Reva McKee copyright 2022 by Michael D. Smith A naïve and disconnected artist gives a party to celebrate his success, only to find himself drafted that same night into a mindless war against the Reunion, an unstoppable army of hallucinatory consciousness.

I’m now working on a final manuscript. The blog.sortmind.com posts below give more background on how this novel developed.

Character images

Synopsis

Artist Dave Raavenscorr picks up what he thinks is a neurotic college girl, but is stunned to find he’s latched onto Dr. Marina Nunn, chair of the Lake University Music Department and a refugee from the Reunion brainwashing disaster five hundred miles south.

Paranoid she’s contaminated him, Dave flees to his quirky art warehouse where his best friend, art maven Reva McKee, is throwing a party to celebrate his first one-man show.

But a hundred fifty guests have really come for succor from Marshall Singletree, the charismatic Great Migrator who escaped two Reunion catastrophes. Reva watches in dismay as her former boyfriend, poet and county bureaucrat Thomas Tanner, both worships and denigrates Dr. Singletree, who’s just replaced Thomas as her new lover.

The Third Constitution has taken down the Internet due to fears of Reunion contamination, but the partygoers refuse to admit that mind-breaking armies are marching on their lovely college town. Addicts take the drug Nullity to ward off hallucinations, but nonaddicted have no such recourse, and each is legally bound to sponsor an addict. Before long Marina crashes the party to crow about the dream visions she shares with Dave.

Plastered on margaritas, Dave declares his passion for Reva. She returns his kisses, astonished to give in to what she thought was just a friend. Singletree comes unglued, declaring the town doomed, and flees the party.

Shocked to find himself cut from Singletree’s salvation, Thomas produces three pistols, calling for volunteers to join his own flight from the Reunion. One of his new thugs drags Singletree back inside to face justice. Meanwhile Dave opens his junk mail to find he’s been drafted into the Third Constitution Army.

Characters

Caspra Coronae copyright 2022 by Michael D. Smith

Caspra, pleasant Nullity addict

Caspra Coronae, 31 – Former video artist, now a Nullity addict sponsored by Dr. Marina Nunn. Over the past ten years she’s been drifting through numerous dull clerical jobs in the Lake Grafton area. She’s petite, with brown, almond-shaped eyes set in a pleasant Nordic face. She’s a patient observer of the chaos around her, and takes pains to distance herself from the rest of the vulgar Nullity addicts.

Reva McKee, 31 – Website designer who mapped Reunion movements until the Third Constitution’s ban on the Internet rendered her career meaningless. She gets Dave Raavenscorr, her new friend, his first Lake Grafton show. She also starts a book club to honor the Great Migrator, Marshall Singletree, and soon becomes his lover.

Marina Nunn, 43 – Chair of the Music Department at Lake University, Marina can look childlike at forty-three, which is why Dave at first assumes she’s a college girl. She displays a scarcely believable courage as she grapples with monstrous inner forces and prepares her notes for an opera called Reunion Topology. She finds it amusing that everyone at the university looks down on her as a whore, even as they acknowledge her academic expertise and power.

Dave Raavenscorr, 31 – Artist who’s begun to sell his large canvases through a gallery Reva found for him. He’s also lined up a syndicated comic strip set to start in January of the coming year. He’s patiently saved enough money to buy a downtown Lake Grafton warehouse, and he’s just moved in with help from Reva and a former coworker, Leon Winter.

Jasmine Sung, 24 – Music graduate student, short, with tiny hands, liquid brown eyes, and silver hair in a cute bowl around her head. She speaks in a startling baby girl voice. She’s worried about her hallucinations and thinks small doses of her addict’s Nullity will keep her on track.

Thomas Tanner copyright 2022 by Michael D. Smith

Thomas, poet bureaucrat

Thomas Tanner, 29 – Mediocre poet who gives nightly readings in Lake Grafton coffee shops and bars. His topics include his leaking dishwasher and the existential whine of his air conditioner. By day Thomas is the assistant manager of the Frankston County Procurement Department. He has a photographic memory and avidly attends all Marshall Singletree’s colloquia.

Marshall Singletree, 55 – the Great Migrator. Fleeing the Reunion conquest of Linstar, a major city four hundred miles south, he settled at Freestone College eighty miles from the doomed city to study the Reunion phenomenon up close. There he wrote a bestselling book about the calamity. Yet just a few months ago Freestone itself was overrun by the Reunion, and Singletree barely escaped with his young protégée Leon. He declares himself a bulwark against the Reunion, but can only think in terms of Migration from the enemy until such time as his followers become ready to turn and fight–although everyone knows nobody will ever be ready.

Leon Winter, 27 – Marshall Singletree’s main assistant. An imaging software expert, he abandoned his Freestone College computer networking job when Freestone fell to the Reunion. He’s charismatic, charming, smart and kind, with a smooth, almost feminine face, clear blue eyes, and short blond hair. He’s writing a book called Hallucinatory Evil, and Singletree regards him as the only person capable of being his successor.

Blog History

Caspra Coronae Draft One Blast-Off, July 3, 2021
Interview with the Burlcron/Mercer/Singletree, August 3, 2021
Walter’s Farewell Soliloquy–to Himself and to Draft 1 Caspra Coronae, February 26, 2022
Progress: Asylum and Mirage and the Title Change, April 25, 2022
Asylum and Mirage: The Draft 2 Milestone, 6/17/22
Asylum and Mirage: Current Conditions, 10/19/22

All words and images copyright by Michael D. Smith