"Major City After Dark" began its life as a distraction from what I was trying to accomplish. I had every intention of putting together a longer, more detailed Captain Satellite story to be published as a standalone book. However, one day I had an idea and it refused to go away until I wrote the story. Though this delayed the "real" project, I found ways to tie into it and make this short story very much a part of what I was doing.
Trouble was, "Major City After Dark" was an unabashed adult story. It went through a couple of revisions (and gained a title courtesy of Kabuki Katze), but nothing changed the fact that was pretty damn randy. I struggled with what to do with it, since it obviously couldn't be published here in that form. I ultimately decided not to make a decision at all and went back to work on this novella that had been my original goal.
Well, the novella ran into its share of technical difficulties and is currently on the shelf until further notice. However, I did have a complete short story; I just couldn't really do anything with it. I finally solved my problem by devising a few alterations and making a significant rewrite in the middle section that would make the story more acceptable to a general audience. To be honest, I think this version turned out way sexier than the original! Credit for that can partially go to Kabuki herself, who was essentially my beta reader and suggested things big and small.
It was very important to me to find a way to make this story available. There are a few aspects of it that were originally created for the novella and then incorporated into this story. Since this story is set chronologically prior to the proposed novella, and that project is on hiatus anyway, this is the place to learn about things like March Mansion and the computer system dubbed "Sparky." There are also allusions to some future plans, so hopefully they will get to be realized someday.
I hadn't really intended on this story becoming such a pivotal one in my continuity. I mean, that made it a lot more difficult on me, didn't it? It just goes to show how these things can sneak up on you. In the end, I think it works as both a long creative exercise and a fun story. I hope you agree.
For the record, I had been intending on including this as part of a book project that would have included my older Owariverse stories. That still might happen, but it is on the backburner at present. Since I don't think what I do here affects my limited book sales, I figured I should just bite the bullet and post it.
Oddly enough, my recollection is that I kept the in-jokes to a minimum for this story. There are plenty of very specific Owariverse references sprinkled throughout, and "March Mansion" is something that I will need to explain in more detail someday. However, I would like to point out the appearance of Kooba Cola. I have been utilizing assorted public domain heroes to fill out the fictional pop culture scene of Cap's world. Since I've used Fox Features stuff for this purpose (and even have a character based on the original Blue Beetle named the Azure Ant), I thought it would be entertaining to incorporate Kooba Cola into that setting, too.
Kooba Cola was a soft drink masterminded by Victor Fox. While there is a lot of advertising for it, the consensus seems to be that it was never produced. Even the commercials for it on the short-lived Blue Beetle radio show were part of the scheme, and not paid advertising. You can see more vintage ads here!