Chapter a Day (I will post) from my Sci-Fi novel
Xanthippe4 hours ago
I love Louise Boyd. I don't know who is disliking this book? Why! Just one small gripe, you've got Amundsen and Clayton in the library talking about Nobile who's on Mars, then Nobile is running his hand over the book spines.
I have several rewrite versions on my Google Drive in different stages toward the final version of the book.
The Nobile error comes from my hasty retrieval of an earlier version pre-final edit.
Glad you noticed that. I should be more careful.
As to people not liking? I think it has a great deal to do with style.
Just before my final edit, I trim about 85 pages from the book.
Can you imagine? That's a good indicator of the old adage:
Brevity, thy soul is wit.
I'm witless. (A former Jehovah's Witless, in fact) :)
I fell in love with Louise Boyd as well.
She was a real person whose non-fiction life was beyond extraordinary.
WHITE HOUSE 1908
“Newspapers call this the Heroic Age of Exploration. Hero—that kind of word misunderstands the very nature of a man.”
Roald Amundsen stood speaking softly, centered in the Oval Office of President Theodore Roosevelt. He gazed about appreciating the room and its implications of history, power and responsibility.
Roosevelt had cleared his schedule savoring prospects of listening to wisdom and experience of one of few men on Earth he might call his equal or his better. Roosevelt—the Bull Moose President, admired self-made men above all.
Theodore Roosevelt had been a sickly boy who had determined to exercise and build his body into something impressive, athletic and indomitable. He succeeded.
T.R. seated himself at his desk placing both feet on top the leather blotter revealing a smart pair of cowboy boots. He thought of himself as legislator, cowboy and naturalist. Today, he was happy to play audience as well.
"I am convinced a light supper, a good night's sleep, and a fine morning, have sometimes made a hero of the same man, who, by an indigestion, a restless night, and rainy morning, would have proved himself a coward." Amundsen mused.
Roosevelt had rarely met a more self-effacing man. He flashed his best smile.
"Well, Bully for you! What do you make of this Mars situation—? Give me your best appraisal. I sent you my file. Everything we know or surmise was in it. I won't ask you if you've cracked it, of course you did!"
Amundsen leaned forward and hoisted his Gladstone bag off the floor; rummaged through it, and extracted a notepad. He thumbed a page or two and assumed the demeanor of a lecturing professor.
"One fact jumps out at me—Tesla and Edison; men of opposite temperaments collaborating to create something bizarre: a so-called electric bridge to Mars!”
T.R. removed his legs from the desktop. Walking over to a small table he poured himself and his guest three fingers of Russian vodka. They saluted and tossed back the drink. The President sat facing Amundsen. The two men resembled boys hunkered down in a tree house, hatching secret plans.
“Isn’t it obvious--? If they achieve the impossible they become rich and famous.”
"Sir, they’re both those things already. I suspect something more sinister is in play; something connected to Pastor Russell. ”
“Edison and Tesla are egomaniacs, not followers of any religious movement. I don’t see what you’re driving at.”
“What about a coup d’état? Russell says Christ returned invisibly. He’s rallying citizens of a new kind of heavenly government opposed to regimes like yours, sir.”
The Chief Executive rubbed his belly and belched, then pardoned himself.
"I don’t mind competing with invisible insurgencies or invisible rivals."
Amundsen cracked a smile and flipped a couple of pages in his notebook.
"There’s more to it than religious delusion, Mister President.”
"Call me Teddy, please!"
"Thank you, sir—let’s explore this. What if a Christian leader could produce a theocracy with an invisible Christ and actually convince people he himself was speaking on Christ’s behalf? The Pope won world dominion as the substitute for Christ—his Vicar. A convincing proxy-Christ could misdirect misled Christians; condition them to do as they were commanded—even turn them against you.”
"High treason can get you shot in time of war.”
"Martyrdom breeds zealots and it’s seen as proof their faith is real. Besides—if you die a martyr you get an expenses paid vacation on the streets of gold.”
"You wrote me about this Trojan horse idea of yours—how does it work?"
"A true believer’s mind welcomes a certain thing and accepts it loyally on faith. “Such a mind is very receptive to control. Think of Bible prophecy as you would a Trojan horse—it contains an unseen power ready to defeat the unwary.”
"I'm confused here, Roald. Which power is leading this overthrow and takeover?”
“A Christian figurehead who is a proxy for Christ could convince millions of true believers to refuse to fight for their country and to obey their own substitute theocratic Governing Body instead.”
The President stood motionless turning thoughts over in his mind; listening and weighing them.
“I’m a quick study, but the more you explain your theory, the more I want to take a snooze! How can one poor misguided man like Russell be harmful to anybody?”
The Norwegian explorer rubbed his chin and shifted gears wearily.
“Russell is being controlled somehow. His role is to convince others. He thinks god is whispering to him and the man has enough money to spread his ideas. The most dangerous men who have ever lived have thought they were doing god’s bidding. He predicts 1914 is The End. Thousands of people believe him, you see?”
"Tell me in plain and simple English—are Martians coming to Earth with weapons as an invasion force? Convince me and I’m going to give you whatever you need to investigate this theory of yours and get to the bottom of it.”
Amundsen had been waiting for the right question and this one was the key.
“Mars will leverage surrender through an invasion of susceptible religious minds. When the army of Mars appears—these non-combatant dupes will welcome it! It will be seen as the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Such world events are only considered a bad thing if you are on the losing side—the Teddy Roosevelt side. If my theory holds true—you and all world governments will go down in defeat.”
Roosevelt’s eyes widened with understanding.
“Voltaire said it best. What can you say to a man who tells you he prefers obeying god rather than men, and he thinks he'll go to heaven if he cuts your throat? I know enough about human nature to know I am going to act on this immediately.”
SENATE INTERVIEW 1909
“When you returned on the shuttle, Miss Boyd and Mr. Clayton, you were very ill with fever. What can you tell us about that?”
Jack Clayton and Louise Boyd sat in the center of the Senate Chamber behind a long, drab table. A pitcher of water and two not-very-clean glasses had been placed in front of them indicating questioning might well go into the wee hours of the morning.
At each door guards had been posted with orders: no person should pass. For all efforts to maintain secrecy, news reporters and their editors busied themselves crafting dummy introductory headlines to be filled in later. Hundreds of column inches of speculation had been drafted. Whatever came out of the hearings would be ballyhooed into headlines on every street corner boosting sales and stirring pandemonium.
“I recall nothing of my arrival on Mars or subsequent activities. I don’t know if the fever I suffered is the cause of this amnesia or not. In my delirium, so I am told, I blurted out warnings of an invasion. Sometimes I’ll get flashes of this and that. Not any of these flashes are coherent, however.”
Questioning by Senators continued . . .
“Do you feel in any way manipulated by mind-control today in this Senate Chamber, Miss Boyd?”
“I do not.”
“What about you, Mister Clayton? Are you actually a puppet of Aliens?”
Jack Clayton grinned. “My Puppet Masters require that I answer no.”
Laughter erupted among the younger Senators while the Old Guard fumed and squawked until the chairman pounded his gavel.
“Mister Clayton, I realize you are not an American citizen, but could we ask you to treat this occasion with at least a modicum of respect?”
“I was always under the impression mind-control was guaranteed under your Bill of Rights under Freedom of Religion. Forty-thousand Christian denominations attest to the joy of its practitioners. Who am I to disagree?” Clayton winked.