Perfecting the Space Opera — In Keeping Secrets

Book Keeper's Library

You are walking a familiar path, each step like an occurrence of deja vu. You’ve been down this hallway before, many times. You’ve stopped by his door more times than you care to count. You’ve seen many of the old man’s antics, or the ground zero of his desk, or just him sitting quietly scribbling away at something — all framed through the door to his library. Last week was the first time you had actually seen him outside of his room. This week is the first time he’s come to meet you.

You turn the corner and expect to begin the same routine of walking, stopping, listening for commotion coming from the old man’s room, and continuing towards his door. But today you are stopped. As soon as you round the corner, Abraheim is there to greet you.

“I just couldn’t wait. Too antsy,” he says as he begins to rub his hands together. “We have more to talk about today. And I don’t want to turn you away, but if you haven’t looked into the story that we are discussing, the Amory Wars, and you don’t want something spoiled, then it might be best we wait until later. Really, I won’t be offended. Otherwise, let’s get started as we walk back to my library. And I do regret to inform you that you will not be able to come in today. I have business I must attend to, but I wanted to make sure I caught you before you came by and saw that I wasn’t there. I apologize if this throws a kink in your plans; but nonetheless, let us begin.”

The two of you start walking down the hallway.

“So, when we left off, I told you that Coheed was faced with an ultimatum, and that this sets up the rest of the story. In order for us to discuss the next album, the next part of the story, I have to reveal some things to you. If you remember last week I told you that Coheed and Cambria were actually IRO Bots with special powers and abilities. They hed their memories erased and knowledge of their powers and past lives were buried. Once we get farther into the story of the Second Stage Turbine Blade, Coheed and Cambria’s powers emerge as they are forced into the ultimatum given by General Mayo. As they become familiar with their powers, and try to come to grips with the events that had transpired at the beginning of the album and the comics, they begin their quest to bring justice to those responsible with creating the chaos that led to the death of their children.”

“This is where the story begins to evolve though, despite the name of the band, the characters Coheed and Cambria are really only in two albums, Second Stage, and Year of the Black Rainbow, which is a prequel album that explains their backstory. They do have a much larger role in the comics, but there is something important that I left out. Not all of the children were killed. One, Claudio Kilgannon, was not present when the death of the smaller children occur. After Second Stage, the albums tend to focus more on Claudio than they do Coheed and Cambria. If you read the comics, you’ll understand why.”

“In Second Stage, Claudio discovers the fate of his siblings. He discovers that he has certain powers, like becoming intangible, and ultimately goes off on his own, seeking refuge on other planets in Heaven’s Fence. The third studio album, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, begins ten years after the last events of the Second Stage Turbine Blade. Claudio has been holding up on a planet on the outskirt of Heaven’s Fence. He has kept his powers hidden, but is discovered by a being named Ambellina. Ambelina is an outcast of the Prise, an ‘angelic’ race in the Amory Wars story. She informs Claudio that he is a prophesied entity known as “The Crowing” and is meant to destroy the Universe.”

At this point, you finally reach the door to Abraheim’s library. His desk hasn’t seemed to change much. It still has the stack of comics and albums that have been there for a couple of weeks now.

“And that is as much as I can tell you without spoiling some excellent characters and plot. As with Second Stage, the comics for In Keeping Secrets expand on the story much more than the album, and incorporates other characters that don’t show up anywhere in the music. But it is this album that makes me love the story. Let me explain …”

“Claudio is obviously the main protagonist of this story, but he comes to know that he is actually the one who will destroy the universe. So then, do we actually call him the ‘hero?’  It’s a twist, a situation that forces the listener or the reader to question who they are rooting for. But this is very much in Claudio Sanchez’s style. Sanchez has also written another comic series called Translucid that makes the reader question the role of heroes and villains in a story. It is my opinion that this story is ultimately in the vein of stories like The Dark Night, and I Am Legend — the book, not the movie.”

“While having this conundrum as the driving force behind the plot, the story also has hallmarks of any good sci-fi story. There is an oppressive militaristic force, and a resistance movement going against it. Androids, robots, mobile fortresses, spaceships with awesome names, and yes … even love interests.”

“As with last week, if we are to go further in discussing this story, then you should probably listen to the albums, or check out the comics. They are quick reads. Next week we will talk about the two Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV albums. But for now, I must get back to work. I hope you understand.”

Abraheim steps into his library, turns to you and gives a short little bow.

“Until next time, my friend.”