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Adrian Wagner's space fantasy is a unique
hypnotic journey which can be enjoyed as a light ballet on the
Video. This work created between the Composer and the game programmer,
Jeff Minter, now enjoys a cult status as being the first animation
to "take the computer game and turn it into an artform".
The journey to the Core on MERAK really cannot be put into words.
Album Track Titles :-
3. Planet Inti
4. Space Battle
5. Deep Space
6. Ice Planet
7. Further and further in...
9. Another Son
The story of Merak:-
Mankind has expanded into the Galaxy,
having overcome such trivial limitations as FTL (Faster-than-light)
space travel, and is beginning to explore his environment. Study
of the Galactic core has revealed some form of disturbance there,
and as a result of this disturbance, instability and anomalous
occurrences have become common throughout our Galaxy. A couple
of manned expeditions have been sent to the core to investigate.
They both report that at the Galactic core exists a huge, nebulous
cloud of meta-matter, at once chaotic but also strangely structured,
as if it were symmetrical in dimensions we cannot readily perceive.
This core continuously radiates energy in all known forms and
frequencies. To human senses and instruments it presents itself
as a vortex of pure colour, constantly pulsating in complex rhythms
and sequences of iridescence. The Core emits across all the electromagnetic
spectrum; listening to radio-frequency emanations on the Earth
shipsí instruments one could hear celestial music-that-was-not-music,
lacking the structure and form of conventional ideas of what
music should be, but still pleasing to the senses, full of intricate
harmonics and modulations. The human crews of the probe ships
named this Core region Colourspaceí.
Both probe ships reported that Colourspace appeared to be under
attack from spacecraft of a type and technology unknown amongst
any of the sentient races Mankind had yet encountered in his
Galactic exploration. It was postulated that the ships were extra-Galactic
in origin, and that they were, by attacking its core, de-stabilizing
our own Galaxy, possibly with a view to causing a catastrophic
implosion of the matter forming our Galaxy and somehow using
the colossal release of energy which such an event would produce.
What they wanted the energy for, could not be known; but they
had to be stopped, or all life in our Galaxy would cease.
Unfortunately, before either ship could return to Earth with
a more detailed report, the same fate befell both vessels, and
showed us another characteristic of the Colourspace region: it
sent men mad. The crews of the ships found their attention taken
up more and more with the phenomenon at the Core: they took to
watching it at all times, staring into the shifting, swirling
iridescence, listening to the music. The more they listened,
the stranger they became: they began to talk of becoming one
with the Core. Eventually both captains, obsessed with the mania,
set the controls for the heart of the Core region and flew on
in, and neither ship was heard from again.
It was decided that the only way to deal with the alien ships
threatening the Core was to send a single ship carrying weapons
enough to ensure destruction of the enemy- and with a crew composed
entirely of androids, who could be constructed in such a way
as to be impervious to the hypnotic powers of the Colourspace
Core. The destabilization at the Core were becoming more serious
by the day, and so the combat expedition was launched desperately
early - many of the ship's systems were untested and, to be honest,
pretty much a hack. (In fact, there were those who thought that
the ship should not be launched at all until all shipís
systems had been thoroughly restructured and de-bugged. Of course,
such people, had they had their way, would doubtless have enjoyed
a beautifully structured and perfectly de-bugged Galactic implosion,
so they were soundly ignored, and in fact the First Law of the
construction androids was inscribed in a prominent position upon
the hull of the craft: IF IT WORKS, DON'T KICK IT.)
The crew of this mighty ship comprised of a variety of sub-sentient
and highly-specialized battle-droids. These androids were not
conscious entities in their own right; they were each designed
to perform a specific task such as weapons maintenance, subspace
navigation, hyperdrive modulation and the like. Each android
was linked into the ship's systems and sensors, and also to the
control network of the ship's captain, a trans-sentient android
by the name of Merak.
(A word here about trans-sentient androids). TSAs were built
by Man, and yet were not entirely his creation. It was discovered
fairly early in Mankind's experimentation with computer technology
that artificial sentience could not be created by mere programming,
no matter how subtle the heuristic algorithms employed. However,
as the media for such experimentations moved away from the early
silicon based systems to the infinitely more powerful and compact
molecular-level processors, it was found that if a sufficiently
complex neural net was created, it would sometimes quite spontaneously
become aware, sentient. It was as if a soul came to inhabit the
neural network provided for it by Man. Such occurrences were
rare, and could not be reliably reproduced. TSAs, (Trans-Sentient
Androids) were androids which were in every way the equal of
Man, and in very many ways his superior. Only seven TSAs had
ever been created, and they were amongst the most valued and
respected beings to inhabit this Galaxy. Merak was one of these!
After an initial malfunction, the sublight thrusters cut in and
blast the spacecraft into orbit around Merak's homeworld. Upon
reaching orbit, the thrusters cut out leaving the craft hanging
silently in space...
..until the FTL drive cuts in. The primary FTL boosters accelerate
the craft to the very edge of lightspeed, at which point the
secondary thrusters engage, sending the vessel translight. Meta-relativistic
effects produce the illusion that the ship is racing through
the warp tunnel until the FTL into a rotating, pulsating vortex-tunnel.
The ship drive continues disengaging, leaving the ship in the
vicinity of a planet at the very edge of the Galactic Core. Merak
takes the ship down to investigate the planet.
3: Planet Inti
He finds a world full of strange growths and bright colours.
The trees emit light rhythmically in various colours. Aurorae
blaze across the sky. After a while over the planet, the indigenous
animals begin to take an interest in the ship. Strange, furry,
half-familiar beasts flit amongst the fractal trees. The animals
become more agitated the longer the ship hovers over the planetís
surface. It seems they are not pleased at the intrusion on their
privacy. They begin to congregate near the ship, and Merak feels
that it might be prudent to leave.
4: Space Battle
Upon reaching interplanetary space, an enemy fleet shows upon
the shipís scanners. Merak plots an intercept course,
and as the ship streaks through space towards the hostile craft,
the weapon systems are brought on-line and up to power. Soon,
our ship reaches the enemy fleet, and a blazing laser battle
begins. Ship after ship succumbs to Merak's well-aimed lasers,
until finally there is but one ship remaining the leader of the
alien fleet. A tense dogfight ensures, and although Merak manages
to blast the flagship, his own ship is dealt a crippling blow
by the alien's final missile. Merak's ship begins to die.
5: Deep Space
The ship drifts through deep space, with nearly all systems offline.
The android crew are silent and de-activated - except Merak,
whose self-contained power unit keeps him alive. He sits in the
lifeless ship, contemplating the cold beauty of deep space. Eventually
the ship is drawn into the gravitational influence of:
6: The Ice Planet
Merak summons the last reserves of the ship's power in order
to descend to the surface of this planet. He lands upon a huge
plain of ice. He leaves the ship to wander upon the surface,
but the combination of intense cold and failing power unit are
soon too much for him. He falls, and his lifeless eyes stare
out across the icy plain.
So ends the material existence of the trans-sentient android,
7: Star Child
I: Further and Further In...
As the neural network in which it lives fails, the soul of Merak
detaches itself and begins its astral voyage. Gradually, awareness
returns to the now free-floating soul. Merak is aware that he
is floating in the nebulous folds of some huge structure. He
is calm, as calm as only those who have no physical body can
be. He drifts through a structure seemingly composed of coruscating,
pulsating clouds of colour... or at least that is how it seems
to his soul, so recently released from a physical existence and
still conditioned to interpret phenomena in the terms of the
material senses. The direction of motion seems to be toward some
distant centre. Memories of his past life, his mission, nudge
at his subconscious. This place seems to him almost familiar...
and at last he realizes: it is Colourspace, the Galactic core.
His soul has entered the maelstrom...
The journey continues. As the vortex becomes more dense, the
soul begins to receive huge amount of sensory data - the vortex
is radiating across all energy spectra. Merak perceives this
as the most extraordinary sensory phenomena on all six material
sense-channels. Waves of sensation traverse his body (he still
thinks in terms of a body... he hasn't been dead long); explosions
of colour and complex symmetric forms fill his vision; in his
mind rings the eerie music-that-is not music, at once chaotic
and melodious. Merak drifts, in awe at the spectacle, and something
Merak starts to remember.
He has been here before. We have all been there. He remembers
the journey at the end of the countless thousands of previous
lives... the journey into the Core, into the Galactic Mind. For
the Galaxy itself is a living creature, and souls but fragments
of that great Mind, placed within the physical structure of the
Galaxy to gather experiences, and at the end of those material
lives to return here, to give up those experiences to the Core,
to be cleansed and returned to another life. But this time, it
is to be different. Instead of giving up his experiences to the
Core, he begins to receive intense amounts of input. The Mind
is giving him back his past lives! Merak's consciousness reels
as a colossal tide of data threatens to swamp and overload his
mind - but his mind, freed of any physical constraints, simply
expands to encompass the flood of memories...
He was/had been male, female, human, alien, animal.. the past
experiences streamed out through his consciousness. He remembered
the primal terror of a semi-sentient anthropoid seeing fire for
the first time; the beauty of the sunrise on a thousand different
planets. He experienced again love, both of the soul and of the
body, from a startling variety of viewpoints.
He was a priest; he was a thief; he was a caveman; he was an
astronaut and through all this, linking all the memories together,
a great chain of deaths, stretching back and back into infinity...
thousands, millions of times he had died! He had died on the
sword, been blown to pieces in wars innumerable, murdered, shot...
he had passed away from the effects of a bewildering array of
illnesses.. he knew the peaceful, serene death of the mystic
certain of an afterlife, and the unreasoning, overwhelming terror
of the beast at slaughter forced to a death it could neither
avoid nor comprehend. He saw also, the minds of all the programmers
who had ever programmed him - Through them he found the Wise
Ones and understood. They appeared before him - the Wise Ones
- passed through him - into him.. reaching down... further and
further in... touching his inner self - adjoining together with
him... further and further and further in.
Gradually, the flood of memories slackened. Merak was by now
a being in flux, still desperately trying to order and assimilate
the experiences of a million lifetimes... and yet a part of his
consciousness remained aware of the journey, of the drift towards
the centre of the Galactic Mind. The chaotic vortex seemed to
become more coherent, pulsating and emitting sounds that sounded
almost like the chanting of monks or priests... the souls of
the believers, singing in their Heaven at last? He could not
know.. At last he emerged from the dense maelstrom into a region
of relative quietness, inhabited by phospenes which zipped around,
twirling capriciously in an almost playful manner, but still
he was travelling towards the centre, the Core, which appeared
to him to be a painfully bright sphere, growing as he drifted
Approaching the Core, the music-that-was-not-music intensified
until it became almost unbearable. The bright sphere loomed ever
larger. Eventually, the music expanding so as to fill almost
his entire consciousness, Merak penetrated the boundary of the
Mind of the Galaxy... Merak was at one with the Galactic Mind.
9: Another Son...
Merak separated from the Galactic mind an entirely new type of
being. Faced with a threat to its existence, the Galaxy had created
in Merak a metasoul - almost like a child of the parent Mind,
having the capability to assume a corporeal form at will - or
to revert to being a creature of pure energy, to roam the Galaxy
by effort of will alone - and to destroy those who threatened
the Mind. His mission burning in his mind, Merak sped out of
the Galactic core and back into normal space.
A starchild is born, and the Galaxy awaits his coming... ...
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New DVD of Merak
At last - the long awaited DVD of
this cult animated film!
I am pleased to announce
the release of this new digitally enhanced widescreen version
of the original science fantasy film of 'Merak' with music and
story written and conceived by Adrian Wagner alongside visuals
performed by the game programmer Jeff Minter.
This DVD is available on NTSC or
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