'Astral' was one of the first professional short stories I ever wrote back in 1998, and by professional I mean writing with an aim to having it published somewhere as opposed to just tinkering around at home for fun. I've been interested in 'out of body' experiences for a long time, ever since I saw a programme on the subject when I was in my teens. A number of excellent stories exploring this theme had already been written, but I was desperate to include it in one of my own tales. So to make it a bit different, I combined this with another idea I was developing at the time: that of a race of beings who manipulate and control mankind from behind the scenes, with a power over life and death, thought and desire, nature and reason.

Like so many other people (even the rich and famous, and the supposedly happy) I've had bad patches in my life. There have been times when everything has gone wrong, when I've felt like asking "Why me?" I've also experienced the feeling that certain things have happened because they were meant to be. Call it fate, call it God or whatever. So I guess what I was trying to do with The Controllers was present another possible explanation for this, and for the terrible tragedies we see on the news each day. I suppose it takes the responsibility out of our hands to some extent, but it's also quite frightening when you think about it. Especially when I tell you that I wrote the story in just a few short hours, almost as if someone - or something - was telling me what to put.



From the staggering, and heartening, reaction I've had to 'Astral' it would seem I'm not the only one who thinks like this. Who believes it's all out of our hands. That we're simply living out a story someone else has written. And that a race of unfathomable creatures living in another reality created by a gigantic all-seeing eye (which, incidentally, I dubbed 'The Beholder' in a subsequent adventure) might, just might, be running the show...


Artwork (Conceptual Sketch of the Controllers)

(C) Paul Kane 1998

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