Monday, June 2, 2008

Isn't the Dictel Trilogy Supposed to Have a Villain Called Dictel Corporation?

Tonight I realized that I haven't paid enough attention to Dictel Corporation in the Dictel trilogy. Now, you can't have a good thriller without a strong villain, and Dictel is one of the nastiest collective villains in fiction. We're talking a combination of Blackwater, Halliburton, Enron, a big weapons maker, and the Mafia. Even better, there's an dark occult secret behind the company, and a cult it's promoting as a replacement for a dying Christianity. Cross an anticorporate thriller with something like The Da Vinci Code. And cross George Orwell with H. P. Lovecraft by giving the Dictel brass, led by the powerful Becket brothers, a new kind of Social Darwinist ideology which claims that corporations are the new kind of lifeform destined to replace humanity as the masters of Earth. I neglected all this, and thus my plots for Bad Company and Black Science became weak, turning my manuscripts into complete messes I could not straighten out. Until now.

And so I've started replotting my novels. I realized that the plot of any book in the Dictel trilogy must be the answer to the question, "What the hell is Dictel trying to pull this time?" I started by trying to figure out what Dictel was up to in Black Science; when I wrote on the card that their actions were an attempt to recover from their actions in Bad Company, I decided to dedicate some index cards to just Dictel alone. Dictel's actions in that first novel now take up both sides of four entire cards, with the company's attempt to overthrow the American government in the wake of an Obama victory having two cards dedicated to it, completely filled up with small print. Now I have something to structure the events of Bad Company on. I have my collective antagonist at full strength now. All that's left for me to do is link the sister romance with it. I've already provided a few links on the cards in the events involving Charlie and Desiree, so now — at last! — I'll now find the sister-romance element relatively easy to plot. And now I've finally found a role for a new collective protagonist, the American people, whose country is being taken over by a hostile corporation created by their own government. This turns the previous dual protagonists, the sisters, into catalyst heroes. To most people, the predicament the events of Bad Company present them with is something like a "lesser of two evils" situation like the presidential election itself: which would you rather tolerate, an incestuous lesbian romance that most people find disgusting and immoral, or the dictatorship established by an evil corporation to keep American troops in Iraq permanently? Once again I return to the idea of mad love as a revolutionary act.

Yes, I have all the crazy ideas I need, and they're wild and crazy indeed. But I can only translate them into bestseller success as long as I have a consistent and coherent plot, believable characters, and some good writing. These are in fact what I've struggled with for the past year and a half.

In Black Science, Dictel is no longer an American company. It's now an outlaw corporation becoming a global menace by making piracy a major profit center to raise money for a new terrorist assault on America. After the collapse of Colonel Tom Becket's hostile takeover attempt against America, new chairman Richard Becket (the second brother) attempts his own hostile takeover, this time of the minds of the American people. He and #3 brother Dr. C. Henry Becket expand the mind control project from Bad Company into something really scary. Sure, there's mind control devices involved. But remember that in Bad Company, Charlie and Desiree's mother Drusilla Becket (the Becket brothers' youngest sister) is a right-wing New Age guru who channels an alleged extraterrestrial god who calls himself "Aton" and claims to be "The Nine", that collective ET that claims to be the gods of Egypt and has been so trendy within New Age and ufology circles since the 1970s. This is the syncretic new fundamentalist religion that Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince criticize in The Stargate Conspiracy. As the Christian Right collapses and the Evangelical megachurches that Karl Rove turned into the formidable political machine that brought George W. Bush to supreme power disintegrates, the American political elite has been preparing a new religion which promises to be as powerful a tool of social control as Protestant Christianity was until recently. It's a new American counterpart to Islam — and, of course, it's hostile to Islam because it intends to replace it just as Islam replaced Christendom.

And that's why both the heroine of Black Science, Dr. Willa Richter-Thomas (Charlie and Desiree's paternal aunt), is a psychologist, and her ex-husband and bitter enemy Dr. Henry Becket (the sisters' maternal uncle) is a behaviorist who used to work for MKULTRA during the Cold War. Also, I intend to draft not only psychology and evolutionary science into the plot, but memetics as well. In the backstory, I should draw on other secret US government mind control and psychic warfare projects besides MKULTRA, and maybe even their Soviet counterparts as well. One thing I realized while watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull recently is that one goal of Stalin's psychic research project was the creation of a hive mind, the ultimate form of collectivism. In other words, Stalin was having his psychic researchers try to create a true assimilant. Remember the Borg? Like that.

I chose the name Black Science by analogy with "black magic": black science is scientific research and technological engineering used the same way psychic power and supernatural entities are used in black magic: to harm and/or control rather than to benefit. In Black Science, I'll give you black science in spades.

Now you know what you're going to have to deal with in the Dictel trilogy. I'll give you another taste soon.

Back to Spanner’s World...

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