Empress Theresa is an indie published book written by Norman Boutin about Theresa Sullivan, a young girl who, after bonding with HAL, an alien force, begins to exhibit great powers. After an attempted assassination by the US president, she goes on to use those powers to resolve several world problems but mostly the book describes her receiving adulation from an adoring public.
The book has been universally panned in internet reviews, and the antics of its author - Norman Boutin, his numerous responses towards critics, as well as his irrational behavior - have made him a model of "what not to do" for aspiring authors.
- 1 Background
- 2 Synopsis
- 2.1 Introduction
- 2.2 Chapter 1
- 2.3 Chapter 2
- 2.4 Chapter 3
- 2.5 Chapter 4
- 2.6 Chapter 5
- 2.7 Chapter 6
- 2.8 Chapter 7
- 2.9 Chapter 8
- 2.10 Chapter 9
- 2.11 Chapter 10
- 2.12 Chapter 11
- 2.13 Chapter 12
- 2.14 Chapter 13
- 2.15 Chapter 14
- 2.16 Chapter 15
- 2.17 Chapter 16
- 2.18 Chapter 17
- 2.19 Chapter 18
- 2.20 Chapter 19
- 2.21 Chapter 20
- 2.22 Chapter 21
- 2.23 Chapter 22
- 2.24 Chapter 23
- 2.25 Chapter 24
- 2.26 Chapter 25
- 2.27 Chapter 26
- 2.28 Chapter 27
- 2.29 Chapter 28
- 3 Release
- 4 Genre
- 5 References
Conflicting accounts have been given by Norman Boutin about how much time he spent on Empress Theresa. At one point, he claimed to have "spent 19 years writing" the book, while at another time he said it was "over a twenty year period." On Facebook, he said that he began writing it in 1974. Elsewhere, Norman said that eighteen years ago he had "the kernel of an idea" for the book in 1994, but he "actually started writing it" three years ago. This would put the starting year of writing Empress Theresa around 2009.
Norman said the idea for the novel "came entirely out of [his] head." Amazingly enough, he accredits the initial inspiration to the attack on Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan:
- Being in between jobs and having plenty of time I became interested in the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan figure skating scandal of the 1994 Olympics. It was never proved that Harding knew about the plan to whack Kerrigan’s leg before it happened. I thought how interesting it would be if a man could read minds, could prove that he could, and then revealed that Harding was innocent. But I don’t believe in mind reading and threw out that element. Then I thought a story should concentrate on the girl and threw out the male. Later, Harding, now called Theresa, had psychokinetic powers and used them to get revenge on her accusers. Not believing in psychokinesis I threw that idea out too. Then I had an alien give Theresa power to seek revenge. Not that was promising. Soon I thought few people could relate to an Olympic figure skater and made Theresa somebody in an ordinary walk of life, maybe a Wal-Mart cashier, who had suffered a wrong from somebody.
Norman "spent years editing Empress Theresa in [his] head before [he] wrote down a single word," and "could see it as if I was watching a movie." He said in an interview, "I began writing down words on paper, quickly switching to the computer, but the whole story was already in my head." He later changed aspects of the story to remove the revenge plot:
- Now Theresa would use the power given her by HAL as she calls him to right wrongs in the world. Her power would be global in scale. This was around 1998. Later, I rejected the alien idea because I don’t believe aliens will ever visit us because of the enormous distances involved. But a robotic device might reach us. But why does a robotic HAL get here in our time rather than a billion years ago? HAL then became a natural phenomenon that came to Earth “before the dinosaurs” as Theresa says and merged with animals until it saw Theresa’s pregnant mother raking leaves in the back yard.
Norman also admitted to not doing any research in writing the story, save for "the amount of gold in Fort Knox, the tectonic source of Antarctica, and the density of xenon."
He's explained that the book was meant to answer the question: "What would a good girl, Catholic or something else, do with limitless power?" Theresa was meant to be "a heroic Catholic main character." He's likewise said that he wanted Theresa to be "an example of a good person," and to serve as a character who would "edify young people and help them reach their potential."
He considers the book to be the "greatest novel ever written," and considers it his "magnum opus," admitting, "I can’t imagine writing anything else." Amazingly enough, he's also stated that his "real objective is that the book be made into a movie," which he believed would be "an instant hit," adding, "If the movie is made and made well I don't care if nobody but the movie producer reads the book."
Norman Boutin asks the reader, "What would you do with limitless power?" He introduces the character of Theresa, who is an eighteen-year old "suddenly burdened by global responsibilities." He also attacks those literary critics who say "every character must have serious flaws," defending his treatment of Theresa by suggesting that people would have gotten mad at him for not making a "loveable, inspiring Theresa." However, Norman assures us "a girl as fine as Theresa can be found in any high school," and that this book is a "tribute to the common, decent human being who quietly builds the world but hasn't gotten enough attention lately."
Theresa Sullivan introduces herself to the reader as the "cute as heck" ten-year old daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Sullivan. While home alone, and spending time on the porch overlooking the neighborhood pond, Theresa notices a red fox appear out of the woods. It draws close to her and stops. Suddenly, "a softball sized white ball" comes from the fox and right into Theresa's stomach. She panics and runs into the house, while the fox departs back into the woods.
Theresa tries to shrug off the event, but soon hears fire trucks coming into her neighborhood. She hears the firemen recording extreme heat, though they are unable to discover the source. Two days later, Theresa's mother notices some men parked outside the house. As a test, Theresa calls for Alice Pizza, which tells her they weren't wiretapping her. However, Theresa notices men following her around Barnes & Nobles, as well as McDonald's. When she returns home, she calls for Alice Pizza again, except the operator doesn't connect. Somehow, this tells Theresa she's now being wiretapped.
Theresa rents the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, after which she meets a young woman named Jan Struthers. She explains that they discovered Theresa after she gave off an extreme amount of heat, and especially after she rented 2001: A Space Odyssey. She reveals that the thing which entered her was, in fact, an alien life force the government had been tracking for some time. Jan continues to ask questions, which Theresa calls "the most important interview since Moses came down the mountain." Theresa reveals that she named the alien HAL, and that the thing doesn't talk to her. Jan asks Theresa to keep everything a secret, since revealing this would bring in other people searching for HAL, as well as a mob of reporters which will take away Theresa's private life.
Later on, Theresa discovers that she is able to throw things with target assistance provided by HAL (basically, a HUD in her eyesight). She goes over to the house of her friend Tommy, pitching a baseball with him and his father, and showing amazing accuracy and speed. Not too long after that, Theresa discovers she has super strength - she's so strong, in fact, that she is able to bend horseshoes as if they were nothing. She has her mother go to Father Richard Donoughty, her local priest. She tells him about HAL, and the agents, and Donoughty confronts Jan Struthers after seeing her in the parking lot. Donoughty promises not to tell anyone except his cardinal.
Theresa does so well in the fifth grade that she skips to the seventh grade. Jan Struthers and the other agents continue to monitor her.
Theresa goes through her high school years. She plays for the boys' baseball team, where she pitches 85 mph and manages to become a star. She enters her senior year at 16-years old, and begins to wonder what she should study in college. She meets Jan Struthers at Burger King, where the OOPS agent tells her about the government's knowledge of HAL, and suggests she get a broad education should HAL begin to speak, and Theresa has to act as earth's ambassador.
In March of her senior year, Theresa gets a letter a man named Jeremy Benton, asking to meet him at Framingham Library. She goes there with Father Donoughty, and discovers that Jeremy Benton is personal aide to Prime Minister Peter Blair. He reveals that Jan Struthers mailed "a package of four volumes" to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Turgeon, who then sent it to Blair. It contained full documentation on Theresa and information about HAL. Jan may have done it because recently elected President William Martin had become apprehensive about HAL's presence on the earth. After this, Jan Struthers disappeared. Theresa is given the option to come to England or hide in Rome, but decides to "wait a while and see what happens."
Theresa heads to Boston College ("BC"), where she received a "full scholarship plus room and board" thanks to "the work of Father Donoughty and the Cardinal." While having lunch, she first encounters two boys she later learns are named Jack Koster and Steve Hartley. Theresa dates Jack, even though she knows they "were not compatible enough for lifetime commitment," but Jack "was fun to be around for the time being."
After coming back from biology class, Theresa is taken by campus security to their office, where two OOPS agents have been detained. The two men call "the Director" (presumably of the DIA), who then puts them through to the president. After that, campus security lets the two men go.
At a party, Theresa finds that Jack's old girlfriend, Ginny, has returned, and the two are now back together. Angered by this, Theresa goes upstairs and pulls out a "little black nothing" dress, raising the hem until it's ten inches above the knee, and plans to surprise Jack and make him regret breaking up with her. Steve comes into the room instead of Jack, and kisses Theresa, admitting, "I feel guilty about what I'm thinking." The two of them go back downstairs, where boys began to whoop and holler "in exaggerated [sic] manner" at Theresa's dress.
Steve and Theresa fall in love, and decide to marry because they couldn't "go four years without doing it." They get married and hold a reception where Theresa shows off her shoulders and cleavage, which "charmed the crowd."
On the way to the grocery store, Theresa is kidnapped by six men with handguns, who force her into a large van. She is taken to two helicopters in a field, placed in one, and taken southward, then towards the east. Theresa is told that she is to be executed "in a plane with an atom bomb," because "nothing could survive an A-bomb." She is taken to "some military airbase next to some nondescript building that might be used for anything." While there, she is allowed to use the restroom.
Three helicopter flights later, she arrives in a southern airbase, and taken to a cafeteria where she is allowed to eat. She takes twelve bottles of Coca-Cola and put eleven of the bottles in a garbage bag. The guards permit her to keep it, dismissing it "as the irrational behavior of someone who knew she'd die in hours." She is then taken to her room, where she is permitted to sleep.
She is woken up at 4AM and put into a "twin turboprop," where Theresa learns that the bomb will go off at 60,000 feet. She is also given a special thermal one piece because it gets cold that high. While on the journey, Theresa ponders the ontological argument for God and prays the twenty-third psalm. They arrive after several hours at an aircraft carrier, where the plane refuels and then takes off again. They land at another carrier where Theresa is brought before the captain and a group of officers. A female officer takes out her cell phone and records a video of Theresa, asking her if she has anything to say for her last words. Theresa paraphrases Tecumseh with: "If people grieve your passing rejoice in the good you did and die like a hero going home."
Still carrying the garbage bag of Coke bottles, Theresa is strapped into the F-22 cockpit, and the jet is sent up into the air. After undoing her seat belts, Theresa empties the coke bottles and puts them into her jumpsuit, hoping to "provide enough buoyancy to keep [her] head well above water." At around 55,000 feet she breaks open the canopy and is sucked out of the jet. The bomb goes off "miles away" as Theresa falls to the water.
Theresa hits the water with a hard belly flop, knocking her out. She wakes up and finds herself in the South Atlantic, with her feet and ankles hurting. She can feel her lower legs go numb, then feels her body quiet down, and passes out.
Theresa wakes up in a British hospital bed with Peter Blair watching over her. Blair makes mention of how much has been spent on her recovery and the like, with Theresa wondering what all the fuss is about. She then goes to the window to see half a million people cheering her on. She is then told that, because the wind has stopped everywhere, the only livable places will be near the coasts, where the only rain will happen. Theresa doesn’t know what to do, but agrees to a BBC interview discussing HAL. She is transported to a hotel with all the greatest accommodations, being served with only the greatest care and admiration. Right before the BBC interview, she denies a phone call from her husband, insisting they need to talk in person first.
In a BBC montage compiled about Theresa’s story, a couple of stories surface leading up to present day. First, US Navy Admiral Ruck tells about his experience with the President, explaining his disdain for having to kill a dangerous person via an A-bomb in a jet, but says his loyalty to the US meant he followed orders, no matter how destructive. Next, an announcer describes how Theresa’s kidnapping was kept a secret from the FBI, and that if it was a government operation, that it would be the greatest conspiracy in history. The announcer continues that, in looking at her files on her university disk space, she has a file called “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE”, with over 260 pages of mathematical jargon that confounds everyone. This is the first time we, the reader, are made aware of this work.
The next part was President Martin’s speech on explaining the bomb, saying that, since the alien was doing nothing, it was horribly unpredictable and needed to be destroyed before it became hostile. The exact words are, “It made no announcement to us in fifteen years which we considered an unfriendly relationship. Therefore, we destroyed it with an atomic bomb.” He then apologizes for killing Theresa, as she was innocent. He says that, although it was the bravest thing anyone has done for the country, he wouldn’t award a medal to her, instead opting for, “We offer thanks from a grateful nation.” Next, it’s revealed that they knew Theresa managed to get out due to a microphone they planted on her jumpsuit, noting that she was tremendously brave as they heard her screaming to her death. Other stories include a retelling of the surveillance program in full and how shocked people were that she survived at all.
Her husband, in a Senate hearing, says he knew nothing about aliens and how amazing Theresa is. Another segment describes how her last words were so amazing, they’ll make a movie about her. Father Donoughty gives a testimony of his experience with Theresa, eventually declaring her a martyr. Another story describes how a freighter witnesses the first evidence of the wind stopping. From that, it’s realized that the wind is stopping in an area where the radius is expanding at 18 miles an hour. Next, “Blair’s Folly”, or Blair’s search for Theresa, is mentioned in brief, as Blair seems to realize that Theresa is the reason the wind stops. Finally, President Martin resigns, leaving the Secretary of Defense in charge while the Vice President was sleeping.
Theresa is in shock, as this is an unprecedented resignation of a President. As she sees it, Nixon was under stress for two years, while Martin just walked away after dooming the earth to an apocalypse. The next segment in the series describes how they found Theresa. The rescue team describes the mission as foolish, as it took seventy years to find the Titanic, a large ship with a well-known position. First, the lack of wind became evident, as the ship went from rolling waves to glass-smooth flatness. Next, the radar operator describes “a mile-wide smudge of birds”, which is speculated to be due to radiation poisoning killing millions of fish, making an attractive spot for birds to come. It’s not that. It’s a shark feeding frenzy. It’s a shark feeding frenzy that is so frenzied, the sharks literally can’t eat Theresa without getting eaten by each other. The rescues had machine guns aboard, and decided the reasonable option was to shoot the sharks for hours until there were only a few left. They retrieved her body and, after acknowledging the utter genius of the Coke bottles, declare her dead and sail home.
Admiral Ruck is questioned after the events, and nervously explains that, while it would have been possible to save her, it would have required the knowledge that she would have been able to escape the plane, a thought that didn’t even cross his mind. With Norman’s famous subtlety, Peter Blair describes how the world awaited for the return of Theresa’s body, playing songs such as The Swan, The Dying Swan, and Danny Boy. Upon her admission into the morgue, Blair himself went to see the dead body, and, along with a room of medical professionals, was shocked to see she was perfectly preserved. Hoping she’s still alive, even without her blood circulating or anything that qualifies as living, they put her in a slightly warm room and hoped she comes back. After a discussion with Steve Hartley about hoping she returns and asking people to pray for her, he visited Theresa’s room many times, awaiting anything. After agonizing detail after detail, Theresa manages to come back from the dead without a scratch. As Blair puts it, “Two of the twelve monitor lines were wiggling. Soon, all lines were wiggling. Everything seemed to be working.” Theresa, after the conclusion of the BBC montage, notes that she doesn’t understand what HAL did, ultimately disappointing her. She then manages to piece it together, realizing that Blair was asking her to control HAL into fixing the wind problem and then, afterwards, leading the world to glory. After realizing this, she leaves the hotel, ready to make the greatest interview the world has known.
Theresa is ushered into a room with no viewers and only interviewers. Blair is missing for the time being, presumably due to being “caught in the bathroom”. This is fine, as Theresa wants to shine on her own - without talking, of course. One of her professors complained about talking heads talked a lot but didn’t “say” anything. She made sure to impress him in this interview and the rest to come. She sees the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE file, with surprise, and then proceeds to show off to the camera, with a "modest" Irish outfit that shows off her “well-turned figure” without cleavage. Blair enters soon after, thankfully cutting off an awkward scene of Theresa showing off her “well outlined” chest and butt.
Blair’s first question concerns what HAL is made of. Her answer? Dark matter, and she proceeds to explain, with her own mangled version of science, what dark matter is and why she suspects it to be what HAL is made of. Next, she explains that HAL keeps her bones unbroken, gives her super strength and, by storing water in her hair, makes it twice as thick as it should be, giving her a legendary, glorious mane. She then calls HAL stupid and proceeds to say that, actually, HAL might have been on Earth for millions of years, and the white ball only acts as something he needed later. She supports this with evidence that the white ball came down only after her mom had an experience with the a fox, explaining the impossibility of HAL being present three years too early. After a few empty questions, Theresa elects for an early break to gather her thoughts.
After an hour and a quarter to gather her thoughts, Theresa finally manages to think through exactly what HAL is. She asserts that HAL is a brainless, symbiotic being that clings onto whatever matter it can, and when that matter breaks or dies, HAL moves on to something similar or more complex. To keep whatever it’s attached to alive, it adopts reflexes that benefit whatever it’s attached to. (Note: At this point in her explanation, she thinks she’s lost everyone and no one can understand. She does nothing to correct this and keeps going). Various reflexes HAL adopts are strength, which every animal needs, and aim, which is one of the more basic actions a human needs for various tasks. Her hair is made better by being made thicker, and her protection from anything harmful is just an automatic thing to keep the host alive. HAL managed to kill the wind as a reflex because, when Theresa fell out of the plane, HAL must have assumed that she stopped flying due to the wind, and that the wind was stopped so that she could resume flying. This means, however, that there’s no reflex to make the wind come back, and that the only way to bring it back is to somehow have HAL bring it back via some reflex. Theresa isn’t confident she can make that happen, and says there should be a committee to help her control HAL. She then kills the interview.
Everyone in the world, rather than being concerned, is just confused and doesn’t know how to interpret her complex explanation. The committee question becomes a political controversy due to the fact that there are issues of political alignment and potential terrorism if the committee is headed by the wrong people. Theresa mocks it all sadly, even declaring CNN to be “the biggest international media circus of all.” The French Prime Minister is the most worried with the prospect and says the only way to save the world is by hiding her where no one could find her. This is somehow controversial, and incenses both Blair and Theresa to come back on TV to explain themselves further, basically saying that Theresa will solve this problem and become the world’s champion by guiding HAL to do other good. Afterwards, Theresa and Blair joke around a bit, and then she ponders on how Blair has become her friend, embracing in a hug representative of the world’s hope.
After the interview, Theresa prays to God, saying, “... take this away from me, but if you don’t want to take it away at least help me get through it,” mirroring Jesus’s line, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." In the morning, Theresa watches the news, noting how the world stopped doing anything and is just focused on Theresa. With universal acclaim, the public love her, which Theresa notes is because anyone disapproving would be torn to bits. President Veronica Stinson, replacing Martin, notes that Theresa is the hero we will confide in, much like we confided in Napoleon, Lenin, Hitler, or Senator McCarthy. Theresa approves. A Doomsday clock is started, estimating 228 days until the world starves to death.
After watching the news, PM Blair arrives to take her to the safe estate of Edmund Parker. There, she meets Mr. and Mrs. Parker and the three Parker children, who are never heard from again. Theresa discusses at length where she came up with her theories on HAL, saying most of the inspiration was from Steve. More lengthy discussion about former President Martin and other topics ensue, with enough literary references to choke a librarian. Theresa thinks back to her relationship with Steve, how they developed differently through high school and how the tabloids would struggle to find ways to undermine their relationship. Steve manages to arrive at the Parker estate, and they have an emotional reunion for half a page before spending dinner with the Parkers. The Hartleys spend the week settling in before Theresa begins her work on the communication code between her and HAL.
On Thursday, the Scotland Yard says the rush of letters is overwhelming, and that they should screen it for both attempts on her life and information about terrorist groups. She agrees, and later that day, thousands of letters and packages are wheeled to the estate, pre-opened. While Theresa worked on her code, Steve skimmed the letters, trashing the worthless ones and looking for interesting ones. It turns out people sent checks in some of these letters, totaling a monetary value of over $3000. As the book says, “The Hartley family financial situation had taken a new turn.”
The world continues to worry about their entire fate contained in the hands of one 18-year-old girl. Some worry she may become egotistical or arrogant, and may take over the world with her powers. PM Blair, speaking for her, says Theresa is perfect, and it’s lucky HAL chose her for occupying her. “This is Saint Theresa among us now,” he boldly proclaims. The leader of the opposition keeps grilling him, failing to make any skepticism or doubt. Blair closes with strong statements on Theresa’s character, saying she will do the right thing if we trust in God.
Theresa begins work on learning how to train HAL to do mundane tasks. Four ways she’s particularly exploring are telekinesis, aiming without looking, affecting midair objects, and pushing a ruler on a string. Nothing seems to be working. Steve updates Theresa on the financial situation - they have a million dollars and will never need jobs again. However, Steve feels helpless, so he goes to the University of Cambridge to buy physics books he might need later. While there, he is questioned about his wife, to which he responds that Theresa is “too perfect”. Father Donoughty makes similar statements, praising and hoping in her abilities.
After ten days, Theresa has made no progress, a worrying thought considering the 228 day time limit. One of the packages received is a poster of Theresa wearing her Irish green dress from the interview. Apparently many women have copied her fashion, and the poster will become merchandise in the upcoming weeks as the world ends. Theresa smiles, “So now I’m a pinup girl.” Shortly after, Theresa decides she needs a clandestine trip to Paris, and after many super-expensive-sounding trips in secrecy, they make it to Paris to relax.
They visit various landmarks in the day, and are generally disappointed in Paris, a “tired old city”. Theresa mentions missing the chipmunks of North America, a throwaway statement to Steve. Waiting for the nightlife, Paris comes alive in the dark, with a bustling crowd of people and many people to meet and make acquaintances with. Theresa and Steve wait in line for a seat in the restaurant, but after being snubbed multiple times based on their clothing, they seat themselves. They get no service, where they then decide that no one in Paris has fun, deciding to sneak off to Dublin next. They take off their disguises, with everyone in the room shocked, and then leave, snubbing the entire room in response.
In Dublin, they spend three days undisguised, looking for people instead of places. The only event described that they explicitly do is traditional Irish dancing, and nothing else. After considering herself relaxed, she returns to the Parker estate to continue her work. On the whim of the statements Theresa made about chipmunks, an eighty-foot square greenhouse is built on the estate, where chipmunks will be brought back from America. At this point, Theresa notes that three weeks have passed - 21 days finished, 207 left to save the world.
Theresa, upon the return to the estate, subjects herself to more of the pointless tests, until suddenly, a black figure appears attempting to form a humanoid. It was HAL, finally forming and attempting to duplicate Theresa’s figure and failing miserably. Suddenly, it rushes into Theresa - though she doesn’t fear it, as HAL has never harmed her. She begins to see black and white images and could suddenly see the Parker Estate from above, then more building, and the view continued to rise all the way to seeing the entire Earth. She reflexively puts her hands over her eyes, before realizing she did the exact same thing on the jet. Upon this realization, she notes that she can see the entire world by covering and uncovering her eyes with her hands, and regards it as useless. Then, she realizes she can use her hands to move the entire world view around, and proceeds to test various movements, and realizes she can spy on anyone, anywhere, with a little bit of manipulation. After realizing she can connect certain reflexes together, starting from the world view one, she can train HAL to do anything, and now has the ability to teach HAL to do nearly anything. Steve excitedly writes a letter to Blair claiming a big breakthrough, and while it’s a small step, it’s the beginning of the journey.
The British House cheered on receiving this letter, and Blair thanks God for Steve and his emotional support. Theresa continues to explore her ability, first noting that HAL has no concept of time. Steve custom orders a clock which is basically a vertical Wheel of Fortune, where dowels line up with each other in 0.01 second-long intervals. She plans to teach HAL how to doing things “x times per second” based on this clock, though she worries how difficult it will be to associate a click with some event. The other two worries she has about her ability are identifying an object and its location, which might be too specific for HAL at the moment. Theresa decides on a “tag” system, where she will tag certain items and be able to remotely control them just by associating with the tag. Steve works on setting up this logistical nightmare. He buys a set of chess boards and woodworking equipment to create more solid versions of chess boards and labels each of the squares with raised numbers. The theory goes that, by using HAL to feel these numbers and chess pieces, labels could be associated with certain positions in the world. Since Theresa can’t specify distances based on miles, she’ll need the government to drop off markers. From there, she can triangulate where a position is, and then draw these geometric patterns to get exact positions.
After ordering these systems, Theresa mentions how she plays with the chipmunks by gaining their trust, and when the Parkers take videos of how cute this is, it becomes a viral phenomenon, being shown on kid’s programs every day. Theresa notes how comforting that is - “If I took care of little rodents, much more would I take care of people.” After working out the particulars of these devices, such as redundant millisecond versions of the clocks and refining the markers to world landmarks, Theresa is confident she can fix the problem. In late July, crops are dying, and irrigation isn’t sufficient, as rain is necessary for crops. Time is running out.
Theresa begins to get restless while trapped in the Parker residence, trying to teach HAL how to utilize the tools custom built for it. She walks into the woods outside the Parker residence, on the way to the village right outside it. She spends some time with the villagers, engaging in a picnic with them as she’s pursued and spied on by the British government. She becomes audience to a small singing concert, but is interrupted by her protectors because of the coming onslaught of the media. The date jumps to August 30th, where it’s mentioned that the annual crop in the United States was a 90% failure and expected to be worse everywhere else. Holy places around the world fill with prayer, with the mantra “God is in control.” At this time, Theresa begins her first big experiment with HAL using all the tools she’s constructed.
Using an unbreakable code created with bent wires, chessboard, and some plywood, Theresa gets HAL to pull up a large column of water ten miles high off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The locals, curious and astounded by the phenomenon, try to touch it and even shoot arrows into it. The Coast Guard stops the locals from interacting with it further. The media, knowing exactly that Theresa did it and why she did it, lauds her for her efforts. The next week, she does the same thing south of Hawaii, with multiple jets of water. This causes a lot of water to be put into the atmosphere, which causes a lot of optimism among scientists, and a lot of worrying among others, the main worry being that, if the columns fell, the tsunamis would kill 100 million people. Theresa notes, “They’re not going to fall”, which becomes relevant in a single page. The Chinese President, in particular, is worried about Theresa’s plans, saying they aren’t enough, failure would be apocalyptic, and demands to know her full plans. She agrees and decides, on a whim, to fly to New York to give a speech at the United Nations. Steve demands a plane from Arthur, which Theresa understands, saying this “could be his last chance to hold the spotlight.”
Steve manages to get to New York first, while Theresa will go the next day. She is woken up in the middle of the night by Arthur, the butler, to inform her that the North Koreans are bombing the water columns. They have sent a nuclear missile to the columns, which, as previously discussed, will cause tsunamis and death if they collapse. For the first time, Theresa’s unwavering confidence becomes wavering, and she has four minutes to make a decision. She is unsure whether HAL will die when bombed in such a manner, but letting go of the columns will kill a hundred million people. She cries a bit, and realizes she has two minutes left. She considers letting the remaining water keep going, but realizes HAL will still be present, so scraps that idea. One minute. She throws all her effort into a last ditch attempt, and pulls out a metal tag defining the task, meaning HAL immediately stops. In the remaining ten seconds, the water goes from flying up to falling down. The missile blows up, causing an explosion of steam. She puts the metal tag back into the board, causing six water columns underneath the original one to begin again. The two forces collided, causing the falling water to be slowed to a near crawl and become trillions of small drops with nearly no impact. The expected tsunami never happens, and, once again, under the effort of a ridiculous time constraint, Theresa comes up with a brilliant idea and is congratulated by literally everyone.
She then removes the six water columns and, in 45 minutes, the columns stop. Blair arrives to explain the situation, saying North Korea’s benefit was two fold - killing HAL might restore the wind, and killing a hundred million people with tsunamis would damage the economies of their enemies. By restoring the wind, they would be forgiven for killing their enemies’ citizens, and just net gain overall. Theresa’s plans to create thousands of columns shatters to pieces, since anyone could launch missiles to wreak chaos. She melts down and falls asleep crying. She sees the news and notes that everyone is afraid of what she’ll do next, since she’s still so powerful. Steve returns, and comes up with a genius idea to fix the problem.
In the early morning, the entire Earth feels rumbling, and many nations send planes to see what’s going on. After a laborious and confusing process, Theresa manages to bring up two massive, dotted concentric circles of rock around the North Pole to act as tsunami barriers. She was going to make the columns of water at the North Pole, where no one would be hurt by the act of bombing them. Steve warns everyone to get out of the North Pole, lest they get destroyed by the upcoming onslaught of water. “She’s too busy to play nursemaid to fools,” Steve warns. She creates even bigger water columns, three hundred feet wide, one thousand miles tall, four of them total. After they reach full height, she pulls the plug and has all the water come crashing down at once, the lethal problem from before. This time, however, the tsunami breakers completely prevent any disasters from happening, and so her experiment is a complete success. In four weeks, she had managed to do four spectacular feats, and now, the world awaited her next move.
At eight in the morning the next day, Theresa sets up for fifty-six water columns in the North Pole, goes through the entire procedure to start them up and… nothing happens. For a solid thirty minutes, the water columns are not raised. Theresa checks her works, her figures, and nothing appears. Fear strikes everyone as they realize HAL might know what she’s trying to do and prevent it. Blair arrives to discuss why they weren’t raised, and after arriving, Theresa tries again, this time with success. The theory? This needed far more power than HAL ever needed before, so he had to “go get more power” from the Sun, which makes sense, as that’s truly the only reasonable power source HALs could use.
Through the entire day, the water columns rise far above the thousand in the test. Four thousand, five thousand, 5,012 mile-high ice columns, freezing as they reached outer space. The ice finally collapses at just over five thousand miles, taking 24 minutes to reach Earth. Once it hit the Earth, the equivalent of an A-bomb every second explodes on the North Pole, causing a massive expenditure of energy constantly. Creating a massive cloud of steam near the explosion, clouds begin forming near the North Pole, prompting questions about how it would rain anywhere else without wind. Theresa and Steve had planned for this. You see, the hydrogen flung from this explosion would be spread for thousands of miles across the globe, eventually recombining with oxygen to form water high in the atmosphere. This causes constant quarter-inch rain across the globe, enough to start growing crops again.
However, winter was going to be a problem, especially for the large population in Asia. To fix this, Theresa tells Hal “to exert a five billion ton force on the Poles.” The Poles begin to shift, and Steve explains that, by pushing rock under the Poles in opposite directions, she can shift the poles by five degrees by Christmas, causing summer weather worldwide. Theresa figures we, as a planet, don’t need winter, so she’s eliminating it entirely. Steve and Theresa are excited to tell the world of their plans.
Everyone in the world celebrates Theresa saving seven billion lives. It goes on for pages about how the world loves Theresa for saving them. Half a million people try to swarm the Parker residence, so Theresa and Steve have to flee to London to hide. They talk to Blair, angry about how they’re too famous, and decide to arrange a meeting with Parliament. Theresa makes an impassioned speech about how she never asked to be famous, that she just wants to be a regular kid again, not speculated on by media, politics, or anything else. She did what was decent, and, in return for saving the world, she just wants to be left alone. Everyone is shocked, as everyone who has ever made achievements always seem to bask in the fame to some degree, and here the Messiah 2.0 wants nothing to do with anyone.
She goes to the hotel she first went to when she met Blair, and while a crowd does form, it is quiet and unnerved. The news states, pretty simply, that since she’s a saint, she wants to keep herself unaffected by fame by guarding her private life. Afterwards, she goes into a restaurant, where she’s not mobbed, but certainly recognized. People who got too close got tackled by government agents. Theresa decides to live a little by experiencing daily life, such as going to Irish pubs. But first, she asks to find Jan Struthers again, the agent from the beginning of the book. The view quickly snaps to Jan, in a mess after being dropped from a top secret government job she couldn’t put on a resume. She’s wasting away in her thirties, doing nothing. She watches Theresa on Channel 24, which tracks Theresa 24/7. As the Hartleys explored London, Theresa notes that exploring the United States would cause issues, since Americans have “freedom of speech and information and all that junk.” Suddenly, Jan sees that Theresa is looking for her, and she is overjoyed. Jan explains that, once President Martin found out about HAL, he disbanded the project and gave an Executive Order to never contact Theresa. She sent the notes to the Canadian Prime Minister to preserve the information, which managed to save Theresa’s life.
President Martin is quickly switched to to show that he’s doing okay, even after trying to kill Theresa. We switch back to Theresa, where Blair, in a hurried rush, explains that due to the Earth’s tilt being affected, the oceans are rising quickly, and may rise up to three feet in a year. This is due to the oceans not cooling off sufficiently, and causing an expansion that will result and eroding coastlines and a lot of ecological catastrophe. Neither Theresa nor Steve believe in it, but decide to fix the non-problem anyway. Theresa is frustrated with the unintended consequences, and Steve consoles her with the classic, “We struggle and then we die.” Theresa’s solution to the expanding water effect is to lift cubes of water out of the ocean and to send them around the Sun, destroying them but creating pretty comets in the process.
As they drifted from small town life scenario 1 to small town life scenario 2, they realized there was a constant light rain, causing the head and next to get drenched constantly. To have a little fun, they buy authentic firemen’s helmets to wear everywhere. This starts a frantic fashion craze to wear firemen’s helmets, but since they spent five hundred dollars on theirs, it was far more genuine than ten dollar knockoffs. After two weeks in England, they move on to experiencing Italy, where the attractions are lovely and the people lovelier.
They return after a week to fix a minor issue concerning the rain - it can’t rain all the time, so there must be some control given to when and where the rain happens. Blair is given control of the chessboard, where can can control how many columns are creating rain at any one time. After giving this responsibility away, the Hartleys are ready once again to continue relaxing.
They tour Germany, where they happen upon the Nuremberg castle and Oktoberfest, until they are informed once again they must return to fix another problem. It turns out, on the science of a meteorologist Doctor Harold, that the wind is slowly returning, meaning that Theresa’s declination will cause constant hurricanes, another effect of the heating oceans exacerbated by wind. The only way to prevent these issues is to return the Earth’s angle back to normal, which will kill nearly half a billion people in Asia due to the lack of increased growing season. This leaves Theresa in a terrible state, and Blair laments the problems that befall her.
Theresa didn’t sleep, in full remorse of whatever she was going to do. She ponders what it means to do the right thing, and what it means to be right. Steve gets up early in his insomnia to do some research on the Sun. He found out the Sun had measurable amounts of xenon in it, a dense gas that, if used on hurricanes, would cause them to be much less severe. After discussing the idea with Theresa, then with a cabal of scientists, the plan is set in action - a temperature-measuring device called Sky Spy would allow Theresa to figure out the melting points of the various gasses and a series of satellites would allow Theresa to have accurate positions of the Sun as they moved. The astronomers are excited by the prospect of being able to witness the sun so up close.
The RAF general requests she also attempt to bring back helium for creating thousands of mini-dirigibles to spy on terrorists and “put the terrorist organizations out of business.” Theresa agrees and, after some experts hastily assemble some satellites, sends them to the Sun. She coordinates the Sky Spy to orbit the Sun and explains the procedure - HAL lifts a mass of gas out of the Sun, cools it off, takes out the xenon, and brings it back to Earth, while releasing the remainder of the gasses back into the Sun. Then, the xenon cools to a solid by the time it reaches Earth, and is broken into crystals, which are sprinkled across the entire Earth to evenly distribute the gas. This weighs down the hurricanes too much, and just makes tropical storms at worst.
Helium starts arriving into the atmosphere, allowing the military to make it “a sad day for terrorists.” Theresa finally concludes that all the natural problems in the world are now permanently fixed. She discusses further scientific advances with NASA, eventually deciding to put a large telescope on the moon, put a Mars rover package in orbit around Mars, and to take the fourth largest moon of Jupiter, Europa, and put it in orbit around Mars. However, the real fun act she gets from this is bringing gold and silver from space to sell it on Earth, creating thousands of jobs and stabilizing corporations and economies around the globe.
Connie McKesson, a lawyer, files a suit against Theresa for the damages incurred by bringing low-price gold in from space. The demand is “thirtyfive” billion dollars, far less than what she’ll get from her gold sales. Unless Theresa settles or pleads guilty, she may be in court for the rest of her life. Theresa gets mad at Steve for coming up with the gold idea, and stomps off to her room before Ms. Parker gives advice on how to forgive Steve. She comes back down, and Steve has an idea. The idea is so good, that Steve insists people stop protesting outside the New York County Courthouse, which had ramped up to nearly eight hundred thousand people before dwindling down on Steve’s request.
Theresa uses her black-and-white Google Earth ability to find Connie and tag her with the program Theresa had set up for her. The program? The only way Connie can go from point to point is on foot - HAL stalls cars, vans, and everything else Connie sets foot inside until she leaves. Media discussion notes that this technically counts as kidnapping, a felony, but because no one could prove it was her, she could get away with anything. She makes it difficult for all of the other lawyers on Connie’s team as well, and since they were men, the media couldn’t pity them, and the law firm drops the suit. The Ambassador to the United States meets with Theresa to discuss a similar plan to ground terrorists, and while the Parkers vehemently oppose it, Theresa accepts, as these politics concern innocents and it would be a heavy weight on her to reject. President Stinson signs a document taking responsibility, just in case this causes war.
After meeting with four agents of the American Government, Theresa is given intel in order to ground terrorists or to simply tag them to find out where all the other terrorist groups are. Within weeks, most of the Middle Eastern terrorist groups were disabled in a major way, and Theresa came up in discussions for a Nobel Peace Prize. While this was going on, Theresa continued work on extracting silver from the Sun, where the enormous amount of silver would be used for various purposes, including creating a global coinage system where Theresa’s face would be featured on the money. She was making a billion dollars a week, and for the second time, rubs this fact in Jack and Ginny’s faces.
After this update, Theresa goes into length about OPEC and Khaled bin Azad and their control over oil for the entire world. Theresa then discusses how Stinson would finally be meeting Theresa face to face after avoiding her for so long, risking her political position to save face and to make up for the ignoring of her as Great Britain harbored her while she fixed the world. Stinson’s main discussion was on OPEC and wresting power out of the hands of those who are so greedy. The plan is to bring pure elemental carbon from the Sun and give it out for free as an energy source, reducing the dependence on OPEC forever. Should there be an embargo, Theresa proposes to bring the Caribbean sea floor to the surface to allow for onshore drilling, sating the temporary need for fuel until the sun’s carbon arrives in two months. This will save enough money for everyone that it will more than make up for the gold fiasco and says that, in return, she should be exempted from getting sued ever by becoming a part of the government.
OPEC engages in a secret meeting in response, and Khaled announces his various demands - the ungrounding of the “freedom fighters” (terrorists), the donation of ten billion dollars a month into a charitable poor fund, and the return of Israel back to the Palestinians - otherwise, they shall fully withhold all OPEC reserves. In response, after a lot of internet research, Steve speculates there’s a lot of oil between Antarctica and Africa because they separated, much like Madagascar and Africa did, which also caused a massive oil reserve under the area between the two. Therefore, there must be a massive, unknown oilfield between Antarctica and Africa, and Theresa should raise it up to harvest oil from it to put OPEC out of business. After evacuating the area, no one knows why Theresa would raise the Ross Ice Shelf, as only the Hartleys know.
The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Scherzer, comes to meet with the Hartleys to discuss their country being under duress and whether than can be saved. After a little discussion about the viable options, they come to an agreeable solution - create a massive island in the middle of the North Atlantic and pick up and put down Jerusalem onto it. That way, everyone gets what they want, except for OPEC and their claim to Jerusalem. The final plan is to create a land bridge from Israel to Crete for the Israeli people to move out, and then once the island is done, they can move into it from Europe. Their one worry is assassins in the night killing thousands of Israeli people. They sweat over being unable to have a solution, rejecting the idea of twenty-four hour daylight to keep the night assassins away. The Israeli Prime Minister leaves content enough with the fact Theresa saves his people.
PM Scherzer tells his people the good news, much to the media’s dismay, who claim deals were made under the table. This is not the case, Blair interjects - it’s an agreement, and Theresa does it for nothing in return. Meanwhile, Theresa continues on her Antarctica project, and from the moment Theresa begins tearing up land, the world is in an uproar, not trusting in her while she tears up the area of New York City every fifteen minutes. Demonstrations against her happen all around the world, forgetting her benevolence in place of fear. President Stinson demands Theresa to stop and announce what she was doing, but fearing this would cause people to die, Theresa refuses, and tells Stinson she’s still waiting for an apology about the plane incident and hangs up.
PM Blair calls and says he’s setting up military to defend the Parker estate while Theresa continues her work, as otherwise she may be bombed out of fear. She continues, and finally manages to lift this massive rectangle of ice from Antarctica and moves it away from the Earth, never to be seen again. Then, the rock under the rectangle began sinking into the ground, and ocean levels began to slowly fluctuate in response.
The book gets lost for about three pages trying to figure out what Theresa is doing before finding out, in the space of a paragraph, that the three separate plans Theresa was considering in the previous chapter are all part of the same idea. She lifted the rock from Antarctica to between Antarctica and Africa, creating an onshore drilling site, while the hole being created can fill with water and make the ocean levels stable. In a final fit of insanity, the carbon coming from the Sun won’t be a power source, but instead will be compressed to make diamonds which, when put into orbit around Earth, will create the twenty-four hour daylight the Israelis need to escape to Crete. Also, once that’s over, Britain will get all the diamonds, allowing Britain to have another free luxury.
The land bridge between Crete and Israel will be raised in three weeks, giving it time to dry out from mud and to allow safer travel, and the new Israel is being raised in due time. ExxonMobil begins exploring Theresa’s island to sell the newfound wealth there, and OPEC begins to squirm as they’ve realized they’ve ended themselves prematurely.
The land bridge to Crete begins construction, and it turns out it’s a little bit more complex than she first planned, as the Mediterranean is too deep in some areas to physically lift it up. Instead, she gets a stream of Atlantic mud to create this bridge from the top instead of the bottom, and waits for it to eventually dry out in case the evacuation happens sooner than expected.
Theresa is told she will meet with a Saudi Arabian representative, where she worries she won’t be able to negotiate with this expert alone, but Blair assures her it will happen in multiple sessions and with no danger to her. They discuss particulars, with the main point being that, if Theresa agrees to give up her ownership of the island and to distribute it among a consortium of nations, OPEC will drop their demand of the poor fund and of the reoccupation of Israel, though they still demand the ungrounding of terrorists. This is because the Arabs are, “amused to see the terrorists slap us in the face once in a while. The Saudi representative cannot ignore this popular support.” The other problem is some Israelis will refuse to leave, which will be tested once push comes to shove. Theresa doesn’t care for these things, and once she moves the Israelis to the new island, she won’t have to worry about OPEC any longer.
In the meeting with the negotiator, Theresa shows pictures of the deserts of the Middle East, compares them to the lush areas of Europe, and then says she can make Saudi Arabia like France by raising the land and implies she can make it worse by lowering it. After this first meeting, she brings the ball of diamonds around the Earth and makes it permanent daytime with an orbit of diamonds everywhere. After doing this, the first oil tanker, the Exxon Maria, leaves from Theresa’s island to deliver millions of gallons of crude oil to America, but it gets hit by a sports boat and the tanker sinks on the Jersey shore.
A video surfaces of the event hours after, showing how a pleasure boat had intentionally collided with the tanker to cause it to alight and explode. The boat, called Deep C Guy, was associated with a purchase by Al-Qaeda, and the operation was successful. Twenty-seven aboard the ship died, and it was feared that OPEC would win after all. Scenes were shown of celebration in the Middle East, with dancing in the streets. After Theresa cries in despair over the murder, she decides to drop the price to ten dollars a barrel to make OPEC sales completely unsustainable. She also makes sure her parents arrive in West Point to be protected after what she does next. She sets up a mountain in Rub’al Khali, the desert of Saudi Arabia, as a reminder of the deal she has with the Saudi Arabians, and then announces the dropping of the price to ten dollars a barrel.
Scherzer tells his people to evacuate soon, as they don’t have much time before the Middle East will attempt to invade Israel. Right before the people go onto the bridge to make it to Crete, Theresa, as a surprise, raises walls of water around the bridge, both to prevent side access to the bridge and to showboat. “Can we say ‘Exodus’?” Scherzer is relieved to realize there will be no issues crossing the bridge, and says they can take some time crossing now, with much less hurry. The first day, over two million Israelis make it onto the bridge, and the next 4.5 million make it, with a million still preparing and 250,000 refusing to leave. Ships rush to Crete to take them to their next destination, and the world is uproariously glad on what is going on. All of the Israelis successfully made it across with no attacks on them, and were moving into homes in America temporarily while the new Israel was being set up. The deal with Saudi Arabia was still on, even considering the attack on the Exxon Maria.
On her nineteenth birthday, on May 8th, she decides she has to move back home to America. She first insists to Blair that Scherzer should get the Nobel Peace Prize and not her, since she’s already got enough. On talking about her return home, the Ambassador to the United States hoped that Theresa would at least visit the USS Ronald Reagan due to its uncomfortable reputation and lack of use ever since her attempted assassination. Steve has a brilliant idea - in the annual Army vs. Navy game, Theresa will be the quarterback for the Navy team, and both teams will use amateurs, with the Navy amateurs being the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan. “It will be bigger than the Super Bowl.” the Ambassador gloats, and they decide it will be an interesting and fair matchup. To train, the crew of the Ronald Reagan come to the Parker estate.
In light of the first anniversary of her falling out of the plane, a stuntman wants to break Theresa’s record of falling eleven miles and living. Theresa makes a short video first describing how she fell and secondly saying how the world is idiotic for watching this spectacle. She let it happen because, if she stopped it, others would secretly attempt to do it, causing more damage. When the stuntman eventually does it, he dies on the scene. Theresa explains that, depending on how you fall on the wave, you’ll either live or die, and you shouldn’t try. The chapter ends with Theresa pondering prejudice and calling the dead stuntman stupid.
The Hartleys finally have to leave the Parker Estate. After giving Arthur ten million dollars as a thanks, and saying goodbye to the Parker family and the kids, who were never mentioned while the Hartleys were around, they quickly walked off to go back to America. Theresa takes a flight back to America, but on the way, HAL puts everyone into a deep sleep. Theresa now has to figure out how to fly the plane, and with all the phones on the plane dead and everyone asleep, she doesn’t know what to do.
A jet fighter sidles up next to her, and with this she has renewed confidence in her abilities. She spends hours reading the pilot manuals to understand how to fly the plane, and after being escorted by multiple planes on the way to New York, she manages to come in with a plane that escorts her to nearing the city. When she nears the city, the plane ahead of her convinces her to sharply turn to the ocean to make a water landing. She couldn’t do it, saying that she was afraid of doing it wrong. Her theory is that a water landing would give her more leniency in case she made any mistakes. Her response? “I’m going to the airport! They can go to hell!”
In trying to land on the runway, she manages to completely go over it. Since the runway heads directly in the direction of the Empire State Building, she knew she was going to crash into it. She manages to just barely turn out of the way, cries about how unfair it is she couldn’t survive this, and then realizes she can try to land in the water again or at the runway. She once again elects to land on the runway, this time barely missing the end of the runway and saving the flight. Upon landing, she realized that everyone was alive after falling asleep, and she realizes everything went according to plan. However, the National Transportation Safety Board has to do a write up on exactly what happened, and it turns out that by flying so close to the buildings as she did, she blew out thousands of windows and injured many people. Apparently, Theresa can’t be held responsible, so they decide that, instead, there must be a simple flying manual aboard every flight just in case some idiot has to fly the plane on their own.
Theresa arrives at West Point to the excitement of her parents, seeing them after so long. They discuss what’s happened since she last saw them, including the flight. A notable point is that the media speculates that she contrived this crisis to make herself look like a hero, which is not far off from the truth. But she ridicules it as stupid and shrugs the idea off. Her parents would return to Boston, but not before watching the crazy Army-Navy football game.
The game first starts by removing extra points and field goals, making it touchdowns only. They agreed to allow the regular players to coach the amateurs during the game, and the story ramps up to the game and describes it in gory detail, with every pass and touchdown made.
Just kidding - the only statement made about the game is “Army won 48-36.” At least the world could see Theresa didn’t rig games in her favor. After the game, she is escorted to her office building in Central Park, where Jan runs her gold, silver, oil and now base metal business - Theresa decided to expand her business by bringing nickel, copper, chromium, titanium, and other metals from the Sun, too. Jan says that other companies are worried Theresa will raise the price of oil again, so they propose an advance contract of fifty-four billion barrels at her price. Theresa takes it, and gets half a trillion dollars to her name. Five CEOs come to her to discuss a buyout of their companies to further Theresa’s trade empire - in particular, Boeing, Ford, U.S. Steel, Nucor Steel, and General Electric. Steve shuts them all down by reminding them that, with such a large monopoly, the world might put large duties on the United States and prevent them from making any profit.
During their stay in New York City, they decide to enjoy certain attractions, such as operas, the theater, and great dining. While there, they encounter ten pitiful Asian men asking for Theresa’s help. At first, she ignores them, like every other pedestrian, but after being heartbroken she finally caves and asks her security to see what’s wrong. Turns out they are North Koreans, and one South Korean, who are imploring for Theresa’s help. They show her a documentary on North Korea, and she’s so distraught she promises to help in any way she can. After asking the New York Times for more information about North Korea, she decides that, while God has to let evil men do what they want, she doesn’t.
The New York Times posts an exclusive about how Theresa is looking at North Korea as her next target. President Stinson demands a meeting with her, and instead has a General meet with her, as Theresa is paranoid the President would kill her. Theresa’s idea is to target everyone in North Korea randomly and, if they have a weapon, destroy the weapon, allowing South Korean forces to move in. The general notes that the common people of North Korea, with this new liberation, will kill every governmental worker - all 2 million of them. “The atrocities will make Nazi concentration camps look like vacation resorts.” A little bit more tact is necessary to do this correctly. She needs to convince the North Koreans to want to leave before she can do anything.
Second idea - destroy a select number of weapons to demonstrate power, then fly in and take over the government. After a bit of consideration, the final plan is to destroy the weapons in a corridor from the border to the capital city, move in with South Korean troops, and take over government as a neutral third party. To do this, she studies the models of the weapons used by the North Koreans, including the atom bomb. As explained, there are exactly two ways to make an atom bomb, and so HAL can recognize either configuration and disable it safely. After months of describing the weapons to HAL, the operation began. Theresa demands to be the leader of the U.S. Army once entering the North, to make sure her plans work smoothly.
After thinking it over, she decides that South Korea can’t immediately move in to fix up the place, as it would be majorly disruptive. Therefore, she will “have to run the country dictatorially through the North Korean bureaucracy” with the south non-interfering. To do so, and to be respected properly, she must be enlisted as an officer of the US Army. Before all that, she must first get rid of the bigger weapons. Using a ping pong ball in a tube, she can monitor the destruction of weapons. When HAL destroys a weapon she finds, the ping pong ball jumps up to one foot in a glass tube, then falls down again under its own weight. By looking at the average level of the ping pong ball, it can be determined visually how many weapons are being destroyed.
When destroying the bombs, two blips indicated the country was cleared of all atom bombs. Next was rockets and missiles. There were far more of those, but they cleared out in due time, too. Next was jet fighters, and they too were easily hacked up irreparably. With that, they were only left with defensive materials. They removed the majors ones of those too, including tanks, mortars, and artillery. The last weapons they had were pistols and rifles. After all that, she goes to Fort Myer to be sworn in as an officer of the US Army, which was hailed in with much excitement and cheering. It was now time to go down to the uniform shop.
For getting fitted for her service uniform, Theresa makes two big decisions that will make her stand out from every other officer. For one, she will be fitted as if she is a man, giving her the authoritative aura of a male. Secondly, she will wear her long hair down normally, another deviance from the standard in the Army. In case you wanted to know, it turns Steve on. Not as much as when she wore the little black nothing, but close. With some additional decorations, she was all set for the invasion of North Korea.
In order to have the power to convince the North Koreans, she has to be the highest rank possible to impose that power. And, thus, President Stinson awards her with the title General of the Army, a five-star ranking that hasn’t been given since Omar Bradley in the 80s. President Stinson asks Theresa to explain who she is, and, in return, Theresa responds that she just follows her conscience. That simple. She flies her own plane to South Korea this time, since apparently the training for that isn’t so difficult and she needed to in case HAL attempted to make people pass out again.
In the meeting room for South Korea, Theresa first showed her ping pong ball device, put on the program to destroy a nuclear bomb, and found it rise once in 24 hours. They must’ve attempted to build one, but, sadly, Theresa’s on top of it. Next, she destroys all the small firearms within ten miles of Pyongyang, which takes about a day before the ping pong ball dies down. Theresa waits for the response from North Korean leadership, and it is bad news - they will attack without weapons, mobbing them only unarmed. The expectation is that there will be five million unarmed attacking them the moment they enter the space. Theresa cannot figure out what to do in order to save these people’s lives. PM Scherzer calls, reminding Theresa of the idea to move Jerusalem to the new Israel, an idea temporarily put on hold. Theresa realizes she could do similar with Pyongyang, moving it into the sea and “capturing” it. She is reminded that this won’t work if the South Koreans can’t have weapons either, as it’d just be a big fist fight regardless.
So, instead, she does some geographical considerations and decides to sever the entire Korean peninsula and move it into the South Pacific. Without China’s support, the North Korean leadership will surely crumble. First, she moves Tsushima, a Japanese island south of Korea, to the east, out of the way of the impending Korean move. The rumbling is violent, meaning “This was a good week to be a Japanese seismologist.” Next, she specifies the lines that the Korean peninsula will split along, and warns everyone living near it to evacuate or perish. Media commented on whether China, Russia, or North Korea had consented to this. Theresa didn’t bother asking. She recalls how all of the moments in her life led her to being so confident, even the steady dating with Jeff Winslow. She could move countries without asking.
She begins the move the next day, and what happened next she didn’t anticipate - the water flooding in formed two approaching walls, and no one was sure what would happen next. They were coming in fast, and Theresa let it be. They crashed with a spectacular sound, and everyone cheered in amusement as it happened. It was apparently a non-threatening and spectacular event. Theresa consults with Blair on whether to move in quickly or let the leadership destabilize itself. They decide on immediate action, and after the four days is up, Theresa stops Korea from moving any further. Her plan of attack is to go in with a truck mounted with a loudspeaker that would transmit live translation of Theresa’s words. Surrounding her was fifty thousand South Korean soldiers, with a lot of firepower. After disabling the mines that impeded their path to the North, they began their journey, stopping when they were fully surrounded by North Korean citizens. Theresa gives an impassioned speech that means absolutely nothing, until she finds out the North Korean leaders have fled to China. Theresa proclaims them as free, and they all cry out in joy.
I feel it is important for you, the reader of this summary, to know the full speech that Theresa has translated for them that moves the North Koreans to become free.
“I think they figured out I’m here. Hi, Steve! The North Korean leaders fled to safety, but they still want the people to attack us unarmed. That’s arrogance. I could be back home living in luxury, but here I am alone with four million North Koreans. I’m risking my life to save theirs. That’s humility. I could be home enjoying freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom from fear. Why am I here? I guess I want everybody to have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom from fear. When Steve and I went to a Paris restaurant, we were ignored because we weren’t sophisticated. I may not be as sophisticated as Parisians, but I don’t see four million dead bodies around here. My first order is to open the border and let everybody through. If there’s no border there is only one country. The road to South Korea is open. You can start walking down there if you want. Nobody will stop you. Or, you can just go home and you’ll be free. We’re not leaving you. Don’t you get it? You’re free. You have a new life.”
The next day, she uses the first paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence as a speech, and everyone loves it so much they credit her with the world’s greatest speech.
Theresa stays as a figure head for a couple months before leaving the North Koreans with some South Korean bureaucrats to fix the economy and infrastructure. She invites the German Chancellor to discuss how the unification of Germany was the best thing East Germany could have done, and General Walters, the CJCS of America at the time, claims Theresa’s plan was similar to General Douglas MacArthur's, so it would be infallible.
Theresa moves her focus to biology, and first attempts to manipulate molecules in solution for potential future medical solutions. She first tries to separate methyl blue, a chemistry dye, from water, though she claims this might take a while due to there being “umpteen gollygeedrillion molecules in the glass.” After some time, the water turns to a Jello-y substance. Once HAL leaves, it falls apart into water again. Attempting this on a regular glass of water, the same thing happens. It turns out that HAL inhabiting the water has some effects on the substance. Theresa realizes this could be used to freeze arteries non-harmfully, potentially saving thousands, but Steve reminds her that she’d be up to her neck in lawsuits if they continued to die anyway. “Everyone has to die sometime. It’s not your job to change it”
Theresa spends her free time meeting some small groups of friends, as long as HAL wasn’t discussed, and using her powers to find archaeological finds. One example is Steve bringing in a cardboard box to the Yeshiva University Jewish Studies department. It’s a scroll, the oldest document ever found, of Leviticus from the Babylonian Exile period. The questions was whether they had any more. Steve answers by buying a supermarket north of New York City and fitting it with climate control and massive concrete walls. “Hint, hint, hint!” Steve invites PM Scherzer to the grand opening of this building, where many other Jewish people congregated, to see the sights within. Inside are thousands of old scrolls from Iraq, containing a large swath of previously-untold history.
Next, she invites Labarre, a Middle Ages historian, to standby as they made their next discovery. In an old church on the eastern edge of London, they dig up a bronze box from the floor of the church with some anticipation from the entire crowd. It turns out this bronze box contains the remains of none other than Saint Joan of Arc. France celebrates for a week, and, as a sign of gratitude, gives Theresa the lock of hair left of Joan of Arcs. Theresa promises to build a university of Saint Joan of Arc, a fitting tribute to the savior of the free world. This ends Theresa’s foray into the world of archaeology.
In the meantime, the Olympic committee intercedes on the world’s skiers behalf to create ski slopes after the worldwide summer had destroyed them all. Theresa demands fifty-five percent ownership of these places and the ability to kick out whoever attempted to abuse these facilities. The IOC fire back with the request to make an indoor facility in Lake Michigan, near Chicago. Theresa says this is impossible, but Steve assures that moving rock from outside the lake to inside will work. For practice, the final plan is to fill the spaces between the Alps with rock and snow, creating shallow enough slopes to work. Theresa finally agrees. Chicago explodes in excitement as it’s announced that, in the next year, the Winter and Summer Olympics would combine to occupy Chicago year-round. The building process goes well, although it’s in aggressively precise detail.
After it’s done, Theresa talks about her experience with going to the market, which is suddenly interrupted by her getting hit by a car. The car was driven by a Middle East terrorist, and while he was caught, they say Theresa will never walk again. The world organizes to console her, and while physical therapy helped her feel, she wouldn't’ be able to use her leg muscles. After the hospital work is done, she goes back to West Point, where she discusses with President Stinson on her next two plans - fixing her own spine, and personal anti-aging.
“Two hundred and four white spheres hovered miles over Eastern Massachusetts.” Theresa is as confused about this as anyone else, and waits patiently to see what happens next. The Hartleys are worried at what might happen if they begin to merge with people. In a matter of minutes, they merge with onlooking spectators, and, suddenly, there are now 205 people with HAL inhabiting themselves. Many of the new HAL habitators are in hiding, with less than two hundred expected to report themselves. Theresa is unbelievably mad at this development, knowing that the idiots who have these powers would destroy themselves and each other in the process.
One of them volunteers himself to be experimented on - to be put in a deep sleep to see if this would disable the effects of HAL and to eventually track down the rest and put them to sleep as well. It turns out that one HAL cannot inhabit the area of another, thereby ruining this plan. It’s theorizes that these new HALs exist because HAL thought it was a supernova when the bomb went off and, as a reflex, split himself into multiple pieces and flung himself out. Unfortunately, all of them seemed to have converged on Boston. Theresa realizes she must put into effect her most ambitious plan of attack yet - to put the world into deep sleep.
President Stinson announces what is coming next, and advises people to trust in Theresa and to lie down or sit down when the sleep comes. Hospitals will have generators, but all other unnecessary power sources will be removed. The story follows what Stinson does next, which is to go to sleep with her husband Jack and to wake up when the time comes.
Stinson, waking up in a shock, thinks Jack is dead, but it turns out he’ll wake up in due time. She comes down to the cabinet, who are excited to see her appear, and she goes into the cabinet room to get a briefing on what exactly happened. First, she finds out people have been waking up over the past three weeks in order of importance. She has woken up after about 40% of people. Second, she finds out that six hundred years have passed, according to astronomers, with no apparent ill effect. It turns out that, since their waking up, many things have been improved for the better. Thousands of new medical devices have been invented, and a new library exists with millions of new concepts, all written by people with numbers for names instead of letters. The South Pole no longer exists, and with the melting of ice and desalination of the oceans, new life abounds in the oceans, and no more threat of flooding exists.
With these revelations, Stinson realizes a heartbreaking truth - Theresa died hundred of years ago. However, Theresa mentions she’s still writing this book, so therefore some disconnect exists. Stinson gives the last word about who Theresa was, and give her a final round of applause and a toast to her. A massive flying metallic coffin is detected on radar, and it appears to be heading directly for the United States. Stinson is worried about what this means, but leaves for bed to rest her mind. After waking, the coffin heads for the Mall of D.C., and Stinson orders the area around it to be cleared.
After it lands, with Stinson waiting for whatever is inside to come out, the coffin opens to reveal… Theresa and Steve! And with them are a large group of what looked like ten-year olds. Over three hundred children, suspended in a state of pre-puberty but very mature, spilled out, and since they look exactly like Theresa and Steve, it is surmised that these are their children. It turns out that Theresa had managed to absorb the other HALs, and after creating these children, had made them live long enough to be genius and to develop ideas far beyond what the human race would have done. After leaving the ship, Theresa claims they will all age again, and be able to live out their lives in peace, with their children taking over Theresa’s role. “Steve and I were smiling. Our work was done.”
Norman finished the first draft of Empress Theresa in January of 2010, with the initial word count being 142,000 words long. In November of 2011, Norman publicly announced that he had written the story, and was looking for a literary agent. He spent the next two years looking for one, which was done "with not an encouraging word to be heard"; Norman attributed this to the publishing system, as well as the fact that most agents he sent the manuscript to probably didn't "even bother to read the query letter." Eventually, Norman self-published Empress Theresa on Kindle in April of 2013, with the final draft being around 96,000 words. Although Norman intended to go to a printing house, he went to Kindle first "to protect the copyright," and because he "didn't want some hack writer stealing the basic idea to throw together some word processor travesty in a month." The first edition of the print version was published on March 14, 2014, through Amazon's CreateSpace, and was 418 pages.
Empress Theresa received negative reviews from readers and internet critics alike. Many said that they couldn't even finish the book. The main criticisms focused on the many typos and spelling errors, the unlikable characters, Theresa's annoying personality, the focus on Theresa's body, unrealistic scenarios, and the dull, uneven pace of the narration.
Norman announced in April of 2015 that he has "started sending query letters to literary agents, including paperback copies of the book. " He used this news to further attack his critics, saying that after an editor had accepted his book "all the bull reviews will be irrelevant." Norman showed a lack of knowledge in regards to publishing, however, when he spoke as if his original cover would be used, and a critic pointed out that the cover design is usually decided by the publisher.
In June of 2017, Norman announced in an Amazon review he himself had written for his own product (in violation of the website's guidelines) that, due to constant negativity, he was deleting the Kindle edition, and making Empress Theresa only available in print. That comment was made in Norman's five-star review of his novel, which was deleted by Amazon in October 2018.
There has been some confusion as to what genre of fiction Empress Theresa belongs. In some places, Norman Boutin has called it "a Young Adult novel," even saying that he was inspired to make Empress Theresa in that genre after reading The Hunger Games. However, in other places he has flatly denied this:
- So is Empress Theresa a 'Young Adult' novel? Not really. Theresa doesn't deal with the problems of a teenager's life. She deals with problems that involve all humanity. It should be called an 'Old Adult' novel because old people like me having seen everything will see its meaning.
Despite this, he still claims that people of all ages will love the book ('show it to your 8 year old daughter, show it to your grandmother. They will both love Empress Theresa!') and also recommends teachers use it in the classroom as part of their curriculum. Whether its for high schoolers or lower isn't stated, but knowing Norman-it would be for all ages.
Some critics have pointed out that the book fits more in the science fiction genre, but Norman has denied this as well, saying on his website: "Science fiction talks about impossibilities such as time travel, or some future or alien world. I explain what HAL is and how he operates. While HAL's existence is highly unlikely, nobody can say he's absolutely impossible." This, however, shows Norman's ignorance of the Sci-Fi genre; the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction defines science fiction in this manner:
- ...the label sf normally designates a text whose story is explicitly or implicitly extrapolated from scientific or historical premises. In other words, whether or not an sf story is plausible it can at least be argued.
By Norman's own words, this would put Empress Theresa well within the range of science fiction. One critic actually brought this up to Norman, and asked Norman what source he used to invent his definition. Norman initially responded by attacking the supposed vagueness of the definition, after which the critic pointed out that he was going by the standard Norman himself put in place. After essentially being called out on committing another shifting the goalposts fallacy, Norman did what he always did in such a situation: launch into ad hominems and refuse to answer the question.
Norman also seems confused by the definition of the young adult genre. He has stated that Empress Theresa is young adult because the main character is, in essence, a literal young adult, and that To Kill a Mockingbird is young adult because it is taught in high schools. By such logic, Carrie is young adult because its characters are teenagers, and Of Mice and Men is young adult because it is taught in high school.
The book is currently listed on Amazon under "Contemporary Women" in Fiction. One critic contested this, saying, "This is nothing but another of those paranormal books with some science fiction and/or fantasy thrown in."
- Amazon Review Guidelines
- Amazon Review