SolarSeries - Emmathist Numerology
The Solar Kid

David Thomson has been missing since 1979.  Knopf published his first book, In the Shining Mountains, that same year. He spent many years of his life in the Rocky Mountains where his heart was called.  He was a freelance correspondent during the Vietnam War. He wrote for True Magazine and was editor/publisher of his own magazine, Metanoia, with his brother Michael Thomson in 1968. The Solar Kid was an unfinished manuscript  left in a box for over twenty years while his family searched for David.  Edward Abbey wrote of David, "Thomson is the Thoreau of the 80's." David’s sister finished and edited The Solar Kid  so that David would on through his writing. was created in memory of brothers David and Michael Thomson. Michael passed a year before  David disappeared. They shared a passion for writing, explored the mysteries of the human spirit, and marveled over the symbiotic relationship between the earth and the sun.

The Solar Kid-

Disillusioned by the mindless materialism of the 80’s and plagued by hallucinations of power outages, fires and scenes of a futuristic solar society, the Kid decides to put on a backpack and leave Midwestern suburbia to head out in search of personal truth. He hops a train heading west and begins to encounter eclectic fellow travelers and realizes that they are far more connected to him than he had originally thought. Sharing a common frustration for greedy profiteers, the unlikely crew ends up in Denver at a solar/nuclear rally sponsored by political figures and corporate conglomerates.  The crew suspects a cover up . Their activities at the gathering change the course of the rally and their lives. The Kid finds himself in the past, present and future without warning. A wizard, a giant called 'Agent Orange', a beautiful woman named Ginny and a guru named Moby show up along the way to guide him on his path toward a Solar Society. Despite the signs of destruction, ego and greed, he is being shown that all life is heading toward the light.

David Bird Thomson disappeared July of 1979. His first book, In the Shining Mountains, had just been published by Alfred A. Knopf. He left an unfinished manuscript behind in a box tied together with a leather string called The Solar Kid. Dave's sister, Emmy, had been working on the book with him via tapes and letters throughout 1978/79.  30 years later,  the Solar Kid is in print.

NamUS (, a program is now set up to check family DNA against unidentified remains. There is now hope that the families of missing persons might find much needed closure.     
  The following is Dave's writing history in his own words from a grant he applied for in 1978. This excerpt can be found in the Introduction of The Solar Kid.

David writes:

Last year I sold my first book to Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York.  I finished the final revisions in August 1978 and the galleys of the manuscript are currently being set.  Publication of the book is scheduled for June 1979.  It is a book about following a fictional mountain man through the Rockies of the 1970’s.  I have enclosed a brief selection from it.

I began writing as a reporter for the Newark Evening News in 1967.  In 1968 I returned to Minneapolis to edit and publish a literary and political journal called Metanoia (change of heart), which I did for a year and some months.  It had a circulation of 5,000 and was distributed by Gopher News, publishing poetry, and short fiction, social and political non-fiction.  It ran in the red and funding proved to be its undoing.  In 1969 I went to Vietnam as a freelance writer and spent most of the year there I published a series of freelance articles in Twin Citian Magazine, articles in the St. Paul Dispatch, Minneapolis Star and other papers around the country.  Mainly I worked as a stringer for the United Press International, covering the northern quarter of the country out of Da Nang.  While there, I began notes on a novel and when I left there I went to Austria and rented a place in a small village south of Innsbruck.  I wrote the novel there, along with a series of about ten short stories.  The novel I submitted once to Atlantic Monthly and they rejected it.  In 1971 I returned to Minnesota and worked at a variety of jobs to support my wiring.  In 1972 I sold an article about wild horsed to True Magazine.  In 1973 I wrote 250 pages of a novel about the Mississippi River, in which I began to learn pacing and structure in fiction.  In 1974 I spent a winter in an old mining camp in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, where I wrote a poetic and political journal of that winter, which remains unpublished.  In 1975 I returned to Minnesota and worked most of the year to save enough money to write the mountain book mentioned above, which I sold to Knopf.

In my writing I am interested in the connection between nature and politics, the examination of political developments through the lens of nature and the natural world.   Human systems compared or measured against the system of nature; always the natural world held up like a mirror to the latest social and political developments, trying to illuminate the connections between people and the earth…the feelings, intuitions and directions which come from the land and are shared consciously or unconsciously by all people.

The Adventures of the Solar Kid,

A novel of the eighties.

This is a novel, which explores American energy use in the eighties and nineties, developing the theme of solar energy.  The Solar Kid is a somewhat young and naïve suburban son beset with discomforting visions of power shut-offs and burning bushes who decides to pack his knapsack and take to the road in the 1980’s to be a ‘hobo.’  He has had several dreams about a solar society, which include glowing geodesic domes and wind generators, and although these visions are pleasing to him he doesn’t feel they are real and so he represses then and sets out to discover what reality is.  The more he represses them, the more powerful they become.  The course of the book makes him face those visions.

He hops a train out of Sparks, Nevada and rides it through the mountains of central California.  An astrologer in black robes is following him, popping up at odd times, trying to give him a glowing blue rock, which symbolizes his visions.  He is quite afraid of this astrologer, but eventually he will meet him on a starry night high in the mountains of Colorado and the astrologer will help him along considerably in understanding his visions and in his quest for the solar society.

Underneath a railroad trestle in Nevada he meets a mysterious and romantic figure named Johnny Chance, the last romantic hero, who the Kid pursues the entire book and witnesses his shift into an egocentric metaphor of greed.  He also meets the mute and mystically powerful one-eared giant, who becomes his close companion through the entire book.  The Kid first thinks him helpless and of tragically limited intelligence, but in the course of becoming close, he begins to sense the astonishing depth and accuracy of the giant’s perceptions and instincts.  Reality, for the reader as well as the Kid, is never completely certain.

The elements of farce and fantasy in this novel are meant to counter-thrust the times, to inject something into a period that seems devoid of spirit or ideology.  It is my intention that the cumulative effect of these elements, combined with sections of hardened realism, will offer feeling and insight for the times, resulting in a kind of epiphany by the end of the book.

Sometimes these jumps of fantasy serve as a plot vehicle, as when the blue rock gives the Kid entry to the world of his futuristic visions at unexpected times throughout the book.   Johnny Chance remains on the Kid’s mind and seems to appear as a figure from the past.  Chance has told him about the Southwest Connection, a big and mysterious deal he is working out.  The Kid’s own Southwest Connection unfolds throughout the book, involving energy: large conglomerates involved in nuclear power, solar microwave stations and the merger of Transamerica Corp. with Multiamerica Corp., resulting in the control of the sun as a financially profitable enterprise with governmental involvement.  On the toad toward this connection such characters as George the Solar Roller, Gypsy past, present and future, and Moby the ageless visionary, all help the Kid develop both his visions and a deeply felt personal philosophy surrounding solar energy.  The Wizard (astrologer), representing the future, helps increasingly in this process.  By the time of the explosive ending, the Kid at last comes to terms with reality and returns to the future.

Excerpts from The Solar Kid:

"Imagine the sight of the world spinning through space," Moby said, holding the lantern up as he walked. "Imagine the sight of the sun like a jewel in the darkness! Or is it a pinhole opening that funnels brilliant light into the darkness? The world is colored blue and the sky is blue. There is something durable in that and something endearing."
They followed him into the darkened alley, past a row of battered garbage cans. The yellow light from his lantern shown haphazardly over a sooty brick wall as he walked and his voice echoed in the night. He seemed undaunted by the overhanging shadows, the tar-streaked walls and all the garbage as he picked his way through the San Fransisco night.
There is a beam of light and the grass turns green, flowers grow out of window sills, light replaces darkness. What do you suppose that beam of light is?"
The Kid spoke quietly. "I don't know."
"Well! Fire red in autumn, ice crystals in winter, sparkling blue ocean, feathered wings wheeling before an evening sky. It is all in that beam. Shining fur, shining eyes, diamonds in the slime, the black sheen of coal under the mountains, black shining hair, gold shining hair. Hair grizzled like moonlight, copper sheen, copper skin...paint, grease!" He glanced over his shoulder. "
You know what that beam is?"
The Kid dropped his eyes. "
No sir."
"Don't call me sir," he said with irritation and walked on. "Let's see...white deserts in the moonlight. A bonfire in a tropical rain forest. An obsidian spearhead. Sand, glass, glasses! Antelope eyes, lasers. Four hours from east to west. Gold, gold! A river, a clear green river.
One beam through it all, one beam that is always constant and never the same."
"The sun, " the Kid said with certainty.
"Wrong!" He turned around and held the lantern up, his blue eyes piercing the Kid through the darkness. "That is only a tiny beginning of it."
He walked on down the alley, leaving the Kid mystified. "Stars and clouds of gas," he continued, "nebulae, swirling galaxies, ore and glinting metals hurtling through the void, red planets, crystal planets, a pulsing going all the way back in. A beam running through the pulsing. Colonies of ants and bees...explosions...circles, a straight line that curves.
Harmony. A beam spiraling through space."
The Kid felt relieved. "God," he said.
He winced and put his hand to his head. "The universe?"
They reached a brick wall with a shadowy fire escape leading up over it. Moby began  climbing the steps, lifting his nightgown away from his feet and holding the lantern back so they could see. "Blue waves in the sunlight, son. Think of blue waves."
"There's oil on the waves now," the Kid mumbled.
"Think of blue waves, the feeling! Rolling in off the gulf and crashing in on white sand beaches. The glint of a crane's eyes among the reeds, white snow on the mountain tops. Energy at the top of a mountain, ozone, ionization, great granite obelisks that are shining against the blue sky, sunlight beaming down to strike them, to set the air vibrating-" He stopped and turned around at the tip of the landing to face the Kid. "What is it?! Think! What is it?"
The Kid stopped and the Giant bumped into him from behind. He put both his hands up in the air and shook his head with a certain low-keyed desperation. "I don't know!"
The Giant, who had been listening in on all of this, pointed over the Kid's shoulder at the  little man in the white nightgown and then he pointed at the Kid. "Wruss?" he murmured.
Right! Right! You got it!" He set the lantern down and grabbed the Giant by the sleeve of his dirt-smeared tuxedo, shaking it vigorously, his eyes sparkling with fondness. "You're quite the man! I knew you were a hefty one. That's right, it's us!" He pointed first at the Kid, then at the Giant, then at himself. "It's you and me. It's us. That's what the beam is. We are the music and the light!"

  Dave was an advocate for the Earth, the underdog and the human spirit. He was brilliant, passionate and tireless in his quest for knowledge and truth. He was not a stranger to the dark night of the soul and this made it possible for David to move mountains with his heart and live in a deep pool of compassion.

Solar Kid edited by sister Emmy, cover designed by sister Lisa.

Lisa Lived with Dave in Livingston MT 1977

Emmy visiting Dave at a deserted gold mining camp where Dave lived - Hughes Creek, Darby Montana in 1974

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