“Angel’s Brother” (i)FAQ

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I’m opening a new page to pose some “infrequently asked questions” about the plot and concept of my novel “Angel’s Brother”.

(1)  Is the character Bill Ldzett “you”, and exactly what happens in the physical transformations that he undergoes in the latter chapters of the novel?

Yes (or “yeth”) Bill is based on “me”.  Bill is a pivot point character, someone not self-qualified for angelhood, but almost, a kind of shaman, with a touch of arsenic, both metal and non-metal.  Perhaps his physical transformations are a generalization of trans-genderism.  Bill’s writings guide the fibbies in their understanding of the coming “alien” invasion which has set up shop in a station on Titan (moon of Saturn).

After Sal (who has become an angel but doesn’t quite know it for sure yet) shaves Bill down in a motel room near the Academy (in West Texas), Bill’s body undergoes further spontaneous change.  The “moon-face” is something that could happen from steroids. He looks like a younger man for a while, and enjoys rejuvenation.  He inadvertently steals some sundries from a nearby convenience store, and suddenly finds the sheriff is after him.  Apparently, the appearance didn’t fool the cops.

He is out on bond, and goes to the “immolation” in Wisconsin, where he meets up with (finally) an arranged girl friend. Tovina.  But during the ceremony, he learns to tumble (like learning to swim and “arch his back”, he thinks), and seems to fly over the ceremony, with his “beady, roving eye” (referring to the 50s horror film “The Crawling Eye” — Bill seems obscured by a cloud at times, and although there are no decapitations, other people are affected by the rituals — maybe a taste of “Invasion of the Animal People“, too).

Back at his trial in Texas, he goes bonkers again after conviction, and escapes, winding up in a sanctuary in the Davis Mountains in West Texas before being brought back for the UFO departure from West Virginia (over a scalped mountaintop) at the end.

(2) What causes the EMP effects?

Because the virus that transmits identities embeds a micro black hole, which can evaporate, there are effects on surrounding areas sometimes.  The convenience store has a breakdown when Bill visits it the second time (a factor in the testimony).  Sal reports that newer computers have become unstable and a couple of power glitches have happened at Academy when he visits.  But after the immolation, there is widespread damage to power systems and electronics in western Wisconsin to Minneapolis, and then sporadically town to Texas.  Repairs for people take some weeks.

Then the outages get larger, about the time the first “flight” leaves to take the candidates to Titan,

(3) Doesn’t the novel show the “strong” (young adults able to become angels) escaping while the “weak” perish?  Isn’t this a socially hostile message for a novel?

You could raise that question about the NBC series “Revolution“.  In the world that follows (where the country breaks down into separate republics) some people do well, others don’t, in a new order, that is low-tech, some new leaders emerge.  But I don’t show that here.  In the longer version of the novel, many of the characters join a public trek from high altitudes East, and stop at recovery or aid centers.  I don’t show that in the current version, but do refer to it.

But it’s true that many people infected by the “virus”, which first surfaces in the Colorado high country, deteriorate and perish.  But this is what happens with epidemics.  What’s different is that this virus seems to discriminate on who it likes.

It does seem, though, that the “angels” are losing interest in reproduction, and are more concerned with developing supernatural virue in young adults who already exist.  That is indeed a bias.

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(4) Most of the evidence that attracts the CIA and other intelligence services seems to be obtained by hacking Bill’s unpublished writings (first by Sal, then Randy after he learns how).  Is this supported by any real evidence?

Randy is sent on the trip to meet Sal in Poland (as the book starts), and then go to St. Petersburg, Russia, and then the Finnish border area, both sides, near sites where the former Soviet Union kept unusual nuclear waste.  (This idea has appeared in other films, like The Return (2003)). Randy is given an artifact by a kind of double agent, and the artifact is sent to the US nuclear waste facility. Bill is given the clandestine task of transporting a tiny sample to the Academy in Texas.  That sample seems to confer “powers” to Bill later, and possibly Sal.

There is some concern in some intelligence circles that Putin could become aggressive against Finland.  The only hack on one of my sites in 2002 left jibberish on my file about this area of the world, and it has never been explained.

(5) What would happen to “ordinary people” in the US after the UFO landing and takeoff at the end?

Various areas of the country are put out of function by the loss of electricity, but some areas are OK.  The government had already started evacuating some mountain areas because of the “virus” before the EMP’s hit near the end.  Randy encounters one of these evacuation centers near the Academy briefly in Chapter 26.

In such a world, the US could dissolve (as it does in the NBC “Revolution”) or there might be efforts to resettle people and have others “host” them.  As with Chekhov, people would have to go on living.

People would tend to believe in the “angels” as a source of religious authority, and tend to believe that their lives were no longer in their own hands, much as was the case in ancient times.

 

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(6) What’s the overall strategy for hacking into Bill’s manuscripts and putting together the pieces?

Sal, as an undergraduate, has been hired by the “CIA” to hack them. Later Randy (actually an agent, post-military) learns to hack, partly from Sal, and finds more.  Later a lot of backstories emerge from conversations with Amos, Frankie (head of the Academy), Ali, and the Toby and Shelia (supposedly “parents” of Matt, the one proven ET angel at the time of the novel).

(Published: Friday, May 29, 2015, 4 PM EDT)

(Major update: June 5, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT)

 

Backstory trace for “Angel’s Brother”

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The following is a list of incidents in lives of major characters that happened before the main narrative of the novel.

 

ABS YR FICT YR ACT YR Char Incident desc Source DB Code DTL
1981 1981 1981 Bill,Kelly,Rita Bill sells Dallas condo to Kelly in bizarre closing omniscient 2000 2,y
1998 1998 Randy initiation in Baltimore omiscient 2000 2,y
1999 (2002) 1988 Matt Birth Amos helps Sal find it, then Toby met him after Ali’s wreck 2000,3000 20,n
2002 (2005) 1977,2004 Ali Ali loses legs to UFO (or train wreck); heart attack at Faber may be true; Ali’s statements differ from Toby’s Sal finds it hacking Bill’s writings, then Randy finds the train wreck, then Toby has details 2000,3000 15/20,n
2005,2015

(2008, 2018)

2005 2005 Bill Bill’s substitute teaching scandal over his web content, Bill threatened again Sal finds it hacking Bill’s writings, then Randy interviews Bill 2000,3000 14,p
2015 2005 Bill Bill moves to Academy, kicked out of home Randy inerviews Amos, then Sal does it; Sal is still a better detective than Randy at this point,, Sal gets more details as to how Bill was seen as a nuisance; Amos a process server 2000,3000 8/9/14/17,p
1994 1994 1994,1991 similar Amos Amos helps operators tamper with check system Amos might explain this before showing Bill in swimming pool 2000,3000 8,9,n

(First published Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 11:30 PM EDT)

Note: Dates in parentheses assume later publication (maybe late 2017).

Character list for “Angel’s Brother”

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The following is a working list of the characters in my novel manuscript for “Angel’s Brother“.  This table may well be updated frequently. With these people, I get to play god.

 

Name DOB Gender physical Basic Identification
Garcia, Sal 1995 M 74-180-102-104-0-Cau Senior at SMU, in ROTC, gifted in languages, computer prodigy, secretly hired by DIA contractor as hacker
Ephraim,Randall 1976 M 70-160-103-100-100-Cau History teacher and spotter CIA agent, had been released from military unk, will develop rel. w Sal
Ephraim,Erin Shoals 1977 F 70-160-103-100-100-Cau wife of Randy, married around 1998, met in Army, rebab nurse, then works in epidemiology
Ephraim,Dick Shoals Femeri 2000 M 70-140-100-104-0-Cau oldest but adopted son of Randy and Erin
Listesso, Frank 1960 M 75-200-varies-Cau Runs “Academy” and claims to be immortal, but has recently weakened, Bill had courted him at one time
Ldzet, Bill 1943 M 71-160-varies-Cau Sentient blogger whose unpubbed manuscripts track what happens in backstories
Mogul, Ali 1940 M 79-lost-varies-Blk Former FBI agent and military intelligence, retired, injured in accident, lost legs, caused by UFO
Strickland, Toby 1976 M 71-150-90-100-0-Cau.J attorney, friend of Bill, knows Bill’s writings, also claims immortality
Strickland, Shelia Sholl 1976 M 68-irr-cau free spirit, wife of Toby
Mogul, Amos 1980 M 71-150-varies-Blk computer hacker who once tried to frame Bill on mainframes, repentant, now at Academy, also process server at times
Mogul, Ellen 1980 F irrelevant-mixed wife of Ali, surgeon, learns of epidemic, talks to Erin
Skiis, Matt 1999 M 80-104-104-0,Cau-Alien Mysterious teen with powers
Skiis, Kelly 1970 F irrel,Cau-mixed Supposed Mother of Matt (actually Shelia), possible immaculate conception
Gauss, Rita 1960 F immaterial, Black and asian Real estate closer and lawyer with a lot of connections
Colon, Aaron 1989 M 71-103-104-50, Cau Proven to be immortal by ritual

(First published Sat. May 23, 2015, 11 PM)

A nice little doggy race

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Today’s post is quite simple.

At the “Taste of Arlington” (Virginia) street fair Sunday afternoon, in “Bark Park”, there was a nice little amateur dog race.   But not all the pooches understood and wanted to play, when given the chance.

More substantial documentary filmmaking from me is coming.  But for now (contradicting a lecture given by Ben Stiller’s professorial character in “While We’re Young”) this first one will be about me.  So will my fiction.

(Published Monday May 18, 2015, 1 AM, EDT)

QA for “Frame by Frame” at Maryland Film Festival

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The Maryland Film Festival showed the film “Frame by Frame” at the Walters Art Center Sunday afternoon May 10.  Co-director Mo Scarpelli was present for QA.  (Alexandria Bombach also directed).

The film is based on the history of Afghanistan for journalists.  The Taliban banned photography in 1996, but it came back after the Taliban was expelled in 2001 after 9/11, but the government is growing unstable again, meaning that life for journalists is getting more dangerous again.

Clip 1, about the attitudes toward foreign women as journalists and filmmakers

Clip 2, about security

Clip 3, about whether the film jeopardizes security of people in Afghanistan and even of filmmakers or bloggers, given current world situation, question posed by me

Clip 4, about reviewing the film

Clip 5

Clip 6, about sensitivity to being photographed

(Published Monday May 11, 2015 at 10:45 AM EDT)

Some clips from Washington DC demonstrations for Freddie Gray

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I do have a couple of short clips from the Freddie Gray sympathetic demonstrations Wednesday April 29, 2015 in Washington DC, starting at Verizon Center and moving to the White House, then all the way up to U Street.

The person above was leaving as I arrived from McPherson Square station.  She asked it I wanted to carry the picket.

Clip 1

Clip 2

(Published Saturday, May 2, 2015, 12 Noon EDT)

Video clips from Sandtown Section of Baltimore after Freddie Gray

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Here are some clips from my visit to Baltimore Wednesday, April 29, 2015 to look at the aftermath of the Freddie Gray riots.

Clip 1 -random conversation of Presstman St

Clip 2 – Billy Graham representative

 

Clip 3

Clip 4

Clip 5

Note: I now publish video clips from public events on the Media Blog (here) instead of the DADT Notes blog, unless the event deals very directly with some item in one of my books.  This more consistent with my strategy for deploying my own video soon.

There is earlier footage in Washington DC from November 2014 regarding the Ferguson and Michael Brown protests here.

(Published Friday May 1, 2015, at 12:15 PM)