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 apparently unstoppable army of hallucinatory consciousness.

I’m now in the third draft of the novel, and after much struggle it finally seems to be coming together. The blog.sortmind.com posts listed below give more background on how this novel developed.

Character images

Draft 2 Synopsis

Artist Dave Raavenscorr picks up what he thinks is a neurotic college girl, but he’s stunned to discover he’s obtained Dr. Marina Nunn, forty-three, chair of the Lake University Music Department. Marina discloses that she’s a refugee from the Linstar brainwashing disaster four hundred miles south. She claims to have fled two years ago just before Reunion armies unleashed their mental violence, but Dave worries about Contamination from his brief kisses with her.

At his huge art warehouse, Dave gives a party to celebrate his latest one-man show. His guests include his best friend Reva McKee, devotee of the arts and hostess of a book club; poet and county bureaucrat Thomas Tanner, recently dumped by Reva; and the middle-aged Marshall Singletree, the Great Migrator who survived two Reunion brainwashing disasters to the south. Worshiped by Thomas as a prophet of salvation, Dr. Singletree has also just replaced Thomas as Reva’s new lover.

Internet and phone service have been taken down in this sector of the Third Constitution due to fears of Reunion Seeds. No one wants to admit that they’ve been sharing hallucinations of invincible yellow Reunion biplanes. Addicts take the drug Nullity to ward off these hallucinations, but unaddicted people have no such recourse, and each is legally bound to sponsor an addict.

In failing to assert control over the chaotic breakaway region of Linstar, the First Constitution fell to the more permissive Second, which lasted two years until the Reunion moved north to conquer Freestone. Now the college town of Lake Grafton lies in the way of Reunion depravity, and Singletree kills his addict Gabriel to avoid complications on the new Migration he now orders.

To Reva’s dismay, Dave declares his passion for her. She returns his kisses, astonished to find herself giving in to her best friend. Seeing this, Singletree comes unglued. The poet Thomas wonders if he himself can now be Number Two to the Great Migrator. But Singletree, unable to convince Reva to come with him, finally declares that he’ll Migrate alone, and he flees Dave’s warehouse.

Thomas, shocked to find himself cut from Singletree’s salvation, produces three pistols, calling for two volunteers to join his own Migration gang. 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, assigned to command a combat infantry company.

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 – an 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

All words and images copyright by Michael D. Smith