This page, and all pages under the ‘Character’ menu, contains ‘behind the scenes’ commentary about The Cosmic Chicken from a writer’s perspective. Readers who wish to enjoy the story as a work of fiction may find the following content distracting.
A description of personalities conjured in the mind of The Cosmic Chicken. There are two sections: ‘Protagonists’, listed as their names might appear in a movie’s credits; ‘Supporting Roles’, listed in alphabetical order. If you would rather invent the characters yourself, based on your reading of The Cosmic Chicken, click out of here…
Rich Mather is an elementary school principal in the Vancouver suburb of Langley, British Columbia. He is also the narrative voice of The Cosmic Chicken. He and his wife Kally live in the planned community of Walnut Grove, ‘where all the streets have numbers instead of names’. Although he’s been happy in his marriage and career to date, at forty-something Rich and Kally have been hurled into an emotional and spiritual crisis by the disappearance of their toddler Ryan Elgar Mather. Suddenly nothing in Rich’s life makes sense. In the midst of this psychic storm he finds himself being drawn into the dimension of Gallus, where chickens are considered sacred birds, given a status similar to cattle in India. Against his will, almost, Rich is becoming the Gallutian emissary in the earthly dimension. What he has to report will qualify him for extended medical leave on psychiatric grounds.
Cosima – The cock in Farmer John’s coop, Cosima is ruled by the roost. We only meet him through Rich Mather and we never know if in fact he exists, or if he is a phantom of Rich’s destabilized mind. As a Brahman chicken in the Gallutian population – where chickens are considered sacred birds – Cosima carries himself regally. He is used to being listened to, not just because he occupies a position of authority, but because he generally offers good advice. His peculiar perspective is philosophical. He is one of those intellects who knows his emotions as much as he feels them, and as such he offers Rich an analytical point of view from which to consider the traumatic events that are taking place in the Gallutian and earthly realms.
Farmer John Drofrethru
Dr. Morrow will over time become one of the ‘voices’ inside Richard’s head. The psychologist’s persistent, calm, rational questioning guides Richard toward conclusions he must reach. But Dr. Morrow exists ‘outside the story’ in a sense, and in an alternative reality to Richard’s. There is more than a little irony in this relationship, as Dr. Morrow is attempting to guide Richard back to the ‘real world’. As the story develops, however, Dr. Morrow will begin to get caught up in the narrative. He will, in effect, begin to believe Richard’s expedition into Gallus is not a psychological condition that needs to be treated, but rather a real adventure that must be pursued if Richard is ever to find his son. He is not sure if this search is for the ‘real’ Elgar, or for the spirit of Elgar, and in the end decides it is an important quest either way.
Kally Mather is an artist. She’s also a hybrid farm-girl-suburbanite who feels trapped by the definitions society and family put on her. If she had her way she would live on a acreage, raise a few chickens, ride horses and (for contrast) visit the cultural capitals of the world on frequent art-promoting junkets. Instead she works part-time at a medical clinic, grocery shops, keeps house badly and paints as much as she can in her garage studio. She exhibits in local galleries and coffee shops. She is ‘still in love’ with her husband Rich Mather, but has to work a lot harder at it than when they were an item as undergraduates at the University of Victoria. She is laden with guilt over the disappearance of their toddler son Ryan Elgar Mather, and is struggling unsuccessfully to get back into her life. She is in denial about Elgar’s loss, but can’t keep the theme from emerging in her art. She wants desperately not to be an artist in mourning, not to make the absence of her son the focal point of her life. The struggle is destroying her.
Dr. Neils Boring - Lead scientist of the Thought Particle Collision Project at the CRASH research accelerator near Aveneg.
Brian Buckley - A neighbour to the Mathers and a religious fanatic.
Buddy/Neutrino – Rich and Kally’s dog in physical and spiritual manifestations. Elgar’s best friend in this world and that.
Kanika - A member of the flock
Dr. Kenan - One of Kally’s employers at the medical clinic.
Manila - A member of the flock
Alex Mather - Richard’s father.
Donna Mather - Richard’s mother.
Moiora - A member of the flock
Jacob Nystrom - Positivist and leader of the Positive Action Group.
Paula - A member of the flock