Why is Maxina so determined to end the Harmony hoax early?
Because the press reaction to Harmony was far stronger than she anticipated. The longer it goes on, the worse it’ll get for her clients in the music industry.
Is it true that verbal speech for deaf people is as difficult as “farting a sonnet”? (Chapter 15)
From what I’ve read and from what I’m told, verbal speech is extremely difficult for deaf people. For the prelingually deaf (those who lost their hearing before the age of four), speech is next to impossible.
Why does Jean capitalize the spelling of ‘deaf’ some times, but not others?
Deaf with a lowercase ‘d’ refers to the condition of being deaf, while the uppercase spelling refers to the Deaf culture. Thus Jean can tell Scott that she was rendered deaf by spinal meningitis, but she marched in a big Deaf protest in 1988.
Where can a hearing person learn more about Deaf culture?
I myself relied heavily on A Journey Into the Deaf-World, by Harlan Lane. Great book. It’s also where I learned about Deaf clubs, as seen in Chapters 17 and 21.
Why does Scott choose to leak a hint of the real story to Miranda, of all people? Couldn’t he have found a less tenacious journalist?
On hindsight, Scott would agree with you. But in his defense, he could have never forseen that Miranda would eventually trace him back to Harmony through the dent in his car trunk (Chapter 21). That was an extremely lucky break for Miranda, and an extremely unlucky one for Scott.
Did parents really form vigils outside the movie theaters that played Hannibal?
Yes. Many parents were quite determined to make sure theaters enforced the R rating when it came to Hannibal. In Slick, they were fiercely determined, mostly thanks to the “Annabelle Shane” reaction.
Jean seems convinced that Madison is in love with Scott. Is she right?
No. Jean admits later that she missed the boat on that one. Madison’s devotion to Scott is strictly professional. But that doesn’t mean the kid would approve of a Scott/Jean romance.
Is there really a device that lets deaf drivers know when a speeding emergency vehicle is nearby?
Yes. It’s called an Emergency Response Indicator and it’s pretty damn cool.
Do places like Club Silence really exist?
There are dozens of Deaf clubs scattered throughout the world, but they may not be as funky or high-tech as Club Silence (which does not exist).
What’s up with Scott and his recurring need to have unfulfilling sex with an unhappily married woman?
As Jean observed, Scott is dangerously afraid of establishing any kind of deeper connection. In fact, he’s spent most of his adult life avoiding personal intimacy. But can you really blame him? When you live in a world of lies and spin and subtle persuasions, it’s not so easy to put your faith in others.
Unfortunately for Scott, he’s beginning to see the downside of being “feeling-impaired.” And he’s starting to choke on his very own nature.
Why did Maxina tell Harmony about Lisa Glassman?
To undermine Harmony’s unyielding faith in Scott. She wouldn’t have done it if she didn’t think that Scott had gone way off the deep end, and was threatening to take the whole campaign with him.
But Scott was right about one thing: it was Maxina’s first bad move.
Why do Scott and Maxina think that raw footage from a four-year-old documentary will save Harmony’s public image once she confesses?
Because they hope some carefully chosen segments of the documentary will provide some sympathetic perspective on Harmony, since the media certainly won’t be going out of their way to cast her in a positive light once she admits to lying.
Did the Random House lawyers worry about you using a real-life figure like Larry King in your story?
They worried far less than I did, to my profound surprise.
Did they worry that you call Connie Chung “completely insane” in Chapter 19?
No. That’s considered public knowledge.
Scott’s anecdote about the Stanford professor who got in trouble for his proper use of the word “niggardly” sounds awfully familiar. Was this inspired by a true story?
Yes. It happened to David Howard in 1999. Howard, the aide to Washington, DC mayor Anthony Williams, was quickly forced to resign for using the word in a meeting. For those of you playing along at home, “niggardly” is a 700-year-old, non-racial term used to imply cheap and miserly behavior.
Once the city caught its breath and got a grip, Howard was rehired.
And what about the tale of California assemblyman who held a public moment of silence for a dead TV show character?
Also inspired by a true story. In 2002, California state assemblyman Kevin Shelley staged a moment of silence for Mrs. Landingham, a character on NBC’s The West Wing who had been killed off the night before. The Associated Press published a 150-word article on the incident, revealing at the end that the “memorial” was primarily done for humor. But morons ran off with it anyway, citing Shelley as a schizoid politician with fourth -wall issues.
Would Larry King really sit by and let Simba ambush Harmony on his own show?
In short, yes. He’s allowed call-in ambushes before, since they make good television. But in fairness, Larry wouldn’t have merely introduced Simba as “a caller from Los Angeles.” He would have introduced her by name. That was a bit of dramatic license on my part.
How accurate is Simba’s tale of Tupac’s murder?
Subtract Jeremy from the picture and you pretty much got what happened, according to most accounts.
In Chapter 20, Scott tells Harmony that if the insurance tape is leaked, Harmony would be implicated and Scott wouldn’t, because her voice is in the public domain and his isn’t. Is that true?
Nah. Scott quickly admits (to the reader, at least) that most of his threat was bullshit. But he does a good job making it sound convincing to Harmony, and that’s all that matters.
In chastising Miranda, Scott says “Why don’t you try debunking this fictional energy crisis?” What is he referring to?
In the first half of 2001, California was being notoriously fleeced by a consortium of energy companies, including Enron. It was quite shameful.
What happened to Ira? Where did he go?
My guess is that he sold the Ishtar and rented a cheap apartment so he could continue his full-time existence in that virtual game of his.
What the hell was Alonso thinking when he wrote the novel Godsend?
It’s best not to ask. Just assume that Alonso has a very interesting perspective on sex, religion, and cyberpunk fiction.
If the leaked audio confession tape had been real, how screwed would Harmony be?
The media would slap her around for a few weeks and then move on to the next big controversy. But the stink around Harmony would follow her forever. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever hiring her for a job. And her hope of ever becoming a children’s book writer would certainly be over.
Assuming the leaked tape was real, would Scott’s confession plan have really saved Harmony?
Provided that both Harmony and Hunta cooperated with Scott’s new version of events, I’m quite convinced the plan would have adequately saved everyone. That is, everyone except Scott.
Wouldn’t he be a fugitive for the rest of his life?
Only for the rest of the summer. I suspect that after September 11, 2001, the number of people hunting for Scott would settle safely down to zero.
Okay, now the big question: could Harmony have really come up such a diabolically clever plan to save herself?
On her own? Probably not. But as Scott explains, he gave her the idea. Since Harmony was hired to frame and then exonerate Hunta before Lisa Glassman could bury him, it was just a small leap for Harmony to frame and exonerate herself before the real audiotape could bury her. And it was Scott’s little diatribe about audio experts and vocal authentication that gave Harmony the added inspiration.
I assume, of course, that Harmony had a million doubts and fears about her last-minute scheme. But since she was due to confess in the morning or face public exposure, she really didn’t have too much to lose.
So who are the voices on the fake tape?
Scott correctly assumes that the female voice is Harmony’s roommate, Tracy. As for who did the white man impression, it should be noted that one of Harmony’s male roommates is nicknamed ‘Whitey,’ and not because of his skin tone.
Wouldn’t Fox try to authenticate the tape before airing it nationwide?
Ideally, yes. But keep in mind that in the TV news game, it’s not who’s right, it’s who’s first. Just two weeks prior to Slick’s hardcover publication, a gruesome video of San Francisco resident Ben Vanderford being decapitated by terrorists was picked up by Reuters and the Associated Press, and was subsequently shown on dozens of TV newscasts all over the world. Unfortunately for the newsfolk, the video was a fake, as Vanderford himself readily admitted.
How does the fake tape save Scott from Miranda?
Miranda can’t implicate Scott without Harmony’s corroboration. And with this latest twist, Harmony now has every reason in the world to keep Scott’s name out of the papers.
How much does this suck for Hunta?
Will Maxina really ruin Scott’s career? Can she?
She probably could, but I imagine that when the dust settles and she does her own investigation, she’ll see that Scott had nothing to do with Harmony’s clever escape act. So I doubt she’ll wage an active campaign to trash his livelihood.
Still, I imagine Scott won’t be calling Maxina for a reference anytime soon.
Where does Scott go from here?
Where does Harmony go from here?
What happens with Scott and Jean?
What happens when Madison finds out about Scott and Jean?
What happens when Scott tells Madison the truth about Harmony?
Will the world ever learn the truth about Harmony?
What happens to Hunta and Simba?
What happens with Alonso and his novel?
What happens with Ira and Move My Cheese?!
Why won’t you give me the closure I so desperately crave?!
Because the book is long enough, and I’ve learned the hard way that there is such a thing as too much closure.
Should you happen to meet me at a book signing, speaking event, police line-up, or what not, you are free to ask me any of the above questions and I promise I’ll give you a nice speculative answer. But be forewarned that my scenarios will vary greatly, depending on my mood and sobriety level.
Just trust me when I say that this is a book about Scott Singer, and that in the end he turns out okay.