Novas is a cyberpunk rock opera built entirely out of mostly 1980s music (primarily New Wave but including punk, disco, progressive rock, New Age, folk, and pop… and dipping into other decades as and when necessary). I don’t know why it exists. It’s a ridiculous thing to do except that it’s maybe not been done before (except for that Abba musical and that Beatles circus). And it’s only possible because of Youtube, it probably won’t survive because of Youtube, and it exists in a liminal space somewhere between ‘you can’t’ and ‘you really shouldn’t’.
It’s an example of hypermedia, I guess, or what could be done with hypermedia if we had a proper hypermedia platform and not just ‘platforms’. An aesthetic of radical remix. Does that make it punk enough, or is it too cyber? Or is it just the right amount of cyber?
It just sort of came out of my subconscious, because most of this music is what I heard in the 1980s as a kid, and it always seemed like there must be some kind of backstory to all these strange people dressing like scientists and singing about nuclear war, space, and living inside computers. When I rediscovered this music in the mid-2010s, somehow the suspicion grew on me that I could write a story out of all these found components. And so this is that story, for that kid in the 1980s.
If you’ve been following but haven’t quite been keeping up, maybe start here.
The Novas series is something that grew organically, in multiple “programs”, and I think is probably best listened to in that order, because the story starts simple and then gets more complicated.
But! The Programs are designed to be modular, so you can listen in multiple orders. You can play through either in “story time” sequence, or “release time” within each Program, and it should work.
Overture and core storyline. Start here.
Incidental music from the Simulation: two real states, two dreamstates. But which are which?
A whole new take on the story, really. Prequels, interquels and a sequel, focusing on Susan’s plan to free Jack in Novas 3, their relationship during Novas 2, the backstory that brought them each separately into SYSTEM and how they nearly escaped it before Novas 1. Finally, what happened to them both after Novas 3.
Novas 6 (an alternate 1999)
Jack and Susan travel to a parallel timeline where SKYWATCH did not exist
Stories imagined as a “TV series” filling out the backstory of Novas 5.3 and 5.4, expanding Jack and Susan’s multiple lives as amnesiac agents inside SYSTEM.
Stories imagined as a “TV series” bridging the gaps between the main trilogy events outside of SYSTEM, and a pair of prequels about Susan’s early life.
Stories imagined as a “TV series expansion” of Novas 5.1 and 5.5, focusing on Susan’s confrontation with Jack on the Satellite, and their actions after Novas 3.
Oh, and one thing before you start: Sometimes the Youtube embedded video thingy on a web page just randomly refuses to play all the songs (because some videos are rights-cleared for full-screen viewing, but not for embedding). Clicking the link above the embedded video will let you see them all, assuming they’re not deleted or blocked in your country.)Continue reading “Playlist Notes: Novas Chronology”