The Psychedelic Journal was a small press anthology of short sci-fi stories put together by small press titan Owen Watts. Every story is different, but many follow a similar pattern to the ‘Future Shocks’ found in 2000AD, with a twist at the end of the story. A number of incredible artists and titans of the small press scene have contributed work to the anthology, and I have felt very privileged to have my work presented alongside theirs.
I contributed stories to issues #1, #2, #3 and #6 of the anthology with artists Neil McClements (issues #1 and #2), Nich Angell (issue #3) and Daniel Bell (issue #6). I later contributed lettering to an issue of the Psychedelic Journal which centred around wizards and magic, lettering a number of stories.
Issue #1: Whiskey and Wormholes
This story seeks to marry a gritty, film noir detective story with time-travelling science fiction; a Time Detective named Brad Spencer, based in Los Angeles, is called in to investigate the mysterious appearance of a woman’s corpse in the street, dressed in futuristic dress. He tracks the killer to one of Jupiter’s moons and brings him to justice. The story came together very quickly- I had a strong idea of what I wanted to do, and it didn’t take too long to pull it together. Aside- writing film noir monologues is my favourite thing in the world.
Issue #2: The Royal Chronometrical Society
For this story, I wanted to do something more ‘steampunk’ and decided to focus on the adventures of the “Royal Chronometrical Society”, an organisation in an alternate universe version of London which seeks to preserve mankind’s survival by manipulating events in the timestream. However, when the Core goes into meltdown, the leader of the department (a mysterious figure whose identity is not revealed until the final panel) seeks to fix it himself and is thrown through time by the resulting feedback.
Issue #3: The Undying City
In the city of Xendivia, people use devices called ‘time pods’ to stay eternally young. Miguel, the dim-witted brother of the no-nonsense Ramona, goes back into a pod to rejuvenate himself and brings back a young man called Marcus, the inventor of the time pods, so he can see how his invention is being used. The shock of seeing what they have become gives Marcus a heart attack, and the resulting strain is too much – the space-time continuum is shattered and Xendivia is ripped out of time, left to float forever in the void.
Issue #6: One of the Few
A wormhole opened above the Earth decades ago, and humanity has been living under it’s oppressive shadow ever since. Visitors from the future, who left Earth on the seed ships centuries prior, come through the portal and volunteer to take a few of the population through to safety. Naira is determined to make it through, despite her cells having been degraded from a lifetime’s exposure to the wormhole – when she is refused entry she doesn’t listen, forcing her way past the guards and stealing a ship (along with her friend Brady) to fly up to the platform leading into the wormhole. Once through, she discovers the horrible truth – there was no salvation waiting for them. The visitors had been harvesting the people they led through the portal for fuel.