Friday, May 31, 2019

tenth space opera tale 20 years on...

In June 1999's "tale from universe" character Mike Weller meets his author Michael John Weller.

"Not seeing is disbelieving, Michael. Seeing is believing."

And so says one of Weller's arresting officers—psychologist character Doctor Alison Lines, created by MJ for his novel The Man Who Drew Too Much. The novel, the third in a triology written by author "MJ" featuring his character Mike is set in a near future authoritarian-populist New Communist Society where unemployment is against the law and scribbling sci-fi fanzines no occupation for a grown man. In sublime contradiction, New Communist reality is made up by MJ, a snooty right-wing  author known for writing prize-winning literary novels. Mike Weller, a left-wing militant working-class character MJ Weller has created, claims he is the real author of his own destiny pleading "MJ" wouldn't exist at all if it wasn't for Mike himself. Mike writes "MJ" up, not the other way round.

An extract from MJ's novel is reproduced in Space Opera. In contrast to Mike Weller writing his stories on a borrowed electronic typewriter, author MJ's paperback novel is written in sanserif font with a keyline indicating it has been borrowed to appear in Mike Weller's Space Opera comic.

Written on his electronic typewriter, post-graduate Weller's dissertation  on Cliff Richard—"Dynamite" is rejected by South-East London Polytechnic Department of Cultural and Media Studies. His own efforts to be a legitimate writer fail in the progressive New Reality of populist Left authoritarianism. The rejected essay appears in the opening pages of June 1999's "tale from universe". Using his skills as an illustrator Mike Weller draws self-portrait-in-progress kinda study of character Mike Weller at an empoyment service tribunal, arrested with dreamlike Chuck Berryish caution "on charges of unemployment" at a south London  bus stop by three ominous characters. His own made-up MJ, Dr Alison Lines and triple-agent Pin-Eyed Ferryman—invented by Mike's old Mogul Studio boss Eduard Mogilowski over 65 years before. MJ seems to know more about Mike Weller's imaginative life than Mike knows himself. "The omniscient author takes possession of his character" is the last frame in illustrated 'Mike Weller's Progress' series.

Character Mike Weller meets his author Michael John Weller though Space Opera's pages and everything is altered. MJ's novel closes with his character Mike interrogated and assessed at a south London Kid Doctor Clinic (KDC)—part of an outsourced commercial health chain operated by the Marxist-Engelsian state and the Earth Corporation. Or so MJ's paranoid character believes after his author introduces himself to Weller in the novel. Characters Pin-Eyed Ferryman and Doctor Lines put Mike through intensive and exhaustive questions and examinations which are closely observed and noted by literary surgeon-general MJ. 

Using his available electronic typewriter, and using his own words, Mike Weller adopts the stance of writer describing his own experience of a crucifying "near-life experience" alteration in the hands of MJ and his one-stop KDC creations. In response, a serif fonted-text is written in SO#10 by author Michael John Weller describing his own upbringing, education, and career as writer: and how the character Mike Weller emerged and developed through three successful novels. Towards the end of this extract there are signs MJ and Mike Weller are the same character and Space Opera is in reality an illustrated autobiography and not a novel by an author named MJ.

Responding to MJ's intervention, Mike takes out the electronic typewriter again to describe his meeting with his own author. In the resulting dialogue it appears the only thing separating writer and written is not just social and political—there is a psychic dimension. Twenty years on, this is more Earth Corporation "nu-wellerness" than Marxist old-skool religion "spirit of spiritless conditions" conversation. Both writer and written are Altered by Space Opera beginning as a small press comic book pamphlet series may turn into an illustrated "tetraology" if or when Mike Weller is able to cast the correct spell his words and pictures take.

note: this post is also testing @HomeBaked's digital blog

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