Thursday, 26 March 2015

Martian years

Let me take you back a decade to my halcyon youth. Picture a girl sat on an old sofa cushion on the floor, with her back to a wall. Ahead of her is a young man using a desktop PC, in a large desk chair and two other similarly aged youths, using laptops perched on their knees as they earnestly discuss some aspect of Artificial Intelligence for a project due in a week or two.

The girl contributes, but is clearly somewhat distracted and after an hour the two laptops are packed away and she is left alone with the desktop user. She continues giggling through several website pages for the next few hours as the young man plays World of Warcraft.

That was me the week I discovered Casey and Andy.1 It's a webcomic named after the author and his best friend full of dark humour, physics and (it has to be said) dreadful art work. I loved it. I read through the entire thing. Then I revisited a few strips to read the attached blog/ news posts and realised that the author of this webcomic was my kind of person. I trotted over to the forums to lay down praise and adulation whereupon I discovered (shockingly) that this author - this super awesome, funny, crazy cat man - was actually active on his own forum!2

Anyway. I was starstruck and promptly became very shy and when you're in a community of nerds that works very well. So for some years I mingled with this group - reading Andy's continually developing work as we went along. I even went out to the States to visit the main cast: Casey, Andy, Mary and Cujo.3

You should by now have a picture of how biased I am towards Andy's work and it will therefore come as no surprise that when he began releasing The Martian I was instantly addicted. The first few chapters were released on a monthly(ish) basis and I waited eagerly each month for the next instalment. I have never before been abusive to an author but I must confess that when the gaps between chapters became longer I began to harangue him. I emailed him demands, threats, ransom notes; I cajoled, demanded, begged and harrassed until he eventually sent out the next chapter. On occasion I sent him a thank-you for doing so.4

Therefore I take full credit for completion of the novel. 

The Martian became massively successful. Ridley Scott is currently in post-production of the film version and I'm expecting it to be fabulous. What I really want to hear now is that it's the biggest Oscar winner of all time.

I dream big.

But while we're on the Oscar bandwagon: since I have a feeling you wouldn't object to there being a shiny man on your mantlepiece, I have a new request to make of you.

Josh, please would you write and perform the 2016 Oscar winning "Best Original Song" for The Martian? You have until October to get it done.

Given your successful completion of my previous request, I have very high hopes for this now.

Alicia


1My understanding of AI seriously suffered as a result. 

2I didn't understand "fame" back then. As far as I was concerned, all famous people were superstars. All people whose work I liked were famous and therefore superstars.

3It was well worth the trip.

4I'm British, after all.