liberty to look into the guide after guide of how to assemble an archive, written by professional archivists, produced by a large range of institutions and privately held corporations to learn as much as I can from their experience.

What follows is my own blueprint on how to build a successful Library of Alexandria of a relatively small space, extracted from the files of the Cabrera Brothers company (20017 revision).

This is what we are going to build. As big as a dream, as small as a shelf. Here’s my map to get to where the muses live.

First, we must carefully consider regarding any new material that we come across with is if it is worth bringing into our archives. If it doesn’t excite us, if it doesn’t motivate us, if it doesn’t inspire us, if it doesn’t scream us to jump out the window and fly into the morning sky, then it should be promptly discarded.

Archivists call this phase “appraisal stage” and it involves several criteria, like age, type of material and physical quality, among others. Since we have a specific goal with our Archive, that is, to inspire our heart and give oxygen to our soul so it keeps on burning, then our appraisal of the new materials becomes a simple matter of instinct and love.

This is what we are going to build. As big as a dream, as small as a shelf.

Correspondence, notes, and memoirs, sketches, interviews, paintings, doodles, photographs, everything is valuable everything! Despite their physical quality or appearance. Our job here is to archive, to safeguard the passage of time through those things that allow us to breathe.

Digital files ranging from production notes, press releases and everything in between should be printed on acid-free paper, then produced into a scrapbook.

Scrapbook? Did I say scrapbook? How long has been since we have heard that word? Nowadays it’s all about digital collections one can carry around through all our unmeaningful devices with a single account to link us all and in the darkness bind us.

For our purposes, a physical book we can hold on our lap, pass around at a party, show to some college or simply delight ourselves with one Saturday afternoon when the muse denies us with her passionate lips, will do plenty of fine.

Following the traditions of medieval ages, our book needs its own true name. In my particular case, I’ve gone into the liberty of naming one Necronomicon, honoring the infamous tome bringing madness to whoever read from its pages, borrowed from the exquisite works of Howard Phillip Lovecraft. Did I say one? Well, yes, there needs to be at least a dozen! That’s what you will end up with, eventually.

You can already guess what lurks between the pages of my Necronomicon.

Correspondence, notes, and memoirs, sketches, interviews, paintings, doodles, photographs, everything is valuable everything!

Order, for our enterprise, is not paramount. A certain amount of organization it’s certainly desirable, but it should be as personal and organic as possible. While archivists need special criteria for this stage, involving removing clips, staples, pins among other items that may add rust to the materials, our purpose calls for these small details to be kept in place. They add life to our archive, meaning, character. It speaks about what tools we had and the situation surrounding those objects. It tells their story. Our archive, then, shall not be a museum, but a carnival of curiosities, ready to trap and wonder anyone passing by with its wonderful scent to cotton candy and dazzling illusions.

Paintings and photographs should be hanged where we deem them worthy to be felt, not admired. Music records should be thoughtfully placed where they can sing to us; they are sirens mesmerizing us to play and dream with them, once again. Letters and printed communications: freed from their envelopes! Stuck, wall to wall if possible stashed inside books that scream to be opened and read.

Transparent, acid-free containers are to be used to store any other value. Cardboard boxes are to be discarded from our archivist toolbox; they might protect our materials from direct sunlight, true, but will also deprive us of their own natural brightness.

Where shall we place this monolith of creativity? It might be all around you, in your office. It might be a small portion of your desk, it might be on a bookshelf. It might even be an entire wall of your office, always present, always within sight to be devoured. It might be, as is my case, at home, on my own corner. It really doesn’t matter where you set it as long as you can visit it as often as needed (and if you have ever created, I don’t have to say how often that can sometimes be).

Thus, by having our own Alexandria Library, our own great archive of the imagination that serves to inspire us, to speak us when we most need to be spoken, the places where the muses live, will always be home.

Photo credits: Harlan Ellison study, taken by the talented Patton Oswalt.


Hobbyist Corner

Hobbyist Corner

Hobbyist Corner

Warhammer 40k, Table Top Games, Arduino computers, Homebrew and everything in between.

Exclusive DIY Papercraft: US SPIDER TANK M3

Scissors, glue, paper. That's all you need to build your own US SPIDER TANK M3. Decorate your desk or watch how the army of your Warhammer adversaries shiver on the battlefield with this miniature papercraft.

This month we bring you a new exclusive for The Hobbyst Corner: a FREE papercraft miniature you can print out and assemble by yourself! The US SPIDER TANK M3 its a three-manned light combat module with a 65hp Meadows engine which gives a maximum speed of 24 km/h (14 mph) when running and can jump up to 4 mt (12 ft), although those numbers vary depending on the terrain, of course.

Considered a reconnaissance unit and mobile machine gun position, the US SPIDER TANK M3 is the final stage of development for the collaboration between the British Army’s Royal Mobile Regiment and the US Armored Corps for the SPIDER series of combat modules.

This light tank was sent to India for trials and received modifications to improve engine cooling in the hotter climate as well as a cylindrical turret, which replaced the Vicker Armstrong’s squared version.

Check out the beautiful box art for the US SPIDER TANK M3:


And this is how it looks like once printed and its put together. The photos you see here correspond to a US SPIDER TANK M3 printed on regular white paper:

Let’s get to it

To build this papercraft all need is on this list:

  • Glue (can also be a hot glue gun)
  • White Paper (any size)
  • A x-acto knife, scissors or equivalent.

Like always, we won’t be providing any written instructions for the making of this or any papercraft in the Hobbyist Corner. The reason is simple: a lot of thought goes into the making of this and all builds for The Free Bundle. The visual instructions we add to the free PDF on all our papercrafts end up being pretty straightforward and easy to follow, even for the inexperienced.

In the case of the US SPIDER TANK M3, all the instructions you need to put the model together are on the five sheets of papers we prepared for you:




Once again: you can use any type and size of paper to print this and any of our blueprints. If you have an extra sturdy kind of paper, the making of this model will, of course, go much smoother. But, if you don’t, it doesn’t matter: we have designed these so that paper thickness isn’t a deciding factor on the final product. You will get your US SPIDER TANK M3 PAPERCRAFT, and we promise you, it will look exactly as everybody else’s.

By including visual instructions in each blueprint, we make sure things are easy enough for anyone to build this amazing US SPIDER TANK M3 papercraft model in no time.

If you liked our US SPIDER TANK S3 papercraft, please tag us (#thefreebundle) with your armored giant on Instagram or Twitter.

Happy build!


Comics Zone


Touch to zoom

Comics Zone

Comics Zone

From Marvel to DC Comics, all the way through EC Comics, Image Comics and even the independent artists.

Dogeron 'Dog' Kenan Webcomic Strip #2

The data-smuggler Dogeron 'Dog' Kenan just made a deal that went wrong. Merciless mercenaries called Retrievers are now after the data stored in his head. How far will Dog go to stay alive tonight?

Another issue of The Free Bundle, another webcomic strip featuring our own Dogeron “Dog” Kenan. You may remember Dog from our 2012 video game CYPHER Cyberpunk Text Adventure. This webcomic strip follows the data-smuggler through the game’s storyline, so if you haven’t picked the game yet, you might want to give it a try.

We are burning the midnight oil to bring you a full comic book earlier this year to Amazon comiXology, so stay tuned.

That’s it, enjoy this issue of “Dog”!


Literature

Literature

Literature

From Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury all the way through Herman Melville and the best literature of all: comic books.

DON'T PANIC! Rediscovering Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

With all the movie reboots going lately in Hollywood someone ought to do proper movie (or even Netflix show) for the beloved science fiction book. Here's why.

Besides books on tax law, there are few works of fiction out there that can make people both break into laughter and reflect on humankind at the same time. Douglas Adams wrote a few of those, the most notable being the now world famous The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which has been made into a movie in 2005, but also spanned a varied amount of media long before that such as comic books, audio books, long plays, radio productions (from where it originated from in 1978), novels and even stage plays in the United Kingdom and around the world.

But what makes Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy resonate in so many cultures (the book has been translated virtually to every language in existence) when it is supposed to be the primary example of “dry British humor”? The explication may lie not in the form, but in the content: that is what the book is laughing at, which is (surprise) us, as mankind.

Normally, humor among different cultures changes depending on the culture and even the reader’s vernacular: not everyone laughs at the same thing, something a culture may find utterly comical, another might find offensive. But in what we all can agree as humans are that the universe around us sometimes turns to be pretty freaking funny, something Douglas Adams portraited wonderfully across his entire career.

Don’t Panic

One of the central themes in the series is an electronic guide called The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy wich the characters consult when something weird and inexplicable happens around them, as it often does when one leaves one’s home planet and venture into the vast unknown of the galaxy.

In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

As a literary resource, the guide becomes a fantastic companion for in-story footnotes the reader can actually happily go through when something unusual happens to the characters. As for the radio production, the guide was perhaps one of the central reasons for its success, since it allowed Douglas divert the listener’s attention from the story and focus it on the lore instead, which made it such a unique and fun production not just to listen to, but to produce for the BBC.

As for our favorite here at the Free Bundle, we can only name (besides the now internet renowned Babel Fish) the Joo Janta 2000 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses, which actually came included in the boxed edition of the text-adventure of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy back in 1984:

[…] the Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses have been specially designed to help people develop a relaxed attitude to danger. At the first hint of trouble, they turn totally black and thus prevent you from seeing anything that might alarm you.

So long, and thanks you for all the fish

Besides being the title in the fourth book of the HHGTTG series, so long, and thanks for all the fish is the most significant quote from the first book and perhaps of the entire series. Douglas Adams let us masterfully peak inside his writer’s toolbox with one single line, summing up how his series achieved its so such a well deservedly stunning success.

In the story, Earth is destroyed by the Vogons while to make way for an intergalactic highway (something similar to what happened to Arthur Dent, the main character of the story, who that very morning gets his house demolished when the city makes way for a highway). Dolphins were actually aware of Earth fate and abandon ship moments before it happens by flying into space, not without allowing Douglas to give us this golden nugget of a footnote:

Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending demolition of Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger. But most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs, or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means - shortly before the Vogons arrived.

The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backwards somersault through a hoop, whilst whistling the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’.

But, in fact, the message was this “So long and thanks for all the fish”.

Surprisingly so, some people refer to Douglas Adams work as “required reading for teens” when it is so astonishingly obvious that the concept the story deals with and even the story itself can be enjoyed by everyone who still has the spark of childhood in the heart.

The same spark that made a once drunk Douglas Adams look into the night sky on an open field and wonder if someone had written “a travel guide, like the ones they have for Europe, but for the galaxy.”

Turns out no one had.

If something, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy should be required reading, but for everyone inhabiting the planet, since it imparts more life about the wonders and improbabilities of the existence of the universe in which we live on than what some scholars will ever be able to theorize during ten lifetimes.

On Douglas Adam’s Legacy

The book has been reprinted virtually everywhere, adapted to every media in Entertainment and will perhaps be around for centuries as one of the most significant comedies and takes on mankind the same way Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 will be around long after we colonize other planets.

Every May 25th, people from around the globe celebrate the life and work of Douglas Adams by carrying a towel on their shoulders and holding a thumb onto the skies, hoping to hitchhike a ride on a spaceship passing by our system (as described in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

People gathering all around the world to celebrate Towel DayPeople gathering all around the world to celebrate Towel Day

The most ironic (and perhaps tragic) of how much truth there is in Douglas Adams work and his depiction of how weird and wonderful the universe is, that, if folks keep this towel tradition going everywhere around the world, at the same time, the same day, over and over again each year for enough time –and I believe Douglas would have agreed with me on this– someone, somewhere, might actually catch a lift.