From: Michael Copeland (m.copeland@vannayinstitute.org)
To: Charlie McGee (charliem@irinafoundation.org)
Sent: Wednesday, 11-25-09
Subject: Quick heads-up

Don't know if you saw the peice in The Guardian, but King is considering a sequel to the Shining. Danny Torrance at 40 working as an orderly in a hospice in NYC. Based on what we know about the Overlook fire & pub dates, that means he will be there by 2012--he might be there already. Title to be Doctor Sleep. I know you've always been concerned about where he ended up--looks like he beat the low men after all.

Hope you are well. Things are a madhouse here between Dome-Day and all the sequel announcements. A Dark Tower midquel!!! This is going to change everything. Unless it doesn't, I guess.

Oh, and, Happy Thanksgiving.

Michael
"So what do you think?"

"It hangs together." Michael is nuking a mug of hot water so he can pour hot chocolate mix into it; the cordless phone is a heavy weight in his hand. "It certainly hangs together."

He can hear murmured side conversation, and then Greg is back. "So... what comes next? What do we do?"

Yes. That is the question. And it's his to answer, because somewhere along the line, they put him in charge.

"I--

"Are we sure?" he asks. "Not 90% or 99, but entirely sure? Because if I tell Susannah, or I tell Charlie, something drastic may happen. And if we're not--"

"We can go over the translations," Greg says uncertainly. "See if anything new comes into focus with this lens. Confirm or deny." He sounds doubtful, because he's pretty sure this is it, and so is Michael, to tell the truth.

It's just so--

"I can't really believe," he says, "that there isn't something else. I don't think you're wrong," he says hurriedly, because they're doing amazing work; he's humbled by them. "I don't think so. But there has to be something else. Some other factor we're missing.

"I can't believe that in two hundred years, those children could become... that. So deranged and diseased."

"Well, we were talking, uh, aliens," Greg says reluctantly. "I mean, the byrus, and the Tommyknockers. But that seems a little... I mean, Occam's Razor..."

"I know." Michael takes off his spectacles and rubs his temples. "I know. Just. Go back to the translations. See if this unlocks anything new. Maybe--what was that word? The one we couldn't get?"

"An-cal." Encell, Michael hears. "Chamber," he says. "Heart, maybe. And something to do with breath. And... mutuality; sharing something in a closed group."

"The can calah are angels." Behind him, someone is shouting about callas, about Calvin Toren and Pere Callahan. "And cam is good, right? Cam-a-cam-mal."

So if the goodmind is beneficial linking of multiple minds into one big shared mood, then ancal would be, perhaps, something one step further. Not the goodmind but one shared beating heart.

And what if it's already awake? Or the act of warning them wakes it up?

They must not encell!

I will tell them, Michael decides, when I am sure. But not before. "Thanks, Greg," he says, as heartfelt as he is capable of being right now. "Thank you all."
It's Todd's apartment, his two roommates having cleared off for Boston together. He's got the most space. Tara brought the beer, Janet brought the takeout: from Ali Baba's Turkish Cuisine on Second Avenue, for the nostalgia value. Jason brought a large-size bag of Funyuns. Greg Toman brought seventeen Stephen King novels and a stack of those marble-fronted notebooks you use in the fifth grade.

Janet tries to stifle a yawn as he holds forth; Jason does not. Only Ethan, the intern, seems to be really paying attention. The rest ... well, the Elder Statesmen weren't expected, Zee is presumably still recuperating from her job interview, and Todd and Tara are nowhere to be seen.

"--so then it shoots a laser at her," Greg says. He's walking through the story of Susannah Toren's brief trip to a dark future again. "I mean, what kind of mystical entity can shoot a laser?"

"Enough," Parker says. He's on his back, staring at the ceiling. "Enough is enough, Greg, and I have had enough." Wryly: "Forever." God, so many stupid quotes taking up space in his head.

"Oh, up yours, Parkerboy." It's fairly automatic, and then Greg notices the guilty expressions on Janet and, yes, even Ethan's faces. "Guys, come on. We've hardly touched the canon all night."

"Greg..." Janet says gently.

"The sound you hear," Parker says, "is a clue going by overhead. It's over, Greg. They fired us. I've always been in this for the duration, you know that, I wouldn't be reading this crap if it wasn't real, but frankly I was a lot more interested in seeing Tara's new tattoo than hearing about a lost turtle in the middle of Queens or Steve-O's opinion on e-book piracy. Which makes tonight kind of a bust, from my point of view." He kills his beer, and pots the can in the corner. "They fired us. We got nothing to contribute anymore. You picked the right name, man. We're the Loser's Club."

"Guys." Greg looks betrayed. "This is important. Not, like, important to me. Important. Two hundred years from now, everything we worked for will be gone. Some kind of... thing, haunting the building. Killing the rose. Killing the world. We know it's going to happen unless we find a way to prevent it before it happens. And we're the ones who know how stuff like that happens. It's our job."

"Greg," Janet says quietly. "Not anymore."

"Well, look," Ethan puts in, "maybe we're not supposed to get involved. Maybe we're supposed to just stay out of it. I mean, look at NorthCentral Positronics, initially they were trying to help, right? But it was building machines to try to reinforce the Beams that caused all the--"

"Oh, don't give me that Luddite anti-technology crap," Greg snaps, and Ethan's face goes blank; brash and self-confident as he is, it's easy to forget sometimes that he's just a kid, and Greg's approval means a lot to him. "I never read it that way, if they hadn't built the generators the Tower would've fallen."

"It's ambiguous," Janet interjects, despite herself, and they're off to the races again, and Parker gets to his feet.

"I gotta use the--" He heads towards the bathroom, carefully ignoring any noise from Todd's closed bedroom door.

He sighs, trying to turn his attention to the matter at hand. Toman is a nut, no doubt, but his wife moved out last week. He needs this more than the rest of them, and Parker has no idea how to deal with that. Better leave it to Janet.

(None of them are particularly good at this. Making connections. There's a reason they're all better with books than having personal lives.)

Besides -- and this is the real problem -- Toman is right. It's important. Something, somehow, is haunting their building, two hundred years away. Sounds like a long time, but when you save the world, it's supposed to stay saved. Even NC Positronics, as Ethan pointed out, got a good hundred thousand years in before they went to the Dark Side --



Oh.

Oh god.


The realization -- sudden, awful and totally, self-evidently right -- is followed closely by a more prosaic one: he's pissing on his shoes.

"GUYS." He pounds back up the hallway, zipping up his fly, and smacks Todd's door for good measure on the way. Knocks over Ethan's beer (naughty, naughty) too. "It's us."

They stare at him. "The rose wouldn't let just anybody hang around the lobby," he pants. Out of fucking shape, can't even jog a damn hallway. Not important now. "It's our place. Our turf. Tet turf. It's protecting the rose. It's us." More stares.

"It HAD HER VOICE. Susannah's voice."

Janet shakes her head. "No. Jason, no, that's -- "

"Crazy? Obsessive? A really scary route to immortality? Tell me when I -- " Wheeze. "Get to the part that doesn't sound like a gunslinger."

Ethan's the first one to break the silence. "Anybody can be a hotel," he quotes. From the Talisman.

Janet makes a face. "I always thought that belonged on your list of quotes that don't mean anything, Jason. Up there with Gravity is everyone's mother. I know what they're going for, but what's scary about a hotel?" She's a little off-topic, she knows. Maybe she shouldn't have opened the last beer.

"Well, what about the Overlook?" Tara interjects from the hallway; Parker flicks a glance back at her, and she grins at him. Behind her, Todd looks embarassed but kind of pleased with himself.

"Are we getting off topic?" Greg asks, in the we're getting off topic voice.

"Nah, think about it." Todd slips into the living room and sits on a footstool, snagging the last piece of baklava. "The Overlook is more than just ghosts, right? The hotel itself is alive and uses the individual ghosts trapped there. That's why it wants Danny Torrence so badly."

"Haunted house in Rose Red, too," Janet agrees. "And the, uh, the short story with the one in Maine that keeps growing. And Black House -- I told you guys House of Leaves was important."

"There are a lot of them, actually," Greg says, flipping through his notes. "Houselike ... I don't know, psychic constructs. They grow by eating new minds, and form these structures -- Susannah said it opened a door that she thought was a trap--"

"Gingerbread House," Ethan says. When they all look at him, he raises his eyebrows and looks back at all of them. "At Blue Heaven? They made themselves a little pocket dimension. And it was a gingerbread house 'cause that's what Sheemie wanted it to be, but maybe if there was, I don't know, some mork who wanted to build something more like a defense installation --"

"You'd get a psychic construct that can shoot lasers," Todd muses. "But wouldn't you need a mork who could shoot lasers to begin with?"

"And that goes back to my question before," says Greg, "of what kind of mork does that?"

Janet shrugs, and says "Charlie McGee can start fires," and then the room explodes.

"Taos," Tara shouts. "The goodmind!" At the same time, Parker says, "Cell!"

Greg waves his hands like a traffic cop. "One at a time, what, what?" He points to Jason.

"It happens to the phoners, in Cell," Parker says. "Pulse wipes their minds, and low-level psychic links just ... build up, until you have a hive-mind."

"Yeah, but where does the mind-wipe come in?"

"Don't need one," Tara says. "There's the psychics in Taos, all linked up. Those kids -- they can't stop the connection if they want to. And why would they want to? They're happier. Smarter, like the phoners. More powerful."

"More able to protect the rose," Janet whispers.

"And it needs protecting," Greg says. "And that's what Tet's for. They'd -- we'd -- want to join."

"One way or another," Todd says, but Greg shakes his head.

"I mean it, we'd do it to ourselves. If we could share everything -- no misunderstandings, no hurt feelings, no limited knowledge -- wouldn't that be great?"

"So this whatsit, this entity, it moves in to protect the rose," Ethan says. "And then it ... goes evil? Why?"

"Hold on." Greg digs out his phone. "Guys, someone call Zee. Call everybody. I'm calling Michael. He's going to want to hear this."
From: Neil Harkham <nhark395@aol.com>
To: Constant Readers <constantreaders@losersclub.com>
Sent: Wed 4/28/2009 9:25 PM
Subject: Re: safe as houses

I've finished reading Janet's initial digest of the Danielewski work, and I have to say... )
In his mind, he sees a conference hall; Twilight Hall in Middlebury, Vermont, where he presented his first paper once, long ago. High ceilings and woodbeams. The audience is packed, and if not with the usual suspects, so be it. He's in a suit and tie, not his pajamas, and there's a podium and a glass of ice water.

He clears his throat; shuffles his index cards.

Begins.

We have to begin with the gunslingers; who they are and what they represent. But to do that we have to go back further. We have to understand--that the basic state of the univere--the macroverse is not order but chaos. What we call the world, the tiny sane bubble where two plus two is always four, exists only as a deliberate act of will. Of magic. Of faith, in fact. And to support that world there exists a superstructure, and certain special places where that world connects to that superstructure. And to defend that structure and those places--the rose and the tower and all the rest--there exist the gunslingers.

Cam-a-cam-mal, pria-toi, Gan delah.

Victory victorious over destruction, dreamed up out of the emptiness by our Creator, again and again forever.

The gunslingers are given certain gifts; and not just once in a single stroke of thunder, as God gifts others at need. They get to keep them. And sometimes they are human, and sometimes they fail. For that reason they are tested, and tested terribly.

Odetta Holmes was born in our world, where no one ever heard of gunslingers, and yet she was one. From the day of her birth she was tested, by racism and sexism; time would add insanity and the loss of her legs. She was, when she was drawn by the last gunslinger of another world, in every way Other. Yet the core of steel was the same.

On the road of trials he drew her to, she was tested again; she lost everything, again and again. And then, when push came to shove, she left him. He chose the dark tower of ambition; he could not quit. And she chose the bright tower of love. She couldn't stay. She chose twenty years of peace, and love, and family. This man. A child. A child, who it seems, is in the most terrible of danger.

Her reaction is predictable.

What we are seeing today, ladies and gentlemen,
he sips his water, is that a tower is still a tower in the end. 'I will live and die for the sake of love, and never count the cost.' Susannah Dean--Odetta Holmes that once was--said that. She will never count the cost, and for the sake of love she will dare anything. Like the man who drew her, she is capable of anything, in the pursuit of what she feels she must do.

But he was alone. And she was not. We are the voice of her better judgment, the good work she has made in this world, and we know what she can't see right now--that this is another test, for her and for her daughter and for the world. For all the worlds.

And she must not fail. We must not fail.


He takes another sip of water; straightens himself, shoulders back.

Cam-a-cam-mal, pria-toi, Gan delah. Faith will always defeat the darkness. This is the will of God. Forever and ever. She has to be stopped. She--

And then there is too much to say, too fast; the image fails him, and he can feel the goodmind taking what it needs, a lifetime of reading and thinking and winnowing and crossconnecting and building a mental library. All--ka--for this moment.

A fragment flickers through his mind, as it's swept out that great Unfound Door (the one they called Memory) by that terrible and ruthless wind. A fragment from Stephen King's Desperation.

What is faith?

The substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.

What is the spiritual state of the faithful?

Love and acceptance.

And what is the opposite of faith?

Disbelief?

No. Not disbelief, but unbelief. One is natural, the other is willful. And when one is in unbelief, what is one's spiritual state?

I don't know.

Yes you do.




The spiritual state of unbelief is desperation.


And another line, from the same book:

Do you know how cruel God is? How fantastically cruel?

In this desperate hour, Michael Copeland prays.
CALVINS <constantreaders@losersclub.com>

The original five:
* Michael Copeland <michael.copeland@gmail.com>. Forty-six. Prior to January 1, 2009, he was the head of the Tet Corporation department referred to officially as Research & Analysis, and unofficially as the Calvins.
* Andrea Faber Wilkes <afaber@hotmail.com>. In her late fifties; vaguely grandmotherly, vaguely Angela Lansbury.
* Janet Creeque <greenkirtle@gmail.com>. Mid-thirties, the youngest of the original five. Wrote her senior thesis on intertextuality in the works of Stephen King.
* Neil Harkham <nhark395@aol.com>. Retired professor of English literature, in his sixties. Was Janet's advisor in college.
* Greg Toman <admin1@losersclub.com>. Forty-eight. King's Number One Fan. In his misspent youth he was editor/collator of the Stephen King fanzine The Losers' Club, which was how he and Copeland first met; it has since morphed into an online discussion board that he used to co-moderate before joining the Calvins. When the Calvins were disbanded, he started up the new mailing list for Project Renegade.

From the new cadre:
* Jason Parker <parkerboy@gmail.com>. Thirty. Thinks Stephen King is a hack, hates his writing style, is nonetheless one of the most dedicated of the new cadre. Became aware that King's stories were true as a result of an encounter with one of his supernatural terrors.
* Zee Hayden <zeenotzed@gmail.com>. Twenty-eight. Grad student in folklore, fond of Campbellian archetypes and Russian Formalism.
* Tara Wilson <priatoigan@gmail.com> (also <tarantula@hotmail.com>). Thirty-two. Has a tattoo of the word delah in the script of Gilead.
* Todd Penfield <mosaicmaker@gmail.com>. Twenty-five. Discovered the Dark Tower series in the course of writing a research paper on deconstruction of the King Arthur canon in contemporary fantasy.
* Ethan Yadlow <mightydwarf@gmail.com>. Nineteen. College senior majoring in English Lit with an emphasis in poetry. Has worked for the Calvins as an intern on summer and winter vacations.
Janet's apartment is a studio, but it takes the casual visitor a moment to realize that; she's set up almost-ceiling-high bookshelves to create the semblance of internal walls, partitioning off a closet-sized "bedroom" from the only slightly larger "living room" next to the kitchen. They've had full meetings here before, but not often; the abridged space can seat twelve people, but not comfortably.

When Greg arrives, stamping snow off his boots in the hallway, Tara's already ensconced on the couch with her hands wrapped around a mug of tea. "Todd can't make it," Janet says apologetically as she stands aside to let Greg in. "He called about a half-hour ago."
NYMinute

Psychic Takes Spill

A HOMELESS Tarot card reade
was clinging to life last night
after mysteriously collapsing i
front of police in Howard
Beach, Queens, witnesses and
police said.
Note to self: check obits
The man, whom neighbor-
hood kids called "JP" and who
read Tarot cards in the neigh-
borhood, approached a patrol
card at 149th Ave. and Cross Bay
Blvd. The man, who was not
carrying identification, was
rushed to Jamaica Hospital,
where he underwent surgery
for head wounds, poilce said.
Matthew Lysiak and Wil

Hand-chop b

email log

Dec. 28th, 2008 08:12 pm
From: Greg Toman <admin1@losersclub.com>
To: Constant Readers <constantreaders@losersclub.com>
Sent: Thurs 1/1/2009 9:37 PM
Subject: Well, here we are

I hope I got everybody's non-work edress in. Sound off, folken?




From: Jason Parker <parkerboy@gmail.com>
To: Constant Readers <constantreaders@losersclub.com>
Sent: Thurs 1/1/2009 9:42 PM
Subject: Re: Well, here we are

... )
[master post]

Do you have a question about anything in the Firefly universe? Do you need a clarification about anything? Please ask here! We'll get you a response as soon as we can. :D
[master post]

This is where the magic happens.

Most people will come in through Milliways and exit out the cargo bay to go have some fun. But some might need to take detours. And of course, some people live here.

Some people work here, too -- especially if they're working on repairs.
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