Monday, June 3, 2019

"The Prophet of the Termite God"

Clark T. Carlton studied English and Film at Boston University and UCLA and have worked as a screen and television writer, a journalist, and as a producer of reality television in addition to a thousand and one other professions.

Carlton applied the Page 69 Test to his novel, The Prophet of the Termite God, and reported the following:
From page 69:
They entered the weeds to see if they were free of Hulkrites or other human enemies as well as predatory insects, spiders, mites and ticks. As they waited for the scouts to return, Daveena heard the buzz of honeybees and looked up to see some flying overhead. The sacks on their hind legs were not yellow with pollen, but with the dark brown propolis they mixed with their wax to make a glue to build or repair their dwellings. The bees turned south then dropped over what was likely a hive tended by the mysterious Bulkokans.

“Daveena,” shouted Worela, wife of the chieftain, her abundant jewelry shaking like a bead-chain drum as she walked. “You speak the Seed Eaters tongue, yes?”

“I do.”

“Thagdag wants you and the other two-tongued to approach these bee people and see if we can find a common tongue.”

“These are an eastern people. I don’t know that they will know yatchmin,” she said, using the Seed Eaters’ word for their language.

After the sand sleds were set in a circle under the weeds, the clan’s children were gathered in its center. The girls were handed materials for making jewelry and the boys were set to music practice on drums and other instruments. A contingent of men was left behind to guard the children as the roaches were released from the sand sleds’ tethers.

The beehive was approached with the women riding atop the roaches and the men alongside on foot as their protectors. An increasing number of bees, making their way home at the end of the day’s foraging, were a helpful guide. The women steered the roaches through a winding path between towering stalks of dying sun daisies with hairy, brown leaves and limp flowers that resembled murdered spiders at the ends of spikes.
Dead on! The passage represents my world where humans have evolved to the size of insects and intertwined with their world. In order to do so, the humans have to disguise themselves with the scents of the insects they have parasitized. This results in an extreme tribalism since different nations cannot intermingle or speak a common language. Wearing the scent of yellow ants allows a human to exploit them for food and labor but it marks him as someone to kill by the brown ants and their own human parasites.

The one exception in this world to intertribal contact are the Britasytes, a cockroach people whose insects exude a repelling pheromone that allows them to wander unmolested through the different ant lands. The roach clans are the traveling show people/carnies as well as the traders and messengers between rival nations. On page 69, a roach clan is on the dangerous assignment of going into Hulkren, the fallen nation of ghost ant warriors, to liberate the Bulkokans, a captive people who live as the symbionts of bees. The mission portends a future problem as the Bulkokans are convinced of themselves as the Favored Children of their bee goddess — they are no less tribal than anyone else.
Visit Clark Thomas Carlton's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Prophet of the Termite God.

Writers Read: Clark Thomas Carlton.

--Marshal Zeringue