The fascinating evolution of The Valley of Forever continues. Since I was on spring break last week (and recovering from my back injury), I had time to write and record another episode of the science fiction/magical realism saga, the fourth, this one titled “The Roman Pebble,” which is available here. The story has already gone in some interesting directions, beyond those I anticipated when I began putting together the podcast in February. The possibilities of the long-form narrative, where story elements and character developments are stretched over numerous episodes, are proving very interesting to work with.
In Episode 4, Marcus Windom, survivor of the Crowne of the Sovereign Ocean ship fire disaster, tells his estranged son (via recorded messages) about a bizarre experience he had in college, in which he seemed to imagine a sequence of incredibly detailed memories of an extended tour through Europe that he never actually went on in real life. The “imaginary” trip involves Carlos, introduced in Episode 2, who believes they must flee from a mysterious pursuer known as “the Norwegian.” Though the European chase appears to be imaginary, Marcus discovers a real world artifact of it: a small pebble he recalls picking up off the ground of the Colosseum in Rome, with which his existence in linear time may be bound.
Episode 4 is an interesting story in its own right, but it also contains what I think is my best work yet in designing sounds. The episode opens with an “aural montage” depicting the sounds of both modern and ancient Rome. Building the “sound” of a gladiator battle from public domain and freeware sound effects was quite challenging, but I have to admit it was a lot of fun too.
If the cover art for this episode looks familiar to you, it should. It’s the painting Pollice Verso by Jean-Léon Gérôme, which I profiled in the “Historic Painting” series last summer. It’s in the public domain.
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Episode 5 is written, and will be coming soon!