The collected short fiction of Alberta Stone, Minerva's best-loved wit, is ever-popular due to its intelligent insight, sophisticated humor and cut-glass prose.
Currently running on Screen Mystery, this long and complex psychological horror serial is notable for uniting several of the genre's top names. Written by horror novelist and screenwriter Sandrine Matthieu, it is directed by cinéaste-turned-screen-director Tung Wing, and stars his preferred leading lady from his ciné days, Amanda Dimaano. A tense and bloody serial killer tale which relies as much on tight plotting as gore, it's a big hit.
Known as the Fiver, the East-23 district of Minerva City is the city's most densely populated and poorest area. Many of Minerva's most beloved entertainers have come from E-23, including the legendary Art Tolliver, and it is the spiritual home of crash music, with its largest school - Toomie Memorial Upper School - having bred many of the genre's star musicians. However, it is also closely associated with the Dome's only known serial killer, who lived and committed his crimes in the Fiver, and in recent years poverty and violence in and around the district have been on the increase.
Three years after the success of The City Across the Bay, author Kelly Sturges bowed to the demands of her young readership and produced a shorter version written for younger children to read on their own, told in simpler and more direct language and published in a large, illustrated format. Both versions have proved enduring, with many if not most of the Dome's children owning picturebook, novel and a few volumes of the collected comics to boot.
A popular and vastly influential artist who composed, played and sang the majority of her own work, Fairweather was one of the prime movers in what became the Rhythm 2 genre. A protégé of veteran dance producer Orange Murphy, she made two albums and an EP prior to her tragic death at the age of twenty-one.
Real name: Ceridwen Massey (M183 - 204)
Recordings: Not Far From Earth (M201), The Short & Sweet Songs EP (M203), Take Some (M204) Some More (M210, posthumous compilation).
This cavernous former library at the edge of the Bazaar, once big on the "Dance-Dance" scene and later an after-hours haunt for musos, was closed for two years after the death of the owner. It's now reopened with a slick new image, attracting an unusual mix of old-time regulars and celebs from minor to massive.
One of the four Heavenly Kings of Minervan Pop, his reputation perhaps rests more on his looks than on his voice, and he's often portrayed as the clean-cut boy-next-door among his Heavenly peers in spite of his high-profile romances. Approachable and down-to-earth, Leo is also known for his sense of humour and laidback attitude.
Recent releases include the single "The Breaking of My Heart", an Art Tolliver cover, and he's also currently appearing as a guest star in screen series Forensic Squad.
The Gastrons tower over Minerva City's alternative music scene, with fans from all genres and walks of life. Notorious on and offstage for their strange behavior and quirky talents, this seven-piece band blend a divergent set of influences to create a truly unique sound. The band own the Rosewood Lounge, and lead vocalist and founder Keith Noise is actively pursuing a career in fine arts, but nothing has been heard from the band itself in quite some time now…
Personnel: Keith Noise (vocals), Marlon Dupont (drums, percussion), Lenny Gomez (keyboards & vocals) Paz Iqbal (bass & percussion), Dan Choi (horns & keyboards), Ed Skeets (guitar & horns), King Nibs (guitar).
Albums: Space Station Zebra (M201), album name here (M202), On the Underpants (M206)
The chief rival of fast-food king Fred J. Crumble, the Guru Burgers corporation has opened outlets in thirty city districts so far. Choosing plastic hip over plastic cheerful, and charging slightly more for a slightly larger variety of functional food and drink, it has managed to carve itself a niche in the public's eating habits, but Guru Burgers is still seen as an alternative to hawkers and street vendors, as opposed to a real rival to Crumble's.
This relatively small record label has been extremely influential since it was founded in M198 by dance music gurus Orange Murphy and Ray Kinescope, initially as an outlet for their less commercial work. Early releases included A compilation entitled Rhythm, but it was the follow-up, Rhythm 2, which coined the name of an emerging genre, and introduced the Dome to artists including Fairweather, Briony Chellaston and Ando. With these artists and several second-wave R2 stars on their roster, the continued success of Hamish seems assured.
The Four Heavenly Kings of Minervan Pop are each in and out of the number one spot regularly, and any one of them may be the top-selling solo artist under the Dome at any given moment. They all rose swiftly to popularity between the Summer of M204 and M205, when they acquired their collective sobriquet. All four are equally famous for their looks as their music, but each has a different aspect of the pop-idol image which is their own. Jacky Lau is a flamboyant showman, rakishly good looking with a bad-boy reputation to match, and his non-stop string of hits has made him arguably the most popular of the four. Sandy Singh, with his flowing locks and powerful voice, is often cited as being the best singer, however, while baby-faced Leo Fine is the choice pinup of the Dome's schoolgirls. Ricky Khan is famous for his suave image and his ballads, and is known to be romantic and sensitive.
A big star twenty years ago, his career peaked in about M190 with the classic album I Like It! His robust vocals, rugged looks and energetic songs have led to him being considered a precursor to the crash sound, but sadly he hasn't had a record deal in ten years, and Jimmy is reduced to topping the bill at medium-sized variety theatres for less than glamorous pay. He still has many devoted fans, but to keep them happy he must work an exhausting live schedule while he plans his comeback…
A prolific writer of accesible and popular works on Minervan history and the era of planetary migration, Itski is best remembered for his only work in comics form - the classic romance serial Forever Human. Itski began as a college lecturer and writer whose drawings were at first only a hobby. However, when his first book on Minervan history became popular, he decided to illustrate the next himself and was soon so much in demand that he left his post as a history lecturer to divide his time between writing, illustration and his new project, a comic series combining his historical interests with his favorite entertainment - love stories. He died at the age of ninety just a month after completing Forever Human.
Composer, and co-writer with lyricist and producer Melody Nelson, with whom he recently penned the hit "Hot Spot", performed by Melody Nelson with Amy, which took the number one spot in the singles chart.
This Heavenly King of Pop is known as the Dome's suavest smoothie, a romantic balladeer whose dark good looks are complemented by his romantic outlook. Always polite and gentlemanly, Ricky has also had considerable success playing Screen detective Dirk Derwent.
Recent hits include his duet with Janie Yip on Art Tolliver classic "Teardrop Kisses".
In the M180s and 190s, Ray and his frequent collaborator Orange Murphy were the kings of the "dance-dance" movement, setting the dome on fire with disc after disc of bouncy, bubbly music. Later, as they moved into more experimental territory, Ray and Orange founded the influential Hamish Records, initially releasing their own wor but quickly contacting and releasing artists from the emerging Rhythm 2 scene. Ray's music has long since taken an inward-looking turn, as he explores polyrhythms and natural sounds far too deeply for most people's taste!
The last Ray Kinescope/Orange Murphy album was Matchless in M205, while Ray's new solo album Five Elements was released in M210.