“The Grubert Effect” landed in my inbox with a suction-y thud, its capsule having traversed the pneumatic tube leading from the other end of this government science complex to my little corner lab, along with a Teletyped missive explaining some of the relevant details that I’ll GET TO SHORTLY, keep your pants on.
For some reason arriving on Ampex 2-inch helical scan tape stock, the video proved impossible to play on my more modern equipment, so I had to dig around the A/V closet before I found a working video tape player from the 1960s that could do the trick.
As I flicked off the lights and settled behind my desk to watch the film, my eyes grew wide as the images unfolded before me. I became more and more terrified as creatures from other planets and strange spacecraft filled my vision. This is what we’re up against.
I was barely familiar with the Royal Arctic Institute* — I just knew they were conducting experiments in the north — but their name had been whispered reverently in the halls, and this had the all the hallmarks of an RAI surveillance film.**
The soundtrack to this film, a propulsive concoction of guitar, bass, and drums that braked at the right moments and careened most of the rest of the time, lent the visuals a sense of inevitability, as if they had been destined to happen.
I flicked the lights back on and read the Teletype:
What the … is this a press release for a music video? Is someone over in aeronautics messing with me?
** The film, direction credited to one John Newcomer, was edited together from a bunch of different sources, highlighting the widespread nature of the threat.