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.
(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.
(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)