Discover Kymaerica

The Believer on the Kcymaerxthaere:

The Kcymaerxthaere is a vast alternate universe created by Eames Demetrios, a California-based artist and filmmaker who began installing the plaques in 2003. The premise of the project is that the Kcymaerxthaere exists as its own parallel world, but its remnants are often visible in our own, “linear” world—intersections that Demetrios endeavors to commemorate by physically marking their presence.He has already installed over sixty of these faux historical markers, and hopes to increase that number to seventy by the year’s end. Most are in the United States (that is, Kymaerica), while others dot the globe, materializing in Singapore, Spain, Dubai, and Australia. This August, Demetrios even lowered a plaque onto the ocean floor, under forty-five feet of water in the Garvellach Islands of Scotland. In addition to the plaques, there are lectures, websites, travel guides (including Discover Kymaerica), and bus tours. … Demetrios calls the project “three-dimensional storytelling,” and says that he hopes to mark some two thousand sites before he is through.

It helps to know a few key features of the Kcymaerxthaere: The world there is divided into gwomes, cultural groups that bear some resemblance to nation-states, though they are much smaller. (There are more than 5,000 gwomes in Kymaerica alone.) The great cultures of the Kcymaerxthaere were made up of road builders, and Kcymaerxthaere history is marked by several massive migrations—across both land and sea. Central figures recur throughout the story, such as the Nobunagas, a father-son legacy of warriors whose saga extends from Korea to Texas (or “pTejas”). There has been warfare, including the enigmatic but crucial Battle of Some Times, and the less significant if more colorful Battle of Devil’s Marbles, where thousands of warriors fought astride giant, vicious war-kangaroos.

At times, it can be difficult to follow.


What’s Old and Weird? Due Respect, Mr. Dylan, But You Fit The Bill

Historian Douglas Brinkley has an interview with Bob Dylan in the latest Rolling Stone. (We hosted Brinkley at CAS last year, so I guess I’m two degrees of separation from Bob!) At one point, Dylan bristles at a certain phrase used to describe his work:

Brinkley: Are you missing what some critics call the older, weirder America?
Dylan: I never thought the older America was weird in any way whatsoever. Where do people come up with that stuff? To call it that? What’s the old weird America? The depression? Or Teddy Roosevelt? What’s old and weird?

Yeah, where do people come up with that stuff?

Dylan to Nora Ephron in 1965: Folk music is the only music where it isn’t simple. It’s never been simple. It’s weird, man, full of legend, myth, Bible and ghosts.

I know, I know: you are shocked, shocked! to catch Bob Dylan in a contradiction, or shrugging off a label applied to him by his fans. Alert Greil Marcus! Still, I’m protective of the old weird America idea.


Flaming Moe

When you start a blog post like this, you are setting expectations pretty damn high:

There are certain individuals whose names have been adopted as shorthand in the fiction community. When you see their name, it usually means weird and/or wild shit is going to go down. There is no reason for a writer to throw in a reference to Nikolai Tesla, for example, unless they want to later have a death-ray or giant killer robot or just some sort of weird science in general. Similarly, if you see Aleister Crowley show up in a story, you know that there’s going to be magic involved, or possibly cults. Or maybe orgies, because that is how Crowley rolled.

I say it is well past time that another name was added to that list.

The amazing thing is that the post that follows lives up to that opener. It’s the somewhat true story of Moe Berg: major league baseball player, top secret OSS agent, and would-be assassin of Werner Heisenberg–and all that’s in the actually true part of the post. (Check the infallible Wikipendium for collaboration.) The made up part, in which Moe, as forerunner to Marvel Comics’ Dr. Strange, fights a decades-long occult battle against J. Edgar Hoover, is fun too.