Snatched From the Heart of Stars: What’s Your Creative DNA?

DNA

“People they come together, People they fall apart,
No one can stop us now, ‘Cause we are all made of stars” — Moby

Ideas spark ideas, as I’m sure you well know, and while contemplating a previous post on the message I would send to my younger self, I was hit with another thought along similar lines, but the scenario requires a little theater of the mind setup first:

It begins with the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute detecting a radio signal that finally confirms the existence of extraterrestrial life. How did the aliens learn of our existence, you ask? You know the deal: Voyager 1 and 2 get swallowed up by a singularity and spit out in the middle of uncharted space and intercepted by a curious and as-yet-thought-to-be-benign alien race. Now quit bogging down my backstory with unnecessary questions.

Top minds–-including astrophysicists, cryptanalysts, linguists and mathematicians–-are called in to decipher the message and after an exhaustive code-breaking session, the oddest thing is found embedded in the communique: My name.

Uh-uh, no questions, remember?

After being properly vetted—they’d have to make sure I’m not some wackadoo that’s gonna build himself an Interocitor using off-world schematics or sell the Earth off to the highest bidder—I’m brought in to begin a controlled dialogue with the alien. During the exchange, my new intergalactic pen pal asks the question: “Who are you?” I answer with my personal history and the reply I get back is, “No, who are you?

We’re all stumped at this point.

Over a pint and some pub grub, me, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox, and Michio Kaku (let’s face it, they’re all my buds at this point) are trying to puzzle this out when I’m struck with an idea, “What if the extraterrestrials are utilizing fourth-dimensional, or higher, level thinking and need broader definitions in which to extrapolate the answers they seek?” The astro-brainiacs think I might be onto something.

[I need to pause the post at this point because I can hear your laughter and it’s a bit disruptive. And rude, if I’m honest. Out of everything so far, the only problem you have is that I offered a solution in an astrophysics think tank? Really?]

And now we get to the meat of the nutshell:

If I had to encode myself into a relatively short information sequence, what sources would I pick?

Since mathematics and I feud constantly and are court-ordered to remain at least 500 yards apart from one another at any given time, I know I can’t make this work on a fundamental science level. My only option is to go the artistic route.

Now, the chore becomes one of selecting 10 works that once read/viewed/listened to/etc., would allow an absolutely non-terran life form to know the essence of me. This is what I came up with:

  1. Movie: The Lion in Winter

Lion_In_Winter1

The film takes place in the year 1183 AD and tells the story of King Henry II’s three sons all of whom want to inherit the throne, but Henry won’t commit to a choice, so they and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, variously plot to force him.

I’ve chosen this to illustrate the relationship between me and all my families (both birth and extended). It speaks to the complexities of familial love and how I tend to love what I destroy and destroy the things I love.

  1. Book: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A, Heinlein

In not so subtle Christ analogy, the book tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. It explores his interaction with—and eventual transformation of—terrestrial culture.

This was chosen to illustrate my social anxieties–that wax and wane in an unpredictable manner–and the fact that I never feel I properly fit in with any crowd that isn’t one of my making. There truly exists no place on Earth where I feel at home.

stranger_in_a_strange_land_cover

  1. Poem: Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Chosen to represent my attempt at zen thoughts. These are the inner things I strive for that always seem to exist just beyond the reach of my higher consciousness fingertips. One day, though. This and the lottery. Hope springs eternal.

  1. Art: The Scream by Edvard Munch

In his diary in an entry headed, Nice 22 January 1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image:

One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.

This piece represents the insanity that lies just beneath my cool surface. The things I see and hear that apparently, no one else acknowledges. But it’s real, dammit. It better be.

the-scream

  1. Sculpture: The Thinker by Auguste Rodin

The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem. This is precisely why I have chosen this, as I am well aware that I am the cause of most of the disasters that have occurred in my life and have often sat and pondered how I let things get to their current state.

Thinker

  1. Photography: Tank Man by Jeff Widener

The iconic photo of Tank Man, the unknown rebel who stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks in an act of defiance following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. This is an obvious one as it represents my personal autonomy and contemptuous behavior/attitude towards authority figures to the point of appearing as a provocateur or just plain anti-social.

Tank Man

  1. Music: Ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós

This album is 72 minutes of sonically rich, emotionally pulverizing perfection. From the orchestral splendor of “Starálfur,” to the transcendent ache of “Ný batterí.” each decayed synth tone and cymbal splash conjures a world of endless possibilities. Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson wrote the following mission statement:

“We are not a band, we are music. We are simply gonna change music forever, and the way people think about music. And don’t think we can’t do it, we will.” 14 years after the fact — Spin presented Birgisson with that quote. He responded with laughter, “You’re young and full of energy and have this cockiness,” he said. “I think it’s beautiful.”

This represents my initial mindset when I first began to write again.

Ágætis byrjun

  1. Television: The Twilight Zone (1959 series) by Rod Serling and various

Rod

This science-fiction/fantasy anthology series consisting of unrelated stories depicting paranormal, futuristic, Kafkaesque, or otherwise disturbing or unusual events (typically featuring some sort of plot twist and moral), represents my imagination as it shaped the way I view fiction.

  1. Play: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim

sweeney

A 1979 musical thriller set in 19th century England tells the story of Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, who returns to London after 15 years transportation on trumped-up charges. When he finds out that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by the judge who transported him, he vows revenge on the judge and, later, the whole world. He teams up with a piemaker, Mrs. Lovett, and opens a barbershop in which he slits the throats of customers and has them baked into pies.

This speaks to my Scorpio nature of quietly holding a grudge with untold patience until the chance presents itself to sting back. Not so much anymore, though. I’ve mellowed in my old age. Stop looking at me like you don’t believe me.

 

  1. Performance art: The Invisible Man: Liu Bolin’s camouflage artwork

liu-bolin-new-york_2172409k

Liu uses paint to camouflage him to make himself invisible in public. This represents the fact that I was born invisible and the only time I’m ever seen is when I write.

Before you start nitpicking the logic of sending earth-logic/culture-bound works of art to an alien, I refer you to the Moby lyrics quoted at the top of the post and if we are all truly made of stars, there surely must be some commonality that binds us together, yes? Why can’t art be the universe’s language?

 

Snatched From the Heart of Stars: What’s Your Creative DNA?

“People they come together, People they fall apart,
No one can stop us now , ‘Cause we are all made of stars” — Moby

Ideas spark ideas, as I’m sure you well know, and while contemplating a previous post on the message I would send to my younger self, I was hit with another thought along similar lines, but the scenario requires a little theater of the mind setup first:

It begins with the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute detecting a radio signal that finally confirms the existence of extraterrestrial life. How did the aliens learn of our existence, you ask? You know the deal: Voyager 1 and 2 get swallowed up by a singularity and spit out in the middle of uncharted space and intercepted by a curious and as-yet-thought-to-be-benign alien race. Now quit bogging down my back story with unnecessary questions.

Top minds–including astrophysicists, cryptanalysts, linguists and mathematicians–are called in to decipher the message and after an exhaustive code-breaking session, the oddest thing is found imbedded in the communique: my name. Uh-uh, no questions, remember?

After being properly vetted—they’d have to make sure I’m not some wackadoo that’s gonna build himself an Interocitor using off-world schematics or sell the Earth off to the highest bidder—I’m brought in to begin a controlled dialogue with the alien. During the exchange my new intergalactic pen pal asks the question: “Who are you?” I answer with my personal history and the reply I get back is, “No, who are you?

We’re all stumped at this point.

Over a pint and some pub grub, me, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox, and Michio Kaku (let’s face it, they’re all my buds at this point) are trying to puzzle this out when I’m struck with an idea, “What if the extraterrestrials are utilizing fourth-dimensional, or higher, level thinking and need broader definitions in which to extrapolate the answers they seek?” The astro-brainiacs think I might be onto something.

[I need to pause the post at this point because I can hear your laughter and it’s a bit disruptive. And rude, if I’m honest. Out of everything so far, the only problem you have is that I offered a solution in an astrophysics think tank? Really?]

And now we get to the meat of the nutshell:

If I had to encode myself into a relatively short information sequence, what sources would I pick?

Since mathematics and I feud constantly and are court-ordered to remain at least 500 yards apart from one another at any given time, I know I can’t make this work on a fundamental science level. My only option is to go the artistic route.

Now, the chore becomes one of selecting 10 works that once read/viewed/listened to/etc., would allow an absolutely non-terran life form to know the essence of me. This is what I came up with:

1. Movie: The Lion in Winter

The film takes place in the year 1183 AD and tells the story of King Henry II’s three sons all of whom want to inherit the throne, but Henry won’t commit to a choice, so they and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, variously plot to force him.

I’ve chosen this to illustrate the relationship between me and all my families (both birth and extended). It speaks to the complexities of familial love and how I tend to love what I destroy and destroy the things I love.

View The Trailer

2. Book: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A, Heinlein

In not so subtle Christ analogy, the book tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. It explores his interaction with—and eventual transformation of—terrestrial culture.

This was chosen to illustrate my social anxieties–that wax and wane in an unpredictable manner–and the fact that I never feel I properly fit in with any crowd that isn’t one of my making. There truly exists no place on Earth where I feel at home.

3. Poem: Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Chosen to represent my attempt at zen thoughts. These are the inner things I strive for that always seem to exist just beyond the reach of my higher consciousness fingertips. One day, though. This and the lottery. Hope springs eternal.

4. Art: The Scream by Edvard Munch

In his diary in an entry headed, Nice 22 January 1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image:

One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.

This piece represents the insanity that lies just beneath my cool surface. The things I see and hear that apparently no one else acknowledges. But it’s real, dammit. It better be.

5. Sculpture: The Thinker by Auguste Rodin

The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem. This is precisely why I have chosen this, as I am well aware that I am the cause of most of the disasters that have occurred in my life and have often sat and pondered how I let things get to their current state.

6. Photography: Tank Man by by Jeff Widener

The iconic photo of Tank Man, the unknown rebel who stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks in an act of defiance following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. This is an obvious one as it represents my personal autonomy and contemptuous behavior/attitude towards authority figures to the point of appearing as a provocateur or just plain anti-social.

7. Music: Ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós

This album is 72 minutes of sonically rich, emotionally pulverizing perfection. From the orchestral splendor of “Starálfur,” to the transcendent ache of “Ný batterí.” each decayed synth tone and cymbal splash conjures a world of endless possibilities. Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson wrote the following mission statement:

“We are not a band, we are music… We are simply gonna change music forever, and the way people think about music. And don’t think we can’t do it, we will.” 14 years after the fact — Spin presented Birgisson with that quote. He responded with laughter, “You’re young and full of energy and have this cockiness,” he said. “I think it’s beautiful.”

This represents my initial mindset when I first began to write again.

View The Music Video for “Starálfur”

8. Television: The Twilight Zone (1959 series) by Rod Serling and various

This science-fiction/fantasy anthology series consisting of unrelated stories depicting paranormal, futuristic, kafkaesque, or otherwise disturbing or unusual events (typically featuring some sort of plot twist and moral), represents my imagination as it shaped the way I view fiction.

View The Episode, “Time Enough At Last”

9. Play: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim

A 1979 musical thriller set in 19th century England tells the story of Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, who returns to London after 15 years transportation on trumped-up charges. When he finds out that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by the judge who transported him, he vows revenge on the judge and, later, the whole world. He teams up with a piemaker, Mrs. Lovett, and opens a barbershop in which he slits the throats of customers and has them baked into pies.

This speaks to my scorpio nature of quietly holding a grudge with untold patience until the chance prevents itself to sting back. Not so much anymore, though. I’ve mellowed in my old age. Stop looking at me like you don’t believe me.

View The Original 1979 Commercial

10. Performance art: The invisible man: Liu Bolin’s camouflage artwork

Liu uses paint to camouflage him to make himself invisible in public. This represents the fact that I was born invisible and the only time I’m ever seen is when I write.

View The Video

Before you start nitpicking the logic of sending earth-logic/culture-bound works of art to an alien, I refer you to the Moby lyrics quoted at the top of the post and if we are all truly made of stars, there surely must be some commonality that binds us together, yes? Why can’t art be the universe’s language?

Sally forth and be creative DNA writeful.

–Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Top Ten Twilight Zone Episodes

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Rod Serling’s seminal sci-fi series that exists somewhere “between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.”

One of the main reasons The Twilight Zone has such staying power is its dramatic writing, shocking plot twists, and Kafkaesque terror.

While it’s true some of the episodes don’t hold up as well as others, I’d like to take a look at ten of the more favorable episodes—-the ones I make it a point to catch whenever there’s a marathon on:

PubTThou01

“Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”

William “Captain Kirk” Shatner stars in what might be the most famous and revered of all Twilight Zone episodes. He plays a man traveling aboard a commercial flight with his wife. When he spots a “gremlin” on the wing, he tries to alert the crew and other passengers to the potential danger lurking just outside his window seat. However, our clever Gremlin makes sure to duck out of view every time someone else peers through the glass, leaving Shatner to look foolish and delusional (a fact compounded by the knowledge that his character had a severe nervous breakdown on a plane months earlier… ). In typical Twilight Zone fashion, the final shot is the stinger. “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” was revisited in Twilight Zone: The Movie, starring John Lithgow in the famous role.

627

“To Serve Man”

In this episode, which debuted back in 1962, mankind has seemingly found a benevolent alien savior in the form of the Kanamits — a race of towering space travelers who are all too willing to help Earth eradicate the problems of hunger and war. Their personal manifesto, a book entitled To Serve Man, isn’t a guide for peace. It’s a cookbook with recipes to turn humans into a tasty main course.

goodlife

“It’s a Good Life”

The fantasy of every child — to have unlimited power against grown-ups — is made horrifyingly real in 1961′s “It’s a Good Life.” Bill Mumy plays six-year-old Anthony Freemont, a boy with incredible psychic powers who holds everyone around him hostage. It’s sort of like Game of Thrones, if little King Joffrey could simply think you out of existence for displeasing him. The adults tiptoe around the kid, but it never really matters, because he’s six, and six-year-olds aren’t particularly rational in the first place. That ever-present sense of menace exuded from the adorable face of Mumy is what makes things work. Like “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” the episode was remade for the Twilight Zone movie. It also got a sequel in the 2002 Twilight Zone revival series, entitled “It’s Still a Good Life,” wherein Anthony is now a grown-up and his daughter has inherited his abilities. Bill Mumy and Chloris Leachman reprise their original roles, and Mumy’s real-life daughter serves as the story’s new tyrant.

timeenough

“Time Enough at Last”

“Witness Mr. Henry Bemis, a charter member in the fraternity of dreamers. A bookish little man whose passion is the printed page, but who is conspired against by a bank president and a wife and a world full of tongue-cluckers and the unrelenting hands of a clock. But in just a moment, Mr. Bemis will enter a world without bank presidents or wives or clocks or anything else. He’ll have a world all to himself… without anyone.”

And so begins what is perhaps the most beloved of all Twilight Zone episodes, 1959′s “Time Enough at Last.” In many ways, this first season ep is the epitome of everything The Twilight Zone stands for. A poor, put-upon man (Burgess Meredith, in his first of several appearances in the series) finds things finally going his way, only to watch the inherent cruelness of the universe twist everything in a terrible manner, usurping his moment of victory. Rod Serling sure loved to kick the audience in the gut, and this particular blow is one of the series’ most unforgettable.

Meredith stars as Henry Bemis — a man who just wants to get away from the everyday world and bury his nose in a good book. Henry gets his wish when the rest of humanity is wiped out in a nuclear attack. He discovers an untouched library — a place where he can read in peace for the rest of his existence. Thrilled with his discovery, Bemis settles in. As he gets ready to crack open his first book, he breaks his glasses. Virtually blind, Bemis is now stuck in a world with all the time and books he could ever want and no way to enjoy them. This unhappy twist ending would become a common feature during the show’s run, but this one always stood out as particularly cruel. Perhaps it’s because so many of us can relate to it.

Serling himself listed “Time Enough at Last” amongst his favorite episodes of the series.

twilight-zone-

“The Eye of the Beholder”

Odds are, if you saw 1962′s “Eye of the Beholder” as a child (originally titled “The Private World of Darkness”), it terrified you for weeks. A young woman undergoes surgery to improve her appearance and look like everyone else. She spends most of the episode swathed in head bandages as shadowy doctors and nurses talk around her. When the wraps are removed, the doctors proclaim the procedure a complete failure — but the audience sees the lovely Donna Douglas and wonders how this can be. It all becomes clear when the doctors and nurses are revealed (one of the most memorable Twilight Zone reveals of all time).

The Twilight Zone - Living Doll

“Living Doll”

Given that so many people find dolls unsettling and creepy, it’s a bit of a surprise that it took Twilight Zone five seasons to tell the story of “Living Doll.”

A pre-Kojack Telly Savalas isn’t a fan of his stepdaughter’s new “Talky Tina” doll, especially after she starts telling him she’s going to kill him. What follows is a twisted domestic drama powered by the machinations of an evil toy. It’s a trope that would be revisited in countless horror tales over the years — from Friday the 13th: The Series, to The X-Files, to the Child’s Play movies. Serling and company’s take on the material is still amongst the best.

monsters

“The Monsters are Due on Maple Street”

The best episodes of Twilight Zone were often the ones that buried a moral or bit of social commentary in their sci-fi and horror narratives — and few were more poignant than 1960′s “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” Much like Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, this is another tale that asks the viewers to decide who the real monsters are: the alien invaders or their very own friends and neighbors?

“Monsters” features a smart script that finds the residents of the titular Maple Street in a panic when they conclude an alien invasion is afoot. Rather than team up to combat the terror from beyond the stars, they succumb to paranoia and vigilante-like behavior, leading their invaders to conclude that the best way to destroy mankind is to let us do the deed ourselves.

Rod Serling, who wrote the episode, summed it up best in the closing narration:

“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, and prejudices — to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill. And suspicion can destroy. And a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own – for the children… and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is… that these things cannot be confined… to the Twilight Zone.”

invaders

“The Invaders”

Season two episode “The Invaders” — which finds Agnes Moorehead in her pre-Bewitched days taking on tiny alien beings who accost her at her isolated farmhouse — may not be the deepest episode in the Twilight Zone canon, but it is another of those entries everyone remembers because of the twist ending. Twilight Zone was skilled at many things, but Serling and his team really were masters at finding a way to lull viewers into thinking they knew what was happening only to pull the rug out from under them in the last few minutes of the story.

Walking

“Walking Distance”

People often think of The Twilight Zone as a show mostly interested in horror and sci-fi stories, but Rod Serling was not above telling a more grounded tale — one with a wistful tone tinged with nostalgia. “Walking Distance” is perhaps the greatest example of Serling’s ability to move beyond the confines of traditional genre fare.

A tale about a man revisiting his childhood (literally), “Walking Distance” is memorable for its melancholic tone and (somewhat) unsatisfying conclusion (some viewers are disappointed that there’s no twist or neat and tidy resolution at the end of the show — something that makes it seem for more powerful to us). It’s not the typical Twilight Zone story, but it still stands as one of the best tales in the series’ long run and one of Serling’s finest moments.

Five-Characters-in-Search-of-an-Exit

“Five Characters in Search of an Exit”

It sounds like the start of a bad joke: an army major wakes up in a metal cylinder and meets a hobo, a ballet dancer, a bagpiper, and a clown. Things are never quite as they seem in The Twilight Zone, and there aren’t a lot of laughs to be found in this premise.

Instead, these five characters trapped in a strange tube seek to not only escape, but also figure out where they are. The results are as surprising as you’d expect given the history of the show. This was season three’s Christmas episode, but hardly filled with mirth and good cheer. It did inspire Vincenzo Natali’s cult classic film Cube, and director Lamont Johnson revisited the story in, of all places, a season two episode of Felicity – something so bizarre it could have come directly from The Twilight Zone on its own.