Epics of the Deep was the box-office sensation of the Summer.
Starlette Nova, who played “The Missing Girl,” and Don Coyote as “The Mad Cetologist,” covered every magazine that profiled celebrity entertainment interviews and idols of The Nation. Talk. Talk. Talkety-talk. shot straight through the eyes and ears of Citizen-consumers from sea to sea. Powerful, powerful talk engendering excitement, illusions of important, almost Sacred Time, and a desire to spend money. To partake in or own part of the buzz.
Fame was not new to Starlette Nova. She began her career with the hit movie Down in The City. Then a succession of block-buster Romantic comedies made her a Name.
Don Coyote, was of course a Mega-Star of The Nation, known for his roles as a wise-cracking, comedian/outlaw with a heart of gold. Resigned to life in “the streets” his characters adapted to their grim environments and with a code of Robin Hood ethics, wry wit, irony and raw violence. Coyote finally tested his acting skills with Epics of the Deep, the first movie in which he neither fired nor even carried a weapon.
Epics was the first “serious” vehicle for both, the first super-blockbuster whose influence was felt beyond the multiplex and its vast network of supporting entertainment venues, celebrity talk shows and magazines.
The concept of talking whales caught the collective imagination, squeezed tight as a rat’s cervix by years in thrall to those very entertainment and celebrity vehicles that energized The Stars. Attention focused not only on The Stars, but whales themselves. Marine biologists appeared on everyone’s favorite celebrity news and talk shows, offering expert opinions on the film’s alleged veracity.
“Though it has long been assumed that cetaceans communicate with each other in some way, from the high pitched squeals of Orca to the low rumblings of the Finback, the potentiality of inter-species intercourse…uh, communication, has not been seriously researched,” said an Expert Cetologist on a morning talk show.
“We have long known cetaceans are intelligent,” said an Expert Neurologist on another show. “The question is, how intelligent? Furthermore, how can this intelligence be defined in relation to our own? If such a translation device as that depicted in the film actually existed, we would unlock secrets not merely to the minds of cetaceans, but the nature of what we call ‘mind’ itself.”
“So you are saying we don’t really know the minds of these creatures, at least not nearly so well as depicted in the film?” asked The Commentator.
“I’m saying we don’t really know our own minds as well as we know the creatures depicted in the film. Human beings are in fact possessors of extremely complex and extremely confusing brains. We create sophisticated works like Epics of the Deep, yet we also create horrible wars like — ”
The neurologist was cut off abruptly for a commercial break.
On and on, experts lent credence to the film. Every show another expert from the marine biology department or human linguistics or neurology department of a Major University was plied with questions. “Public” debates raged over The Network. Sites about whales, the movie, the stars, multiplied. Words shot across The Network. Blogs, Chats, Discussion Groups. Talk about whales and The Missing Girl converged. New “theories,” posted daily, linked cetaceans to government research and conspiracy. All manner of fantasy from paranoid to pastoral relayed rapid-fire from server to server across The Nation.
Big Media renewed interest in The Missing Girl angle of the film. Starlette Nova was considered for all the industry’s top awards for her history-making role. A. T. Rotious, creator of the original comic book, “Epics of the Deep,” founder of the underground publishing company, Comikosis, was treated like major literati. Big Media sought his opinions on everything from the odor of Whale skin to the language of The Nation. Influences he cited:
The Missing Girl story/legend; Another World, by The Real Cetologist, upon whose life work the character of the Whaleman was based, and Connection, by the poet, Alterkocher, where the idea of interspecies communication was broached ten years before Epics of the Deep was featured at your local multiplex.
Alterkocher, Plantman’s teacher and informal advisor at the University, long and far away ago. Big Media pounded Alterkocher’s door demanding he appear on “World Nation Tonight.”
The interview was conducted in Alterkocher’s University office, the same office Plantman had passed through Time as a young Marketing Student, discussing non-linear product placement strategies, ‘PR prosody,’ and masterpieces of literary merit with The Poet.
Now, the office of the formerly obscure Alterkocher was opened to millions.
“It takes a poet to create a poet,” began The Celebrity Interviewer as Alterkocher puffed his pipe.
She rambled on: “In this University office, the poet and teacher, Alterkocher, dreamed mammoth bards of the sea. The poems he composed and published in the now famous book, Connection, inspired the great comic-book author A.T. Rotious, whose graphic novel, Epics of the Deep, was the basis of the Summer’s box office champion.”
The Celebrity Interviewer tried to squeeze and roll Alterkocher’s tumbling waves of oratory into terse sound-bytes, but Alterkocher was stubbornly Alterkocher, and lectured the camera on language, struggle, the human condition (such as it was). His involuted conversation provoked a cry of shrill frustration, from The Celebrity Interviewer. A welcome non sequitor.