Another writeup of my “Rain on the Snow” and “Tribunal and Rapture” novel sequence

 

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found another writeup (dating from late 2005, about the time of the first melt-down of my substitute teaching) of two of my novel sketches, and it tracks pretty close to what I put down for “Tribunal and Rapture “, 2nd version on April 29, 2014, and “Rain on the Snow” on May 13.  The “Rain on the Snow” idea would occur first in this concept,

Don’t expect to find the plot synopses (Wikipedia style) to be exact, but the overall stories and characters pretty much match. I’m posting it here for further reference.  I’ll soon get to the stuff that I am really the most “serious” about.

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Novel 1: Rain on the Snow

 

The book has a two-movement “Beethoven 31st Sonata” structure of a sonata (a development of many characters who crisscross) and a “Tema con Variozioni” where one character Bill goes through an Academy and then prison experience to train him for the Purification. He escapes and will change forever. The book takes several characters through the plot-structure “beat” process (Setup, opportunity, plan change, point of no return, crisis or setback, “payoff” resolution or staging for next story). Up to five major characters are protagonists of the novel and have major personal outcomes.

 

The novel traces the development of two angels, Matt and Tobey, whose paths gradually cross because of familial associations. Matt will be the son of Naomi, who has another son, Ethan, in the early 1980s. She buys a Dallas condo from a middle aged gay man, Bill, who then moves away. Her husband becomes ill and mysteriously leaves, but then another midwife and former prostitute, Tovina, arrives to shepherd through the birth of Matt, which happens at an undetermined time in the late 1980s. She goes through job loss (as a teacher and then fitness instructor) that brings her into contact with a former student, Josh, who becomes a hotshot young lawyer.  Josh has connections to a fallen “angel” Femeri, from Russia, who has hired a former but now ex-gay boyfriend of Bill to help build a series of re-education camps around the country for the Purification.

 

Tobey has grown up in the Pacific northwest, has jetsetting parents. He has overcome childhood leukemia miraculously and starts developing unusual intellectual powers while maintaining basic good (but not supernatural) physical fitness. Matt, on the otherhand, grows to great height and is taken by angels to Titan, the outpost in the solar system to bridge the physical world of Man with higher beings of God and Urantia.  He returns to earth and finishes high school and college while “adopted” with a Mormon family in Utah.

 

Bill’s life has picked up with the publication of a book “Do Ask Do Tell” in which he (with an autobiographical perspective) examines the civil rights issues for homosexuals on a libertarian perspective, and the counterargument that heterosexual institutions provide a socialization which enables most people to take care of others and deal with hardships by forcing them to accept a certain faith when they have children. Tobey, in grad school, comes into his life, and draws Bill into the clutches of Femeri, somewhat out of belief that he is helping Bill find a new life after job loss and personal family catastrophe.

 

The second half of the book takes him to the Academy in West Texas, where he gradually comes into contact with Matt. Finally, he has an intimate encounter with Matt,  (questionable due to Josh’s manipulations of the records), in which Matt dies (he breaks the rules) but Bill takes on some of his characteristics, and oddly some of Tobey. Bill has also learned about the secret (but not hacker-proof) stories about the new “disease.” Bill gradually reverts, is arrested, and sent to prison. In jail he has “therapy” but Tovina arrives for conjugal visits, which cause him to change again into a disguise. In the meantime, Tobey goes to Titan for a quick registration visit for his angelic training. Tobey comes back as Bill is staging a breakout of prison in Arizona.  Bill escapes to a secret camp in Wisconsin where he undergoes secret initiation rites that he has dreaded all of his life. But he changes permanently into one of the 144000 even though he is not supposed to be able to.

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Novel 2: Tribunal and Rapture

 

This sequel is told through the eyes of one of the perpetrators of the Academy, an African American West Point grunt named Ali, who had been one of the first blacks to really do well at West Point in the 60s. His legs were burned in a raid in Vietnam in the 70s, and then amputated after an auto accident in Montana in the late 1970s near a religious commune. He believes that the accident was a collision with a UFO. The following synopsis dates back to 2001 and may not fit exactly the other novels with character names, etc. This is still being worked out.

 

Premise:  American society is quickly and progressively threatened by a new virus that reincarnates the “souls” of those religiously “chosen” in Biblical times and overlays these “souls” onto current victims, while at the same time these same entities provide at last a way for today’s “chosen people” to escape to other worlds. In particular, a retiring African American FBI agent seeks to rebuild his own family so that he can escape, while (in a layered plot) an aging homosexual man, recruited into training for homeland defense in the trying days to come, stumbles onto tasting again his biological youth.  While both social collectivism (particularly communism) and excess individualism have reduced “traditional family values,” escape from societal collapse might depend upon rebuilding the idea of family and lineage within a closed escape environment.

 

Plot Synopsis

 

The hero is a religious 60-year-old African-American, Ali Mogul, who approaches the end of a long career as a decorated (and twice badly wounded) Army officer, defense contractor, and FBI sleuth. He has become separated from his wife and estranged from his rather sissy-boy son because the “real life” associated with family performance seems mundane compared to the disconnected creativity that he discovers in those he investigates and that he would like to develop within himself.

 

After an older alleged sex criminal whom Ali had helped apprehend escapes from an Arizona prison by inciting violence at a work detail, another informant (Frank L’Istesso) from a civilian defense training academy invites Ali to join a clandestine intelligence school (in Virginia) where law enforcement, intelligence and military officers learn to use extrasensory perception and remote viewing to investigate possible terrorist threats.

 

During his first viewing he learns that the real threat really derives from the tribulation processes roughly like those in the Bible. Startled that his own “faith” and personhood will be challenged, he first throws up and then capitulates with a major heart attack.  He had gotten himself into psychic intelligence as a kind of self-indulgence.  Now, facing mandatory coronary bypass surgery and recuperation, he realizes that he must rebuild his small family, not just to survive, but to understand his first viewing.

 

His Caucasian ex-wife, an accomplished orthopedic surgeon, has learned of a major public health threat, a new virus that gives its victims very bizarre psychic properties before they die and selects its victims in a way that it threatens the demographic stability of American society.  (It prefers victims with poor peripheral circulation, like diabetics, and is much more prevalent in high-altitude areas.) She takes a break from hospital duty and decides to invite Ali back into her home and help him recuperate. (He has to persuade her to take his new career interest seriously, and as deserving of personal respect more than love.) Ali revs up and starts recovering (like David Letterman), desiring again to “escape” from the taming influence of “family” and go back into the world and investigate the threat on his own. He sneaks out from his ex-wife’s house in Alexandria, Va. and travels on the Acela to New York to meet his son, who has reformed and transformed himself from childishness and aimless compulsive criminality to being able to help others now through newfound mechanical cleverness—hacking  “legally: and secretly into the PC’s of other private citizens as well as large institutions.  Rebuilding communication with his son (who had almost been killed in the 9-11 attacks) is a first step in realizing his own epiphany.

 

His encounter with his changing son highlights his focus on how he would spend the rest of his life if his world of relative freedom really does go to “hell and a handbasket” because of unstoppable terrorist attacks or this new biological epidemic threat.  He would face some choices: re-connect with his family and live through that, return to his religious (Assemblies of God) faith as rather literally interpreted, or participate in the power struggle of those officials who would hunker down and plan surreptitiously to seize power in a society, paralyzed by martial law, that is “easier” to rule. Now he is suspicious that there are people like that; over the years he has sometimes been like that himself, just as more recently has come to discover “pleasures” of living outside of himself.  He will sink into a quicksand created by those others whom he has come to emulate because of his own ennui over conventional life.  And, going through his own investigative files (which he rescues after his own condo is burglarized) he finds plenty of evidence that the “old men” running the remote viewing school are on to real threats, however self-serving their personal motives. So Ali’s “problem” (in novel plot skeleton terms) comes in to focus: to given himself a valid “purpose” (participation in either “saving the world” for escaping from it), he needs to rebuild his family; the converse is also true. And he needs a purpose to survive (even “religiously”) at all.

 

His son’s efforts point him back to his own files as a former investigator, particularly the stories of the disappearance of the toddler son (Matthias) of a (female) health club fitness instructor (Kelly Skiis) and of the apparent criminal sexual encounter, some years later, between a middle aged colleague (Bill Ldzett) and a vivacious Smallville-like “superman” pubescent teen who may after all be Kelly’s son, returned after a mysterious “abduction” and two-year disappearance.  Bill’s “personnel” records had built up during his stay at “The Academy,” a network of largely privately funded training and living centers to house “asset persons” (or “civilian reservists”) who will keep the country going after expected and unpreventable terrorist attacks.  Ldzett’s own encapsulated “Ghost” story is that of an anti-hero escaping from his own character weakness (lack of empathy for others and a predilection for living “third person” in his own fantasy world), threatened with firing and unemployment, getting a “job” as an Academy trainee through reviving a personal connection with Frank L’Istesso, a former boy friend who had become ex-gay in the military himself and then helped start the “Academy” as a private businessman after leaving the military (when the “gay” problem catches up with him under “don’t ask, don’t tell”). Ldzett has encountered and become involved with the teen friend (that is, probably Kelly’s son) through his misadventures at the Academy, been arrested and prosecuted, sent to prison in the high country in northern Arizona, and through his own ability to tease the homosexual fantasies of other prisoners, overcome “all odds” and escaped.  But during the escape Bill has transformed or disguised himself as a younger person and taken on a girl friend, Tovina who, with her motorcycle,  had helped with his escape. Before his “employment,” sex crime and imprisonment, Bill had built up some amateurish notoriety as a writer pushing for a constitutional convention or town-hall to discuss a new Bill of Rights.

 

The Bill of Rights convention, having percolated for two years among interested third parties, is actually coming off, and provides Ali Mogul with the opportunity to network with old friends (especially Frank L’Istesso and a graduate student, Tobey Strickland, who had befriend Bill and helped promote some of Bill’s ideas) and solve the “mystery” as to whether the remote viewings really mean the coming tribulations and as to how to escape. Mogul goes through some “terror-related” misadventures on his odyssey to Minnesota: a train wreck (when Tobey finds him), a construction accident in Pittsburgh (where Frankie is now working), a major security mishap on his flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul (when he isn’t supposed to fly so soon after coronary surgery). His wife, Ellie joins him in the Twin Cities and they all adjourn to a college “fraternity house” belonging to Tobey.  Ali and Ellie reconsummate their relationship for the first time in ten years, while Bill, apparently in disguise, and Frankie appear.

 

Ali will have the legal duty to get Bill arrested and returned to prison if Bill “tells” who he really is.  As the congregated acquaintances bridge the tensions among themselves and put their heads together and hack further into Academy records, they decide to visit a series of sites to look for “clues” that confirm their worst fears: that “angels” from Revelations will capture the personalities of many male persons, leading to the tribulations and the end of modern civilization, but that an escape to a new civilization (facilitated by “miracle” technology available through the angels to those who meet religious requirements) on another planet will be possible. For Ali, the clues and capabilities are in his own life to understand something like this.  For example, Ali recalls  the modern physics and engineering courses way back at West Point and then at war colleges, and reconciles this Wissenschaft with the Assemblies of God religious training (including speaking in tongues) that forces appreciation of a kind of aesthetic realism as well as the selective theology surrounding the “rapture” and the remote viewing. But the most important evidence comes from the story of superboy Matthias Skiis (who had died after the sexual encounter with Bill), as he has actually been to Purgatory and seen what tribulations are coming, as well as confirming that our recent technology came, not from extraterrestrials in the usual sense (“Roswell”) but from the “144000” angels who commute between our world and “Urantia.”  There is also “Second Kind” evidence of “angel visits” related now to what he saw in the initial remote viewings: that very ancient societies (back to Atlantis) had information technology superior to ours but kept it within their priesthoods and conveyed it to the “masses” through ingenious mechanical technology with devices such as astrolabes (and monuments constructed as “computers”).   Ali comes to understand that his eligibility to “escape” will depend on his ability to participate again in a closed society that will for some generations depend on blood family dynamics and propagation, and that this ukase will be even more critical for Bill.  He makes a deal with Bill that Bill can go on the ship (and escape arrest as a fugitive from prison) if he proves that he can “perform” with Tovina and potentially father a child.

 

By now the nation is disintegrating as the news of the epidemic spreads and mass evacuations of higher-altitude areas where infections are common proceed.  The “tag team” meets victims (and  spouses) of the disease victims, and recognizes now how the disease has personally affected them, all of this providing and ante-climax. Frankie helps Bill, Ali, and others “escape” to the spaceship site at a major strip mine in West Virginia, but, having hijacked a train during the final race for the launch site, is arrested and kept behind to live in an unpromising world—a disappointing but deserved end for a character who as a young man had been almost as gifted as Matthias, without having (like the Clark Kent character) the advantage of indirect extraterrestrial lineage.  Ali will take his reconstituted family into space because there is no other future, and Bill will get to go now once (on the last night of their “road trip” when a “first experience” provides a personal point of recognition)  he has proven that he can procreate and start a family, however late in life.  The ship takes off and makes a 24-hour journey to Saturn’s moon, Titan, which, at the end of the novel, the characters learn has always been synonymous with Purgatory.  During the “transoceanic length flight” angelic medical technicians determine that Tovina is indeed pregnant with Bill’s child.  The journey to one other reachable civilization some dozens of light-years away¾angels can get them close to Einstein’s limit of light speed but they don’t violate the laws of physics and “uncertain” causality¾ will require families to be able to carry on lineage for a generation while living in a closed space environment, yet ironically none of the major characters escaping had established lineage until near the time of their group departure.

Below, agent’s critique of “Tribunal and Rapture”, 2002.

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(Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT)

One thought on “Another writeup of my “Rain on the Snow” and “Tribunal and Rapture” novel sequence”

  1. I had originally conceived of “Rain on the Snow” as the sequence of events starting with Bill’s moving back to Texas, attending the Academy, chasing Matt, getting arrested and convicted, and then escaping from jail at the end. That was written I think largely in 2000-early 2001 (before 9/11), while I lived in Minneapolis. I added the entire prologue going back to 1981 (the real estate sale) in 2004-2005 after moving back to VA. When working as a sub and giving exams, I sometimes looked at my database outline of the story.

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