Orange Glory: The Zoomins Must Die

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Klawitter, John (also, John Michael Klawitter). Orange Glory: The Zoomins Must Die. Markhan, Ontario: Double Dragon Publishing, 2015. Possibly first book in a series.

Orange Glory is a novel satiric and darkly-comic in tone and something of a satura: a mixed dish, a hodgepodge or chop suey of, among other things, genres: "magical realism," possibly Tzvetan Todorov's "(the) Fantastic," supernatural/paranormal Candide — but largely a "picaresque" where the production of the super-hero (and largely innocent) "pícara" early in the story is science-fictional and unusual.

From the back blurb and web entry

Back [...]in the heart of the Cold War against the Ruskies and the Chi Coms, well-meaning but amoral officials in U.S. intelligence greatly feared Russian advances in the development of paranormal capabilities in humans. In response to this threat to national security, they covertly started up a number of projects to develop U.S. proto-types of ‘super-humans.’ The most ambitious of their edgy reaches into the unknown was code-named PROJECT ORANGE GLORY, and it concerned spraying human subjects with the disintegrating sub-particles radiating from cyclotron impact zones. Nucleonic science was in its infancy, and nearly all the subjects died. However, the few dozen who survived displayed almost incomprehensible behavior [...,] unpredictable and dangerous on a global scale. Project Orange Glory was deemed a failure, and Charley Birch, who had spearheaded the project [..] was blamed and given the job of disposing of the remaining subjects. But he soon found the victims (he refers to them as ‘Zoomins’) were nearly impossible to kill. [...] As our story opens, Charley is out to kill or capture one particular Zoomin, Kate Twillinger, the daughter of one of his original subjects, who is unknowing of the secret experiments that have been performed on her, and is living on a family orange grove in a remote section of Central Florida.[1]

Kate Twillinger's family home includes little family outside crazy and violent "Granny Lu" but is surrounded by — in a sense embedded in — what appear to be power lines and their accessories, but are actually ... something electrical and/or electronic installed by operatives from deep inside the Project and a very-deep-Spook apparat and part of the origin story for Kate's superhuman powers (while she has them). The Narrator gives us this information almost as a throwaway aside.

Just as an aside, you should know that, up to that time the very heart of the Orange Glory project had demanded cranial impact to their subjects' heads [provided by Granny Lu] on as regular a basis as might be instigated, with a schedule matched as closely as possible to the electro-magnetic treatments from the power lines and the spray of particles from the big grey box that the power and light representatives had assured the local yokels were step-down transformers. Mental transforming, more obfuscation, you see, the truth wrapped in a convenient code word. (part One, "The Late 1950's and Some Years Later," no page, lightly edited)

In a sense, Kate is inside a large Skinner box where the experimenters have gotten distracted with other things, but the experiment continues until Kate gets away into further adventures.

Caution: Kate Twillinger gets seriously roughed up in what look like preparations for a rape-revenge motif, but that would have to come in later sequels.


RDE, finishing, 14Feb21