Ian Ridsall is what our world would call a "conspiracy theorist." He is devoted to finding the truth behind all sorts of things. His particular interest is the "Angel of Coral Island," a being which is said to have appeared to a few people and given them a message about the ultimate fate of humanity.
He is an avid listener of the radio program Dorland after Dark, hosted by Jerome Kyle. This program discusses government coverups of ancient civilizations, visitations by aliens, and the secret codes hidden in candy bar wrappers.
1) Could you provide more detail on the "Angel of Coral Island"?
2) Who is Jerome Kyle?
3) What do you say to claims that you are "a nutjob"?
- The Angel is a higher level being with a glorious message for humanity. It exists out of time and space but it is called that because it has manifested to a few fortunate believers on Coral Island, outside Bridgewater where I live. It has told its followers that if we don't come together and forsake our individuality, we will be destroyed. But if we do, we will ascend to a glorious new level of existence.
- Doctor Jerome Kyle is a man who understands things. He talks about the things that the people in charge won't, and he's a voice for like-minded people. I've read all his books and I'm a faithful listener to his show.
- Some of the greatest minds in history have been mocked and called "nutjobs." When you're living in a comfortable little bubble, the truth can hurt so much that you'll resort to name-calling the people trying to open your eyes.
1) A hive-mind? That sounds dangerous, Risall. Are you sure that your "angel" is not some sort of antagonizing force?
2) Have you ever met him? Do you ever want to meet him?
3) Have you ever been proven wrong about any of your conspiracies?
- That's what I'd expect a skeptic to say. You're so wrapped up in your own little individuality. You'd rather live in mediocrity forever than make a little sacrifice for something greater.
- It only appears to those it deems worthy. I don't know why it chooses its human emissaries, but I cannot question the logic of a higher being. I would like more than anything to meet it, but even if I cannot I can spread its message.
- I'm sure that if you go over everything I've ever said or thought with a magnifying glass, you'd find something that isn't completely accurate. But that doesn't mean I'm some lunatic.
1) Not so fast there, I didn't say that I wouldn't sacrifice for something greater. I would be okay with hive-minding one person, but that's about it for me. By hive-minding, humans lose what makes us the greatest species.
2) By "him", I meant the Jerome Kyle.
3) No, I mean, have you ever changed your mind about one of your conspiracies?
- I mean, that's your opinion. But according to the Angel that's what's holding us back.
- Oh. Yes. I've called in a couple times but never actually gotten on air. I've been to a few of his presentations when he's come to Bridgewater but never met him personally. I'd like to, though.
- They're not my conspiracies. But of all the things that I've read or heard about that I can believe, I've never seen one convincingly refuted.
1) Sounds to me like that Angel should try and prove me wrong, then.
2) How do you think that a personal meeting with him would go? Just you and him, sharing dinner?
3) Can you be possibly convinced that you're wrong about the theories that you believe?
Why do you keep calling me "risall?" That's not my name. Are you trying to tell me something?
- The Angel can't convince the world one at a time, especially those whose eyes are closed.
- I'd have so many things to ask him. I know he's a little bit of a private person - and I can't blame him, since he has so many powerful enemies - but I think he'd recognize a fellow spirit in me.
- Absolutely, if the evidence pointed another way. But it's not enough to look and see what's on the surface. You have to dig down deeper, right into the root of the problem. Otherwise you can be fooled.
(Is this character not named Ian Risall?)
1) Well, I'm one person.
2) And if he brushed you off as a commoner, would you want revenge?
My name is Ian Ridsall.
- The day will come. You'll see.
- It must be really stressful to be a person like him. If he just ignored me, well, I'd understand.
(Out of curiosity, do you have any out of universe questions to ask about this guy?)
(That one was an honest mistake. I coulda sworn it was Risall.)
Out of Universe Questions:
1) Is Ridsall correct about the angel thing?
2) As the writer, what are your opinions on hive minds?
3) Is Ridsall correct about any of this other conspiracies?
4) What are Jerome Kyle's secrets?
No biggie. Now, Ian is the kind of guy who'd flip out.
- No, there is no actual Angel of Coral Island. Now, it would be hypocritical of me to call someone delusional just because they believed that an angel was going around telling people things (being religious and all,) but in Ian's case the problem is the why and how of what he thinks.
- I don't actually have a firm idea of what exactly the Angel is saying - is it creating a hive mind, is it something like the extinction of selves that Eastern religions believe in, what? As far as the plot is concerned what matters is what Ian Ridsall thinks and does. Actual hive minds as such don't really fit in any of my stories.
- No, poor Ian believes a whole lot of totally false notions. Now, there is a . . . thing out there, of whom stories are told (and Ian is familiar with some of these stories) who will end up playing a big role in the story.
- Nothing too major. He's a radio host and author who's inspired by Art Bell, Erich von Däniken, and Graham Hancock. He talks about aliens, ancient civilizations, the works. He doesn't believe half of what his followers do, but he's not a full on hypocrite. Just not quite as important as he thinks he is. I guess his "secret" is that he doesn't actually like people like Ian too much - his fame and fortune come from the pockets of crackpots, but Ian is obsessive and kind of loony and Jerome couldn't handle a full hour with him.
Now, Ian is actually fairly important to the plot even though he has a small role. He does succeed in calling in to Kyle's show and discussing the Angel of Coral Island with him. The aforementioned thing hears this, appears to Ian pretending to be the Angel, and basically takes over poor Ian's mind. Which is step . . . roughly 3 or 4 in this thing's plan to incarnate an eldritch abomination that serves as the antagonist of the overall story.