The sky is your canvas, and on a clear day, a clean cerulean slate with which to work. Every decision affects the composition of your masterpiece: a valley cut by a river, sandwiched between strip-mined hills. Smokestacks should be spread apart for maximum coverage and staggered, allowing the roiling gray clouds, each on a unique trajectory and column of air, to facilitate collisions in unexpected ways, whipping up a black dragon to swallow the sky, the setting sun an opaque disk in its throat, its tail reaching beyond the horizon carried by a breeze. This allows soot, the moss of progress, to gather from ashen rain on the leeward sides of the stacks.
Your complex must have access to a body of water, preferably a river, one with a ponderous current, almost stagnant, not diluting but churning your chemical soup, allowing it to seep into the water table, perhaps even leaving ochreous rings in the drinking water tanks. Shimmering eddies of heavy metals swirl along the shore, the stain glass on your cathedral to production, fish scales, metallic green and orange, the colors of the war machine.
Your plant must also find itself in calm, settling air, a valley perhaps where wind will not dissipate so quickly your contribution to the sky. Fog and mist rising from the warm water, air heavy with vapor and smoke, must meet in the middle, must join and fuse as though your valley cups in its hands, the fruits of production…
One for all, and ALL for Industry! In Jonesbridge, they have perfected the art of pollution. Take a deep cleansing breath of sulfur dioxide, taste the iron. Wander through the soot-cloaked streets of brick, once red, as the gargoyles of Industry peer over the factory roofs. Stroll the alleyways of war wreckage in the salvage pit where you might find a relic of the Old Age and a hint to the magic their technology wielded, and if the sky clears long enough to see the Great Gorge, stare into the horizon dreaming of the world beyond.
While the magazine is in hiatus (we would never rule out a comeback) I wanted to give a Camera Crew update. In this case M.E. Parker’s novel Jonesbridge: Echoes of Hinterland was released in July.