Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I, Crimsonstreak Commentary: Chapter 10

Chapter 10

Chaopolis South: It’s Like Chaopolis, Only Southier

Author’s Notes

  • Chaopolis South is located a little south of Chaopolis. In real life, it’s Greenwood, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis located in Johnson County. I lived in Greenwood for about two years and am still an Indy “southsider.”

  • Going through the Comet Accelerator is a definite out-of-body experience. Several memories flash through Crimsonstreak's consciousness as he travels from New Chaos City to Chaopolis South. A couple memories reference previous adventures with his parents (King Nutcracker, the Observers). Some involve sports (the 1990 Reds sweep of the A’s in the World Series, the Colts winning Super Bowl XLI). Others are events in Crimsonstreak’s life (his mother’s death, high school graduation). One about Franklin College mentions Dr. Cramer, who is a real, living and breathing professor at Franklin College, which is a real liberal arts college.

  • Mortimer and Warren IV have their own memories while going through the Comet Accelerator. Morty starts talking about the Land of Chocolate, a reference to a Simpsons episode. I’d like to say there’s some logic to this reference for Morty (such as watching The Simpsons was part of his Americanization), but I just liked the mental image of Morty taking a bite out of a lamppost. You can see the Simpsons clip here.

  • Warren’s quirky reentry memory is inspired by Toy Story, which remains one of my all-time favorite movies. I figure the series would’ve been popular enough when Warren was growing up for this to make some sense.

  • With the Sanctum Cometus “blown to hell” along with the Enforcers, most of the Comet’s supplies and gadgets in New Chaos City are toast. Morty mentions that the Comet always “has his bases covered,” meaning that there may be more than one Sanctum Cometus. Indeed, there is another, although it doesn’t appear in this book.

  • The “cloud-computing” backup was a late addition to the book. Originally, this little passage included a discussion about Chris’ preference for the Microsoft Zune. Technology changes so quickly that the joke didn’t age well, so I pulled it out. That’s always the danger with attempting to do topical humor; it can get outdated very quickly. In fact, Microsoft recently announced it was killing off the Zune platform.

  • I fudged the geography of Greenwood a little bit here. They probably haven’t been talking and walking long enough to make it from the downtown area to my old apartment building. No biggie.

  • The discussion about “trends” in Indiana was something I noticed in high school. By the time something became a “craze” adopted in the Hoosier state, it seemed like the rest of the country was over it. Hard to say if that’s still true in the Twitter age (you’ll notice nary a mention of social networking in the book because the Twitter/Facebook explosion hadn’t quite caught hold when I was originally writing it).

  • Central Indiana doesn’t have a mass transportation system. At least, not one that’s widely used. Everyone around the state drives. Tech like smartphones/iPads/Kindles didn’t catch on here immediately because most of us don’t ride a train or bus to work. That’s quite a bit different from the New York crowd, for instance. This is all anecdotal, of course, but I read a lot of tweets from people who are reading or tweeting during their morning/evening commute using mass transit systems. I don’t know if the Greater Indianapolis Area will ever have a dedicated mass transit system.

  • Meta-Route 65 is Interstate 65, a north-south interstate that runs right through Indianapolis. It goes nearly all the way to Chicago to the north and to Mobile, Alabama, to the south. Changing the name is just another way Chaos’ presence is felt in the world…and another way for something familiar to seem “wrong” to Chris.

  • Fox Chaopolis News. Fox News Channel takes a lot of heat for its claim of “fair and balanced,” and rightfully so. You can just see how certain issues are presented on the channel to paint stories in a certain light. It was the perfect news service to employ for a skewed perspective on the world. Note the patently wrong claim that “800 unregistered supers died in the blast.” It’s the mouthpiece for the New World Common Wealth, and perhaps something that hits a little too close to home.

  • The news isn’t the only skewed perspective. Our heroes encounter a “report unregistered supers” propaganda piece that blames two little kids for blowing up an entire town.

  • The flashback with Chris’ dad shows us a different Colonel Chaos, one who isn’t trying to take over the world. You see a father-son moment and realize how much the death of Miss Lightspeed has changed the world. The subsequent running flashback also provides us another glimpse of this relationship.

  • By now, Chris is starting to become world-weary. It’s as if his three years in captivity are suddenly catching up to him all at once. His resolve is strong, but he’s both mentally and physically fatigued.

  • Jaci Graves is the bureau chief of Chaopolis South. She’s a former girlfriend of Chris, a girl he’s very fond of but pushed away following his mother’s death. We’re quickly caught up on the characters’ unconventional relationship via a few quick flashbacks.

  • Jaci is a strong character; Chris mentions her strength several times throughout the book. I didn’t want a woman who was simply a damsel in distress; I wanted someone who could keep up with Chris and call him out on his own BS. She’s a great foil for him. Although the main characters in the novel are primarily men, I tried to fill it out with strong female characters. I realize they play mostly supporting roles, but their fingerprints are all over the book. My own life is filled with strong women, including my wife and my mother. These characters reflect that.

  • Franklin College remains an important place in my life. Founded in 1834, FC is located in Franklin, Indiana. It’s south of Greenwood and offers programs ranging from journalism to education, biology, and business. I’m a proud FC grad (class of 2003) and mentioning the college in the book is my way of saying thanks.

  • Yeah, I couldn’t resist a sports reference involving Peyton and Eli Manning.

  • Crimsonstreak muses about an “alternate dimension.” He doesn’t realize it at the time, of course, but he’s just stumbled across a valuable piece of information. Too bad he doesn’t put it together.