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’s rather amorphous — it contains multiple narrative threads, is set in different locations, and dips into several genres — I’ve provided brief plot points (below) and a list of characters by location. The clearest picture of the overall structure is 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 occasionally rework and add to the earlier sections. My model in this is Balzac’s mid-19th century Human Comedy, which works disparate stories into alignment — unlike the more tightly structured Divine Comedy of Dante. While I don’t pretend to the poetic sublimity of Dante, or to the satiric realism of Balzac, The Pulse might be seen 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) 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 Absorbent Beings are the first life-forms to understand the structure of space - Egg One - Dicing - Number 36

(The Great Void) Antiny the 23rd - A space ship from far away spies the trajectory of an Absorbent Being

(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

(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