Saturday, June 29, 2013

Where You're on the Menu

Across many years given over to storytelling in as many genres, QUIRK is the closest I've come to establishing a concrete and specific worldview. In the world of Quirk, the Universe is not just a dangerous place; it is a self-aware environment narrowly and specifically focussed upon the destruction of the four friends who call the spaceship Frigid their home, in which nothing and no one can be trusted and even best buddies are ultimately incapable of completely knowing one another or sharing mutually beneficial goals. 

As far back as the very first QUIRK story, individualism and innocence exist only as a target for corrupt authority, and naiveté will get you killed. In “Island in the Sky,” (1980), a sinister religious cult captures a species of space whales, tortures and torments them for no known reason, until they are reduced to mindless killing machines lying dormant in space, ready to erupt at the slightest provocation. Naturally, Quirk and his friends stumble upon one of these beasts and manage — literally — to light a fire on its back.

In story #2, “The Humor Agency,” Quirk, Smith and Sludge are brainwashed by the same authoritarian regime and forced to infiltrate and investigate a Secret Society devoted simply to Taking Nothing Seriously: only to find that even Irreverence has its rules and regulations, and if you don’t play the way the ones in charge want you to play, you will find yourself cast out from the outcasts.

In the soon-to-be-published Quirk paperback, “Knight’s Gambit” carries the theme further, as the accepted modes of entertainment and escapism take on a life-threatening aspect, and Old Enemies lay in wait wherever you go, anxious to challenge you with a fight to the death.

Here in Quirk’s cosmos, nothing is safe, ever: as shown in “A-Muck Time,” (ostensibly a parody of both Star Trek and Superman), even your best friends can turn on you and literally have you for lunch. In Quirk, everything beyond The Self is carnivorous. 

Although I didn’t know it until recently, the worldview of QUIRK mirrors that of Aspergers Syndrome: unable to comprehend the things that normal people take for granted, the Aspergers person lives in a world that seems stacked against them. The simplest things can be a source of deep anxiety. Because the Asperger’s child does not understand the language or the underlying codes and rules that everyone else knows by instinct, he or she has no hope of ever “fitting in” to that World They Never Made — and in the end, many of us lose all desire and interest of doing so. The Quirks of the world have one slogan for all situations: “Fwoink you.”

Welcome to The Quirkiverse. It is a living thing, and it will eat you if you don’t watch out. 

Have a Nice Day.

— Freder.

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