Another attempt at NaNoWriMo … sort of.

I really enjoyed writing Jumpgate Blues (a 50,000+ word novel written entirely during the month of November in 2009) and I’d love to try it again. But now, I’ve got a baby. And man, if there’s one thing you can count on when you’ve got a baby, it’s that your free time is seriously curtailed.

So in lieu of actually writing 50,000+ words in a month, I came up with the brilliant idea of trying to write a much shorter piece about writing a novel in a month. So here it is…

November 4, 2010

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12

Chapter 1

Wow, I can’t believe how much free time I have. I think I’ll write a novel this month. It’s going to be awesome. This chapter opens with Nikola Tesla living in America around the turn of the century. Hmm … I should probably do some research on the guy.

Thank goodness for wikipedia! Man, I am saving so much time with the internet. How did people live before this?! It’s like, I just saved myself three days of going to the library and photocopying articles and stuff. We must so much more more efficient than we ever were bef– oh, hey, I wonder what’s on reddit.com. Oh shoot, I just wasted three days browsing the web.

Anyways, back to Nikola Tesla. He’s in his late 40s and he’s fiddling around in his lab. Around this time, he’s starting his high-voltage, high-frequency experiments. Insert amazing description of his lab.

On of his friends, Mark has come to visit. Through subtle (and beautifully written) hints, you get the idea that Mark is a writer. Eventually, it dawns upon the reader that Nikola’s friend Mark is none other than Mark Twain! What? Too fanciful for you? There’s no way that two disparate historical celebrities like the author of Huckleberry Finn and one of the primary founders of wireless communication would have known each other, right? Well, they totally did! Whoah, did I just blow your mind with a little unexpected historical fact in the middle of my historical fiction? Oh yeah…

So he’s demonstrating his cool physics experiment to Mark Twain. Yes, the writer. It could have actually happened. What did they actually say? Who knows? But here is a sample exchange between them that I think is totally plausible:

“Nikola! It’s very loud!”

“Yes, is it not glorious?”

“What?! I can’t hear you becau–”

“Check this out!”

Wow, such deathless prose. This novel is just going to be chock full of dialog like that. (Note to self: Nikola Tesla probably would not have said, “Check this out!” Figure out what he would have said instead. But make sure that it’s just as awesome.) Anyways, he pulls a lightbulb out of his pocket, tosses it into the air, and it lights up and hovers in the air! But then it explodes.

“I am still working out some kinks…”

“Nikola, that was amazing. With you, all manner of things seem possible.”

“More than you could imagine, my friend, more than you could imagine.”

“What about the stuff that English writer wrote about?”

“H. G. Wells and his ‘Time Machine’? Bah, the very notion of traveling backwards in time is absurd. You have a ridiculous obsession with the idea. It is an obvious paradox.” (This is a subtle reference to Mark Twain’s time travel novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. What? Mark Twain wrote a novel about time travel in 1889, predating H. G. Well’s Time Machine?! Oh. Emm. Gee.)

“Ah, so time travel is impossible, then?”

“Well … perhaps in one direction.”

Dun, dun, DUUUUNNNN! What could he possibly mean?!

Chapter 2

If I were going to name chapters in this novel, this one would totally be called “The Mysterious Stranger” because that’s what it’s about. But for some reason, giving names to chapters seems to have fallen out of vogue and so I’m going to have to let the readers know what it’s about in a less obvious way. I guess it’s an extension of the “show don’t tell” concept where it’s better to guide the reader than just hit them over the head with it.

A mysterious stranger knocked on the door. Oh yeah! Now that’s a killer opening.

Maybe I’ll have the mysterious stranger entirely dressed in black. Wait, did they dress in black back then? What am I thinking, of course they did! Everyone’s dressed in black in those old photos. Or does it just look like that because they’re black and white photos? I should look into that.

Oh, brilliant idea: he’s dressed in black but has one conspicuous detail like a bright yellow handkerchief or something. This will totally come up again and when it does, the reader will be all, like, “OMG, I remember the yellow handkerchief from chapter 2. This author is so amazingly brilliant for thinking ahead like that.” Note to self: figure out what this stupid yellow handkerchief means.

Anyways, Nikola Tesla opens the door, sees the mysterious stranger and says, “Ah, it is you.” Then the stranger replies to Tesla, “Nikola, you have become far too conspicuous.”

What’s going on?! Oh, so many mysteries. They talk for a while, but it’s not going to be just dialog. I’m going to put in actions and stuff. (Note to self: figure out how to write stuff that’s not dialog.) And through those actions and dialog, you’ll discover that there’s a mysterious shadowy organization that may come after Nikola because of his experiments. But he seems unconcerned and merely responds that he has a plan in place.

The stranger also says mysterious things like, “these experiments are too much for this world” and “humans are not ready” and “Klaatu barada nikto”. Wait, what?! Could Tesla be an alien? And we’re not just talking about the Croatian variety, we’re talking about space alien. The stranger is definitely a space alien. (Oooh, betcha didn’t see that one coming!) But Tesla? Who knows? I don’t even know because there are good reasons for having him be an alien and good reasons for having him be human.

On the one hand, if he’s an alien then it somewhat diminishes the impact of him doing such amazing things in his lifetime. On the other, it’s pretty freakin’ cool to have a space alien as your main character. Also, it would help explain some stuff like … the dude was voluntarily celibate his whole life. What’s up with that?! True fact: the real Nikola Tesla felt that celibacy helped him concentrate on his scientific experiments. What … the … froof? Okay, I was involuntarily celibate for the first half of my life and it totally sucked! Sure, I aced all my computer science courses and scored really high on my GREs. But you know what? Totally not worth it. But hey, I’m not Nikola Tesla. Space alien. Anyways, I should probably figure this out before Chapter 3.

The next day, Tesla is frantically working on a huge room-filling device and pouring over a large map of the United States. There is a notebook filled with calculations on the side.

Mark Twain comes to visit again. Twain asks him about his work but Tesla ignores the question to ask where it is cold in the US. Twain responds, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” (Actually, Mark Twain never said this, although it’s often attributed to him. But I wanted the story to take place in San Francisco so I just had to use the line. Hey, it’s a work of fiction, right?)

“Ah, perfect. It is by the ocean and the timing should work out.”

“What are you talking about, Nikola?”

Tesla looks at Twain for a moment and says, “I will miss you, my friend, for after tonight, I will never see you again.”

“What? Where are you going?”

“I cannot say. But do not worry, you will see me again tomorrow,” he says.

Mysterious.

Chapter 3

Time to change things up a bit.

Up to now, I imagine the entire novel being written in third person. But this chapter is written in first person, from the perspective of Priya, a researcher in the physics department at a university in San Francisco. The idea is that Nikola Tesla is enigmatic and therefore, we are not privy to his thoughts. But Priya represents the viewpoint from our modern world.

We follow Priya throughout her day and learn about her friends and colleagues at work. She proceeds to do some work but finds that her calibrations are off. She starts to discuss the issue with one of her co-workers, Ed, but gets sidetracked because he asks her out to lunch. She’s not that interested but thankfully already has an excuse because she’s meeting up with Sally and –

As a side note, does anyone else find it disconcerting to write characters that share names with people you know? Men’s names are a little easier because there are so many duplicates that having another “John”, “Dave”, or “Chris” isn’t distracting. But women’s names? I’m running out of female names that either none of my friends have or are common enough that none of them would think I’m writing about them. I wonder if other writers have this problem. I bet you could make a pretty educated guess about the names of various author’s friends by the names that they didn’t use in their writing. But I digress.

Priya meets up with Sally, her friend from college. They catch up and Priya mentions something strange going on at work. Sally isn’t a scientist is totally a world-class molecular biologist but not a physicist, so Priya explains it in layman’s terms, that she detected something interfering with her instruments. Her colleagues think it’s just a malfunction. (Hint: it’s not a malfunction.)

Sally becomes curious and urges Priya to investigate further. Later that evening, they discover that the anomaly is growing in strength. Not only that, they figure out where the anomaly is centered, in an abandoned warehouse near the university. They get to the site and fascinating dialog like this ensues:

“Priya, are you sure this is safe? I mean, should we be wearing radiation suits or something?”

“There’s hardly any radiation. It’s almost entirely electromagnetic in nature.”

“So we’re not in any danger?”

“Not from radiation. But I’d take off any metallic jewelry, just in case.” Sally nervously starts to remove her earrings and necklace when Priya adds, “Oh, you don’t have any metallic fillings, do you?”

“Uhhh…”

And with that, a giant portal opens up right in front of them. They are momentarily blinded by light and out steps out … Nikola Tesla.

Chapter 4

I have theoretically written a quarter of this novel. This is the point where I realize that I only had about a quarter’s worth of idea for a novel. Now what? Now is the dark time for the novelist. Now is the time for “searching of the soul” and “plumbing of the depths of imagination”. After a couple hours of this, I turn to browsing of the web pages. And then the feeling of the guilt.

Eventually, enough time has passed that sleep deprivation kicks in. At this point, I start to hallucinate and come up with a brilliant idea. The idea starts to expand and as the inspiring moment turns to hours, it becomes more and more awesome. Fortunately, I have the foresight to write it all down … or at least enough of it to comprehend in the morning.

But in the cold light of dawn, harsh reality strikes and I realize that while it seemed like an awesome idea at the time, self-doubt starts to creep in. Is the idea, perhaps, actually very stupid? Or is it possible to be both awesome and stupid? But by this point, so much time has passed that it becomes moot. In order to meet deadlines, I decide to just go with it.

Zombies.

Well, okay, to back up a bit, the chapter doesn’t open with zombies. It opens with dialog like this:

“What the — who the heck are you?”

“My name is Nikola.”

“Like Nikola Tesla?”

Telsa is surprised but not unpleased. He replies, “Ah, I am famous even a century later?”

“Who’s Nikola Tesla?” asks Sally.

Priya smiles at Sally and says to Nikola, “You’re well known among physicists. Wait, did I say ‘you’? Who are you? You can’t be the Nikola Tesla.”

Hahaha, oh, it’s so very funny. Priya thinks it can’t be Nikola Tesla, but it totally is! Oh time travel, you’ve really made a mess of things so far. This is exactly the sort of situation that leads to laughter and I should know because I was raised on a steady diet of situational comedies. Well, that and Robotech. Man, that was a great cartoon.

Then Sally gets eaten by zombies.

Chapter 5

At first, you feel only shock. Then … terror, as you slowly start to realize what is happening. The pain only registers later. You may have experienced more pain in your life before like that one time you slammed the door on your hand, or the time you broke your ankle when you landed on it wrong. But you have never experienced a more horrifying pain than the pain of being eaten alive.

Curiously, the pain starts to recede at some point. Then your screams turn to manic laughter. Your mind is slowly driven to insanity as you watch pieces of you torn off in chunks. Is that your foot that some has torn off? Are you missing fingers now? It’s hard to tell. The horror has turned to dread.

But then, this too passes. Soon, there is only a dull throb. You barely notice when the attacks subside. You notice nothing at all. Nothing … except for aching hunger. A hunger for flesh. Not the flesh of these rotting corpses walking beside you. But a hunger for fresh, living, breathing flesh. And a hunger to do unto others what has been done unto you. But there is one thing above all else that you hunger for. A hunger which cannot be denied. A hunger for:

Brrraaaainnnn…

Bam! Did you see what I just did there? I just switched to second person perspective in this chapter. What’s second person perspective? Well, first person perspective is, “I walked across the alley”. Third is, “Sally walked across the alley.” And second is, “You walked across the alley.” It’s a little tricky to do and feels a little unnatural, which is why it isn’t used very often. But I thought it’d be perfect for someone turning into a zombie — I imagine it to be a horrifying process and one characteristic of people going through something traumatic like that is that they almost feel like it’s happening to someone else even though they’re totally conscious of it happening to them.

You know how many books have chapters that are written in second person? Not many. You know how many are written to the perspective of someone turning into a zombie?! Zero. That’s right, you’re reading literary history being made, right here.

You’re welcome.

So let’s see, what else goes on in this chapter? Well, Sally watches Nikola Tesla and her friend Priya running away. She tries to shamble after them, but eventually forgets what she’s doing and sort of shuffles along with her fellow zombies; following the crowd, as it were. Boy, if there’s one thing that zombies are good at, it’s following the crowd.

From there, we get a glimpse into zombie life. (It’s not all eating brains, you know.) There are zombie events, zombie mixers, a brief zombie romance (it doesn’t end well), etc. Fascinating stuff.

Chapter 6

This chapter marks the last chapter before the theoretical halfway point of the novel. Ideally, this chapter would end on a dramatic mid-novel cliffhanger. And by now, I realize that I need to stop relying on gimmicks and get to the meat of the novel. So here’s some gripping dialog:

“Sally, oh my god, Sally… I can’t believe what happened to Sally.”

“Indeed. I cannot believe it. That hack H. G. Wells was right. Humanity does devolve into Morlocks and Eloi.”

And then there’s 20 pages of that. What? This is supposedly a 50,000+ word novel written in a month. They can’t all gems. At this point, I’m just happy that it’s more or less a cohesive plot.

Anyways, after 20 pages or so they realize that it’s not Morlocks that attacked them and devoured Sally, but zombies. Also, since zombies only appeared around the same time as Tesla, they make the connection that somehow Tesla’s leap forward in time caused the problem, which causes Nikola Tesla to launch into a guilt-ridden soliloquy:

“Ach, I am consumed with guilt! I had only intended to bring progress and peace but instead I have only brought humanity it’s dooooo–”

Then Priya slaps him. You thought I was going to launch into another 20 pages of dialog? You can really only get away with that at most once per chapter. I mean, at some point, you have to move the plot forward, right?

“Snap out of it! If you really are Nikola Tesla and you really did travel through time then help me figure out a way to stop this threat.”

At this point, the astute reader will wonder how Priya and Tesla, who have an impressive combined expertise in electromagnetics, will figure out a way to cure a zombie epidemic, which is decidedly biological in nature. Umm … yeah, that’s a good question. Maybe they’ll just build a giant death ray and kill all the zombies.

Wait, what? They’re just going to kill all those innocent people who got turned into zombies because of Nikola Tesla’s little temporal foray into the present?

Um, well, you can’t make an omelette without– err, I mean, when all you’ve got is a hammer, then everything starts looking like– err, I mean, well … maybe?

No, that’s lame. I can’t have Nikola Tesla be the cause of all the zombies and then just have him kill them all. That would make for a pretty unsympathetic character. And I can’t just have someone else solve the problem, either. Because if there’s one thing worse than an unsympathetic protagonist, it’s a passive one.

Hmm … I may have just written myself into a literary corner. Fortunately, I’ve still got six more chapters to go. I’m sure I’ll think of something.

Chapter 7

Crap. I haven’t thought of anything.

You know that adage, “Sleep on it, maybe something will come to you in the morning”? Well, what if it doesn’t? Inspiration doesn’t just strike on demand. That’s the most terrifying aspect of any creative endeavor — the possibility that at the end of the day, nothing will strike, that you’ll just be left with a blank canvas.

When that happens, I find that the best approach is to tackle the problem from the side. Carry on with whatever else you can and then continue to hope for the best.

So, some of the other plot things I was planning was a long conversation between Priya and Tesla about who Tesla really is. It turns out that … Telsa’s an alien from outer space. (Shocker, I know!) There are quite a few of his people on this planet (the mysterious stranger with the yellow handkerchief being one of them). They’re all supposed to have taken a vow of non-interference with the humans.

But Tesla has an incredible fascination with humans and wants to give them the gift of their technology. To that end, he disguised himself from the others and posed as a scientific genius trying to keep within the bounds of what could plausibly be discovered by humans.

Unfortunately, the other aliens start to become suspicious of Tesla’s genius and are about to catch him, which is what the mysterious stranger with the yellow handkerchief came to warn him about. (The stranger is also an alien, but is perhaps a bit more sympathetic to Telsa’s cause.) Hence, Tesla’s attempt to escape to the year 2010, a date sufficiently into the future that he feels he can continue to make advancements less conspicuously.

So then Priya asks the obvious question: if Tesla has time travelled from the 1900s, then who stayed back to live as Tesla from that point until his death in 1943? He couldn’t have gone back in time, right?

The answer: he cloned himself before he time travelled. Ooh, betcha didn’t see that coming, did you?

Chapter 8

Okay, I think I have an idea for how Priya and Tesla can fix the zombie problem. See, they figured out how to un-zombify one person. How? Umm, it involves high energy magnetic resonance and reversing the polarity of the temporal mphhrrrfff… Look, it’s physics, okay? Just trust me on this one.

The important thing is that they can turn one zombie back into a human with this thing but it takes an enormous amount of energy so they can’t use it to cure everyone. Also, this chapter is written so well that you don’t even notice the exposition. It just comes out naturally through actions and stuff.

So who do they decide to unzombify? Sally. Why? Because she’s a world class molecular biologist, that’s why. What was that? You seem to recall that Priya’s friend Sally wasn’t a scientist? Oh, I beg to differ. I totally wrote that she’s a world class molecular biologist. Go ahead and check. See? I told you. I totally had this whole thing planned out from the beginning. Or, at least, that’s what the reader’s going to think when they read this thing.

Anyways, to enact this plan, they have to go and rescue Sally from the other zombies. They have a daring plan, but they realize that it’s very risky and that they might not live through it. It’s a sobering thought. They gaze deeply into each other’s eyes.

“Oh Nikola, even though we have only known each other for five chapters a few days, I feel like we have known each other forever.”

“Oh Priya, you are very intelligent and aesthetically pleasing for a human.”

“You say such sweet things. Go on.”

“You are quite symmetrical relative to the rest of your species and you exhibit the outward signs of physical health. Your skin tone is firm yet supple.”

“Oh Nikola.”

“I appreciate your general lack of facial hair.”

“Umm … okay, that last one was a little weird.”

“Sorry, I’m not very good at this. Although this form I inhabit is predominantly human, I do not fully understand your culture.”

“That’s alright, I will teach you what it means to be a human.”

“What are you doing to my pantaloons? Oh…”

And then they totally do it.

Chapter 9

Apropos to nothing in particular, do you have any idea how hard it is to write with a baby in your lap? It’s really fucexzZZ@WEDTBV ;/;;L,/ CXGGCX

Err, sorry, that was the baby. Anyways, Priya and Tesla finish with their interspecies cultural exchange program and get on with the business of rescuing Sally from the other zombies.

The zombies are less active during the night. (Something to do with the darkness confusing them? Yeah, sure, let’s go with that.) They also know that there’s a warehouse where the zombies have tended to gather. Their plan is to break into that warehouse and make away with Sally.

As a side note, I’ve heard that as a writer, you should never make things easy for your protagonists. If anything, the antagonists should be the ones always catching the lucky breaks. Your heroes, on the other hand, should face seemingly insurmountable obstacle after obstacle.

So of course, the plan goes awry.

It turns out that there are now so many zombies that several of them are milling around in front of the warehouse, making it impossible for them to just sneak in. Worse than that, our heroes notice that they aren’t the only ones interested in the warehouse. The military has shown up. They’ve started quarantining the area. Worse than that, Tesla notices some shadowy figures among the crowds that he suspects are looking for him. (Hint: yes they are.) Priya decides that it’s too risky and they get ready to head back to regroup for the next day with a new plan.

As another side note, I’ve heard that you should always try to amp up the stakes. Like, a broke guy trying to get a sandwich in the middle of downtown LA? Pretty boring. But the same guy trying to get a sandwich every fifteen minutes in order to keep his blood sugar above a certain threshold to prevent a nuclear bomb planted inside his body from exploding? Pretty awesome.

So once the quarantine is finished, the military starts to pull out flamethrowers. Oh noes! It looks like they’re planning on burning all the zombies, which might be okay in most zombie movies or novels. But not in this one! After all, you’ve just read an entire chapter from a zombie’s perspective. Now, you totally empathize with their pitiful plight because they are no longer the alien “other”. You can’t dismiss their lives so easily.

So how will they save the zombies?! (Hint: I don’t know… I haven’t thought that far ahead. I hope I haven’t written myself into a corner.)

Chapter 10

Of course, there is the possibility that the zombies all get killed. I mean, that’s what happens in the movies, right? But Priya has other plans.

She guns the engine of the van (did I mention they were in a van?) to crash it into the warehouse. The soldiers are caught by surprise as the van smashes through the front roller door. Zombies start to react and converge on them so Tesla pulls out a giant flood light. But of course, this being Nikola Tesla, it’s no ordinary flood light — it burns with the power of three suns.

The zombies flinch back and in the confusion, Tesla manages to find and grab the zombie formerly known as Sally. Priya speeds away with the military in hot pursuit.

The plan was originally to get Sally back to a lab to unzombify her, but now time is running out so Tesla tries to rig up an emergency de-zombifier inside the van. But then Sally bites Tesla, which starts to turn him into a zombie. Two zombies inside a van?!

Fortunately, Telsa manages to restrain Sally and zap her with the dezombifier ray. She starts to regain consciousness. More thrilling dialog:

“Whuah? Where am — oh my god, my hand!?! Am I missing a — What happened to my foot?! oh my god, where is my foo–”

Hey, I never said that it was going to be easy to turn back into a human. You might be thinking about other novels where everything ends happily ever after and nothing actually changes. Yeah, Michael Crichton, I’m looking at you. Okay, sure, you’re dead but you still wrote that shitty novel Sphere where the characters become omnipotent but then just decide to forget about it and the world just goes back to normal. Lame… Oh sure, you made millions of dollars writing novels where nothing actually changes. But in a Mach Kobayashi novel, there are consequences. Sometimes people lose a foot.

Anyways, Sally regains enough composure to hear Tesla scream in pain. Priya yells out, “Take the wheel!”. Sally dutifully complies and the following dialogue ensues:

“What happened Nikola?”

“I have become infected… the illness will take me soon.”

“Quick, let’s zap you with the de-zombifier.”

“Sadly, we only had enough energy for one conversion.”

“Well, that was –”

“Ah! My hand! Why am I missing fingers?!” (That was Sally.)

“As I was saying, that was unfortunate.”

“Indeed. But now you must restrain me before I am overcome with madness.”

And there is much sobbing and tender moments as Priya restrains zombie Tesla in the back of a van that is only moments away from being overtaken by the military vehicle that is in hot pursuit.

Chapter 11

Explosion!

Let me back up a bit…. In our last chapter, our heroes were moments away from being overtaken by the military vehicle. All hope seemed lost. But then:

Explosion!

The military vehicle is knocked off its path and Priya drives the van away to safety. Where did the explosion come from? Priya sure isn’t sticking around to find out. She makes it back to the university and blah, blah, blah … they figure out a way to make instant de-zombifier spray!

Now, at this point, you might be wondering why they went to all that trouble to rescue Sally. Okay, sure, she’s their friend and all. But if they just needed a molecular biologist, why not just grab one that wasn’t a zombie? Good question.

Uhhh … it didn’t occur to me at the time? Okay, yeah, sure that’s a bit of a plot hole. But, you know what? If it didn’t occur to me at the time, it seems plausible that it wouldn’t have occurred to either of the characters in the middle of a life and death situation, right? Yeah, sure, let’s go with that.

Also, on a side note, don’t you hate it when less and less stuff happens in each subsequent chapter? Or worse, when that happens in over a series of books? That’s right, Robert Jordan, I’m talking to you. It’s like you’re writing the Zeno’s paradox of fantasy series. (Yeah, that’s right, I just made a literary / math reference that, like, only one person’s going to get. That’s just how I roll.) Seriously, that Wheel of Time series seems like it’s never going to — oh wait, what? He’s dead too?

Oh, uh, never mind. So anyways, I know it seems like there’s not a lot going on in this chapter, but trust me, there’s a whole lot of stuff involved in making the de-zombifier spray. I mean, it’s not they can ju–

Explosion!

Chapter 12

Sally and Priya just finish creating their first batch of de-zombifier spray. They test it out on Tesla, who slowly starts to recover when suddenly the roof explodes and three giant beams of light touch down on Tesla, Priya, and Sally.

The beams start to lift the three of them into the air and Tesla calls out, “Wait, we still need to rescue those humans!”

The beams stops lifting them for a moment.

Then a fourth beam lights up the de-zombifier equipment and with that, whisks everything up into the air.

Moment later, the trio re-appear at the zombie warehouse. They manage to de-zombify everyone as people in hazmat suits make it on to the scene. They realize that the zombie epidemic has been stopped.

Then, a couple Men in Black appear and approach Tesla:

“Nikola, you have caused enough trouble, you must go now.”

“Wait, where are you taking him?”

“We are taking him home.”

“But –”

“No, Priya, it is the way it must be,” says Tesla. Then he turns to the men and says, “Just … please permit me to say goodbye.”

There is a long heartwarming speech about blah, blah, blah… An apology to Sally about her missing appendages, a thanks to Priya for teaching him the value of humanity, a speech about how he had always wanted the best for humanity, to give them the gifts that would enable them to end all war, etc., etc. Yeah, it’s a good speech. There’s tears everywhere. The Tesla kisses Priya for the last time before the Men in Black take him away in the confusion of all the hazmat suits.

The end?

No! After the Men in Black leave, Priya confides to Sally that Tesla pressed something into her hand as he kissed her. They take a look and it’s a notebook. A notebook labelled, “The Secret of Cold Fusion”.

Dun, dun, DAAAAAHHHH!

Roll credits.

(Wait, roll credits in a novel? Yeah, somehow I make it work!)

(Now you hear some rocking music as the credits continue to roll.)

Epilogue: Priya’s at home sitting in the bathroom. She’s looking at a home pregnancy kit stick.

(More credits, even harder rocking out music.)

Close up on Priya’s face as she says, “Oh my god…”

THE END!