timeline
// Primary / North Mural
Timeline of Events
This timeline, though incomplete, helps offer context for the events and characters depicted within Goodbye Strangers. Scenes and sequences are grouped by individual narrative threads as much as possible; as such, some events may be listed out of sequential order. Similarly, modules are listed not in order of their appearance upon the website, but rather, are placed within their narrative chronology.
Nixieland
spaceman, come home
July 20th, 1968AD James Killjoy returns from a successful lunar mission. Moon dust still on his soles, he's dragged, kicking and screaming, from the runway.
The public-facing pretext of "moon sickness" provides plausible cover for Killjoy's sudden spell, and he is brought into a military hospital under utmost secrecy. A barrage of tests and interrogations result in a confidential agreement; Killjoy is paid off handsomely by the government.
August 10th, 1968AD James Killjoy is released from government custody, and retires to his sprawling Kansas ranch.
August 19th, 1968AD Using a mail-order book catalog, James Killjoy purchases a copy of the pulp novel, The Fearful Frontier.
September 11th, 1969AD James Killjoy loads one of his personal rocket ships with fuel, food, books, and as much of his newfound wealth as he can. His hands are sweaty as he lifts off from the planet's surface for what will be his final voyage into space, taking permanent refuge in the deteriorating but grandiose Tin Utopia.
In the decades that follow, the "spaceman who abandoned the earth" becomes a recurring fixture in song lyrics and fluff news chatter. Though Killjoy's wealth buys him all manner of distraction, and his metallic Xanadu keeps him safe from the rockets down, down, down below, he cannot stop the deluge of criticism, conjecture, conspiracy, and culture-pop minutiae that beams through his flickering telescreens.
Look up at that dead-head earthman ...
Saved the moon, came down a junkie ...
Look up at that dead-head spaceman...
Saved the moon, came down a junkie...
The Primary
Now, more than ever
January 20th, 1969AD The modern infestation begins with the appearance of the first stranger (phlegmatic and contemptuous) in over 600 years, followed in an instant by the sanguine second strain.
February 11th, 1969AD With its mouth already frothing, the choleric third strain appears.
February 19th, 1969AD The melancholic fourth strain makes its pitiful introduction, completing the set of four humors.
Over the decades that follow, the strangers grow at a barely imperceptible, but inevitable rate.
Stage 1
initial

Desperate scatterings of strangers in larger cities. Very little stranger diversity, and only a limited number of sub-strains.

March 21st, 1971AD En route to a drug deal, the sensitive, Shylo Jacobs, encounters a group of lindroni in an underpass tunnel.
August 9th, 1974AD The fifty-second strain of strangers appears on the edges of the capital. The start of their crazed voyage thus completes the Primer set, setting the stage for the narrative to come.
Module | Primer
June 30th, 1975AD Atop the Jaundice Press building, Shylo drives what will later be seen as a primitive callyphanx into a condroni's head.
Stage 2
transitional

Increasing number and variety of strangers. A spread to smaller cities, and cracks in society that widen inch by inch.

In your heart, you know you're right ...
“ In your heart, you know you're right...
In your guts, you know they're nuts ...
...in your guts, you know they're nuts. ”
May 13th, 2008AD Materials related to the Strangers project are shared online for the first time.
February 2nd, 2009AD An early iteration of the Goodbye Strangers website launches. During its first year, it receives no more than fifteen hits per day.
January 1st, 2016AD Following years of obscurity, false starts, and hiatuses, the Goodbye Strangers website settles into what will become its final framework as the Primer module is released.
Module | Module 2
Stage 3
emergent

High diversification with larger numbers of sub-strains, with varying degrees of stability. All large cities, and most mid-sized population centers now infected. Unrest or outright apathy within the largest metropoles.

July 2nd, 2021AD And now, we meet the Partisans. On this sweltering day, the notorious and leaderless group of writers and other creatives ratify their manifesto and put their grand goals into play. These first thirteen members (whose constituents include Jealous Fontaine, Alex Muto, and Boiko Cross) meet in what is their largest, and only face-to-face meeting, in a nondescript library just outside of New York City.
October 6th, 2023AD Alex Muto's first Partisan-era novel, The Inaugural Collapse is published, and receives near-universal acclaim.
As authors named within the website publish further works, so too does a fraction of the Goodbye Strangers fandom grow more and more convinced of the stranger's actual presence in reality, and hours are spent analyzing seemingly unrelated chapters, paragraphs, and even single words.
Semptember 18th, 2031AD While she attends a reception for her recently published collection of essays, columnist Chihun Maeng's home is burglarized, with references to the "Partisan" conspiracy left spraypainted on the walls.
September 25th, 2031AD Another supposed "Partisan", Boiko Cross is physically assaulted by a militant member of the Strangers fandom, pushing the authors associated with the Partisan conspiracy into further isolation.
April 2nd, 2032AD The disease known as "blotchman's plague" sweeps through the larger cities. With the world governments acting quickly (if ineptly), the key details are covered up.
December 12th, 2033AD The crowds outside the housing blocks are desperate for a martyr, Alex Muto is dragged into the streets and publicly assassinated. His dying words (hoarse and blood-shrilled) fall on the gristle-hungry mob's dead ears.
Oh, no . We'll do whatever we want to you .
You can't do this to me! This isn't real, none of this is real!
August 28th, 2033AD The hospitals run out of supplies, and those sick and dying masses who still wait untreated in the lots outside are loaded into buses, and detained inside the now-operational mattress camps.
Stage 4
insurgent

In the strangers, a height of population and diversity. In society, a degradation of infrastructure and morality that can no longer be ignored. Nearly all cities affected.

March 32nd, 2034AD The cloud hangs heavy over the city.
March 33rd, 2034AD The levees break, and the Primary, in all its pageantry, is swept up in the flood and is lost beneath its red.
James Killjoy watches from up high in his Tin Utopia, left hand still holding (what is now) the only remaining copy of The Fearful Frontier.
V.H.Z.
And so, the old illusion is disrupted, and the VHZ era begins. In this distorted half-truth "world" left static-heavy after yet another cycle of destruction and re-awakening, the violent process of extrusion yanks the strangers into the "real world" – inert, and inanimate. Owing its thanks to the technologies derived from the inert "drones", society advances at a breakneck pace. Pop culture reflects the strangers' image back through a copious output of videogames, comics, anime, toys, soaps, and uncountable consumer products, and even the smallest infant sees hundreds of stranger bodies (nude, pinned-up, or half-encased) before they learn their own name.
a "media-made kaleido-perversion of nurengenerative mechanisms".

The city leads to the wastelands that fade into noise, and the earth beneath the city is not dirt alone. Tunnels lead to buildings, jumbled up and shaken by the dozen; and those televisions, hard discs, radios and more just wait to be pulled up and scraped.

Yet not all is joyous in such a pleasure-garden...

Dead Cities
the quiet earth
? + 0CE The world of VHZ collapses, and humanity finds that hundreds (and no, could it be, maybe thousands?) of years have passed. The extruded strangers have now been made animate again ‐ mankind's blood flows through the city streets, until the meat grind gutter empties out, and the survivors stagger from the wreckage.
The soil still sweats mattress stains, and this white earth no longer clamors for a need to distinguish between those who are sensitive and those who are not.
In the hellish festivities that follow, society is reduced to a fraction of its once teeming masses. The messiahs begin their war games.
( But what can be said of the verdant wilderness, with all of its hearth and hollows? Or was it all torn up in some pervert's deluded idea? )
Did you let something bad happen? Did you really break it – for good?
Stage 5
decrescent

Declining stranger populations, with stratification of remaining super-signal carrier strains, and the appearance of harmless anomalous outliers once kept suppressed by humanity's presence.

Module | Dead Cities
? + 110CE As they forge their own history in this dwindling world, the nomadic expatriots trade in books and canned foods; the arrival of a traveling carnival brings some diversion to the fading drift. Banging pans at the edges of the barracks, the barker calls out to see from the dead, dead cities these creatures in their cages safe.
? + 606CE Construction begins on roaming tower #1 – "needle tower" to those trapped outside, and "New Candida" to those on the inside.
Though the wars that follow bring with it the palisades and enough theatrics to fill the round, even this spectacle fades into the white.
? + 1,300CE With humanity's reign now at an end, fragile glimpses of nature return. Clusters of flowers bloom and spread; the few surviving insects teem as they can.
? + 13,000CE Even after the cities have emptied, strangers still generate in pockets of trapped energy. (Circulating feedback loops.)
? + 13,000,000CE The Silent Spring And yet, it cannot last forever. A damselfly settles on dry earth and does not fly off again, and petals fall from a flower that spreads no seeds. The sun trails red, and the spring goes silent, silent, slow.
Module 3
The End
1,000,000,000CE Humanity is now long-gone, and the earth stretches cold and barren, on and on. As the sun ages, the last microscopic traces of life perish.
The barren earth becomes overrun by strangers – more monumental than any that have come before – that tower above the skyline or multiply by the trillions to cover the planet's surface.
And yet, has one intrepid spaceman returned to this forsaken planet to finish what Killjoy could not? ( For an angel-winged Saturnian, left hand steady upon the Fearful Frontier and his face scarred by his vengeful disciples, now watches the earth with covetous eyes. )