RETROGRADE AUDIO THEATRE
amazing struggles, astonishing failures & disappointing success
A comedic history of science fiction
I've always found the history of science fiction as fascinating at the content of the stories. Originally written as a (to-date unperformed) marathon stage production, Amazing Struggles, Astonishing Failures & Disappointing Success is an epic story about the story-tellers -- following the careers of sometimes noble, sometimes venal fanboys and fangirls as they grow into gosh-golly actual professional science fiction writers and boldly go through the joys and disasters of the far-flung 20th Century!
Originally produced by Shoestring Radio Theater.
Series one: "amazing Struggles"
Hang on folks! It's the Great Depression! The Hitler-Stalin Non-Aggression Pact and the Atomic Bomb! Plus sinister editors and lots of rejection letters!
Episode One: It's 1938. Can't get published? Maybe International Communism can help.
Episode Two: Political lust and fantasy manifestos. The journey to the "Ultimate Argument" continues.
Episode Three: Science Fiction loses it’s innocence and a strange dangerous era dawns! The final episode of Amazing Struggles.
Series two: "astonishing failures"
Put on your conformity pants, it's the Fabulous 1950s! The War is over, our Fabulist Friends have all got jobs, families and are writing some pretty cool stuff. How in the name of the shifting cosmic axis did that happen?
Episode One: Blast off for adventure kids! Can Alexander Stern and the Solar Police save your bad marriage? Probably not.
Episode Two: Bored? Frustrated? Constantly short of cash? Why not raise your IQ and wash your own brain in the comfort of your home?
Episode Three: A bunch of cosmic chickens come home to roost and our protagonist learns a vew very hard life lessons. The startling (well, inevitable) conclusion of Astonishing Failures.
Series three: "disappointing success"
Far Out! Spaced Out! Outer Limits! It's those Groovy 60s when we ask, with the heat shield of your space capsule survive the Electric Koolaid Acid Test? Counter Culture and lots of drugs may have deluded us into thinking that science fiction may be more profound than it actual is.
Episode One: Retreat to the retreat! Where our protagonist learns (to paraphrase Oscar Wilde) that no good science fiction novel goes unpunished.
Episode Two: When in doubt call for an inquiry. The Wheels of Canadian Justice grind ever poliitely (mostly) on while personal and creative conspiracies at the Erewhon Inn continue...
Episode Three: Unless we stamp your hand, you can't get in again. Identities are revealed and fates are sealed as we witness the Death of Originality.
Series Four: "Eternal disappointing success"
Also known as "Disappointing Success Part II (The Sequel)". We're halfway through the 1980s, whether we want to be or not, and while everyone is being strongly encouraged to "just say no to drugs" there still seems to be widespread confusion about what's fact and what's fiction. Oh joy.
Episode One: All roads seem to lead to Tomorrowland and our merry band of science fiction pioneers discover that it is shockingly easy to sell your soul in the Magic Kingdom.
Episode Two: In the after-life all things become known. Or maybe we just get a new set of excuses. At least all things must pass. Or maybe all things just get recycled.