(It’s a long one)
The Bottom Line original manuscript
On a Smith Corona portable typewriter… really. With White Out!
It’s 1978 and I am a year and a half into writing novels. The first novel I wrote was a Star Trek novel because Star Trek was and is my favorite TV show of all time. Incredibly, just out of school I was able to write a novel, formatted like the TV show because that was my story operating system and get an agent in NYC.
The next novel The Red-Light District followed the sci-fi movies of the 1950’s-secret project out west in hidden in the red rock plateau. With a maniacal mad man scientist with the president trying to stop the runaway project. Typical but not bad.
Things changed in A Nobel Experiment where external UFO fakers were outed yet real aliens were really on earth! This expands on Close Encounters (1977) where we never see where Richard Dreyfuss ends up after boarding the alien craft. I expanded this view into a deep space alien war and then a returned to the proverbial ‘earth possibly ending scenario.’ And I added time dilation when our hero Bill Brady returns to earth years later.
Thus, we come to 1978.
First let me say the book The Bottom Line (Now the Reprehensibles) went to NYC, went to the publishing houses-Didn’t make it. And a copy went into my files because my agent wanted me to write a story with horror being the overriding theme. Which I did. The Bottom-Line unopened manuscript was transported from Amherst to Sierra Madre California-later to Glendora California and then to what is now Moreno Valley, California. The manuscript left California via plane to Massachusetts, finally settling on Cape Cod to its present shelf location (After many additional moves and time flowing onward. More years than I care to recount!)
So… I have written a substantial amount of work since the binder was originally closed and I went to work learning more about writing. The binder was opened two weeks ago. What would “The Fitton of Now’ find from the ‘Fitton of Old?’
I decided to record this book, changing what I needed to as I went along.
Immediately I noticed that this book was sounding very much like a Star Trek episode (Not surpirsing) without the crew and federation. More than that The Fitton of old had created a real world with a real population problem. That’s good and I guess I paid attention in the sci fi elective course at UMASS. But the theme came directly from none other than Isaac Asimov and a lecture I attended at UMASS Amherst in 1977. His warnings about population proliferation scared the living daylights out of the Fitton of Old. Controlling the crammed in population in this book is the elites. That works.
The late Oliva Newton John sang let’s get physical. Well we’re not going to get physical but we will get critical.
So let’s get critical
I repeated words all over the place( Same paragraphs in some cases) , did not delve deeply into backgrounds, and my point of view changes like the cars passing on the freeway. The original dialogue was sryupy and some of the characters not believeable. But then again characters like Glass binds much of the novel together. Why he travels with his female assistants will be left to your imaginiation. The whole idea of being in the future and lack of freedom was very good. The landscape of this world is freaky but believeable and human nature is on display with power craving individuals is part of humaity that will always exist.
In the original, the manuscript moved forward with the lead character (Nickie Sessions) acting more like a high school social butterfly. When I began recording, I performed major surgery on this character. Changed her name to Maria Almonte. She needed more spine and she had to stand for something especially within the world she lives in.
What she becomes must make sense and now in the present format her actions seem justified.
The Inspector’s personality is also entertaining, and I added a persnickety voice to Inspector Manford Glass during recording.
As we move along in this book it is sounding very much like the format of an old-time radio program. Simple script. Not very deep in description and depth of characters. But that’s okay in this audio format with voice intonation and sound effects.
The character of Neville Constantine is superficial and stereotypical. Again, I can get away with this because of the radio format.
The Greenies reverse predicate speech predates Yoda in Return of the Jedi two years after I wrote this novel. Definitely did not steal that from Jedi for the story device in this book.
So, what verdict to I give the manuscript from the past? The Fitton of the Past did a good job creating Maria’s world, but he should have been consistent in the presentation. Problems have been corrected yes-so the audio version is entertaining, but a book version would be much longer, deeper, more descriptive, added scientific and reality concepts, and concurrent themes would be added. That is why this story will at least remain in audio and not in writing.
I deem it-Not bad.
Now Wait a Minute!
More surgery. Since this novel sounds like an old time radio broadcast with a simplified script I decided to place the chapters into episodes. Those episodes are now on my podcast Fitton on the Air Podcast on Sound Cloud and most other platforms.
Perhaps some day I will transform this into a very good novel. But I have miles to go….
PS… I rewrote the entire last chapter because it was too horrible for human ears! It was bad! Now, the real time audio merges with the centeral theme of this work together. So now I deem it ready for human ears. And canine ears!