In my humble opinion, Episodes 3 and 4 are when The Mask of Inanna really starts. The characters are introduced and we can finally get on with the story, and the action!
(Note to self: Never include another action scene in an audio drama, ever. Dear god, they’re a lot of work to implement.)
So, bit of trivia #1 – Episodes 3 and 4 were originally going to be one episode. Until I started writing it, and I had to call up Neil. “Neil, I think this is going to be a two-parter.” That was an understatement.
I’ve never been to Hollywood. I did most of my research on Wikipedia and Google Maps. I wrote Allen’s narration while I was reading the articles, actually. “Okay, so he’s got to go to Grauman’s… what would he say… ‘It’s more China than Chinatown.’ Seeing as he has no frikkin’ clue what Chinatown in the 50’s looks like, it beats whatever he imagines of it…” I included the reference to Pink’s restaurant, which is still there, since I needed a place Bob would deliberately avoid to keep up appearances.
I don’t really make this explicit – the Mammons are a deliberate pyramid scheme, but they understand the risks and benefits when they join. The newer initiates donate some of their youth to those who are higher up in the circle. This is one of the reasons Bob is looking old. I may or may not explain this later in the show. Basically, the Inannites have an outer circle (Scottie) who can do basic survival magic, and an inner circle who holds all the secrets and really insane stuff. The Mammons only have an inner circle, and their church is highly cliquish. They can interact with the “Great Machine” but that’s only because they have to sacrifice a huge portion of their self-identity to survive in the cut-throat greater clique. Inannites preserve their self-identity – revel and celebrate it – but they have the restrictions discussed in Episode 5. They can’t directly feed to the mass market – they can take its money but they can’t give the money back except through a proxy.
It’s all about survival in a post-industrialized world. All the various magical groups (the Artemises, the Odins, etc.) seek to preserve some sort of self-employed lifestyle within an increasingly homogenized, industrial culture. The Mammons use people to thrive while the Inannites distance themselves.
Trivia for “I Was a Communist for the CIA“: this was my favorite of all the After Dark episodes to write. I listened to every single episode of “I Was A Communist for the FBI” and worked to give it absolutely no quarter while dismantling its core tenets. You can hear it on iTunes. This is what the media used to be before it had irony. I riffed on all of its main themes and catchphrases. If you read up on the real Matt Cvetic, he was a union-buster and a prick.
I was lucky enough to snag John Deschene and Kamela Dolinova from the musical 2010: Our Hideous Future. (Check its soundtrack out on iTunes! Julia Lunetta is in the show too.) Neal Leaheey also works with this same team in other projects.
So, Episode 5 is about Alzheimer’s syndrome. My mother used to stay with a cousin of her’s, Nancy Heath, in Milton when she taught at UMass JFK, and I came over there a few times. Nancy’s husband was one of these very jovial Boston Brahmans who loved the symphony and always seemed eager to shake a stranger’s hand. Then his Alzheimer’s condition started to worsen. He had to be taken to an institution. He would wake up having no idea where he was. He got frustrated and started to punch people. I think he died about a year after he started showing symptoms.