Chapter 1

There’s nothing like the smell of two billion meters of historic film mingled with Soltrol cleaning solution in the morning.

Tony Strauss considered himself the luckiest man alive to enter his office to that one-of-a-kind aroma each day for the past thirty-two years.

As the curator of the newly opened UCLA Film and Television archive in Valencia, a monumental complex six years in construction, he personally oversaw the cataloguing, storage, preservation and restoration of over 220,000 film and television reels, and the 27 million feet of newsreel footage, spanning over one hundred years. He presided over one of the largest archives of media in the world, second only to the Library of Congress.

Most would consider Strauss’s daily routine tedious beyond all reason, but to him, each repetitive hour restoring precious frames of a forgotten classic might as well have been a day at the carnival.

An added bonus: he could work all day in sweatpants and an old t-shirt. With his unkempt graying-black hair, glasses and pudgy frame, he looked like a certain famous director. “You’re an old-school Peter Jackson!” people would exclaim. Strauss would shake his head, thinking he looked more like another director who didn’t make as many talk show appearances.

He lived for the moments each week when a lost reel of footage found in a dusty attic, or unearthed in a studio warehouse, showed up in his mailbox. Each delivery held a potential holy grail.

Thousands of curious packages had come to him over the years, offering a tantalizing prize inside like little Cracker Jack boxes, or sometimes that rare pot of gold. But nothing could have prepared him for the package that had arrived this morning.

The envelope was rectangular and black, except for the thin white scribble of the archive’s address and the sender’s name. When he read the name of the sender, his hands began trembling.

“This can’t be,” he said.

Bold instructions on the front read:

The day had arrived. He slipped on a pair of rubber gloves and delicately unclasped the large envelope, painstakingly unsticking the edges.
He removed the contents, then ran to the phone.

“Hello, Professor, this is Tony Strauss. I’m sorry to call you so early, but just like you predicted, something strange has arrived. Yes, I know it’s five in the morning, but I didn’t think it could wait. You see, it’s impossible that we could have received a package from this person, because.... Professor, the sender has been dead for more than fifteen years.”

As Tony spoke the sender’s name, he heard a thud as if the phone had been dropped to the floor.

After a moment, the professor said, “I’m on the way. Tell no one else of this.”

The package had been sent by Stanley Kubrick.


Read the rest when the book comes out September 26, 2016!


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Published on July 24, 2016 01:08 • 609 views • Tags: awesome, film, film-buff, game, geek, geeky, kubrick, movies, nerd, nerdy, puzzles, ready-player-one

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