Unspooled

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Unspooled
A work by Reginald Routhwick
Type Book series
Topics Caribbean, Anthro characters, Lost films, Balloon travel, Homelessness, Vagrancy, Charity, Centenarians, Village life, Summer vacation, Adventure, Arts, Stage, Filmmaking, Animation, Music, Concerts, Africa, North America, 2010s
Setting(s) Canada, Dominica, Florida, Guadeloupe, Madagascar, Marie-Galante, Panama City, Florida, Roseau, Saint Lucia, Stockfarm, Toronto, United States, Marigot, Martinique, Grenada, Carriacou, Rwanda
In development since Mid-February 2012
Portal(s) Adanson Jukebox, The Dixwell Dossier
Some parts of this listing may not be officially confirmed or accurate/up to date, and will be rectified upon future research and announcements.

Unspooled (also known as The Dixwell Saga; formerly codenamed Marigot Magic) is a planned book series consisting of six main volumes and several side stories. Its main characters are two Guadeloupe raccoon cousins, Samson and Alfred Dixwell, who are both citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica and whose now-deceased relative, Agatha, once appeared in an early colour epic film from 1931 called Ironstone.

Development

Unspooled has its genesis in a 2012 iteration, which went by the code name of Marigot Magic and competed during that year's NaNoWriMo, "winning" with an official 105,312-word count. It was accompanied by a 429-track-long soundtrack on the now-closed music streaming site Grooveshark, whose contents now reside in author Reginald Routhwick's Box.com archives. A wiki on the now-dormant wiki farm Referata, The Dixwell Dossier, was launched on November 29, 2012, but soon became an experimental dumping ground at best several years on.

The first mention of the two proposals vying for his NaNoWriMo slot was on a March 6, 2012 DeviantArt.com journal entitled "Premises, premises, premises."

  • A PressDisplay clipping I fetched from the pages of Ireland's Sunday Independent, February 26th, reported that treasure worth millions is waiting to be salvaged off the Irish coast. This premise is a sure bet because: 1) The SS Mantola, one of the ships mentioned, contains more than US$18 million of silver bullion within its bulk. And 2) Under local law, shipwrecks over 100 years old are automatically declared national monuments. Enjoin the two factoids, replace the Mantola with a fictional counterpart, and you have the makings of a good pursuit story. Can't wait to see where that goes!
  • And as I wind down for the night, I'm considering an ambitious, personal endeavour along the lines of The Year in San Fernando meets Maple Town (thank you, furry freaks!), with a throwback to the works of Canada's NFB. With so many memories of vacations in Marigot, Dominica floating back to me (my grandparents lived there once), this could become a potential smash on Amazon's KDP Select program. (I could give it a go on NaNoWriMo and continue from here.) Since the middle of last month (when I started to consider this), no clear storyline as yet...but you never know. (Just so you know, San Fernando was written back in the 1960s by Trinidad's Michael Anthony; the story I am envisioning largely takes place in Marigot.)

The SS Mantola premise gave way to the "Suppowell" arc he started exploring three months in advance of NaNoWriMo 2012.

At one point, Routhwick planned to call the series Emancipated Minors (as a reference in the Wikipedia article for Tiffany, one of many dozen artists featured in the Grooveshark lineup), but dropped the idea because the term did not reflect Samson's behaviour accurately. By late October 2014, the project rebranded under its current name, thanks to the concerns of user "Kitten" on the KBoards e-book forum who pointed out the former title's similarities to Possum Magic, a 1983 Australian children's picture book.[1]

In August 2012, early on in development, an Avenue running across Hamden and New Haven, Connecticut gave the Dixwell raccoons their surname. This is also the thoroughfare on which Hamden's Public Library stands; Routhwick went there for a couple of the project's earliest research drives.

In Marigot Magic's original NaNoWriMo phase, the plot dealt with Samson's yearning to meet his uncle Matthew in Marie-Galante, a biscuit-shaped island between Guadeloupe's mainland and Dominica's northeast, while attempting to receive Ironstone on his home turf from a group of bear cubs who claimed to have the footage. Meanwhile, Matthew and his adopted son--both from Ontario, Canada--were engaged in making their long-planned dream movie in Marie-Galante, during which shoot the uncle torn between two girlfriends--Bethel in his home city of Toronto, and Malaika in the French island. Two separate volumes were mulled upon--one from Samson's point of view, the other from Matthew's.

Over time, successor Unspooled underwent occasional retools as new ideas and feedback from social/forum contacts called for it. In one of them, Samson (or Sam for short) travelled to Madagascar on balloon to get Ironstone back to his homeland, while stowing away in a hunger-relief program. Sometime after this attempt was scrapped, Routhwick decided to develop five prequels alongside the Core Story, which still involved Sam journeying to Madagascar for the lost film.

Among Unspooled's perennial influences are Toei Animation's Maple Town/Palm Town (1986-1987) and Illumination's Sing (2016), both featuring anthropomorphic characters similar to those in the Dixwell universe.

Story details

The first prequel, currently in the works as of December 2021, began development ca. 2016-2017. In this installment, Sam's cousin Alfred teams up with Maurice Pixote Howard, a once-homeless Hispaniolan solenodon, and his 29 vagrant friends on a cruise that takes them from Roseau, Dominica to Martinique, Saint Lucia, and the Grenadine island of Carriacou during summer 2010. Both Alfred and Maurice are connected to Agatha, the eleventy-year-old raccoon socialite whose birthday feast they are all attending; she is the raccoon's great-grandrelative and the solenodon's former mentor. Along the way, they get caught up in Carriacou's annual regatta.

Prequel #2, the first installment with Sam as a lead character, is a side story revisiting ideas from the 2012 sessions. For Sam, who is on his first summer vacation in Marigot, plans to meet Matthew and son in Marie-Galante are easy enough--but getting there without a French visa (and even more so, directly without hopping to Guadeloupe itself) is even harder. Still, it doesn't hurt to try--thanks to a bear friend and a Chuck Noland raft on his side.

Prequels #3 to #5 were originally assigned the volume numbers 2, 3, and 4 in the mid-2010s; nothing ultimately came of the original fifth prequel.

  • In #3, a vulpine schoolmarm named Vivian, her 29 students, and her solenodon friend Glenda--all from Saint-Sauveur, Québec--travel to Dominica in September 2010 after the fox's école defaults on its taxes and gets demolished to make way for a parking lot. In the Nature Island, Vivian's team visits her old Girl Scout friends--and Alfred, now having his turn in Marigot thanks to a school exchange. Vivian and Glenda were inspired by Mrs. Jenkins and her substitute, Mrs. Appleberry,[N 1] from the PBS Kids/Nelvana series Timothy Goes to School, and stemmed from an abandoned attempt by Routhwick to license the original Rosemary Wells forebears for this volume.
  • Disgruntled by one of the earliest winters his state has ever received, a Midwest expatriate decides to head back home to Dominica in #4, or the "Christmas special". But in the 29 years since he left for salary, a lot of things have changed in Marigot--even the owners of the Floribonde residence where he once settled in. This sketch was suggested in late 2018 by an HBO Family airing of DreamWorks' Saving Christmas (2004).
  • The fifth and final prequel in the current Unspooled roadmap features a Rwandan rabbit whom law authorities had declared missing for 33 years until a series of low-profile tweets led to her reappearance during Easter 2012. This plotline was based on the true story of Marjorie "Christy" Luna, a Florida youth from the early 1980s whose case remains unsolved in the real world.

The sixth and final volume, internally dubbed the "Core Story", is set during summer 2011. Sam, 8 1/2 years of age, sets off on a balloon ride from Dominica to Madagascar on a mission to repatriate Ironstone from its current owner, a quokka by the nickname of Mighty Mac. As the author once quipped on Google+, quokkas always give a smile--while Mac always tries his best to frown. Along the way, Sam meets a rodent hybrid named Nemona, who dresses like a French maid and attracts Sam's attention, and a sultry fox cub who stand in the raccoon's way of getting Dominica's first film back.

Characters

  • Samson Dixwell, Guadeloupe raccoon
  • Alfred Dixwell, Guadeloupe raccoon and cousin to Sam
  • Linda, mouse; girlfriend to Alfred, and later Sam
  • Danny Besson, cocker spaniel; boyfriend to Sam and Alfred
  • Maurice Pixote Howard, Hispaniolan solenodon
  • Samantha, Eastern quoll; mother of six, and Maurice's friend
  • In Carriacou:
    • Agatha Dixwell, Guadeloupe raccoon; deceased centenarian
  • In Québec:
    • Vivian, fox; schoolmarm
    • Glenda, Hispaniolan solenodon; Vivian's friend
  • At Marigot:
    • Violet Radžiūnas, ring-tailed cat and girlfriend to Sam and Alfred
    • Andrew Wright, mouse; fledgling author
    • Ibrahim Haider Karimi, squirrel; Muslim
    • Seán Murphy, otter; agriculturist of Irish ancestry
  • In Marie-Galante:
    • Matthew Dixwell, Guadeloupe raccoon; filmmaker from Toronto
    • Nathaniel Dixwell, Bahamian raccoon; Matthew's apprentice and adopted son from Thunder Bay
  • In Madagascar:
    • Mighty Mac, quokka; antagonist of Volume 6
    • Nomena, rodent hybrid

Side efforts

Marigot Notebook

Early on during his Google+ tenure, Routhwick originally intended to make "#WhatLiesAground" the making-of diary for his then-upcoming NaNoWriMo campaign. "Aground" was launched on June 28, 2012. The name refers to a now-abandoned storyline involving a team of mice from Castle Bruce, Dominica journeying to the wreck of the SS American Star in the Canary Islands' Fuerteventura; the project with Sam the raccoon was slated for 2013. After a soundtrack sampler for this "Suppowell" arc barely lived up to expectations, what became Marigot Magic took precedence by August 2012.

While "Aground" itself quickly branched out into other subjects over time (thus making it an Artifact Title twice over), Routhwick tagged occasional posts about the anthro tale with the title hashtag plus "#NaNoWriMo (Marigot Magic)".[N 2] In late 2015, these posts gave way to the "Marigot Notebook", a G+ Collection established a while after the service introduced that feature. Over 400 entries graced the Notebook by the time Routhwick left G+ for his new host, Steemit, in February 2019; G+ would itself close its doors to the public on April 4. (A rebranded version, Google Currents, took its place in July 2020.) The Notebook continued infrequently on Steemit until late January 2020, and has since moved to a forked version called Hive. (The Steemit entries were composed and published on the Partiko app; nearly all of the Hive-based material is sent from Ecency, formerly eSteem.)

Adanson Jukebox

Since July 11, 2015, music-related activity from the Dixwell characters--particularly the Marigot elite--has been tracked on Routhwick's Last.fm account, covering:

  • Their 2015 summer get-togethers at Marigot's Adanson Manse (from which the feature gets its name), before Tropical Storm Erika prematurely put an end to them
  • re.BUILD, a global series of charity concerts held to benefit disaster recovery efforts, victims of terrorism, and digital rights. The vast majority took place during Christmas 2015 and early 2016, with future legs occurring sporadically until January 25, 2020.
  • The Easter Balls of 2016 and 2017, also at Adanson's
  • Comeback gigs in November 2018 and January-March 2019
  • Two summer get-togethers and a Fourth of July Gala in July-August 2019, under new management. (The first event and the Gala were remounted due to communication errors.)
  • A series of eight Music Time revues--one-night editions of their traditional weekend flings--in September and October 2019
  • A New Year's party reuniting the old and new Adanson stalwarts during February and early March 2020, plus edition #9 of Music Time--both at the Celebration Hall in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
  • Traditionally animated visual-album showcases from Kino Lorber Panama City (KLPC), and ad hoc joint venture among the Adanson Trust, Autrison Records (their vinyl-record clients), Kino International (Kino Lorber's parent company), and various other interests. These have become the de facto replacements for the Nature Islanders' get-togethers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Revolution: An Animated Fourth of July (August 8, 2020; based on the 2019 Gala)
    • Reflections, an epic series consisting of 6-8 movements per volume, slated for a 26-volume first season (August 15, 2020-present)

Earlier on, the Jukebox logs intermingled with various tests and off-session filler its maintainer engaged in; most of these spins either came from various streaming services or his local-storage collection. The likes of these disappeared by July 2019 as Routhwick decided to focus exclusively on the Adanson activity.

Tidbits

  • Routhwick has declared Sam the merchandising mascot of the Unspooled series.
  • It is not uncommon for the creator to write "In the Dixwell universe..." when referring to Unspooled on social outlets.

Notes

  1. Absent any official statement on the matter, Appleberry is thrown into the same species debate as Timothy's fellow classmate Fritz, who has been variously referred to as a skunk and a badger.
  2. Sometimes "(Easter)" if referring to a proposed Marigot side story set in Mauritius, which eventually fell by the wayside.

References

  1. Routhwick (October 23, 2014). "MARIGOT MAGIC - Storyline Critique Request (Urgent)". KBoards. VerticalScope. Retrieved on July 27, 2021.

External links