Monday, December 23, 2019

As Above, So Below: Tron, the Matrix and Margaret St. Clair

Happy Birthday, you basement-dwelling grognard!
I was watching Disney Plus, as you do these days, and I hit up Tron: Legacy which was put on the screen practically like 10 years ago (pretty mind-blowing), and since it's the holidays and The Henchman's Mom is coming up for the Deromas in which we erect the corpse of a tree festooned with entrails and baubles, I was cleaning off my dresser. On the pile on the dresser, there's a couple of Margaret St. Clair books and some other stuff. The Shadow People (read it twice, somewhat work-y read), Dolphins of Altair (I never finished it), Sign of the Labrys (once, pretty fun). Tron Legacy was like the opposite of maybe what I was hoping another tronthing would be and maybe has the worst iteration of Uncanny Valley Bridges, ever, except maybe for Rogue One princess Admiral Leia

And so, there are some corollaries, there. There is a "levels of reality" thing going on. The under-world, wherein a hostile reality that contains baleful entities but you can master it. There's an over-world, too. We start in the middle, but you can get dDown There, and They can get Up Here, and people from Up There can get Down Here, too. A dreary quality in St. Clair is replaced by glowing wonder in the Grid. Special heroics when you cross the boudnaries of layers of margins and rivers

I note that the Elfs in the underworld have a leader who can come up, and in Tron: Legacy, Quorra is a special case of a natural-being (not a created Program) who is native to the Grid but who can eventually (spoilers) get Up Here to our reality. And there is Merlin, who came Down Here from the Overworld. He's a Tron User, but for our reality. Merlin is to Humans as Reality Hero is to under-elfs. Lay waste to the underbeings, get their loot, and come back up. Or maybe start down there and bring your crazy DNA and cure cancer or whatever or get up to shenanigans (I wish they had squared off with Dillinger's kid and the jerk of a CEO from the enticing open heist, but whatevs)

When Quorra arrives in the Midworld, she brought a fetish-choked parody that I've not got the yarbles to watch
There are a lot of great messages in The Shadow People, not just the interesting Wicca flavored stuff, but also about drug use and dependence which I guess whas pretty rampant in 60's Berkeley. Also, negotiating sexual relationships without guilt - a la Summer of '69/Age of Aquarius. Pretty blase about shacking-up and romantic attachment. The lady Carol who is rescued comes back from the underworld a hollow PTSD-filled shell, yearning for attercorn but unarguably better off for not being in the dismal, dark, joyless place where she was going to be somebody's lunch, eventually. Flynn goes Down There to the Grid, and his heart is captured. He foregoes life in the "real world" and fatherhood and family and success in order to be a User in the Grid. Sort of like Neo and the hackers in The Matrix, moving down (or Up) a meta-level, unlocks some special quality in you...

Tron and Flynn, I think. Great way to enhance your potential, at least on paper
There are some interesting messages about reality, illusion, reality, enlightenment, drug use, love, human potential. I'm too tired from poor sleep to elucidate, and will let you think on it

Not to mention, when aldridge comes back up from the underworld, he comes back in the same time, but not in the same reality-place! There's no way that all that stuff could happen in 3 years (robots, drone-dozers, fascist secret police, uh wait). Somehow, they are unhooked in reality and float around land in some Other track.

I have a minigame of The Shadow People which is a bit of a slog, and you go down to the bottom and come back up changed, and things around you are different. The time you spend down there will cost you in terms of stats and scars, but you will gain in terms of magic and weirdness

There could be a subcampaign in all D&D-type roleplaying where you could get into the fae underworld OR you could get into the bottled-city/Grid in the cpmputer

Will post the thing when I am motivated to finish it (maybe tonight!) - maybe I will just post the skeleton to get it off the docket

Buy 'The Hounds' - Click Here