The Adventures of Michael MacInnes
The dedication is to Russ Gordon, who was my best friend and roommate during most of my years at the Mercersburg Academy. He was a year ahead of me. Sadly, he was killed in an accident a few summers after his graduation.
The book is loosely derived from a short story I wrote in college. It is an extensive revision (as in, starting from scratch) of a novel I wrote in graduate school. Neither of those versions was set in the 1920s.
The name Stoney Batter was inspired by the name of James Buchanan's birthplace (Stony Batter) which was a short bicycle ride from my school. That was also the name of my school's drama club. None of those associations are relevant. I just liked the sound of it. The "e" I borrowed from a town called Stoneybatter in Ireland.
Michael MacInnes and I have almost nothing in common. A few exceptions that come to mind: we both attended boarding schools; we both wrote poetry; and we're both atheists.
Our schools were also radically different. An important exception: both schools had an inter-campus competition that culminated in an oratory of sorts.
I strongly suspect the Dean Reverend's title should be reversed, but I thought it sounded better my way. I still think that.
At my editor's request, I slightly altered the fight between MacInnes and Trent Bloxom (Chapter 10) to match the cover art.
The mutant crab Daphne mentions in Chapter 13 is an allusion to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, who published most of his weird stories in the sort of pulp magazines Daphne likes to read.
The opening paragraph of Chapter 20 is adapted from bits and pieces of Byron's poetry.
A few details in the scene where MacInnes climbs into Laura's dorm room were inspired by Keats's poem "The Eve of St. Agnes."
The blimp as described is physically impossible. It could not have held enough gas to stay aloft.
A few details in the sewer scene (near the end of Chapter 25) were inspired by Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came."