When Scott "Klayton" Albert produced his Wish Upon a Blackstar album, he envisioned an epic tale that spans across the cosmos and space. He did his best to narrate his story in his music, but it was ultimately too vague for a coherent story to form. Klayton, the tenacious artist he is, wasn't willing to let his story fade away, and decided to put his epic down into words. Enlisting the help of the award-winning author Joshua Viola, together they created the Blackstar series of novels, the first act released along with a tie-in album on December 4, 2013.
Act One: Purified introduces us to the world that Rezin inhabits. In the distant future, an impact by the asteroid Solaris has decimated Earth. After the dust settles, civilization hangs on by a thread; there remains one city for the few privileged, Central, and the rest of the human race must survive in the harsh Outlands. However, neither those living in luxury in Central or those struggling in the Outlands desire anything about the present, and so look to the past. To keep the people happy, Re:Memory offers citizens a glorious glimpse into the past, making a lucrative enterprise off selling "Retros," stored memories of those who lived before the end.
Enter Rezin, a man with a mysterious past who makes a living off slicing into Re:Memory's databanks and selling the copied memories on the black market. Rezin is the best in his career, amassing a veritable fortune of his endeavors, but one day he hacks into the wrong Retro, and find himself pursued by Kaine, the "benevolent" despot of Central. Forced to flee to the Outlands, Rezin embarks on an epic journey across space and time to uncover the truth behind the enigmatic Blackstars.
The story shows examples of these tropes:
- After the End: Set centuries after the impact with the asteroid Solaris decimated the Earth.
- Artificial Limbs: Kaine needs a few, after a failed assassination attempt left him down an arm and leg.
- Author Avatar: Rezin (pictured above) is Klayton, from attitude to physical appearance.
- Calling Card: Rezin leaves a specific emoticon //_^) on systems he hacks, allowing one of his clients to recognize Rezin past his alias.
- Celebrity Paradox: Scandroid is another musical project by Klayton. Somehow, one of Rezin's earliest memories involves listening to one of their concerts, which would be a few centuries in the future after everyone involved would be dead.
- The Cracker: Rezin, making a comfortable living of stealing Retros from Re:Memory and selling them to the highest bidder.
- Creepy Twins: Vray and Bastion, the two twins pictured on the cover. They arrive on one of the mysterious Blackstars and seek out Rezin for the specific Retro he's acquired.
- Decade Dissonance: Between the luxurious Central and the desolate Outlands.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Re:Memory makes a fortune off marketing these, selling "Retros" of idyllic memories of previous generations to their clients. The novel shows that memories like skill learning and schematics are available, but pleasurable Retros remain the most popular.
- Magical Computer: Rezin's "Pulsar," a smartphone-like device he built that makes hacking into Re:Memory servers a breeze.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Scandroids, hovering robotic enforcers that act as the police for Central.
- Mega City: Central, the last city on Earth. It's built over the ruins of Detroit.
- Mystical White Hair: Both Vray and Bastian, the resident Creepy Twins, sport these.
- Novelization: In a unique fashion, it's the book of the musical album, rather than of a movie.
- Prophet Eyes: Both Vray and Bastian exhibit these, completely white and also glowing.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Completely justified, as the novel is based on the album Wish Upon A Blackstar.
- Robot Girl: Venus, Rezin's affectionate AI assistant. While Rezin programmed her himself, he based her physical appearance on a woman who tried (and failed) to assassinate Kaine. Her default appearance is completely naked, as well.
- Tie-In Album: Klayton released a musical score along with the book, and buying the album came with a free copy of the book.
- Title Drop: Not only for the titular Blackstars, but the Klayton's Celldweller songs are also referred to as well.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Kaine, the benevolent "arbiter" of Central. Consider witnessing a failed assassination attempt on him formed a significant event in Rezin's life, he's not as benevolent as he seems.
- Volcanic Veins: Kaine and the twins show off theirs at various points when hacking something intensely.
- Wetware CPU: Extremely common, as it's the only way to experience Retros properly.
- You Gotta Have Red Hair: Rezin's shiny red mohawk. Notable because Rezin chooses to dye it that way himself, and his many disguises have it covered up as well.