J.D. Salinger is gone, but Holden Caulfield, the beloved rebellious teenage hero of The Catcher in the Rye, lives on. At least, he will if I have anything to say about it.
I'm writing an all-new, completely unauthorized novel that continues Holden's adventures. Salinger's estate is going to go absolutely ballistic and will, I'm sure, pursue every legal means to stop publication. When they do, they're going to run smack into a lovely legal technicality. You see, I'm not writing an unauthorized sequel to Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye; I'm writing an unauthorized sequel to John David California's unauthorized sequel to Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. That should complicate things sufficiently to have lawyers making motions and filing briefs for year s-- long enough for me to make a killing by turning the Holden Caulfield saga into a trilogy.
Still, I hope my legal legerdemain won't discourage Salinger's estate from taking any legal action. My entire publicity campaign depends on a few good lawsuits.
I first conceived the idea last year when Salinger sued to halt publication of California's glorified fan fiction 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye. That suit successfully prohibited the publication of California's novel in the United States, but it is readily available in other countries. My book may not be published in the U.S. either, but there's still a global audience for it -- The Catcher in the Rye has been translated into dozens of languages and published all over the world. I'm not picky about where my revenue stream is coming from, as long as it's steady and substantial.
To maximize my book's appeal (and profits), I've positioned it in the most popular publishing category of the day: the mashup. My story combines characters from The Catcher in the Rye with elements from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I call it The Snatcher in the Rye.
Here's the plot:
Holden Caulfield has finally realized his dream of working in a big field of rye where children come to play. His job is to catch them before they fall off a nearby cliff. It doesn't pay much, but since there aren't a lot of employment opportunities of this sort, Holden considers himself lucky to have it.
One morning Holden is surprised to discover mysterious crop circles in the field of rye. He subsequently learns that the elaborate designs are a message from an alien race. These aliens come from a planet that is virtually identical to earth in every detail, except on their planet they don't have to dial 1 when making a long-distance call.
It turns out these aliens do all their writing in crops. A field of grain is their preferred medium for recording and storing information. Unfortunately they've completely run out of room for writing on their own planet, despite their use of space-saving acronyms like BTW and LMAO. They picked up an old radio broadcast from earth that mentioned "amber waves of grain," and have come looking for something to write on. It seems the collective hive consciousness of which they are all a part has just had a swell idea, and they want to jot it down before they forget it.
Holden tries to convince the authorities that the crop circles are an advance warning of a secret alien invasion, but no one will listen to him--mostly because they can't understand why the aliens would warn us if the invasion's supposed to be a secret. The police are also suspicious of Holden and have kept a file on him for years because of his reputation as an unreliable narrator. Even kindly Dr. Miles Bennell won't listen because he's too busy hitting on Becky Driscoll. Holden is further hampered in his efforts by the fact that he's about 103 years old.
Back at the crop circles, Holden discovers strange seed pods growing in the rye. They soon turn into exact duplicates of the children, who are then replaced by their emotionless alien doppelgangers.
The story ends with Holden running into traffic in the middle of the Interstate screaming, "They're phonies! All of them! Can't you see? They're all a bunch of goddam phonies!"
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