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Marilee J. Layman

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07:58 pm: The Long Twilight and Other Stories by Keith Laumer
These are the notes I took for the meeting, since I had to turn the book in early so someone else could read it. lizzibabe was away this weekend but left a set of notes with our librarian/leader, and the note for the "The Night of Delusions" was "Shaggy God?" And that certainly seemed right.



The Long Twilight

OCR Errors: 99 - was sb we, 150 - snug-nosed sb snub-nosed, 184 - scraps sb scrape, 198 - It there sb If there

Grayle and the Falconer come from a universe that is supposed to be much better than ours, but we find that it's been mechanized. Grayle lands on Earth and bonds with Viking-like people. One day he runs into an old cow-orker, Falconer, who has also landed on Earth. Grayle's wife and kid are killed and he assumes Falconer did it and kills the ship.

They both survive thorugh millennium, but fight every time they meet. The last time was in the Civil War where Grayle killed the Falconer.

Grayle has been in prison since the Civil War and Falconer has been hanging around. They hear the hail from the ship, which has fixed itself, but needs more energy.

The US has developed a method of drawing power from the air and it goes fine for a brief period and then it suddenly can't be controlled.

(Why do so many people disbelieve others who have been there?)

Many people are killed trying to make it stop.

About the same time, a giant tornado and whirlpool set up on the East Coast of the US -- it turns out this is caused by a Hellcore, which would turn the Earth into a minor sun.

When the power is taken from everywhere else, so the ship steals from the one station, the federal prison started to get raucous. One man almost makes it out.

Grayle and Falconer take the coil that needs charging into the station, accompanied by a krill, a construct representing the ship.

The krill still lies to them Falconer kills the coil and then the krill kills Grayle.

Falconer takes Anne outside to face the US.

Birthday Party

The son of a couple has been changed to be very long-lived and they're waiting to see him. The mother talks about what the son will miss; the father talks about how wonderful it is.

The son arrives as a baby in a carriage.

The Half Man

Humans made Merieds300 years ago and have come back to find them "savages." A missionary, Brother Glad, brought a "half man," Gon, with a Survey to Meries to find the Merieds again and take them back to Earth. It's clear he wants to look like a good person to humans and incidentally the Infinite.

Another place on Meries, two traders have brought items the Merieds would like and are busy trading when the leader of the Merieds tells him about a half-man, half-Meried and one of the traders, O'Royle, heads off to the Survey place. When he arrives, he asks Glad about the half-man, and it turns out that he is the son of O'Royle.

O'Royle took off to find Gon because he's not set for actually living where the Merieds -- he'd put him in school on Earth so he could get a job and survive.

Gon runs into a female Meriad, Seryl, and she knows who he is -- his mother was part of their community -- and she took him back to their city. He started running out of air and went crazy and even though Seryl was trying to show him out, he got caught. She went to get help, but he decides to throw off the air tank and take a breath of water. It seems like a flying dream and he finds himself okay.

O'Royle has stranded himself too deep and has had a heart attack, so when grampus (sea-elephants) start circling him, and Gon comes close, he distracts the grampus. The grampus rushes at Gon and Gon steps sideways and jumps on top. He wrestles the grampus to the beach where someone shoots it and it lands on Gon.

O'Royle and Gon are well, and talk about the metamorphasis of Gon, who is now asked to be the ambassador to the Mereids.

The Lawgiver

(In 1970, almost all abortions were illegal. Roe vs. Wade was 1973. Is Eubanks for Eugenics?)

The Senator gets a call from a young man who implies he has something to bring regarding the senator's son, Ron. Senator Eubank lets him come and he and another young man bring a very pregnant woman, Rink, and leave her on the couch. She claims the baby is Ron's, and even though Eubank has just spent 30 years making a law that requires marriage and a birth certificate to have a child (otherwise fetuses are aborted), he won't do it. He thinks she got pregnant just to put him in this state, and he asks if she can prove that Ron is the father.

The Senator called the OB and headed off to find the young men who brought Rink (psychedelic house) who gave him some info on Ron -- he's coming in a manually-driven car (he's lost his license) and coming fast. The young man says the senator has made Ron broke, but the senator starts arguing and then calls a lieutenant.

Ron takes an exit too fast and will only live if he has rich people to pay and the Senator had him sent to the hospital. The OB tells the senator that Rink died -- she was taking meds to stay pregnant -- and that he'd left the fetus inside. Does the senator want a caesarean? No, it won't have parents.

The Senator finds Ron waking up and saying he was trying to get a marriage certificate so they could have a legal child and when Ron goes to sleep again, the senator leaves the room.

The Plague

Dr. Reed Nolan and his family Annette and Tim live on an island that they own on the planet Kaka Nine. There's a native "Tusker" species that will clean out the native plants and make Nolan's fields even better.

A big boat comes to their pier and people start coming off with lots of machines and tents. Nolan is told he's part of their group, even though he says he isn't and that he owns the island.

They continue to take over the place so they can put homeless white people there. Nolan tries to tell them that they can't put the people here, it's his island. This is when he realizes that the group has been watching the island for when it's ready to take over. Nolan calls the main city and is told that he won't finish his required residency time to own the place before the group moves in, and they have a lot of money.

Nolan and Annette won't join the group and are jailed. Tim gets Nolan out and they get Annette out. They get guns, food, packs, etc. and turn off all the utilities. They head to a cave where they lived for two months while they built the house.

People start coming up the trails and Nolan or Annette shoot near them. Then the boss, Fraswell, comes up to negotiate and was told no. (Fraswell has been seen hurting his son, Leston.)

The Tuskers are ready to make their yearly run (yes, anticipated at the first page) and Nolan goes down to warn them. They won't listen to him, just beat him up. When the tuskers arrive, people start running for the boat and then the boat starts moving away from the pier. Leston says he wants to stay and help and the Nolan family agrees.

Night of Delusions

Mr./Captain Florin is awakened by two men who want him to work security for an important person. He lets them take her to an office to meet the private staff of a well-known Senator. The Senator has gone mad from all the pressure and thinks he should escape. The staff set up an area of the city for the senator to be scared in. Florin thinks it's silly, but then they show him an example that looks very real.

Florin gets hidden armor, guns, and a communication device. He's dropped off at the senator's giant cottage at Greyfall (gray silk in the hallway reminds him of something). Senator says he's not mad, and his staff plan to kill him, and the planet is being invaded. Florin must save him. Florin sees money printed in purple ink and information on the Lastrian Concord in the wall safe. Florin takes a gun that's in the safe. Senator says the staff will know how to get out, so he'll use his own, and they get out. Senator says they're going to see Eridani at the coast. While they wait, they discuss sanity and then get on the carrier.

Florin sees tall thin people in coats and a fancy green car at the coast. He argues with the senator about what they're going to to, but follows the senator's ideas. The green care comes by and shoots them, they get away and Florin takes care of the injuries. The staff give him new instructions and he crushes the comm. The green car comes and one of the guys from the beginnig -- gray -- come toward them. A sound makes Florin lose conscienceness. Florin wakes up enought to hear the staff talking and one person is told he's done poorly and Florin goes back to sleep.

When he wakes up, he's in a bar with a girl and he carefully goes back to where they got off the carrier. The other first man -- red -- comes and Florian follows him to the top floor of a small hotel. Florin opens the door and sees a lavender lizard, man-size. The sound puts him out again. Florin wakes up in the bar again with the girl. He goes out and sees Red again and then the senator, but things were gone when he came out. Red is surprised to see him, and says he would have been taken to Eta.

They got him with sound and he wakes back in the bar with the girl and takes off. He tries to get out and see what happened and everything goes dark. He starts to move carefully and finds the hotel which is not as nice as before, but has light. He hears the staff talking about him, saying he's probably hurt and needs to recover.. Florin opens a door and finds a strange world. He runs into "Senator" who says Florin should go back, but admits he's an actor named Bardell. Senator doesn't expect Florin to know about Chicago on Earth. Senator says they're on a planet called Graydell, twenty-eight light years from Sol.

Florin is taken out and he chats with the lizard who tries to make him unconscious, but Florin grabs a tool from the lizard first and is back in the bar with the girl, who says she's his wife this time. She can't remember where they met and when Florin wants to look outside again, she insists on coming. The hotel is missing but he finds a variation of the senator's office. He breaks a fence and they find the alley set, the conference table, and his bum hotel, where the story started.

Red tries to shoot him and the staff turns out to be running experiments on him in a laboratory at a university. They give him $100 and he steals $30 and finds he looks like a bum. He finds a tacky place to get a room and gets new clothes. The money runs out and he stays in the library and the girl shows up. They talk about things -- she thought they both had dreams -- but she says he can't have been in a university because there isn't one there. They walk to see, and it's an old warehouse.

Florin breaks into the warehouse and it seems empty. He discusses reality and dreams with the girl. They go into a pasage and find a dummy with head smashed in of senator, but girl says it looks like Florin. They see a door at the end of the passage that has light under it. When they get there, they see the senator's office again. The girl hears someone near. They heard the snator and some of the staff talking about recovering Florin. They hear a big noise, open the door to his original bum bedroom, and the Senator has shot one of the staff,.

Florin takes the gun and tells Bardell to tell what happened to him. Bardell finds out that Florin sknows how he is and heads for the window even though Florin fires a warning shot. They hear him scream and his splat. Florin tries to trigger the fake window, he says they're smarter than the actor/experiment people and talks about circling. She's not sure what she knows about her life is real. They discuss dreams and reality. Florin goes out the window, but when he reaches back to help her, there's a barrier. He has to break it.

Florin come to in a large hall with monkey-men at desks and lines of people at each desk. He's number 1 at a desk. The monkey-man asked Florin how his trip was and Florin says he doesn't know. A security room settles down over them and Florin is told that he's an IDMS operator who has some trouble with amnesiac syndrome. The monkey-man says Florin was supposed to find out about a primitive device, but he fell under it's influence. Florin must think abotu what really happened. Florin jumps at the monkey-man and then found himself in circulating existance in a ship. Then he scares them with a ring. These are the staff/ship people and they tell him he's temporarily incapacitated and going to planet Grayfell. Florin looks at the ring and he's back at the coast and the others are dummies.

Florin finds himself in the warehouse passage with a live senator who says he is not part of the group that was hurting Florin. The staff turns up and then he finds himself in the desert with the lizard. The lizard is glad that Flinn has reached the "end of his journey" and wants to take. The lizard says that Bardell is the senator and that Florin is the subject of a plot to make Florin sane. The girl isn't real. Lizard says Florin is the boss of a Research Counsel and is working on a dream machine. florin insisted on being the the first subject and made a fantasy world that he's fallen into and the scientists can't get him out of. The machine makes problems to the probabilities fabric. The desert isn't real.

Lizard says Florin is is machine and lizard will get him out if Florin will destroy machine. Lizard sends Florin to the experiment & staff. Florin asks the staff to tell him what happened. They say the machine took a lot of power and they coudln't get him out - he was in a coma, but now he woke up. They so seek the sets but new yelling from Bardell - they can't get out of that space. Bardell says the staff planned to make Florin insane. Florin thinks and makes everybody but Bardell leave and Bardell puts him back in the machine without a program.

Florin shoots into the galaxy to find the girl in a temple. The girl tries to keep him there, but he goes thorugh the inner door to deal with things that have happened. The room is the experiment room. Florin has Bardell stay and start the machine again. The staff charge at him and he thinks a wall between him and then and it stops them. He makes everything go away, but still has a concrete cube. He finally manages to get out at a tiny point. Lizard is there and tells Florin he was bad and the lizard had planted something in him to keep him out of trouble. Florin tries to contain the lizard with four walls, but contains himself. He wakes up in the experiment room with Bardell still there.

Bardell tells Florin that this ship works to stop the Diss invasion. They fight each other in group consciencenesses. Florin can'ts make things happen an dBardell is talkitn about using teh grid to get away. Florin points out that lots of people would die. Bardell still likes it. The sigjnal goes off and Florin turns to work the grid. Lizard shows up in space in front of the boat says that the truth is that the galaxy wants to keep the humans in their own section. Florin puts a hole into Lizard and gradually makes him smaller and smaller. Lizard says the grid is drawing all the power from the galaxy and Florin says that's all lies. They fight and Florin wins; lizard disappears.

Florin starts a galaxy and earth like God and it turns out that a lot of stuff isn't fun. He decides he's not really god and ends up with the girl in the bar. Florin gets rid of all the staff and then becomes the President and sees the Washington Monument, Tidal Basin, and cherry blossoms. His Secretaries are telling him that the gadget he's holding is from an alien ship that crashed in Minnesota, kililing a lizard-like pilot. He asks them if he seemed odd for a second and they say he did. He's also told there's an alien ship out in Mars orbit that sent a friendly message saying the Earth passed. He smiles and tells them to drop the gadget into the bottom of the ocean and reply to the ship in orbit. He goes home to the girl, his wife, and they decide this is reality.

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