The first appearance of the frogs is chronologically their last. The toad king appears with a gathering of frogs in outer space. How did they get on that
rose from beneath when the ground came to an end beneath the gun-wielding bikini city. Also disorienting is the popular “Santa Lumberjack Astronaut with Baby Strapped To Chest” since he is quite prominent yet up-side down relative to the viewer (though it is oft hung the other way around in some mountings). Nonetheless, the escape ship implies both the gravitational down and the narrative past.
The Bidirectional Flow of Time
The astronauts have had their hay-day. As the frogs escape to the heavens, the human ships are struck with meteors; there’s even a space shuttle collision. Here you can see the comical wing walker guiding them to a bump:
We see the ocean crashed human ship, half-submerged as astronauts scramble to get their beer keg onto the lifeboats. A little later we stumble upon darker images: injured and bleeding astronauts floating down a mysterious river in an alien land. The cosmonauts find themselves heavy as they must conquer wild beasts such as giant tortoises to fend off enemies. The occasional corpses littered along the shoreline, trash-can fires and suicide scenes reveal their demise. The space pool parties with Space Shuttlecocks and poker games are long gone. This is the dawn of the amphibian age. The green beings charge forward in the train (upward), guided by the toad engineer pointing
the way forward. Behind the engineer two toiling frogs shovel coal from the coal car. We see the lower caste’s swimming pool, packed like sardines but happy, surrounded by barbed wire followed by the rich frog’s watering hole replete with diving board and pool-side service. A frog clutches his head in despair, sitting on a chaise lounge; there’s a gun on the table implying some sort of murder. The viewer comes to the dining car followed by the busy frog-chefs. In the dining car there is a lone astronaut with a TNT bomb. Maybe we’ll come back to this. From the kitchen car to the food processing and slaughter cars packed full
of animals in cardboard boxes, we continue down the bizarre train, closer to the origins of the frog people. We see the cars devoted to genetic engineering: from the dev ops team in the server room to the room full of “open floorplan” developers sipping coffee to the tanks of pig fetuses undergoing the experiments. As justification, propaganda of the time exclaimed, “WE [frogs] WILL BREATHE EMPTY SPACE. LESS THAN ONE HYDROGEN ATOM PER CUBIC METER WILL SUSTAIN US [frogs]. FUNDED, BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. NO QUESTION ABOUT IT! TO OUTER SPACE AND BEYOND!” and henceforth, the frog civilization vetted their survival on the impossible.
Pivotal MomentsWe eventually come across the securely guarded rocketry train cars. Later, on page 797, a key moment in frog history is revealed: a professor points at a diagram of the “escape plan” in front of students. Is it really foreshadowing since we are told the story in reverse? Now the plot has a duration spanning over 400 pages. The question then arises, is this narrative pacing acceptable? Is it appropriate
for the ForeverScape? A spoiler warning here: there is a plan (in several hundred pages) to illustrate the ancient Mayan frogs carving into stone the prophecy of the sky falling and the escape into space. Or, should this prophesy not occur for a thousand pages? As of the last days of 2014, it is unknown yet the precise mechanics of time. All we know is that it is fluid like water, replete with counter currents. It takes stepping outside of one’s journey to recognize the subtle changes. Lately the question of “what is a chapter?” looms in the back of our minds as the year comes to an end. This holiday vacation I’ve watched a lot of television series, maybe the time format shall fit that of a year being a
A year of drawings as a season. I like that. Delay the release by one year… The train continues on for now. Bye, 2014!