Afterword and Acknowledgments
My approach to research has always been: “Is this correct or should I be more vague?” A quick word search of one of my books reveals that I use the term “kinda-sorta” more than any living author. My readers, who are the kindest and most intelligent people in the world, understand this. They know that using my books as a reference source is tantamount to using glazed doughnuts as a building material. They know that these pages serve the masters of goofiness, not those of accuracy. So…
While some of the locations in Island of the Sequined Love Nun do exist, I have changed them for my convenience. There is no island of Alualu, nor do the Shark People exist as I have described them. There are no active cargo cults in Micronesia, nor are there any cannibals. The position of mispel did exist in Yapese culture but was abandoned almost a hundred years ago. A strict caste system still exists on Yap and the surrounding is-lands, and the treatment of Yapese women is portrayed as I saw it. My decision to make the “organ smugglers” Japanese was dictated by geo-graphy, not culture or race.
Most of the information on cargo cults comes, secondhand, from anthro-pological research done in the Melanesian Islands. I have found since fin-ishing Island of the Sequined Love Nun that the “Cannibal-Spam Theory” was first postulated in Paul Theroux’s book The Happy Isles of Oceania, and I must give a jealous nod to Mr. Theroux for that twisted bit of thinking. The information on Micronesian navigation and navigators comes from Stephen Thomas’s wonderful book The Last Navigator. My depiction of the shark hunt comes from a story told to me by a high school teacher on Yap about the people of the island of Fais, and I have no idea whether it is ac-curate. The
day-to-day life on Alualu, with the exceptions of the religious rites and outright silliness, comes from my experience on the high island of Mog Mog in the Ulithi Atoll, where I had the privilege of living with Chief Antonio Taithau and his family. Many thanks to Chief Antonio, his wife, Conception, and his daughters, Kathy and Pamela, who saw that I was fed and who pulled me out of the well that I fell in after too much tuba at the drinking circle. Also, thanks to Alonzo, my Indiana Jones kid, who followed me around and made sure I didn’t get killed on the reef or eaten by sharks and who I forgive for letting me fall down the well. Many thanks also to Frank the teacher, Favo the elder, Hillary the boat pilot, and all the kids who climbed trees for my drinking coconuts.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to those people who helped me get to the outer islands: Mercy and all the Peace Corps Volunteers on Yap, Chief In-gnatho Hapthey and the Council of Tamil, and John Lingmar at the Bureau of Outer Island Affairs on Yap, who educated me about local customs, gave permission, and made arrangements. Also to the people of Pacific Mission-ary Air, who got me there and back and answered my questions on flying in the islands.
Thanks to the Americans I met on Truk: Ron Smith, who loaned me his diving knife, and Mark Kampf, who gave me his sunscreen, Neosporin, and duct tape, all of which saved my life. (Research Rule #1: Never go to an undeveloped island without duct tape and a big knife.)
Here in the States, thanks goes out to the following people:
Bobby Benson, who told me about Micronesia in the first place.
Gary Kravitz for voluminous information on aircraft and flying.
Mike Molnar for more pilot stuff as well as patient explanations of computer and communication technology.
Donna Ortiz, who gave me the phrase, “you’re just a geek in a cool guy’s body” (and I have no idea who she was talking about at the time).
Dr. Alan Peters for medical information.
Shelly Lowenkopf for supplying out-of-print books on cargo cults.
Jim Silke and Lynn Rathbun for drawings and maps.
Ian Corsan for advice on equipment and how to survive in the tropics.
Charlee Rodgers, Dee Dee Leichtfuss, Liz Ziemska, and Christina Harcar for careful readings and helpful suggestions.
Nick Ellison, my agent and friend, for helping to keep the wolf from the door while I wrote.
Rachel Klayman and Chris Condry, my editors at Avon Books, for their confidence and support.
And most of all, my thanks to novelist Jean Brody, who took the time from her own writing to do a line edit on Love Nun.
While all the above people helped in the research and writing of this book, none of them are responsible for the liberties I took with the information they gave me. When in doubt, assume that I made everything up.
— Christopher Moore November 1996