The Pulse

Table of Contents

Chart of Contents - Characters - Glossary - Maps

The Pulse is an experimental novel about the danger of talking to intergalactic strangers. Because it contains multiple narrative threads, is set in different locations, and dips into several genres, I’ve provided brief plot points (below), a list of characters by location, a glossary of terms and places, and a general sense of the layout in Chart & Maps.

While the basic structure isn’t likely to change a great deal, I’m still in the process of writing more sections. As a result, I’m in the process of reworking and adding to earlier sections. My model in this is Balzac’s mid-19th century Human Comedy, which works disparate stories into alignment. While I don’t pretend to the satiric skill of Balzac, and while it might make Dante spin in his rose-petalled grave, I think of The Pulse as a sort of Intergalactic Comedy.

Part One

(Paris) The Actress - Martine, a Parisienne actress and intellectual, tells her story about ESP to Kenneth, a visiting lecturer at the Latin Quarter’s Collège de France

(Paris) Equations - Kenneth ponders Martine's story, still unable to imagine a world with telepathy or angels

(Italy) Di Parma - Lucia, an art student in Parma, goes to a cafe on her day off in order to attract the attention of Gianluca, a curator of celestial art

(Lactar8) On Lactar8 - K, a Lactari astronomer, puzzles over the meaning of two stray images of the Madonna & Child — Lady Madonna - The Cultists of Lacter27

(BC) Dinner Guests from Baulis Prime - Berry wonders what the neighbours would think if they knew he was an alien — Roots - Soil - Light

(BC) On Becoming Human - Berry confesses a soft spot for humans, and recalls the trauma of his adolescence — Mammary Glands - The Infraction

(BC) The Collected Works of Humpty Dumpty - Matthew is driven by trauma to study literature and become a writer

(The Great Void) Antiny the 23rd - An alien from an isolated planet spies the trajectory of another spaceship

(BC) In the Dark Water 1: The Subcircadian Homework Blues — Matthew stares face to face with Old Rex’s English exam, having stayed up all night studying like a terrified maniac

(BC) In the Dark Water 2: My Own Personal Rheinmaiden — Matthew enlists the help of water spirits, Norse gods, and rheinmaidens

(Alberta & Fallar Ultima) Fairy Tales - Antonio, a Fallarian born on Earth, plots against his father — Summerland, BC - Natural Selection - The Brothers from Göttingen - Vulcan, Alberta

(Alberta) Quest - Antonio scours the cosmos, from the blinding outskirts of Vicino Lontano to the inky depths of Fallar Ultima, in order to find the perfect victim — From One End to the Next - The Green Earth

(The Soul Star) The Hidden Star - astronomers from distant galaxies attempt to locate the Soul Star within our galactic supercluster

(Alberta) Seduction - Antonio uses Black Fallarian magic to entice Beatrice, belle of the Albertan plains — Vulcan

(Baulis Prime) The Ascendancy of Baulis Prime - over the course of 5.6 billion years, the Baulians rise from the Pink Well to create an Empire — Time & Place - The Great Temple - History

(BC) In the Dark Water 3: J. Alfred & the Weird Sisters - in English class, Matthew witnesses a gender battle between Old Rex and Cynthia

(BC) In the Dark Water 4: The Prophecy of the Völva - in prepping for an English exam, Matthew journeys into the misty realms of Norse myth - Northern Versions of Doom - Snorri’s Bath

(Paris) The Academic - Waiting for Martine, Kenneth thinks about Martine and her irritating ‘friend’ Antoine

(Paris) Probabilities - Still waiting for Martine, Kenneth thinks about existentialism and probability

(Baulopolis) Fractal Masters & Fractal Mystics - Rablanar, a Fractal Mystic, considers a frightening possibility

Part Two

(Diopolis, Fallar Ultima) The Chancemasters of Die - on the planet of Die, skilled players from the Black Pulse play their part in a cosmic game

(Italy) Di Firenze - Lucia suffers from a rare condition — Ganglia - Fra Sole - Febbre Fiorentina

(Alberta) And Carbunkle His Eyes - Antonio snakes into the rose garden surrounding the farmhouse in which Beatrice lives — Vulcan

(BC) The Stories They Told Themselves - Berry ponders the human addiction to stories

(BC) In the Dark Water 5: Back to Black - Matthew feels ambivalent about the disintegration of The Epic with a capital E

(BC) In the Dark Water 6: Sailing Dangerously Toward a Thesis - Matthew argues that the epic is older and more ruthless than Old Rex would have us believe

(NYC) Prophecy 1: The Political Climate - Curtus Rufius monitors the political scene from New York — If Winter Comes - Can Spring Be Far Behind?

(Paris / Tokyo) Lestatique - Kenneth mocks Antoine by creating an anime Dracula scenario

(Alberta) Mirror, Mirror - Antonio uses a magic fallarian mirror to hypnotize Beatrice — Vulcan

(BC & Vicino Lontano) At Sea - Berry pities humans and their religions, himself unaware of the greater designs of the Fallarians or the Vicinese — The Bright Shore - from The Book of Fractals: Ch. 1 - The Religion of Art

(The Allspace & Ovular 1) The Eggs of Cosmic Chance - The Looking-Glass Beings are the first life-forms to understand the structure of space - Egg One - Dicing - Number 36

(Florida & NYC) Jason & the Diplomat: Part 1 - a decadent New York power couple, Remy and Francine take their kids on a dangerous trip to Disney World

(Rome) Roma - Sandra, a Canadian studying in Geneva, meets a gypsy in Rome — Campo de' Fiori - Le Differenze - The Gypsy - Mei-lin - Zigana

(BC) Still Waters - Berry compares human and Baulian views on outer space

(NYC) Prophecy 2: Fax Americana - Curtus Rufius editorializes on history and American power

(Alberta) Prester John - Antonio enacts his evil plans, while Beatrice takes advice from Prester John, the town priest — Vulcan

(Rome) Times New Roman - Matthew contemplates the future of writing while on a Roman holiday — Uno - Due - Tre 

(Florida & NYC) Jason & the Diplomat: Part 2 - Francine feels ambivalent about her family

(Paris) Madame Dupont - Madame Dupont, an elderly French widow, returns to the Collège de France

(Alberta) On Becoming Alien - Prester John’s theology resembles science fiction — Vulcan

(Alberta) Güsfreude - Güsfreude gives advice & confronts her destiny — Vulcan - Oneiricana - The Holy Grimmble - Eden Valley

(BC) Virus - Berry reviews the case for not exterminating humans

(Rome) Di Roma - Lucia and her boyfriend stroll into the Pantheon — Avoidance - The Pantheon

(BC) Alien Extraction - Berry feels conflicted about the value of humanity — Virus - Coronary Issues

(NYC) Prophecy 3: The Storm Troopers Return - Conflict brews in the Big Apple

(Paris) All Shook Up - Kenneth botches a lecture at the Collège de France & Alikiko encounters the Devil — On the Podium - Akiko & the Devil - Off the Pedestal

(BC) Total Collapse - Earth gets visitors — Frame by Frame - An Elusive Metaphor

Part Three

(BC) In the New Beginning - Berry starts to live a double life — The Common Good - The 7% Solution

(Paris) Les Mouches - Kenneth and Madame Dupont find themselves on the banks of the Seine — Ultralight Beam - Le Pont Notre-Dame

(BC) En Route to the Old Cafe - Berry contemplates his next move

(Vicino Concordia) The Anunnaki - Lucia and Sandra find themselves far from home — On Vicino Prime - Under the Dome - Connection

(Paris) At First Sight - Madame Dupont walks to Notre-Dame

(BC) Screen Time - Matthew realizes he didn’t have a poetic death after all

(Paris) First Contact - Madame Dupont meets the new master race

(Fallar Discordia) The Condensation of Demon Saints - Farenn gives counsel to the Demon Saints of the Black Horde — The Sacred River - Farenn of Caldemar - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Alive

(BC) Dear Matthew - Matthew receives information about his new life

(The Soul Star) The Soul Star - Madame Dupont goes to a novel reunion — from The Book of Fractals: Ch. 2

(Paris) Au Bord de la Seine - Paris gets a makeover

(Vicino Lontano & the Soul Star) The Crazy Diamond - cosmographers speculate on the nature of the Soul Star — from The Book of Fractals: Ch. 2 - A Stellar Debate - from The Book of Fractals: Ch. 2

(Fallar Ultima) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Alive - Farenn gives confusing counsel to the Black Horde

(Alberta & the Soul Star) The Ties That Bind - Güsfreude determines to help Beatrice, who’s trapped in Antonio’s mansion — Güsfreude’s Awakening - Vulcan - The Necrometer

(The Soul Star) The Bind That Flies - Güsfreude ponders the meaning of the afterlife — Beyond Whose Bourn? - From The Book of Fractals: Ch. 3 - Like a Photon

(Rome) In the Field of Flowers - In Rome, Lucia and Sandra take stock of their situation — Introductions - The Convocation of Trunks

(BC) The French Maid - Matthew meets Baulixia, a French maid

(Alberta) The Monster in the Manor - Antonio lounges from his temple to his living room, where he awaits Güsfreude

(BC) Of Sand & Salt - Matthew remembers a fantasy he had on a Greek beach

(BC) The Baulomorphs Get It On - Matthew goes to a party

(Vicino Concordia) On the Golden Hill - Galdrimera, a Magnet Dreamer, tells the Bright Council about her travels

Part Four

(Paris & Skrakta) The Horsefly & the Rose - Meant to be - The Planet Skrakta - Learning to Fly - Kismet

(NYC) From the Battery - Remy meets Francine for lunch — Purple Haze - Les Liaisons Bienheureuses

(BC) The Next Morning - Matthew wakes up to find he has a visitor

… in progress …

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Table of Contents - Chart of Contents - Characters - Glossary - Maps