Friday, October 23, 2015

Page 69: High school (with spoiler)


This post isn’t an Easter egg or #Reference of any sort. Instead, it concerns a detail of this scene in The Billionth Monkey that I thought deserved an explanatory post, because I’m unsure whether its significance is clear.

To recap the scene: Belanger’s smug interrogation turns the corner when he asks where Nicholas Young attended high school. At that moment, the formerly-cowed student realizes that his professor doesn’t, in fact, know what is going on. The repeat game of “Do you know who I am?” confirms, to Young’s relief,  that Belanger hasn’t figured out his secret.

Here’s what’s going on (the spoiler is in this paragraph): Belanger has three years worth of college transcripts for Young. What was Nicholas doing before that? The answer lies is in the prologue, which is set three years ago: he emerged from the Deep Water Lemuria. Prior to that, he wasn’t in high school at all. He was in Hell.

My editor didn’t make the connection, so in my final round of revisions I made some subtle changes that hopefully make it slightly clearer. I expect it would be obvious on a second reading at the very least. Fortunately, the story works just fine if the reader hasn’t pieced this together; but I’d be curious to know if anyone picked up on it.

If Nicholas Young had bogus high school transcripts, he would likely have attended Crowley High,
as seen in the X-Files episode “Die Hand Die Verletzt” (Season 2, Episode 14, January 27, 1995 © Fox).


  1. I did get it before the end; it wasn't at this point, but I can't remember exactly when.

    (PS: There have been a number of "Crowley High Schools" in pop culture, as I'm sure you know.)

    1. Thanks for the comment! In my mind the big reveal in the book isn't the "who" but the "why." So if readers pick up on all the clues to "who," that doesn't really spoil things. And if the they don't catch the clues, then the big reveal becomes bigger! ;)

    2. And yeah, the _X-Files_ reference was the first thing that sprang to mind for a high school tag-on. Although the Sparta Academy from _Kekko Kamen_ would also have been appropriate.