Cover art by Ron “AAlgar” Watt. Click to see full-sized.

Credits

Duncan Boszko - Robot

Kristy Brannon - Lt. St. Corby

Robert Cooper - Contentment Corner narrator (archival)

Jason Ellis - Captain Salami (archival)

Kara O'Connor - Alien 1

Caitlin Obom - Narrator

Nicole Santora - Alien 2

Amanda Smith - Cadet Llainx, Helmsman

Jason Wallace - Sgt. Hartogan, Scientist 2, Captain Dak

Ron “AAlgar” Watt - Scuderius, Scientist 1

Written & directed by Ron “AAlgar” Watt

© 2017 AAlgar Productions

Annotations

Blue People is the culmination of literally half a century of... well, not work. Mostly just repeating the mantra “one day I'll do this story and I'll get it right.” I'm sure every writer has at least one of these. The story, such as it was, originated with a short movie I made in high school. The film was handed in to be graded hours before our high school graduation, which puts its "release date" at almost exactly twenty-five years ago to the day of the release of this radio play. Basically, I never felt like I'd gotten it quite right back in 1992, and I had hoped to take another pass at it. I eventually got tired of seeing it on my "one day..." lists and decided that "one day" had arrived. Did I finally get the story right? I can't really say. But it's done now. And that's definitely something.

• For what it's worth, there is almost no trace of that original movie in this radio play. The main character is an evil starship captain named Scuderius, played by me. He has blue skin, and the ship he commands is called Fulla Bulla. That's... pretty much it. A handful of elements made their way into Contentment Corner episode 6, which this story crosses over with.

• The tone of this story ended up being a bit more serious than my usual stuff. I tried to insert comedy where I could, but most of the themes and plot points I wanted to deal with weren't inherently funny. As a result, I was super self-conscious when it came time to record this.

• The best material I'd generated for this idea came a few years ago, when I participated in National Novel Writing Month. But since most of that material was in the form of narration, I decided to get a little experimental and go with a sort of audiobook/radio play hybrid. Caitlin Obom completely nailed the tone I wanted for the narrator and, astoundingly, blew through pages and pages of words in basically one take. You'd think all this narration would have taken hours to lay down, but the one track we recorded ran about the length of the entire story itself — about 30 minutes. And given that we did a bunch of the dramatic stuff in-between, that's extra impressive.

• The starship Fulla Bulla is, as the cover art indicates, named for a flavor of Slurpee. I thought this was the height of hilarity when I was 17. I have no idea why.

• I tried to make Scuderius a sort of amalgam of Albert Rosenfeld from Twin Peaks, Dr. Cox from Scrubs and Ben Linus from Lost — basically, all the lovable bastards I've enjoyed in fiction over the years.

• Okay, "Cadet Llainx" is also a reference to that original movie. But I'm pretty sure that's everything.

• Sergeant Hartogan was modeled after a real-life retired USMC sergeant with whom I worked for a number of years.

• The whole "flight test" setting aboard the Fulla Bulla was, at various stages in its development, a more substantial part of the story. I actually worked in a flight test program, and it's a really interesting environment that I haven't really seen in fiction. It's barely here, so I guess now the concept is up for grabs?

• I was pretty pleased with all this evolution stuff in the Blue People's backstory, though this was about 17 pages of prose in that novel draft I worked up. I tried my best to consolidate it here, but it's still a lot of words.

• One of the few comedic moments that did make it in was the brief "dueling narrators" bit here, as our story intersects with the aforementioned Contentment Corner episode.

• All right, those brief, garbled audio clips from Captain Salami are also from that movie we made in high school. Honestly, there's nothing else.

• Did I explain the story behind "Captain Salami" in the annotations for Contentment Corner season 1? I must have done. Actually, I hope I didn't. It's actually not very interesting.

• Scuderius, on the other hand, is named after the late Tony Scuderi. He was a family friend who was a sort of surrogate dad/older brother to me at a very important time in my life. He helped teach me to drive. He had a pilot's license and regular access to a small Cessna, and took me flying on a number of occasions. He got me into Twilight Zone, Star Trek and probably a bunch of other things. He was, if we're being honest, a little bit shady at times. But he was always good to me and I wouldn't be the person I am today without his influence.

• Man, I hate it when science fiction stories make up their own swear words.

• Originally The System would be accompanied by faint techno music whenever they appeared. In keeping with the less comedic tone of this piece, I decided against that in the final edit.

• I do feel like I rushed Scuderius' "redemption" a bit at the end of the story. In fact, my original draft rushed it even further, and Amanda advised adding a scene or two to make it feel more earned. She wasn't wrong. I honestly feel like this entire arc could/should have played out over a few episodes, but I reached that point I reach sometimes: "put this down and miss a deadline or push through and make it as good as I can with what I have." I stand by my choice.