Tag Archives: Agents of change

Hopeless Food

What do people eat on the island? It’s not a great place for growing crops. The cows are small. The chickens are psychopaths and may well turn out to be demons. You can eat the sea life but only if it doesn’t eat you first. There are potatoes, but their eyes glow and they will try and run away. The fungi…. just no…

who knows how your meese will grow?

Sometimes things wash ashore from wrecked ships. You might want to eat those. And weevils are high in protein.

The preferred cooking technique is to cut things up very small, and hope for the best. What the eye doesn’t see, the stomach might or might not grieve over.

One of the key features of Hopeless Maine cookery, is the agent of change. But don’t eat them, the consequences are unpredictable. The wise cook adds agents of change to pretty much anything, and waits around in the hopes of getting something a bit more edible.

Agents of Change

Agents of change are small entities that often crop up in the background in Hopeless images. They are beings who live out their names. They change things. The more of them there are, the more scope there is for change. Their presence on the island is a major reason for the island’s odd flora and fauna.

We’ve not used them prominently in any plot. But, Merry Debonnaire has used them repeatedly – first in this short story https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/the-aunties/

And then again in this excellent tale about what really happened to Annamarie Nightshade https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2020/02/04/annamarie-nightshade-is-going-to-die/

Merry’s concept of the agent’s of change as Aunties was taken up by Keith Errington and turns out to be significant in his Oddatsea novella.

There have to be agents of change in the film, because if you look closely at the opening to The Gathering, there they are in the water with baby swimmy Sal. Helping her change. They are not solely responsible for Salamandra’s watery transformations – she does most of it for herself, but they give her a lot of ideas.

If you would like to help us make agents of change as puppets, we’re crowdfunding the film as we go along and your support would be greatly appreciated.  More of that here – https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/bringing-hopeless-maine-to-the-screen-one-creature-at-a-time/team-creatures/

The Aunties

There are many strange and inexplicable things on the island, most of which you wouldn’t want to meet on a dark road at night, or even in weak sun at noon. There are weird beasties, worrying fogs, and innocuous-looking birds that scream. There are things that have been around as long as the island. And there are also things which have, perhaps, been around longer…

You might know them as the Agents of Change, or the Ocular Ones, or even the Aunties. Personally, they refer to themselves as Mildred, Ludmilla and Gertrude. They spend a lot of time floating around in saltwater, glaring at anything stupid enough to try eating them.

Their story, or at least a version of it, goes something like this: the island appeared. It came from somewhere. Ludmilla says it rose out of the ocean, Gertrude says it emerged from the fog, and Mildred says there was a geological phenomena involving an underwater volcano. All three agreed that it was messy and inconvenient, and for some time (a century or so) the Aunties were quietly outraged and considering how they might get rid of this lurking growly thing.

It was Gertrude who pointed out the persons.

“Well,” said Ludmilla, “I don’t know what they think they’re doing here. It’s not as if they’ll survive.” and she blinked her three eyes furiously.

“I don’t think it’s their fault,” Mildred warbled, “there’s bits of shipwreck everywhere.”

“Well that’s what you get when you sail ships close to mist-covered cursed places,” harrumphed Ludmilla.

“Oh the poor dears, they are trying,” trilled Gertrude, “look, they’re building things.”

“Bet they don’t even last a century,” said Ludmilla, and, after a pause, “That’s no way to go about building a house.”

The Autnies watched. They had a lot of eyes, after all, and the island couldn’t exactly get rid of them (even though it wanted to). It became clear that the island wasn’t letting its people go anywhere either.

If asked who started helping first, the Ocular Ones would shift and point tentacles and say things like: “I can’t very well go letting them eat that muck no can I?” or “Built his house right next to a soft spot in reality; of course I moved the whole thing!” or “Help is a strong word really, I just move resources around.” And if doing all this happened to remind the island who had been there first, well, that was merely a happy coincidence.

They did notice that, after a while, there were rather a lot more sea-beasts, some of whom thought that snacking on the Aunties was a valid life-option. The island, it seemed, was not happy with their meddling. Ludmilla, Gertrude and Mildred knew how to deal with fanged beasties though, and if they meddled a bit more and kept an eye on that nice young fisherman, well, all was well wasn’t it?

And then there was yet another beastie, sinking into the water.This beastie was different. This beastie wanted to change. And change was what the Aunties did.

Mildred made sure the nice fisherman found the now baby and took it home, and the three of them together made sure it would be mostly people-shaped. And then the Ocular Ones settled in for an interesting few years keeping an eye on the newest inhabitant.

“After all,” said Gertrude, “we’re almost like her parents now.”

“Hrrrummph,” said Ludmilla.

“Oh hush,” said Mildred, “we’ll miss all the interesting bits if you don’t quiet down.”

And they turned mobile eyes back towards the island, waiting…

Written by the entirely amazing Meredith Debonnaire. (We are fans of her work, obviously. She writes about Tantamount, which is probably a sister town with Hopeless, Maine. You can also find Angel Evans right about…here)
Art-Tom Brown