BEYOND THE BOOKS


THE DARK SIDE OF THE RAINBOW

FROM WIKIPEDIA.ORG

Dark Side of the Rainbow – also known as Dark Side of Oz or The Wizard of Floyd – refers to the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon with the visual portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

This produces moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video-like experience comes from a combination of the album title and the film’s song “Over the Rainbow“. Band members and others involved in the making of the album state that any relationship between the two works of art is merely a coincidence.

HISTORY

dorothy_250In August 1995, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette published the first mainstream media article about the “synchronicity“, citing the Usenet discussion group. Soon afterward, several fans began creating websites in which they touted the experience and tried to comprehensively catalogue the corresponding moments. A second wave of awareness began in April 1997 when Bostonradio DJGeorge Taylor Morris discussed Dark Side of the Rainbow on the air, leading to further mainstream media articles and a segment on MTV news. In July 2000, the cable channel Turner Classic Movies aired a version of Oz with the Dark Side album as an alternate soundtrackTurner Entertainment has owned the rights to the film since 1985.

SYNCHRONICITY

There are various approaches regarding when to start synchronizing The Dark Side of the Moon audio with the film. Several involve the MGM lion as the cue: most suggesting the third roar, while some prefer the second or the first; finally, others suggest starting the album not immediately after the lion’s roar, but after the lion fades to black—exactly when the film begins. Viewing recommendations include reducing the film’s audio and instead relying on captions or subtitles to follow the dialogue and plot.Fans have compiled over a hundred moments of observed interplay between the film and album, including links that are perceived if the Pink Floyd soundtrack is repeated through the end of the movie.

The iconic dispersive prism of the album’s cover purportedly reflects the movie’s transition from black-and-white Kansas to Technicolor Oz; further examples include music changes at dramatic moments, and thematic alignments such as the scarecrow dance during “Brain Damage”.

This synergy effect has been described as an example of synchronicity, defined by the psychologist Carl Jung as a phenomenon in which coincidental events “seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.”

Detractors argue that the phenomenon is the result of the mind’s tendency to think it recognizes patterns amid disorder by discarding data that does not fit. Psychologists refer to this tendency as apophenia. Under this theory, a Dark Side of the Rainbow enthusiast will focus on matching moments while ignoring the greater number of instances where the film and the album do not correspond.

Another theory suggests the correspondence may have been assisted by the synaesthetic effects of psychoactive drugs taken by those who then chose to enjoy the album and the film together.

RELATED LINKS:
everwonder.com

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THE INSPIRATION

DUNE | FRANK HERBERT

My all time favorite novel – a masterpiece of science fiction. What more can be said about this epic novel. There’s a reason why it has endured to become a cult classic. Herbert created a universe so vast, yet so familiar, his vision still echos in current events. You’re immediately drawn into a futuristic world that has rejected artificial intelligence in favor of mind-expanding drugs, a society held in stagnation by waring feudal bloodlines. Unfortunately, Dune‘s future resembles our own, as it devolves in to a political state of ritual barbarism. Their only hope was a renegade from a deposed royal family who finds himself standing in the nexus of history. When this book entered my life in college it was truly a defining moment. Looking back, I suppose it has always been my dream to write a novel half as good as this one.


STAR WARS | GEORGE LUCAS

Long before I read Dune there was Star Wars, another life defining moment. In the summer of 1977 my parents took me to the Uptown theater in Washington DC for a silly little film no one expected would become iconic. Nearly every kid in America was changed that summer; we all wanted to become Jedi Knights. George Lucas single handedly introduced an entire generation to the principals of gnostic spirituality in the guise of “the Force.” The Empire Strikes Back was a more nuanced film, probably the best of the series. Unfortunately, the Jedi returned with Ewoks. The resemblance to Dune is no small coincidence – I still hold that Star Wars is really just Dune with training wheels attached.


BABYLON 5 |  J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI

 

The epic mysticism of Star Wars finally came to the small screen. The FX are now dated, the acting was occasionally stiff, yet this amazing series was groundbreaking.  Babylon 5 introduced us to the 5-year-story-arc. It was written as a series of novels plotted for episodic television, and it worked. The show captured the mystery and microcosm of an alien-filled universe, blending it with myth and spirituality. The plotting is a lesson in Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Die-hard fans will recognize that I’ve borrowed a plot revelation from the Shadow War and used it in my own books. Straczynski himself acknowledged that he drew his inspiration from a Babylonian creation myth, the same mythology I reference in my story.


1984 | GEORGE ORWELL

The most influential book of the twentieth century and probably the most over referenced work since the Bible. Many of us were forced to read this novel in school, and it should still be mandatory reading. Written at the start of the Cold War, it became a vivid condemnation of Socialism, but it’s anti-totalitarian message served to keep in check any number of shadowy influences that threatened to rise up over the course of the twentieth century. It’s even more relevant today in the face of a disappearing middle-class and the near total surveillance of society. Instead of the nation-state, substitute the global corporation. “Big Brother is watching you!”


THE LORD OF THE RINGS | J R R TOLKIEN

The evil all-seeing-eye is vividly depicted as the dark lord Sauron, though we never once meet him. This epic series holds second place in my imagination, right after Dune. I managed to read all three volumes, plus The Hobbit, in high school. Though I skipped past much of Tolkien’s flowery description his plot kept me transfixed. Yet, what has inspired me most is the novelty of his humble, almost fragile protagonist, Frodo Baggins, the Ring Bearer. From the beginning, Paul Venturi was intended to be a cross between Paul Atredies and Frodo Baggins. And the Ring of Power was always intended to be symbolic of drugs.


THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY | DOUGLAS ADAMS

These books were a lifeline that managed to get me through high school and helped me maintain a detached perspective in an insane world. This bitting satire begins as the Earth is scheduled to be demolished for the construction of a hyperspatial bypass and then just steamrolls in to complete absurdity from there. Nothing is sacred in this intergalactic farce, least of all religion. That said, there was one small conversation in the middle of the second book recounting a twisted perspective on the whole Garden of Eden thing that clung on to me until I eventually cooked the idea into the concept of my own novel. Remember, the answer is always 42, a number that has been the source of some annoying synchronicity.


THE X-FILES | CHRIS CARTER

I suppose I was always Fox Mulder. I wanted to believe. No other source single handedly put the whole UFO conspiracy business on the map of collective consciousness the way this series did. In some ways it trivialized it as well. We fell in love with the characters. Unfortunately, the series suffered from an eternal and repetitive second act that never managed to find it’s climax or resolution. (Paralleled in the endless sexual tension between Mulder and Scully.) Yet this is the nature of the UFO controversy. There is never any proof, never any conclusions to be drawn. I suppose I took it upon myself to invent my own conclusions, to investigate, to uncover, and to expose.


THE DA VINCI CODE | DAN BROWN

I was ankle deep in my own novel when this controversial best seller came out. I was already familiar with some of it’s historical revelations in the course of my own extra-curricular reading. Yet the success of this fast-paced, tightly edited thriller forced me to go back to my own manuscript and re-edit again and again, stripping away anything that didn’t help advance the plot. More importantly, this novel proved that a novel could illuminate as well as entertain, that conspiracy could be fun as long as the central mystery was compelling enough to pull the reader along. Unfortunately, I could never manage to finish any of Brown’s other works. The formula only worked for me once.


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER | JOSS WHEDON

The best of all guilty pleasures. I worship Joss Whedon’s ability to tell a character-driven story, to make us alternately laugh and cry. (Though, he has a bad reputation for killing them off.) Two things that inspire me from one of the greatest television series of all time: Whedon’s use of humor and metaphor. As the characters descend into darker and darker territory each week, they simply can’t refrain from issuing childlike wisecracks. It’s indisputably, and simultaneously, both brave and human. Yet it’s his creative use of metaphor that sold me – “high school as hell,” raising the series from your average teen supernatural drama to a brilliant literary game changer.


HARRY POTTER | J K ROWLING

I wasn’t immediately a fan, thought I loved the style in which Rowling wrote. I tossed aside the first few as kid’s books, no where near the same league as The Lord of the Rings. Fortunately, I was proven quite wrong. The series delved into such subtle complexity, darker than I imagined, more sophisticated than is given credit, a world as rich as Dune, a saga as epic as Rings, with the quirky British humor of Hitchhikers, and beloved characters as endearing as Buffy. The series is brilliant from page one to the final epilogue without ever stumbling, a truly amazing feat. I sincerely doubt I would be equal to the task, if I created such a series.

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THE MUSIC 

 

Music played such a vital role in Season of the Serpent. From the mid 70s to the early 80s some pretty amazing rock n’ roll was produced: progressive, art-rock, heavy metal, early punk and electronic, rivaling the creative explosion of the 1960s. The lyrics often defied a simple narrative interpretation. They were abstract, slightly paranoid, otherworldly, and very often metaphysical. Interrupted by long instrumentals, this music was a sensory carnival for the ears, usually best enjoyed … stoned. So many songs from the era collectively inspired this story that they almost form a natural soundtrack.

Originally, I wanted to open each act of the book with selected lyrics from a particular song. Unfortunately, the headache and expense of securing the rights to use all those lyrics was simply too much to deal with. A shared playlist seems like a much better idea.

For Book One, I narrowed the list down to 19 songs. If you listen carefully, these songs will narrate Paul’s journey, from the innocent optimism of “The Voice” when he first arrives on campus, to his complex friendship with Eric in “Tom Sawyer.” The final song, “Suddenly Last Summer” by The Motels, sums up Paul’s emotional journey by the end of Book One, in the summer of 1983.

For Book Two, I selected 20 songs, breaking my own rule – picking songs exclusively from the musical era of the novel. I included two current hits, which seemed particularly appropriate. The first – a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Kendra Morris. The second – “Seven Devils” by Florence + The Machine, for reasons which will become obvious to the reader. I also selected several songs from later in the 80’s to express a particular theme of the plot. You may wish to pay particular attention to the lyrics of the last song, “Keep It Dark,” by Genesis.


SEASON OF THE SERPENT: BOOK ONE

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SEASON OF THE SERPENT: BOOK TWO

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THE MATRIX 

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INT. ROOM 1313

Across the room, a DARK FIGURE stares out the tall windows veiled with decaying lace. He turns and his smile lights up the room. A dull ROAR of THUNDER shakes the old building. He wears a long black coat and his eyes are invisible behind circular mirrored glasses. He strides to Neo and they shake hands. They sit across from one another in cracked, burgundy-leather chairs.

Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Neo: You could say that.
Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo: The Matrix.
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
Neo: Yes.
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

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SEASON OF THE SERPENT: BOOK ONE

“Are you saying there’s a global conspiracy?” Paul’s mind was spinning around the Serpent’s riddles.

“I’m saying that mankind is asleep. Humans are shortsighted beings with the life span of a fruit fly. They are easily used and readily manipulated by like-minded powers beyond their perception. They court these powers and call it religion, but when powerlessness calls out for more power, they’re not calling a compassionate god.”

“They’re unconsciously calling the Demiurge, building their own prison planet,” Paul spectated.

“You’re beginning to comprehend the problem. You humans are still busy little pyramid builders under Pharaoh’s whip, totally asleep at the wheel. Only this time, you’re building a global electronic surveillance system, one giant self-enslavement machine. So you have that to look forward to.”

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