This Is Your Captain Speaking, my novel, opens with what appears to be a miracle - a plane crash-lands in the Hudson River, and all 162 people on board survive. The crash, however, is no miracle; it was staged by a failing airline to boost its publicity. And while many of the passengers on board are actors and actresses hired so the post-crash pictures will look beautiful, there are several zany characters fitting of the plot: the alcoholic heroic pilot, a professional domino tumbler, an undercover FBI agent, a celebrity semen trafficker and a television journalist who wears a puppet on her arm at all times.
The TV journalist, Lucy Springer, has just gone through a nasty divorce, part of which involved her shooting up her ex-husband's prized aquarium. As part of the settlement, and to keep her out of prison, her ex-husband insisted she wear the puppet for one year. Lucy is not permitted to remove it in public - whether she is on an airplane, or even on air doing her job, she cannot take it off. It becomes so ingrained in her daily routine that the puppet develops its own personality, making it an unofficial character in the novel.
Could this be the birth of a new literary genre? And if so, what would it be called: Pup-lit, Puppantic, Puppiction? There are puppets on Sesame Street and puppets in the theater, but rarely do they find their way into novels. Stephen King would be an excellent novelist to cast a puppet character, one that came to life to haunt the local orphanage. And Danielle Steel has written book after book about humans having sex with other humans; what about humans having sex with puppets? Toni Morrison, Ian McEwan, Jonathan Franzen, Salman Rushdie - most likely when this genre takes off, each will cast puppet characters in their next projects.
Well, maybe not, but just for the fun of it, here are a few books in which literary puppets might have come in handy.