Symphony of Terror
Written by Somtow Sucharitkul
(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition,
published May 1988)
Matt Jones and his new family flee
California to escape the Visitor tyranny and become caught up in
stopping a Visitor plot to invade the free states.
Part 1 - Diana the Huntress
After escaping their adventure in Japan in
The Alien Swordmaster, Matt, Tomoko,
and CB spend a year back in southern California. Now, since the riots throughout the Southland
brought about by the death of Nathan Bates
(See Notes from the V chronology below), they have decided to head to the
northeast of the nation, where the red dust keeps the Visitors at bay. As they
are just about to leave, Julie Parrish races up in her green Mazda to ask them
to take something to the eastern resistance scientists: a sample of a new, artificially created metal called papinium that the Visitors hope to use as a coating on their vehicles to impede
the penetration of the red dust bacteria. She also tells them that Professor
Schwabauer may still be alive and at their destination of Washington, D.C.
Passing through a Visitor freeway checkpoint, they are allowed through, but
later recognized as the wanted Jones family. The city commander of Phoenix,
Medea, is notified to capture them along the route. However, she fails, and
they capture a skyfighter from her forces in the bargain, angering her superior officer, Diana,
who has already demoted her for her leadership fiasco in
The Florida Project.
The family takes the ship across the desert.
Part 2 - Flight Through No-Man's Land
In Virginia, Willie is attempting to make his way back to L.A. after the events
The New England
Resistance. He is being helped by a local named Ray
when they witness a skyfighter plummet and crash into a mountain. But three
passengers have managed to parachute out. The two investigate and find the Jones
family. Willie explains to them all that he has realized that there are some
secret Visitor installations in the area that must be investigated, but he must
leave quickly before his red dust antitoxin runs out and leaves him vulnerable.
He shows his friends one of the installations. They are detected by the aliens
there and, during the fight, they are suddenly aided by Fieh Chan (last seen in
"The Swordmaster"), now wearing
an armor of papinium, but he disappears after helping them. After the battle,
Ray heads off in his pick-up with Willie to take him to the nearest city where
he can catch a bus back to L.A.
The Jones' begin to investigate the papinium-coated underground tunnels the
Visitors and their converted slaves have built into the area surrounding
Washington D.C. They come across some Visitor hover disks to help speed through
the long tunnels. But they are soon captured by Medea, who has traveled there to
participate in the soon-to-come invasion of the nation's capital. They are
caged, but then freed again with the help of Fieh Chan.
They climb up into the Virginia city of Alexandria, where they find that Medea
has launched an early attack of the Visitors' papinium-coated hover-tanks in
order to retrieve her prisoners. The Jones' and Fieh Chan manage to avoid
capture and Medea recalls the tanks at the urging of the undercover Visitor
infiltrator, Dingwall, a conductor of the McLean Youth Orchestra. The Jones' are
taken into the mansion of Romanian Ambassador Andrescu who is also harboring the
resistance fugitives Fieh Chan, Setsuko, and Dr. Schwabauer. There, CB meets the
daughter of Andrescu's servant, Tedescu, a girl named Nadia.
Part 3 - Symphony of Terror
But, it turns out that Nadia is a member of the McLean Youth Orchestra and she,
along with the other children of the orchestra, have already been converted by
Dingwall. She leads CB to Dingwall, who captures him, intending to make a meal
of him and many other delicious children. CB is able to make Nadia resist her
conversion to some degree by forcing her to think about her mother. The two
escape, but Dingwall shoots and kills Nadia and recaptures CB. Soon after this
he is freed by Fieh Chan.
Setsuko has managed to create a culture of a new type of red
dust bacteria that will destroy the bonds of papinium thanks to the use of
equipment that was salvaged from the wreckage of the Visitors' Florida Project.
The assembled resistance heroes head to the night's performance of the McLean
Youth Orchestra, which Dingwall is using as a cover for the beginning of the
invasion of papinium-coated hover tanks into the D.C. area.
As the symphony begins, so does the hover-tank invasion, but the resistance is
able to quickly thwart it, largely by throwing Petri dishes of Setsuko's
modified bacteria at the tanks, dissolving the papinium coating and bringing
death via bacteria to the Visitors within. Dingwall and
Matt are killed in the melee, but Medea escapes in a hidden skyfighter, already
plotting revenge. In the aftermath, Tomoko wants to be with Fieh Chan, whom she
still loves, and train in the martial arts to fight against the Visitors, but
she has a duty to care for CB. But Andrescu volunteers to watch after the boy so
she can go.
Epilogue - The Return of the Swordmaster
Months later, on Christmas Day, Tomoko and Fieh Chan are living in the forests
of Virginia near Ray, living off the land. Fieh Chan trains Tomoko in the martial arts and
use of the sword. Suddenly, CB shows up. With Andrescu's permission he has come
to train with Fieh Chan as well, wanting to contribute to the fight against the
invaders. They accept him but warn he may be needed as a babysitter; Tomoko may
Notes from the V chronology
Pages 84-85 reveal that Nathan Bates has only just recently died
and riots have started in L.A. Willie, still in North
Carolina on the way back to L.A. from his mission in New England,
seems unaware of Bates' death in the interim, saying there must
have been a news blackout. But Willie appears in the episode
"The Betrayal" in which Bates dies! And he also appears in the
following episode "The Rescue" in which we see the riots and
Visitor takeover of L.A! In this case of conflicting continuity, the TV episodes have to take
precedence. Plus, the fact that page 101 suggests that this story
takes place in autumn, while Bates' death occurs after
Christmas, it seems the best way to reconcile this novel in the
chronology is to ignore the references to Bates' death and the
riots in L.A. and accept it as taking place in autumn
The New England
Resistance. Of course, this negates the main reason for
the Jones family leaving southern California; still it's not too
hard to imagine that the Visitors, with Bates' cooperation, have
made things difficult in the cities surrounding L.A. by allowing
checkpoints, curfews, searches and seizures, etc. such that the
Jones' would still want to escape to the free states while they
This novel is a sequel to Sucharitkul's earlier novel
The Alien Swordmaster.
The prologue of Symphony of Terror,
(pages 1-18) was presented earlier on PopApostle since it
takes place 1 year before the rest of this novel.
This novel reintroduces Medea, the former Fleet Commander while
Diana was in Earth custody in the novel
The Florida Project.
Here, she has been demoted to a mere city commander in Phoenix.
Page 21 mentions Nathan Bates' death (as witnessed in
"The Betrayal") and seems to
suggest that this story opens just a short time afterward, as
riots are still occurring throughout the greater Los Angeles
area. (See Notes from the V chronology above for my explanation
of why this story must actually take place before Nathan Bates'
Page 22 reveals that the skyfighter in which Matt, Tomoko and CB
escaped from Japan in
The Alien Swordmaster a year ago is no
longer functional due to malfunctioning parts that resistance
technicians have not been able to return to operation. This may
also help to explain why the resistance does not seem to
regularly use all of the skyfighters they've captured over time;
it is too difficult to find replacement parts and keep them in good
repair. The fuel used by the Visitors in their vehicles may also
be hard to come by.
On page 25, Julie mentions that, since Bates' death, the
Visitors have been out in force "...raping, killing,
devouring..." At first the concept of the reptilian Visitors
being interested in raping humans seems unlikely, but then there have
been many examples presented in the TV episodes and novels of
the Visitors' interest in sex in general and extending even to
human coupling in particular.
On pages 25-26, Julie reveals that the resistance has discovered
that the Visitors are working on a new, artificially created
super-heavy metal called papinium which, when used as a coating
over a small vehicle, might allow the aliens to safely travel
into red dust active areas. But the Visitor vehicles in the
novel, The Oregon
Invasion, seem not to have too much difficulty
penetrating red dust areas even without the papinium coating. It would seem that the vehicles
would simply need to have finely tuned air filtration systems to
keep the dust out. Perhaps papinium has a property (perhaps
ionic) which causes the red dust to be attracted to the metallic
surface and bonded to it, preventing it from entering the vessel
in the first place.
On page 28, Julie is driving a green Mazda with a dented front
fender. I guess something happened to her white VW Rabbit
convertible seen in the earliest episodes of
V and up through
the novel, Death Tide.
Page 29 reveals that the Visitors are using converted humans at
some roadside checkpoints.
On page 29, Matt uses one of the resistance's voice alteration
devices around his neck to pass as a Visitor. The novel
Invasion gets around the voice limitation between Visitor and human
by commenting that it took a while for the aliens to master the
control of their voices to eliminate the reverberating sound and
more closely mimic the human voice. It could be argued that some
Visitors have not mastered the technique and so there are still
many who speak with the reverb.
On page 29, Matt, disguised as a Visitor, scares the converted human into doing as he
asks by saying, "Let us through at once--unless you want to join
me for dinner tonight," a menacing reference to the Visitors'
desire to make food of human beings.
Page 34 reveals that Phoenix does not have its own mothership.
Instead the Visitors have taken over the Phoenix Hilton hotel as
On page 35, Medea is munching on a plate of human hands and
drinking cold blood from a chilled goblet!
On page 36, Medea thanks the "supreme saurian" that something
exciting was finally happening. Is this a reference to the
Visitors' concept of God? Or just another way to refer to the
Page 38 reveals that Medea and Fieh Chan were classmates at the
military academy on the homeworld.
On page 43, we learn that science-fiction is among Tomoko's
reading habits. Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy and
Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun are each a real
series of SF novels.
On page 44, Matt quotes John Wayne as saying, "A man's gotta do
what a man's gotta do." But Wayne never actually said that exact
phrase in any of his movies; he says similar lines in
Stagecoach and Hondo, but not this same way. Watch
'em anyway, both are great westerns!
Page 45 reveals that the Visitors have a blue probe beam on their
skyfighters that help them detect objects of interest on the
On page 46 Medea is drinking a blood cocktail.
When Medea sees young CB driving the fleeing truck on page 48,
she imagines that humans train their very babies to fight.
Page 49 mentions Medea's hefty bulk, revealing that her constant
eating since the invasion has caused her beautiful form to
Page 61 reveals that Diana chose her name from Earth mythology: Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.
Also on page 61, Diana vows that, when the war is over, she will
destroy the Grand Canyon and build a processing facility on top
On page 67, Matt laments on how the Visitors just keep on coming
and coming, pummeling humanity into the ground and thinking,
Now I know how the Indians felt when the cavalry started coming
down the hill. This is similar to what some experts say
would be likely to happen if extraterrestrials actually were to
come to Earth; it would be like when the Europeans came to the
Americas and subjugated the Native American culture and land to
their own desires.
On page 72, Medea partakes of hamster canapés, with the little
rodents cocooned alive inside the baked pastry!
Page 73 indicates that Medea removes her human skin every night
for sleep and puts it back on in the morning. Is this the norm
for the Visitors?
Page 75 mentions the McLean Youth Orchestra, a real world
orchestra of serious music students based in McLean, Virginia.
On page 76, Dingwall mentions a great Visitor musician whom he
calls (voicing his name in English syllables) Loukas Stourmwitch.
Stourmwitch has a new piece called "Galactic Symphony."
On page 77, Dingwall quotes an Earth playwright as saying "Music
hath charms to soothe the savage beast." The actual quote is "Music
hath charms to soothe the savage breast" from the 1697
play The Mourning Bride by William Congreve.
Regarding humanity, on page 78, Dingwall tells Medea, "...you
don't understand the beauty of it. This planet has food that can
sing and dance; you can even have sex with it! The human being
is the perfect biological product: it entertains, it serves as
slave labor, and it's one of the most nutritious creatures in
As Willie tries to tell Ray, on page 81, that he's a vegetarian,
he stumbles over the word several times, saying "veterinarian,
vegetable, vegetinarian" before Ray tells him the word. A year
plus of living on Earth, you'd think Willie would at least know
that word by now.
Several references in the book suggest that Willie's appearance
here is immediately after the events in the novel
The New England
Page 81 mentions that Willie accidentally got on
a bus for Hollywood, Florida instead of Hollywood, California.
He didn't realize his mistake until he had reached Raleigh
(presumably the city in North Carolina). But at the end of
The New England
Resistance, Willie gets on a resistance-captured
skyfighter to head home, not a bus. However, it could be
interpreted the skyfighter only took him as far as New York and
he had to catch a bus from there.
Page 88 mentions a Visitor stringed musical instrument called a
stranjoops. And by having his violin players loosen their bows
and coating the strings with Vaseline, Dingwall manages to
recreate the timbre of a gallindor, another instrument. The
gallindor is said to make a sound not unlike the mating yowl of
On page 88, the word "Vaseline" is not capitalized but it should
be, being a trademarked name for a brand of petroleum jelly.
Page 89 mentions that humans' bloody history on Earth rivaled
the Visitors' own.
Page 89 tells us that Stourmwitch wrote the "Galactic Symphony" to
depict the chaos of creation, the searing brilliance of the
quasars, the desolation of black holes, the vastness of space
Page 90 mentions the Alden Theater, an actual music venue in the
McLean Community Center in McLean, Virginia.
Page 90 mentions Alexandria, Virginia. This is a real city
located just 6 miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.
On page 93, Dingwall uses a Visitor hover disk, first introduced
in the novel
The Florida Project
and mentioned in some of the other novels since then.
On page 94, Matt muses on the idyllic setting of the Virginia
mountains he and his family find themselves in, reminding him of
The Waltons. The Waltons was a 1972-1981
TV series about a family living in a small Virginia community
during the Great Depression and WWII.
Page 97 suggests that Willie (and perhaps all Visitors) have a
certain psychic aptitude that allows them to share
feelings/thoughts with others during a communal meditation.
Page 97 also suggests that the Visitor culture has been
constrained into a force of consummate evil for centuries
(presumably by military rule similar to what we see them with
Page 100 features what may be the only use of the F-word in the
entire V series!
Page 102 mentions Alice Through the Looking Glass. This
is a reference to the Lewis Carroll 1871 children's book Through
the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, the sequel to
1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
On page 102, Ray hums an unnamed tune by Alabama. Alabama is a
popular country-western band.
On page 104, Matt and CB call themselves Batman and Robin. These
are, of course, popular comic-book characters in publications by
DC Comics (which also published the V
Page 106 features the use of shuriken or throwing stars. These
are a traditional Japanese weapon with sharpened points or
blades which could be
concealed in the hand and thrown.
On page 107 Ray mentions the Lone Ranger. He is a western
character who wears a mask to conceal his identity while
fighting evil-doers in the American west.
Also on page 107, CB mentions a ronin. A ronin was a Japanese
samurai warrior with no lord or master.
On page 111, Dr. Schwabauer remarks, "I'm a scientist, not a
politician." This may be a subtle reference to
Dr. McCoy, who would frequently exclaim, "I'm a doctor, not a
(fill in the blank)."
Page 111 mentions that some of the new styles of Earth formal
wear were actually inspired by Visitor costumes.
Page 111 also mentions that Setsuko is wearing an obi of
brilliant blues and fiery oranges. An obi is a sash worn over a
Page 112 reveals that the Visitors control what is known as the
Italo-Greek sector of Europe. The country of Romania has
recently become a satellite of this Visitor-controlled
Page 112 also reveals that many diplomats around the world
became stranded away from their home countries when the Visitors
returned to Earth and conquered much of the planet. Without
support and money from their governments, many have been forced
to take regular jobs like hamburger cook in the countries in
which they've found themselves stranded.
On page 113, Dr. Schwabauer and Setsuko discuss the possibility
that the Visitors may be planning to use the sewer system under
Alexandria to invade Washington D.C. Dr. Schwabauer asks, "Do
you really believe that there may be...reptiles in the sewers of
this city?" This is reminiscent of the urban legend that
escaped, unwanted, or flushed pet alligators in large cities may
have continued to live and hunt in the underground sewers. On
page 135, CB even mentions the urban legend in comparison to the
Page 114 reveals that Romania has a Visitor viceroy.
On page 115, Romanian Ambassador Andrescu ruminates on his
country's foolhardy decision to ally with the Visitors in order
to drive the Russians out of their country. At the time of
V, Romania was still part
of the Soviet Union's communist block behind the iron curtain of
Also on page 115, Andrescu compares the Visitors to nosferatu. "Nosferatu"
is the allegedly Romanian word for vampire, though there is
considerable doubt as to the true origins of the word.
On page 116, Andrescu says, "slava domnului". This is Romanian
for "Thank God."
Page 116 mentions that the First Secretary at the Polish Embassy
in Washington D.C. has been forced to work at a Lord and Taylor
Lord and Taylor is a chain of upscale, luxury
department stores in the U.S.
On page 117, Andrescu asks Tedescu if Dingwall would be able to
breathe some life into his battered old Steinway. He is
referring to a Steinway piano, made by the
Steinway and Sons
On page 117, Tedescu mentions that Dingwall's upcoming concert
is to support the opening of the new Spring Oaks Mall. This is a
fictional business and does not appear to have existed in the
Washington D.C. area.
On page 121, CB mentions Bugs Bunny. Bugs is, of course, a world
famous character from Warner Brothers' well-known Looney
As Matt tries to figure out how to get the Visitor hover discs to
work on page 123, he tries to use some magic words to start one
up, saying, "SHAZAM! MXYZPTLK! ABRACADABRA! XYZZY!"
comes from the Captain Marvel comic books published by Fawcett
Comics from 1939-1953 and later by DC Comics and was the magic
word spoken by young Billy Batson to transform into the powerful
Captain. (SHAZAM is an acronym for the mythological gods whose powers he receives when he
transforms into Captain Marvel: the wisdom of Solomon; the
strength of Hercules; the stamina of Atlas; the power of Zeus;
the courage of Achilles; and the speed of Mercury).
comes from the character of Mr. Mxyzptlk, an impish, magical foe
of Superman in comics published by DC Comics; in older Superman
stories featuring the annoying and prankish imp, Superman had to
trick Mxyzptlk into saying his name backward (kltpzyxm) to get
him to leave Earth alone, at least for a while.
an alleged word of magic power used by magicians and healers
dating at least as far back the 2nd Century AD.
"XYZZY" is a
magic word from the popular 1970s computer game Colossal Cave
Adventure; the word has been written into many subsequent games
and programs in a tribute to the original game.
As a squad of Visitor troops are having a barbecue of human
flesh on page 129, CB exclaims from hiding that they're making
People Nuggets out there. This is probably a reference to
the McDonald's fast food chain's popular Chicken McNuggets food item.
Page 139 mentions King Street. This is a real and major road in
Dr. Isaac Asimov, writer and science authority, makes his first of several brief appearances
in this novel on page 141. He also appeared in an interview in
the novel East Coast Crisis
and a pseudo-Asimov character appears in issue #4 of the
V comic book (see
"Alien Conflict") as Dr. Myron
Grasimov. Here, it is mentioned that he is writing a book on the
impact of the saurian invasion on the free states.
Page 142 mentions Dr. Charles Sheffield, the head of a
corporation that controls the placement of the few satellites
Earthlings have left. Sheffield was a real person (1935-2002) and
was the chief scientist of the Earth Satellite Corporation
(since then acquired by
MDA Federal Inc.) at the time this book was written.
Page 142 also mentions Sir John Augustine, British Ambassador to
the U.S. Augustine appears to be a fictional creation for the
On page 143, the Jones' taxi takes the George Washington Parkway
onto Kirby Road. These are both real thoroughfares in McLean.
Page 144 mentions the Visitors using hover tanks. On page 148 it
is revealed that these tanks have robotic arms which can emerge
from a small portal in the vehicle to grab an individual
combatant from outside! This is the first time this type of tank
has been seen in the V
annals, although a Visitor ground-rover tank with treads is
depicted in the novelization of the two
V mini-series and in
East Coast Crisis.
On page 145, Andrescu says, "Dumnezeu", Romanian for "God".
On page 146, Tedescu says, "Nu vii nemeni...le e greu sa vina la
noi." Roughly translated from Romanian it means, "No one
living...it's hard to get to us."
On page 148, Dr. Schwabauer says, "Mein lieber gott, ich habe
euch vermiβt." This is German for "My dear God, I saw you
Page 148 mentions a Louis Quinze sofa in Ambassador Andrescu's home.
Louis Quinze is a decorative art style of French Rococo, dating
back to the reign of King Louis XV of France (1723–1774).
On page 150 it is revealed that Dingwall has a small blood sac
of human blood installed in the dermoplast of his mask which can
bleed out through the surface to give the illusion of being a
beaten human being. Perhaps all undercover Visitor operatives on
Earth have this sac implanted in various parts of their human
On page 151, Tedescu exclaims of Dingwall, "Este erou!" This is
Romanian for "The hero!"
Page 151 mentions that Ambassador Andrescu resembles Bela Lugosi
and sounds like him too! This makes some sense as Lugosi was
from Romania (at the time of Lugosi's birth, known as
Austria-Hungary). In addition, note that Lugosi's real full name was Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó and Ambassador Andrescu's first name is
revealed on this same page as Ferenc. Lugosi was an actor best
known for his portrayal of Dracula in the 1927 play based on
Bram Stoker's novel and the subsequent classic 1930 film
version. Andrescu is obviously Sucharitkul's homage to Lugosi,
as the character continuously compares the lizards to nosferatu
(vampires) and, later in the book, even slays a Visitor with a
mallet and wooden stake!
The Looney Tunes cartoon described on pages 153-154 is
probably "Haredevil Hare".
As he explores the Andrescu mansion on page 155, CB is reminded
of the BBC show Upstairs, Downstairs. The British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired the series about a rich
family who lived in the downstairs of a London townhouse and
their servants who lived upstairs from 1971-1975.
On page 164, Andrescu mentions Dr. Freud. Dr. Sigmund Freud was a
world-renowned Austrian psychoanalyst in the early decades of
the 20th century.
On page 165, Setsuko asks, "And what is it your American boy
scouts say? 'Be prepared'?" This is correct, the motto of the
Boy Scouts of America is "Be Prepared".
Also on page 165, Setsuko refers to Tomoko and CB as Tomoko-san
and CB-chan. "San" is a Japanese honorific used to show respect
(like Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.). "Chan" is an honorific more
endearing than respectful usually used with children or teenage
On page 169, CB mentions the Friday the Thirteenth and
Godzilla series of films.
Friday the Thirteenth is an American horror film series
started in 1980 about brutal slayings of teenagers at Camp
Crystal Lake. The well-known Godzilla series of
Japanese films began in 1954. CB also mentions here that the
film industry in L.A. is essentially dead except for making
Visitor propaganda movies.
On page 174, Dingwall tells Matt the phone at the theater does
not work and the nearest working one is at the 7-11 store down
the road. 7-11 is an international chain of convenience stores.
On page 175, Tedescu says "domnul", Romanian for "mister".
After he is captured by Dingwall and locked in the basement with
the other children, CB says he feels like he's in the middle of
Hansel and Gretel, a reference to the Brothers Grimm
fairy tale about a young brother and sister menaced by a
child-eating witch in a candy-and-cake house in the forests of
Recalling bits and pieces of her conversion on page 180, Nadia
describes the image of a monster opening it's jaws with blood
dripping. This is somewhat similar to an image seen in Julie
Parrish's conversion in "The
Masterpiece". Perhaps the monster is a common theme used in
the Visitors' conversion process.
On page 181, Nadia says, "Doamne ajuta! ce sa fac?" Translated
from Romanian it means, "God help! What to do?"
Page 182 reveals that Dingwall has set the chains that hold the
children in his basement to open by the spoken command of "Open
Sesame". Dingwall, being into the myths of primitive cultures,
has borrowed the phrase from the English translation of the
classic Arabic tale, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
On page 188, Dingwall admits he's behaving in the manner of a
bad movie villain by revealing his scheme to CB.
On page 189, Dingwall mentions the small suburb of Spring Oaks
where the new Spring Oaks Mall has been built. This appears to
be a fictional community.
Page 190 mentions the Visitors' secret rendezvous point of
Lorton, Virginia in an area where a prison was once located.
This is a real city in Fairfax County, Virginia and is the site
of a former prison.
On page 194, Setsuko says, "Anata ga watashi o nakasemashita
no...ai shite amasu no de..." I have not been able to translate
Also on page 194, Fieh Chan calls Setsuko "Setchan" as a
nickname. It combines "Set" from Setsuko and "chan", the
Japanese honorific of endearment.
On page 195 we learn that Setsuko has managed to create a
culture of a new type of red dust bacteria that will destroy the
bonds of papinium thanks to the use of equipment that was
salvaged from the wreckage of the Visitors' Florida Project.
This salvage by exobiologists was depicted at the end of the
The Florida Project.
On page 197, Tedescu drives on Washington Street through Old
Town. Washington Street is part of State Route 400 through
Alexandria, VA and does actually pass through the area of the
city known as Old Town.
On page 199, Sir John says their upcoming battle against the
Visitors will be like the siege of Bhaktipore all over again. I
am unable to find any real world references to this event or to
a region or community with the name of
Bhaktipore. It may be a misspelling of a real region or
community or it may be intended as a fictional battle that took place
within the V universe.
On page 199, Andrescu says, "De unde esti dumneata?" Translated
from Romanian, it is, "Where are you?"
On page 203, Andrescu recalls how a Hollywood producer had made
him a gift of a wooden mallet and stake, props from a vampire movie,
because of his resemblance to the most famous movie vampire of
all time, Bela Lugosi. Andrescu reminisces that he had told the
producer that he was not a direct descendant of Vlad Dracul,
"The Impaler". Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, is believed
to have based his vampire character in part on the historical
figure of Vlad Dracula (1431-1476), a ruler of Wallachia (later
to become Romania).
Page 204 mentions Old Dominion Drive. This is a real road in
On page 208, Sir John points out a former U.S. President
attending the concert. This former President is not named. At the
time this novel is supposed to take place, autumn of 1984, it
could be Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, or Jimmy Carter. The current
President of the time would be either Ronald Reagan (in the real
world and, it is suggested, in the novel
The Texas Run) or the
Morrow in the V universe
(according to the V
mini-series novelization and
East Coast Crisis).
Page 214 mentions several music terms as Tomoko leafs through
the concert program. "Retrograde inversion" and "sonic
palindrome" are legitimate musical terms (too detailed to go
into here). I can find no specific instances of "chrono-reversal"
or "semi-aleatory pseudo-textural polyphony" in the musical
literature available online; they may still be legitimate terms
used by musicians (author Suchartikul is also a composer of
music, now known as S.P. Somtow).
On page 234, Medea flies over the Blue Ridge Mountains. These
are a part of the Appalachian Mountain Range and the Blue Ridge
portion runs from Georgia northeast to Pennsylvania, passing
through Virginia where the bulk of our story takes place.
The epilogue of the book describes Tomoko and Fieh Chan living
in the mountain forests of Virginia and living off the land.
very similar to the scenario of Ruth and Hadad in the novel
The Oregon Invasion!
As Tomoko begins her sword training with Fieh Chan on page 240,
she feels "the power flow through her body...the sword was a
part of herself, an extension of her innermost beings." It seems
odd that Suchartikul writes "beings" instead of "being" as we'd
normally expect. It could be a typo or misprint or, possibly,
it was an intentional way of stating that Tomoko feels there are
multiple sides of herself all coming together through the Zen of
On page 242, CB delivers a Russian Orthodox crucifix from
Andrescu to Tomoko. The Russian Orthodox cross (also known as
the Eastern Orthodox cross) has an extra, smaller crossbar
placed above the main one and a slanted crossbar at the bottom.
There are various explanations as to what the extra crossbars
represent. This form of the crucifix is known to be used in
Andrescu's homeland of Romania. (Image by
On the last page of the novel it is revealed that Tomoko may be
pregnant with Fieh Chan's baby. But past
V stories have
stated or implied that previous Visitor/human fertilizations
could only take place between certain genetically responsive
individuals and with modifications by scientists. Tomoko and
Fieh Chan have not been through this process (at least not to the reader's
knowledge). Although, among his many other skills, Fieh Chan is
something of a scientist and inventor as well, so it is possible
he has made the necessary modifications to his own and Tomoko's
DNA to make a pregnancy between them vaguely possible. (With all
of his skills, Fieh Chan is practically the
Buckaroo Banzai of
For some reason, the publisher chose to use a photo of Donovan
and Tony Leonetti from a scene of their incident interacting
with guerillas in El Salvador from "Arrival"
as the cover of this novel. Donovan does not
appear in the novel and Tony has been dead for well over a year!
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