Plastic Man, You're the Devil

When we saw this lil Blacktron base by Chiefrocker 9000, dear readers, we experienced a sensation, not unlike Proust and his madeleines, in which there was an evocation, of our memories! All of our present and previous thoughts on botany, music, etymology, fashionable parties we attended, and old boyfriends girlfriends came rushing, back into our mind!

Though since this is a legos blog and not a French turn-of-the-century semi-closeted semi-autobiography we shall try to restrain ourselves, and stick to the topic instead of effusively bloviating for three thousand or so pages.

So! We were reminded, dear readers, of a bit of lego convention history: the Blacktron Intelligence Agency.

What a fantastic old history this beast has! We remember it growing every year at conventions, from a modest half-table affair to eventually becoming a gargantuan display, making its usual neighbor the Moonbase look pitiful compared to its great black towers and monorail and general bulk. We remember sort of becoming annoyed with it by degrees, given that in its Elvis-like later years it became more an exercise in decadent spending than interesting technique.

Though now that it's not at conventions, we can better appreciate this dissipated monster of a moc: the regularity and size brings to mind the sorts of mundane-gothic horror of JG Ballard, or Kafka's short story "A Message from the Emperor": everyday surroundings become an inescapable labyrinth.

What horrible senses of foreboding the data-entry Blacktron spy clerks and Blacktron middle manager spies must feel at the beginning of every workday, riding the lunar monorail to the dark side of the alien moon, watching the black towers and yellow lighted windows rise up over the horizon every zulu morning? What middle-class concerns of space-families and space-mortgages make these Blacktron worker drones feel trapped in a spy agency job, trading away half their lives for a space-American Dream that leaves them dissatisfied?

Such are the mundane horrors of life that lead men to go postal, or pitch themselves out the nearest airlock, or worse: wear sweatpants in public. This feeling, this vague dark sense of foreboding, must be the true intent of the BIA; you can call it vulgar ostentation, but we here at Twee Affect truly "get" it, via artistic interpretation.

Chiefrocker9000's lil Blacktron base, though it has also gone through several versions, is not quite up to that grand byzantine size, but it is an interesting take on the idea: the somewhat jumbled-looking bits of exposed machinery look closer to the product of modern space programs than the sleek lines of seventies scifi concept art, and the hoses and dino tails give it a Black Fantasy-inflected feel.

Rather, it seems like this base and the BIA are two divergent species that share a common ancestor: the 6987 Message Intercept Base. We can imagine each base, in its funguslike growth, adapting itself to its surroundings: the Chiefrocker base may have emphasized and developed new special antennae to cut through the increased signal noise of a twin-star solar system; the BIA may have grown to its forest-like vastness as a result of being an information hub centrally located in the galactic arm, with less reason to keep a low profile than its smaller outposts.

Is the element of horror intrinsic to the Blacktron theme? Is it in the nature of Blacktron to grow organically, like a fungus on the crotch of the universe? Is Blacktron "in style" again? We here at Twee Affect won't deign to tell our dear readers what to do with the theme, but we will be keeping an eye out!