“I don’t know what I’m going to do when the light dies.”
A Voice In The Dark was the first thing posted of GONE, back near the end of July. I’ve long been a fan of Sunny Moraine’s dramatic monologues, so the prospect of a serial story narrated in the first person as a podcast immediately grabbed me.
The teaser is certainly effective in conveying what the series will be about, and in piquing interest. I do have to say that I sometimes find myself reticent to recommend it to people when I’m trying to get them hooked on the series, though, for the reason that when I first heard it, I did worry that the episodes would be 20-30 minutes of voice layered over with the same distortion/FX the teaser uses.
They aren’t. That’s reserved for the 1-2 minute interludes that happen between episodes, and it works there for the same reason it works in the teaser: small doses.
That said, if I hadn’t already had a certain amount of trust and regard for the artist, I might not have checked back later after hearing the teaser. It’s not so annoying that I want to be like, “Hey, don’t let the FX turn you off. It’s not all like that.” because that primes people to be annoyed. But I do worry that if they don’t know, they might bounce?
So mostly I link people directly to episode 1, or if we have some rapport I tell them to listen to the teaser and episode 1. I don’t think the teaser is essential to the story the way the later interludes are. But it’s interesting.
Anyway, let’s talk about the teaser…
The tagline is “Wind from the future.” That didn’t register with me the first time I listened to it, because that was before anything else existed. I guess I just took it to mean “preview of coming things”. Now I’m not sure there isn’t a deeper meaning, but this gets into the nature of the interludes that follow its format.
I’m starting this blog in the break after Episode 5, but I want these blog posts to make sense to someone discovering the series as they go, so I’m going to try to limit “call forwards” in the early entries. I’ll bend that a little with the teaser because there’s not much to say about it otherwise, but for now I’m mostly going to put a pin into my thoughts on that and deal with what’s here in the teaser.
The high-concept premise of the series is not a mystery or a spoiler: a woman wakes up and everyone else is gone. She’s alone in the world.
The speaker in the teaser refers to (without, I think, exactly repeating) lines from some of the episodes. She speaks of a world gone quiet, a world going dark.
It’s all quiet now, everything. Like I said before, it’s so quiet I can hear my blood. I keep hearing them, though. In the walls. In me.
She references the same Dylan Thomas poem I did in my intro post, but denies that she has any rage. “I’m empty.” There is a sense of emotional exhaustion, but I’m not sure she’s as spent as she thinks she is. There’s something simmering there.
The closing lines are maybe the most haunting, the most effective:
A long time ago, I woke up, and they were gone. Feels like years. Maybe it has been. They’re gone. I don’t think they’re coming back. Sooner or later, I’ll just be a voice in the dark. They’re gone. Or I am.
Or I will be.
They cut to something that for me is at the heart of the mystery of GONE — who left whom? Is our protagonist alone in a world that everyone else departed, or has she been plucked out of the world she knew and put somewhere else? Does it matter? Is the motion entirely relative to the frame of reference? Can it be determined either way? If the world takes a sudden fork, is it a “Kill us both, Spock?” situation?
It’s an academic question, to be sure, but the question of what happened to everybody else does affect the magnitude of the horror. If the protagonist was just removed from the ~*real*~ world, then seven billion people are all going about their lives and most of them are not affected.
Is that better, or worse?
I don’t know. But it changes the scope and the scale of the horror. And the fact that it’s unknown and from our present point of view unknowable is one of the things that consumes me about this story.