From Hollywood Hills mansions and Century City towers, to South Central motels and the oceanside refinery, The Beasts of Electra Drive by Rohan Quine spans a mythic L.A., following seven spectacular characters (or Beasts) from games designer Jaymi's game-worlds. The intensity of those Beasts' creation cycles leads to their release into real life in seemingly human forms, and to their combative protection of him from destructive rivals at mainstream company Bang Dead Games. Grand spaces of beauty interlock with narrow rooms of terror, both in the real world and in the incorporeal world of cyberspace. A prequel to Quine's other five tales (and a Finalist in the IAN Book of the Year Awards 2018), The Beasts of Electra Drive is a unique explosion of glamour and beauty, horror and enchantment, exploring the mechanisms and magic of creativity itself.
Jaymi is an independent games designer living on Electra Drive in the Hollywood Hills. Opposed to him are his former colleagues at Bang Dead Games. Their mounting competitiveness regarding his own extravagant game-creation reaches a point where they attack him physically with a flying drone.
Bang Dead is preparing the global release of a game called Ain'tTheyFreaky!, centring on five tabloid-flavoured social-media "Newsfeeds" for the victimisation of certain people by others—the "Gal Score", "Guy Score", "Trivia Score", "Arts Score" and "Cosy Score". Jaymi decides to fight back, for self-protection and to counteract this game's destructive effects.
He takes an irrevocable step: after creating Amber, the most dangerous of the characters (or Beasts, as he calls them) who will populate Jaymi's project The Platinum Raven, he releases Amber from that game, such that Amber slithers out from Jaymi's computer monitor. Appearing human, this now-incarnated Beast is sent to stalk Ain'tTheyFreaky!'s creators in real life.
While Amber terrorises them, Jaymi creates a second Beast, Evelyn, from his project The Imagination Thief. Incarnated too, she joins Amber in sabotaging a Bang Dead venture in the physical world.
As Jaymi's output spawns three more titles, he jumps into the creation cycles and incarnations of five more human-seeming Beasts.
Targeted by a more lethal drone attack, he decides his Beasts' missions must escalate: they will infiltrate the very substance of Ain'tTheyFreaky!. So Evelyn, Shigem and Kim sneak into one of the game's visual environments, where they try to put an end to some of its casually-programmed cruelty. Shigem and Kim shame two Bang Dead employees into secretly working for Jaymi instead.
Five of the Beasts proceed to sabotage Ain'tTheyFreaky! at code level, turning its own server farm into a radically different environment. Their sabotage breaks the game down into its constituent glyphs and pixels—then electrifies these, recombining them into brand-new forms of such enchanted love and wickedness and originality that they'd certainly have been forbidden by Bang Dead.
Amid the resultant conflict, a Beast is sent to kill a human; a Beast is arrested, before escaping and wreaking revenge; and another human is lashed to the transmitter tower above the Hollywood Sign, where…
After the ensuing convulsions of destruction and violent creation, Jaymi's Beasts slip away to their appointed onscreen destinations, one by one; and he is left alone again, just as he was before he brought them into being. As he fires up his newly-completed game The Imagination Thief for the first time, however, it is clear that neither he nor the world around him will ever quite be as before.
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About the Author
Rohan Quine grew up in South London, spent a couple of years in L.A. and then a decade in New York, where he ran around excitably, saying a few well-chosen words in various feature films and TV shows (see www.rohanquine.com/those-new-york-nineties), such as "Zoolander", "Election", "Oz", "Third Watch", "100 Centre Street", "The Last Days of Disco", "The Basketball Diaries", "Spin City" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit". He’s now living back in East London, as an Imagination Thief. His novel "The Imagination Thief" is published in paperback, and also as an ebook containing hyperlinks to film and audio and photographic content in conjunction with the novel’s text. See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-imagination-thief-reviews-media for interviews and some nice reviews in "The Guardian" and elsewhere. Four novellas – "The Platinum Raven", "The Host in the Attic", "Apricot Eyes" and "Hallucination in Hong Kong" – are published as separate ebooks, and also as a single paperback "The Platinum Raven and other novellas". See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-novellas-reviews-media for interviews and reviews of these. All five tales are literary fiction with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror. They aim to push imagination and language towards their extremes, so as to celebrate the beauty, darkness and mirth of this predicament called life, where we seem to have been dropped without sufficient consultation ahead of time. They may be read in any order. His upcoming novel will be "The Beasts of Electra Drive", now barrelling down the pipeline… www.rohanquine.com | facebook.com/RohanQuineTheImaginationThief | @RohanQuine "Rohan Quine is one of the most original voices in the literary world today – and one of the most brilliant." –"Guardian" Books blogger Dan Holloway "The swooping eloquence of this book had me hypnotised. Quine leaps into pools of imagery, delighting in what words can do. The fact that the reader is lured into joining this kaleidoscopic, elemental ballet marks this out as something fresh and unusual. In addition to the language, two other elements make their mark. The seaside ghost town with echoes of the past and the absorbing, varied and rich cast of characters. It’s a story with a concept, place and people you’ll find hard to leave." –JJ Marsh, "Book Muse" "Quine is renowned for his rich, inventive and original prose, and he is skilled at blending contemporary and ancient icons and themes." –Debbie Young, "Vine Leaves Literary Journal"
Table of Contents
Part I Amber’s creation, Bang Dead Games, and the lone violinist 1 The lone violinist in the woodlands at dusk (Ghost, as Hook) 2 The terrace pool at the house on Electra Drive 3 Here come the Beasts, up the slopes of the canyons 4 Declaration of war by the Dreary Ones (Inciting Event) 5 Ain’tTheyFreaky! by Bang Dead Games 6 Jaymi conceives his game The Platinum Raven 7 Development and basics in the Avenue of the Stars tower 8 Infrastructure and stress-balls in the Avenue of the Stars tower 9 Jaymi creates Amber’s code 10 Visuals and laughter in the Sunset Boulevard building 11 Coding and khaki in the Sunset Boulevard building 12 Jaymi creates Amber’s appearance 13 Jaymi’s games The Imagination Thief and The Host in the Attic 14 Jaymi incarnates Amber (First Doorway of No Return) Part II "Gal Score", Evelyn’s creation, and the stalking of the Dreary Ones 15 Amber incarnate in the house on Electra Drive 16 The Hollywood cafe on Cahuenga Boulevard 17 The "Gal Score: Babe or Gross?" Newsfeed 18 Jaymi creates Evelyn’s code 19 The Silver Lake bar on Hyperion Avenue 20 How very concerning—did you report it? 21 Herb hacks Evelyn’s code 22 Herb at home in the Westwood Village cottage 23 Jaymi creates Evelyn’s appearance 24 Amber stalks Ashley through the motel by LAX 25 Evelyn’s appearance comes alive 26 Kelly smudges Evelyn 27 Kelly at home in the Factory Place loft 28 Jaymi creates Evelyn’s soundtrack 29 Ashley at home in the Century Park East apartment 30 Evelyn’s soundtrack comes alive 31 Amber stalks Dud at work 32 Jaymi test-drives Evelyn 33 Kelly tails Amber through the Hollywood Hills 34 Jaymi incarnates Evelyn 35 Ashley and Dud attack Evelyn (First Pinch Point) Part III "Guy Score" and "Trivia Score", Shigem’s and Kim’s creations, and the Righteous Gun Cockpit 36 The "Guy Score: Hunk or Gross?" Newsfeed 37 Jaymi creates Shigem’s code 38 Amber with binoculars on Sunset Plaza Drive 39 Shigem emerges within his code 40 Herb hacks Shigem’s code 41 The infinity pool at the Blue Jay Way house 42 Jaymi creates Shigem’s appearance 43 The severed grey tongue-meat swinging round the football 44 Shigem’s appearance comes alive 45 Kelly smudges Shigem 46 The "Trivia Score: Wacky or Boring?" Newsfeed 47 Jaymi creates Kim’s code 48 Herb hacks Kim’s code 49 Evelyn, tiny in the face of the deluge 50 Jaymi creates Kim’s appearance 51 Kelly smudges Kim 52 Sun-glare and skinny palms in Westmont, South Central 53 Jaymi creates Shigem’s and Kim’s soundtrack 54 The Righteous Gun Cockpit, from Bang Dead Games 55 Jaymi test-drives Shigem and Kim 56 Amber’s eyes in the photo of the motel by the vacant lot 57 Jaymi incarnates Shigem and Kim 58 Ashley and Dud attack Shigem 59 Evelyn’s eyes in the photo of the motel by the liquor store 60 Ashley and Dud attack Kim 61 Kim on the canyon by Hercules Drive 62 Dud shocked in the motel by the liquor store 63 Dud shocked in the motel by the vacant lot 64 Dud’s ghastly photo opportunity 65 Jaymi refines Shigem 66 Lethal attack, understanding and despair (Midpoint) Part IV "Arts Score", the Platinum Raven’s creation, and elevating Downtown L.A. 67 The "Arts Score: Simple-Smiley or Complex-Frowny?" Newsfeed 68 Jaymi creates the Platinum Raven’s code 69 Herb hacks the Platinum Raven’s code 70 Three Beasts sneak into Herb’s computer 71 Jaymi creates the Platinum Raven’s appearance 72 KitKat and Krispy Kreme dramas in Downtown 73 The Platinum Raven’s appearance comes alive 74 Kelly smudges the Platinum Raven 75 This Downtown L.A. is a more peculiar one than most 76 Jaymi creates the Platinum Raven’s soundtrack
For the titles of mini-chapters 77-120, see http://www.rohanquine.com/the-beasts-of-electra-drive