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Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice




Animorphs #1 The Invasion, Chapter 1

quote:

My name is Jake. That's my first name, obviously. I can't tell you my last name. It would be too dangerous. The Controllers are everywhere. Everywhere. And if they knew my full name, they could find me and my friends, and then . . . well, let's just say I don't want them to find me. What they do to people who resist them is too horrible to think about.

I won't even tell you where I live. You'll just have to trust me that it is a real place, a real town.

It may even be your town.

I'm writing this all down so that more people will learn the truth. Maybe then, somehow, the human race can survive until the Andalites return and rescue us, as they promised they would.

Maybe.

Hi, everybody. Animorphs was a really popular young adult book series and I know a bunch of people remember them fondly. They were a little bit after my time, but I read them later, and surprisingly, they hold up really well, even reading them as an adult, with a few exceptions. I've never done a Lets Read before, but I figured we could start with Animorphs 1, The Invasion, and then if people like it, we can see about going on from there.

So, first a little bit of background about the author. The books, or at least the first 24 books, were written by Katherine Applegate, writing as K.A. Applegate (she had a ghostwriter for most of the books after that), and published by Scholastic, which is still the largest children's book publisher worldwide. The Invasion, which came out in June of 1996, wasn't her first book. She, along with her husband Michael Grant, had written a series called the Boyfriends/Girlfriends series, which were young adult romance novels about these teenagers living on an island off the coast of Maine, along with another teenage romance series called the Summer Series, about a girl from Minnesota who goes to Palm Beach for the summer and tries to find romance there. The Animorphs books would go on to become her first big hit, though, and these books were extremely popular, with Scholastic estimating about 10 million copies of the books in print within a year and a half of the first book being published.

Applegate kept writing, a lot, actually, and won a Newberry Medal in 2013 for her book The One and Only Ivan

quote:

My life used to be pretty normal. Normal, that is, until one Friday night at the mall. I was there with Marco, my best friend. We were playing video games and hanging out at this cool store that sells comic books and stuff. The usual.

Marco and I had run out of quarters for the games, right when he was ahead by a lot of points. Mostly, we're equally good at games. I have Sega at home so I get lots of practice time in, but Marco has this amazing ability to analyze games and figure out all the little tricks. So sometimes he beats me.

Or maybe I just wasn't concentrating very well. I'd had kind of a bad day at school. I'd tried out for the basketball team and I didn't make the cut.

It was like no big deal, really. Except that Tom - he's my big brother - he was this total legend on the junior high basketball team. Now he's the main scorer for the high school team. So everyone expected me to make the team easy. Only I didn't. Like I said, no big thing. But it was on my mind, just the same. Lately, Tom and I hadn't been hanging out as much. Not like we used to. So I figured, you know, if I got his old position on the team . . .

Well, anyway, we were out of money and getting ready to head home when we ran into Tobias. Tobias was . . . I mean, I guess he still kind of a strange guy. He was new at school, and he wasn't the toughest kid around, so he got picked on a lot.

I actually met Tobias when he had his head in a toilet. There were these two big guys holding him down and laughing while they flushed, sending Tobias's straggly blond hair swirling
around the bowl. I told the two creeps to step off, and ever since then, Tobias figured I was his friend.

"What's up?" Tobias asked.

I shrugged. "Not much. We're heading home."

After a smartass comment by Marco about how Jake is terrible at video games, Tobias joins them and they're about to head out when they run into two other kids.

quote:

We were heading for the exit when I spotted Rachel and Cassie. Rachel is kind of pretty, I guess. I mean, okay, she's very pretty, although, since she is my cousin, I don't really think about her that way. She has blond hair and blue eyes and that kind of very clean, very wholesome look. She's one of those people who always know the right clothes to wear and how to look like they just walked out of one of those fashion magazines girls like. She's also very graceful because she takes gymnastics, even though she says she's too tall to ever be really good at it.

Cassie is sort of the opposite. For one thing, she's usually wearing jeans and a plaid shirt, or something else real casual. She's black and wears her hair very short most of the time. She had it longer for a while, but then she went back to short, which I like. Cassie is quieter than Rachel, more peaceful, like she always understands everything on some different, more mystical level.

I guess you could say I kind of like Cassie. Sometimes we sit together on the bus, even though I never know what to say to her.

They're heading home too. Jake invites them to come along and is a little casually sexist along the way, which sets Rachel off, but Cassie calms the situation down.

So there's a pretty good summary of their personalities right off the top. Jake is kind of the natural leader who's living in the shadow of his older brother. Marco is clever, figuring out all the angles, but is also kind of a smartass. Tobias is just kind of weird and doesn't really fit in. Rachel is athletic and has a temper, and Cassie is kind of a hippie who's diplomatic and calm.

quote:

To get home from the mall we could either go a long way around, which is the safe way, or we could cut through this abandoned construction site and hope there weren't any ax murderers hanging around there. My mom and dad have sworn to ground me until I'm twenty if they ever find out I've cut through the construction site.

So anyway, we crossed the road and headed into the abandoned construction site. It was a big area, surrounded on two sides by trees, with the highway separating it from the mall area. There's a broad, open field between the construction site and the nearest houses. It's a very isolated place.

This is a little thing, but I kind of like what the author does here; just the "I'm absolutely forbidden to go through the incredibly dangerous construction site and my parents would kill me. So I'm walking through there..." It strikes me as kind of funny.

quote:

Originally it was supposed to be this new shopping center. Now it was just all these half-finished buildings looking like a ghost town. There were huge piles of rusted steel beams; pyramids of giant concrete pipes; little mountains of dirt; deep pits that had filled up with black, muddy water; and a creaking, rusted construction crane that I had climbed once while Marco stayed below and told me I was being an idiot.

It was a totally deserted place, full of shadows and sounds that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up. When Marco and I went there during the day, we always found all these beer cans and liquor bottles. Sometimes we found the ashes of little campfires back in the hidden nooks and crannies of the buildings. So we knew that people came there at night. All that was on my mind as we crept through the site.

So, obviously a pretty scary place, and I like the writing here. Applegate is building up a sense of dread. She's saying, "This is a place where strange and dangerous things can happen.

quote:

It was Tobias who saw it first. He had been walking along, gazing up at the sky. I guess he was looking at the stars or something. That's the way Tobias is sometimes - off in his own world.

Suddenly Tobias stopped. He was pointing. Pointing almost straight up. "Look," he said.

"What?" I didn't want to be distracted because I was pretty sure I'd heard the sound of a chain-saw killer creeping up behind us.

"Just look," Tobias said. His voice was strange. Amazed-sounding, but serious at the same time.

So I looked up. And there it was. A brilliant, blue-white light that scooted across the sky, going fast at first, too fast for it to be an airplane, then slower and slower. "What is it?"

Tobias shook his head. "I don't know."

I looked at Tobias and he looked back at me. We both knew what we thought it was, but we didn't want to say it. Marco and Rachel would have laughed, we figured.

But Cassie just blurted it right out. "It's a flying saucer!"

Don't worry, Cassie. It's probably just swamp gas.

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Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The species of the Animorphs Universe

Humans-You and me...well, me, at least. I don't know for sure about you.

Andalites- Four eyed deer centaurs with sharp tails. Their technology gives them the power to morph...to shift their shape into an animal



Yeerks/Controllers- Slug-like parasites about the size of a rat. Not too dangerous in their normal form, but with the ability to enter a host's brain and take them over. Prefer willing hosts because they're easier to control, but not that picky. Currently on Earth, trying to take it over. At war with the Andalites.

Hork-Bajir- Conquered by and hosts of the Yeerks. Sort of a cross between a dinosaur/snake/bird. Have really frightening looking spikes that can be used to injure or kill.

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 00:40 on Mar 23, 2020

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Epicurius posted:


This is a little thing, but I kind of like what the author does here; just the "I'm absolutely forbidden to go through the incredibly dangerous construction site and my parents would kill me. So I'm walking through there..." It strikes me as kind of funny.


It is the casualness that sells it. There;s no discussion, no "well, I'm grown enough to make my own choices", no drama at all.

Radio Free Kobold
Aug 11, 2012

"Federal regulations mandate that at least 30% of our content must promote Reptilian or Draconic culture. This is DJ Scratch N' Sniff with the latest mermaid screeching on KBLD..."



Oh man, Animorphs! I had the whole book series as a kid, like, one to sixty eight(?), all in order on my shelves. I loved that poo poo.
man it's weird seeing Tobias as a person, not, y'know.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Man, I loved these books as a kid. And oh Lord did they get hosed up as the series went on.

Which was Applegate's point. I remember an interview where she went off on a critic of the books ragging on how the series ended with "Dude, how did you miss the entire goddamn message of the series?"

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 2

quote:

"A flying saucer?" Marco said. He'd laugh. That is, until he looked up.

I could feel my own heart pounding in my chest. I felt weird and excited and afraid, all at once.

"It's coming this way," Rachel said.

"It's hard to be sure." I could barely whisper, my mouth was so dry.

"No, it's coming this way," Rachel said. She has a very definite way of talking. Like she's totally sure of everything she says.

Rachel is right. The flying saucer was coming their way, and once it came into view, Jake realizes that it's not actually a saucer at all.

quote:

First of all, it wasn't all that big. It was about as long as a school bus. The front end was a pod, shaped almost like an egg. Extending from the back of the pod was a long, narrow shaft. There were two crooked, stubby winglike things, and on the end of each wing was a long tube that glowed bright blue on the back end.

The little spaceship looked almost cute. You know, kind of harmless. Except that it had a sort of tail - a mean-looking tail that curved up and forward, corning to a point that looked as sharp as a needle.

"That tail thing," I said. "It looks like a weapon."

"Definitely," Marco agreed.

The ship starts coming closer, and everybody has no idea what to do. Marco's first instinct is to run home and get a camera, but Jake thinks its too dangerous to run, saying that if they run, the ship will probably blast them with phasers or something. The ship stops and hovers over their head, and their hair starts standing up (except for Cassie's). So, in all likelihood, it's giving off a strong electric field.

quote:

What do you think it is?" Marco asked. He sounded a little shakier, not so laid-back now that the thing was so close. To be honest, I was a little scared, too. A little scared, as in so terrified I couldn't move. But at the same time, it was all cool beyond any coolness ever. I mean, it was a spaceship! Right there over my head.

Tobias was actually grinning, but that's Tobias for you. He's never scared of weird stuff. It's the normal stuff he can't stand.


Just as a note, but i like that description of Tobias, there, and depending on how far we get through the series, we'll see just how true that is.

quote:

"I think it's going to land," he said, this huge smile on his face. His eyes were bright and excited, and his blond hair was standing up in clumps.

The ship began to descend. "It's coming right at us!" I cried.

I had to fight an urge to run yammering across the field all the way home, where I could crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head. But I knew that this was an important, amazing thing. I knew I had to stay and see it all.

I guess the others felt the same way, because we all just stood there, as the ship hummed and glowed and slowly settled down in an open space between piles of junk and tumbled walls. I noticed there were black burn marks along the top of the pod section. Some of the skin of the pod had been melted. It touched the ground and instantly the blue lights went off. Rachel's hair fell back down onto her neck.

After the ship lands, they all agree that they really should go and let somebody know...the cops, the army, the President, or really anybody. But, none of them move, because you just don't walk away from a spaceship.

quote:

"I wonder if we should try and talk to it," Rachel suggested. She was standing there with her hands on her hips looking at the spaceship like it was a puzzle she had to figure out. "I mean, we should communicate. If that's even possible."

Tobias nodded. He stepped forward and held out his hands. I guess he was showing whoever was in the ship that he wasn't carrying any kind of weapon or anything. "It's safe," he said in a loud, clear voice. "We won't hurt you."

"Do you think they speak English?" I wondered.

"Well, everyone speaks English on Star Trek" Cassie said with a nervous laugh.

Tobias tried again. "Please, come out We won't hurt you."

<I know.>

I froze. Okay, I had definitely heard someone say "I know," only . . . there hadn't been any sound. I mean, I heard it, but I didn't really hear it.

The spaceship is telepathic! Also, note that it was Tobias who took the initiative here...Tobias, cool with weird stuff, bothered by normal stuff.

quote:

Maybe this was all a dream. I looked kind of sideways at Cassie. She looked back at me. Our eyes met. She had heard it, too. I looked at Rachel. She was turning her head back and forth, like she was looking for where that sound - that wasn't a sound - could have come from. I started to get a sick, twisty feeling in my stomach.

"Did everyone hear that?" Tobias whispered.

We all nodded at once, very slowly.

"Can you come out?" Tobias asked in his loud, talking-to-aliens voice.

<Yes. Do not be frightened.>

"We won't be frightened," Tobias said.

"Speak for yourself," I muttered. The others giggled nervously.

A thin arc of light appeared, a doorway, opening slowly in the smooth side of the pod part of the ship. I stood there, totally hypnotized. I just stared, waiting.

The opening grew, like a crescent moon at first, then a full, bright circle.

And then he appeared.

So the spaceship isn't telepathic after all.

quote:

My first reaction was that someone had cloned a person and a deer together. The creature had a head and shoulders and arms that were more or less where they should have been, though the skin was a pale shade of blue. But below that he had fur, a mix of blue and tan, covering a four-legged body that really did look like it belonged to a deer, or maybe a small horse.

He ducked his head out the doorway and I could see that even the fairly normal-looking parts of him weren't all that normal. For a start, he had no mouth, just three vertical slits. And then there were his eyes. Two of them were where they should have been, although they were a glittery green color that was kind of shocking. But the real shock was the other eyes. He hadwhat seemed like horns, only on the top of each horn was an eye. The horns could move, twisting to point the eyes front and back or up and down.

I thought the eyes were bad, until I saw the tail. It was like a scorpion's tail, thick and powerful-looking. On the end was a wickedly curved, very sharp-looking horn or stinger. It reminded me of the alien's spaceship. It had seemed kind of cute and harmless, till you noticed the tail. The alien seemed kind of harmless at first glance, too. Then you saw that tail of his and you thought, whoa, this guy could do some damage if he wanted.

"Hello," Tobias said. His voice was gentle, like he was talking to a baby. He was grinning.

I realized I was smiling, too. And at the same moment, I realized that there were tears in my eyes, I can't really describe how it felt, except that it seemed like the alien was someone I'd known forever. Like an old friend I hadn't seen in a long, long time.

<Hello,> the alien said, in that silent way that you only heard inside your head.

"Hi," we all said back.

So there's our first alien. Any thoughts about the description here?

quote:

To my surprise, the alien staggered. He fell out of the ship to the ground. Tobias tried to grab him and hold him up, but the alien slipped from his grasp and fell back to the dirt.

"Look!" Cassie cried. She pointed at a burn that covered half the alien's right side. "He's hurt."

<Yes. I am dying,> he said.

"Can we help you? We can call an ambulance or something," Marco said.

"We can bandage that wound," Cassie said. "Jake, give me your shirt. We can tear it up and make bandages." Cassie's parents are both veterinarians and she's totally into animals. Not that this was an animal. Not exactly, anyway.

<No. I will die. The wound is fatal.>

"NO!" I cried. "You can't die. You're the first alien ever to come to Earth. You can't die." I don't know why I was so upset. I just knew that way down deep inside, it hurt me to think of him dying.

<I am not the first. There are many, many others.>

"Other aliens? Like you?" Tobias demanded.

The alien shook his big head slowly, side to side. <Not like me.>

Then he cried out in pain, a silent sound that echoed horribly inside my mind. For a moment, I had actually felt him dying.

<Not like me,> he repeated. <They are different.>

"Different? How?" I said.

I will remember his answer forever.

He said, <They have come to destroy you.>

And that's chapter 2. Thoughts? For those of you who read it as kids, is it holding up? For those of you reading it for the first time, is it any good?

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 01:30 on Mar 18, 2020

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



I can't tell if it's Tobias or Jake who has the better plan for an alien. "This is awesome!" vs. "The first alien can't die! He's too important!"

Silver2195
Apr 4, 2012


Epicurius posted:

The Invasion-Chapter 2


Rachel is right. The flying saucer was coming their way, and once it came into view, Jake realizes that it's not actually a saucer at all.


The ship starts coming closer, and everybody has no idea what to do. Marco's first instinct is to run home and get a camera, but Jake thinks its too dangerous to run, saying that if they run, the ship will probably blast them with phasers or something. The ship stops and hovers over their head, and their hair starts standing up (except for Cassie's). So, in all likelihood, it's giving off a strong electric field.


Just as a note, but i like that description of Tobias, there, and depending on how far we get through the series, we'll see just how true that is.


After the ship lands, they all agree that they really should go and let somebody know...the cops, the army, the President, or really anybody. But, none of them move, because you just don't walk away from a spaceship.


The spaceship is telepathic! Also, note that it was Tobias who took the initiative here...Tobias, cool with weird stuff, bothered by normal stuff.


So the spaceship isn't telepathic after all.


So there's our first alien. Any thoughts about the description here?


And that's chapter 2. Thoughts? For those of you who read it as kids, is it holding up? For those of you reading it for the first time, is it any good?

The biggest flaw in Animorphs is that it makes no sense for Jake and friends to be writing all this down. Basically all first-person narration raises plot holes of some sort, but it's annoying in Animorphs because the beginning of the first few books calls attention to it. They can change their names and avoid mentioning the name of their town, but Visser Three and Chapman know which town the Andalite landed in and which school Chapman works at! It's probably best to think of the first-person narration as internal monologue introduced by the way the Animorphs would hypothetically introduce themselves to someone they trusted but only to a point, I guess.

Despite this, the books (at least the first 3 or so books, which I reread recently after they were put online with Applegate's permission) hold up better than I expected. The characters are a bit more complex than I remembered, at least. I suspect my opinion will change if and when I get to the ghostwritten ones, though...

Silver2195 fucked around with this message at 03:00 on Mar 18, 2020

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

You're right. From a strictly plot based standpoint, first person narrative doesn't make any sense. "I have this secret and anyone finds out who I am, we're all in danger. Now, let me tell you my first name, all about my family and friends, and everything we've done." So as a narrative thing it doesn't make sense. I think it does work on other levels, though. The biggest strength to the first person narration is that it gives each book and narrator a distinct voice. (For those who don't know, and you'll see, different books are narrated by different characters). So a Jake book feels different than a Marco book, or a Rachel book, or a Cassie book or a Tobias book. They each have different values, look at the world differently, and have their own way of speaking. I think it also makes the characters more relatable than a third party narration would.

And there's a definite decrease in quality when the ghostwriters take over.

Radio Free Kobold
Aug 11, 2012

"Federal regulations mandate that at least 30% of our content must promote Reptilian or Draconic culture. This is DJ Scratch N' Sniff with the latest mermaid screeching on KBLD..."



Epicurius posted:

So there's our first alien. Any thoughts about the description here?


And that's chapter 2. Thoughts? For those of you who read it as kids, is it holding up? For those of you reading it for the first time, is it any good?

Yeah, it's holding up pretty well I think. I'm finding myself wanting more; c'mon, what happens next, who are these bad aliens? Even though I already know, it's still got me. I think Tobias is my favorite so far.
Andalites are loving weird, man

biracial bear for uncut
Jun 9, 2009

ask me about being the most obnoxious person of all time

The books where you had graphic depictions of various individual yeerks starving to death and dying were surprisingly dark when they happened.

Especially since they were presented as sympathetic characters, when there was one book where one of the Animorphs made a deal with the Yeerk of the book (I forget the reason, something to do with freeing the person they were controlling in exchange) to morph into a caterpillar for some dumbass reason and run out the time limit and said Yeerk was freaking out because they couldn't communicate to the caterpillar that they changed their mind and could morph back (and they'd free the person they were inhabiting) and started weeping and crying about it before committing suicide by starvation I had to take a moment to get over the "What the gently caress? That is monumentally hosed up for a kid's book" bit.

Did anybody else catch the similarities between the Big Bad Transdimensional Entity of the later books and Korrok from the John Dies At The End series? I wonder if David Wong borrowed the idea from there.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

biracial bear for uncut posted:

The books where you had graphic depictions of various individual yeerks starving to death and dying were surprisingly dark when they happened.

The Yeerks were definitely the villains, but there was also something sympathetic and pitiful about them, in that, they were sentient but when they didn't have a host, they were almost blind and deaf, practically immobile, and pretty much helpless. The Andalite Prince Seerow is villified for what he did (and no doubt, it had horrible consequences), but its easy to see why he was motivated to do it.

Radio Free Kobold
Aug 11, 2012

"Federal regulations mandate that at least 30% of our content must promote Reptilian or Draconic culture. This is DJ Scratch N' Sniff with the latest mermaid screeching on KBLD..."



biracial bear for uncut posted:

Did anybody else catch the similarities between the Big Bad Transdimensional Entity of the later books and Korrok from the John Dies At The End series? I wonder if David Wong borrowed the idea from there.

The only thing I remember about any of that Krayak(?)/Ellimist plotline is that Ellimist sounded suspiciously similar to a lovely wizard in Forgotten Realms.

Metapod
Mar 18, 2012



Cassie was right

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 3

quote:

<They have come to destroy you.>

It was strange, the way we all just knew he was telling the truth. No one said "no way" or "you're making it up." We all just knew. He was dying, and he was trying to warn us of something terrible.

<They are called Yeerks. They are different from us. Different from you, as well.>

Applegate was a big Tolkien fan, and a lot of times in her naming, she used Tolkeinesque words. In Tolkein's language Sindarin, "Yrch" was the word for Orcs. She adopted that into Yeerks.

quote:

"Are you telling us they're already here on Earth?" Rachel demanded.

<Many are here. Hundreds. Maybe more.>

"Why hasn't anybody noticed them?" Marco said reasonably. "I think someone would have mentioned it at school."

<You do not understand. Yeerks are different. They have no body, like yours or mine. They live in the bodies of other species. They are . . . >

I guess he couldn't think of a word to explain Yeerks, so he closed his eyes and seemed to concentrate. Suddenly a bright picture popped into my head. I saw a gray-green, slimy thing like a snail without its shell, only bigger, the size of a rat, maybe. It wasn't a pretty picture.

"I'm guessing that was a Yeerk," Marco said. "Either that or a very big wad of slimy chewing gum."

<They are almost powerless without hosts. They - >

Suddenly we felt that blast of pain, straight from the alien. I could also feel his sadness. He knew his time was almost up.

<The Yeerks are parasites. They must have a host to live in. In this form they are known as Controllers. They enter the brain and are absorbed into it, taking over the host's thoughts and feelings. They try to get the host to accept them voluntarily. It is easier that way. Otherwise
the host may be able to resist, at least a little.>

"Are you saying they take over human beings?" Rachel asked. "People? These things take over their bodies?"

So we now have our second alien species, and the first one actually named, and it's a brain slug. This is actually a pretty common thing in science fiction...some sort of alien parasite that takes over its host and removes his or her free will. You see it in Stargate with the Go'uld, in Star Trek with the Borg, and even earlier than that, with stories of demonic possession and vampires. Its a fear that works on two levels. First of all, it means you can't trust other people, because how do you know that the people you love haven't been taken over? It also raises the fear of loss of control...that there's something that can strip your free will and make you behave the way it wants you to.

quote:

"Look, this is serious stuff," I said. "You shouldn't be telling us. We're just kids, you know. This is like something the government should know about."

<We had hoped to stop them,> the alien continued. <Swarms of their Bug fighters were waiting when our Dome ship came out of Z-Space. We knew of their mother ship and were ready for the Bug fighters, but the Yeerks surprised us - they had hidden a powerful Blade ship in a crater of your moon. We fought, but . . . we lost. They have tracked me here. They will be here soon to eliminate all traces of me and my ship.>

"How can they do that?" Cassie wondered.

The alien seemed to smile with his eyes. <Their Dracon beams will leave nothing behind but a few molecules of this ship, and . . . this body> he said. <I sent a message to my home
world. We Andalites fight the Yeerks wherever they go throughout the universe. My people will send help, but it may take a year, even more, and by then the Yeerks will have control of
this planet. After that, there is no hope. You must tell people. You must warn your people!>

Another spasm of pain ripped through him, and we all knew he was nearly gone.

"No one is ever going to believe us," Marco said hopelessly. He looked at me and shook his head. "No way."

He was right. If these Yeerks were to wipe out the Andalite's ship, how on Earth would we ever convince people? They'd think we were either nuts or on drugs.

This is also a pretty common fear, and especially for kids, I think. One of the problems kids and teenagers face is that they aren't taken seriously by adults. We also now know the name of his species, the Andalites.

quote:

"I don't care if he thinks he's going to die, we have to try and help him," Rachel said. "We can get him to a hospital. Or maybe Cassie's parents . . . "

<There is no time. No time,> the Andalite said. Then his eyes brightened. <Perhaps . . . >

"What?"

<Go into my ship. You will see a small blue box, very plain. Bring it to me. Quickly! I have very little time, and the Yeerks will find me soon.>

We all looked at each other. Who was going to be the one to go inside the ship? Somehow we all seemed to agree it would be me. Actually, I didn't agree, but everyone else did.

"Go ahead," Tobias said. "I want to stay with him." He knelt beside the Andalite and placed a comforting hand on the alien's narrow shoulder,

I looked at the doorway into the spacecraft. I glanced at Cassie.

"Go ahead," she said, sending me a smile. "You're not scared."

She was wrong; I was plenty scared. But the way she smiled at me, I wasn't about to weasel out.

I walked over to the door of the ship and looked inside. It was surprisingly simple. It looked cozy, almost. Everything was a creamy color with rounded edges and shapes that tended to be oval. That was one of the things that helped me to spot the box so easily. It was sky blue
and square, maybe four inches on each side. It seemed kind of heavy for being so small. I stepped up into the ship. There was no chair, just a sort of open space where I guess the Andalite stood on his four hooves while he worked the few controls. There weren't a lot of buttons or anything. I wondered if the Andalite controlled the ship with his thoughts.
I quickly reached for the box and started to head back outside. But then something caught my eye. It was a small, three-dimensional picture - four Andalites, standing all together, looking like a strange gathering of deer with solemn faces. Two of them looked very small kids. I realized that this was a picture of the Andalite's family.

It filled me with sadness to think that here he was, dying, a million miles from his family.

Dying because he had tried to protect the people of Earth. I felt a small flame of anger against the Yeerks, or Controllers, or whatever they were, for causing this.

So there's his family portrait. I will say there's some stuff in this part that may come up later.

quote:

I went back to the circle of my friends.

"Here's the box," I told the Andalite.

<Thank you.>

"I, um . . . was that your family? That picture?"

<Yes.>

I'm real sorry," I said. What else could I say?

<There is something I may be able to do to help you fight the Yeerks.>

"What?" Rachel demanded.

<I know that you are young. I know that you have no power with which to resist the Controllers. But I may be able to give you some small powers that may help.>

We all looked at each other. All except Tobias, who never took his gaze off the alien.

<If you wish, I can give you powers that no other human being has ever had.>

"Powers?" What was that supposed to mean?

<It is a piece of Andalite technology that the Yeerks do not have,> the Andalite explained.

<A technology that enables us to pass unnoticed in many parts of the universe - the power to morph. We have never shared this power. But your need is great.>

"Morph? Morph how?" Rachel asked, her eyes narrowed.

<To change your bodies,> the Andalite said. <To become any other species. Any animal.>

Marco laughed derisively. "Become animals?" Marco isn't the most accepting person in the world,

<You will only need to touch a creature, to acquire its DNA pattern, and you will be able to become that creature. It requires concentration and determination, but, if you are strong, you can do it. There are . . . limitations. Problems. Dangers, even. But there is no time to explain it all . . . no time. You will have to learn for yourselves. But first, do you wish to receive this power?>

"He's kidding, right?" Marco asked me.

"No," Tobias said softly. "He's not kidding."

"This is nuts," Marco said. "This whole thing is nuts. Yeerks and spaceships and slugs taking over people's brains and Andalites and the power to change into animals? Give me a break."

"Yeah, it is beyond weird," I agreed.

"We're off the map of weirdness by this point," Rachel said. "But unless we're all just dreaming, I think we'd better deal with this."

"He's dying," Tobias reminded us.

"I'll do it," Cassie said. That surprised me. Cassie isn't usually so quick to decide. But I guess, like Tobias, she felt the truth of what the Andalite was saying.

"I think we should all decide together," I suggested. "One way or the other."

"What's that?" Rachel asked. She was looking up toward the stars. Far, far overhead, two pinpoints of bright red light were shooting across the sky.

<Yeerks.> The Andalite said the word in our minds, and we could feel his hatred.

So we're going to be finding out why the series is called Animorphs. Also, interesting that Tobias is the least freaked out about this and the most accepting. Another example of him being able to handle weird stuff.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



In general, these kids are really accepting of everything going on.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

More than I'd be, probably.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





chitoryu12 posted:

In general, these kids are really accepting of everything going on.

They are, but I dig it.

Radio Free Kobold
Aug 11, 2012

"Federal regulations mandate that at least 30% of our content must promote Reptilian or Draconic culture. This is DJ Scratch N' Sniff with the latest mermaid screeching on KBLD..."



chitoryu12 posted:

In general, these kids are really accepting of everything going on.

Yeah, but it's necessary to set up the main thrust of the book and series. Spending a good long while dithering about would be pretty boring and ultimately accomplish very little.

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Besides that, this is pre-Harry Potter kidlit. There was a pretty strong limit to how long a book the publishers would even consider.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



IIRC, Tobias in particular is a weird kid from a broken home to begin with, so no wonder he's handling all this well.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 4

quote:

<Yeerks!>

The twin red lights slowed. They turned in a circle and came back toward us.

<There is no more time. You must decide!>

"We have to do this," Tobias said. "How else can we fight these Controllers?"

"This is so insane!" Marco said. "Insane."

"I'd like more time, but we don't have that choice," Rachel said. I'm for it."

"What do you say, Jake?" Cassie asked me. It was odd. Like suddenly I was the one who had to decide for everyone?

I looked up at the Yeerk ships. What had the Andalite called them? Bug fighters? They were circling closer, like dogs sniffing for a scent. I looked down at the Andalite and remembered the picture of his family. Would they even know what had happened to him?

I looked at each of the people around me - my usually funny, occasionally annoying best friend, Marco; Rachel, my smart, pretty, confident cousin; and Cassie, who everyone knew liked animals more than she liked most people.

Finally, I looked at Tobias. It was weird, the feeling I had at that moment, staring at him. A chill or something.

"We have to," Tobias said to me.

Slowly I nodded. "Yes. We have no choice."

<Then each of you, press your hand against one of the sides of the square.>

We did. Five hands, each pressed against one side. Then a sixth hand, different from ours, with too many fingers.

<Do not be afraid,> the Andalite said.

Something like a shock, only pleasurable, seemed to run through me. A tingle that almost made me laugh.

So there they go. This is the part that Campbell, in his Hero's Journey model, calls "Meeting the Mentor", where the hero meets an older and wiser figure who gives them their quest and some sort of special gift along the way. I'm not a big fan of the Hero's Journey model, but there you go. More importantly, this is pretty much where Jake becomes a leader. The other kids turn to him to make the decision, and this is something you'll see throughout the book and the series.

quote:

<Go now,> the Andalite said. <Only remember this - never remain in animal form for more than two of your Earth hours. Never! That is the greatest danger of the morphing! If you stay longer than two hours you will be trapped, unable to return to human form.>

"Two hours," I repeated.

Two hours. I wonder if this rule will prove important.

quote:

Suddenly some new fear washed through the Andalite's mind. Linked as I was to him, I could feel it as a dread that crawled up my spine. He was staring up at the sky with his main eyes.
Something else was up there with the Bug fighters.

<Visser Three! He comes.>

"What?" I was shaking with this new terror. "What's a Visser? Who's a Visser?"

<Go now. Run! Visser Three is here. He is the most deadly of your enemies. Of all Yeerks he alone has the power to morph, The same power you now have. Run!>

"No, we'll stay with you," Rachel said firmly. "Maybe we can help."

Again it was as if the alien was smiling at us with his eyes. <No. You must save yourselves. Save yourselves and save your planet! The Yeerks are here.>

We all looked up, craning our necks. Sure enough, the two red lights were sinking toward us. And they had been joined by a third ship, far larger, black as a shadow within a shadow.

"But how are we supposed to fight these . . . these Controllers?" Rachel demanded.

<You must find a way. Now run!>

I jerked from the force of his command. "He's right. Run!" I yelled.

We ran. All but Tobias, who knelt beside the Andalite and took his hand. The Andalite pressed his other hand against Tobias's head. Tobias rocked back, like he'd been shocked. Then he, too, was up and running, stumbling over the loose junk and potholes of the construction site.

Tobias and the Andalite have a neat kind of connection in this chapter.

quote:

A beam of bright red light snapped on. It was a spotlight from one of the Bug fighters. The beam lit up the fallen Andalite and his ship. A spotlight from the second Bug fighter joined the first, and the Andalite shone brilliant as a star.

I hit the dirt hard. I saw my leg lit up within the circle of that spotlight. I yanked it to me and crawled fast, scraping my elbows and knees over sharp stones.

The five of us crouched behind a low, crumbled wall, afraid to move, afraid to look, but just as afraid to look away.

Slowly the Bug fighters descended. It was easy to see where they'd gotten their nickname.

They were slightly larger than the Andalite fighter and shaped like legless cockroaches.

There were small windows like eyes on the forward-thrust head of the bug. And on either side of the head were two very long, very sharp, serrated spears.

The Yeerk Bug fighters touched down, one on either side of the Andalite ship.

Just like the Andalite fighter looked vaguely Andalite, long and sleek with a weapon rising up in the back, the Yeerk bug fighters look vaguely Yeerklike

quote:

"Okay, you can wake me up now," Marco said in a rattled whisper. "I've had enough of this dream."

The larger ship began to descend. I don't know what it was about that ship, but as it got closer I started to feel like I couldn't breathe. I tried to suck in a deep lungful of air and couldn't. I
tried to swallow and couldn't. I wanted to run, but my legs were jelly. I was shaking from a fear so deep it was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. It was the same fear that the
Andalite had shown when he'd realized Visser Three was coming.

The ship settled toward the ground. It looked like it was going to land directly on a big rusted earthmover parked there. But as the Visser's ship descended, the earthmover just sizzled and
disappeared.

Visser Three's ship was built like some ancient weapon. It reminded me of one of those battle-axes the old-time knights used when they were hacking off the heads of their foes. There was a main part, like the handle of the ax, with a big, triangular point on the front. That part had to be the bridge. At the rear were two huge, scimitar wings. It was eight or ten times the size of the Bug fighters.

The Blade ship landed. A door opened.

Cassie started to scream. I clamped my hand over her mouth.

And, of course, Visser Three's ship is nothing but a giant weapon.

quote:

They leaped from the ship, whirling and thrusting and slicing the air - creatures that looked like walking weapons. They stood on two bent-back legs and had two very long arms. On each arm there were curved horn-blades growing out of the wrist and elbow. There were other blades at their bent-back knees, and two more blades at the end of their tails. They had feet like a Tyrannosaurus rex. But it was the head that got your attention - a neck like a snake, a mouth that was almost a falcon's beak, and, from the forehead, three daggerlike horns raked forward.

<Hork-Bajir-Controllers.>

I jumped, hearing the Andalite's words in my mind again. They were fainter than before, strained, like someone yelling from far away.

"Did you guys . . . ?" I asked.

Rachel nodded. "Yeah."

<The Hork-Bajir are a good people, despite their fearsome looks,> the Andalite said. <But they have been enslaved by the Yeerks. Each of them now carries a Yeerk in his head. They are to be pitied.>

"Pity. Right," Rachel said grimly. "They're walking killing machines. Look at them!"

So there's our next group of aliens, the Hork-Bajir. Pretty much dinosaur/bird men

quote:

But our attention was drawn away by a new form that crept and slithered and shimmied out of the Blade ship.

<Taxxon-Controllers,> the Andalite said. I knew he was trying to tell us all he could, even to the end. Trying to prepare us for what we were up against,

<The Taxxons are evil.>

"Yeah," Marco muttered. "I think I would have guessed that."


As we'll see if we get to it, not really true, but they are pretty unpleasant


quote:

They were like massive centipedes, twice as long as a grown man. So big around that if you tried to hug one, your arms wouldn't make it even halfway. Not that anyone would ever want to.

They had dozens of legs that supported the lower two thirds of their bodies. The top third was held upright, and there the rows of legs became smaller, with little lobster-claw hands. Around the top of their disgusting, tubular bodies were four eyes, each like a wiggling globule of red Jell-O. And at the very end, pointing straight up in the air, was a round mouth, ringed by hundreds of tiny teeth.

So that's the Taxxons...pretty much giant centipedes. It's kind of interesting that the two "evil" species, the Yeerks and the Taxxons, are patterned off species that people tend to find repulsive; slugs and centipedes. The "good" aliens, on the other hand, are described like deer or birds/dinosaurs. I don't know if Applegate did that intentionally or not.

quote:

Hork-Bajir and Taxxons poured from the Blade ship, spreading out around the area like well trained Marines. They were holding small, pistol-sized things that were definitely weapons. They formed a ring around the Andalite and his ship.

Suddenly, one of the Hork-Bajir came straight toward us. He took one big, bounding step and he was practically on top of us.

I hugged the dirt like it was my last hope. I wished I could dig a hole. I saw a flash of Marco's face. His eyes were huge. His lips were drawn back in what could have been a grin, except that I knew it was an expression of pure terror.

So there's chapter 4, and things are starting to get intense.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Ah, the Taxxons. The certified expendable mooks of the Yeerks.

As for the framing device of the books, my assumption as a kid was that the Animorphs were dictating these into a voice recorder as a record of their war in case they failed and were wiped out. So even if they fail, there will be a secret record of what really happened and everything they knew and learned for someone else to find and continue the fight.

Cythereal fucked around with this message at 14:35 on Mar 20, 2020

biracial bear for uncut
Jun 9, 2009

ask me about being the most obnoxious person of all time

Radio Free Kobold posted:

The only thing I remember about any of that Krayak(?)/Ellimist plotline is that Ellimist sounded suspiciously similar to a lovely wizard in Forgotten Realms.

The bit about Krayak's child soldiers of the future being defeated by a memory of Jake and Cassie kissing was pretty eye-rolling when I read it, though.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 5

quote:

The Hork-Bajir pointed his gun, or whatever it was, around at the darkness. His snake head swerved left and right, trying to penetrate the gloom.

<Silence!> the Andalite warned us. <Hork-Bajir do not see well in darkness, but their hearing is very good.>

The Hork-Bajir moved closer still. He was six feet away now, with just the low wall between us. He had to have heard my heart pounding. Maybe he didn't know what the sound was. Maybe he didn't recognize the sounds of five terrified kids whose knees were quivering and teeth were chattering. Kids who were breathing in short, sudden gasps.

I was sure I was going to die, right then. I could see in my mind the way those vicious wrist and elbow-blades were going to slice my head from my body. If you've never been really afraid, let me tell you - it does things to you. It takes over your mind and your body. You want to scream. You want to run. You want to wet your pants. You want to throw yourself down on the ground and cry and beg please, please, please, please don't kill me!

And if you think you're brave, well, wait till you're cowering a few feet away from a monster who can turn you into coleslaw in about three seconds flat.

One thing that the books don't shy away from is the display of emotions, and this is a pretty good example of terror.

quote:

But then the Andalite's voice was in my head again. <Courage, my friends.>

And this . . . this warm . . . this . . . I don't have any words to explain it. It was just this warmth that spread all through me. It was like when you're a little kid and you've had a terrible nightmare and you've woken up screaming. You know how you used to feel better when your mom or dad would turn on the light and come in and sit beside you in bed? That's what it was like.

I mean, I was still terrified. The Hork-Bajir was still there, so real and so deadly. I could hear him breathing, I could smell him. But at the same time, I could feel the panic coming under control. I could feel the strength flowing from the doomed Andalite. He was letting us borrow some of his courage, even though he must have been afraid himself.

This actually raises a question that I don't have a good answer to. Andalites are telepathic, and we know this because, first, they don't have mouths, and second, because the Andalite has actively been using telepathy. But is this sort of reassurance and comfort also a special Andalite power? I really don't know.

quote:

The Hork-Bajir moved away. Something new was coming from the Blade ship. Shaking and chattering, I rose high enough to look over the low wall. Every Hork-Bajir and every Taxxon was turned toward the ship now.

"They're all standing at attention," I whispered.

"How can you tell?" Marco whispered back. "Who knows when a jelly-eyed centipede or a walking Salad Shooter from Hell is standing at attention?"

Then he appeared.

<Visser Three,> the Andalite said,

Visser Three was an Andalite.

Or at least he was an Andalite-Controller.

"What the . . . " Rachel said. "Isn't that an Andalite?"

<Only once has a Yeerk been able to take an Andalite body,> the Andalite said. <There is only one Andalite-Controller. That one is Visser Three,>

Visser Three walked confidently toward the wounded Andalite. The Visser seemed so much like the Andalite it was hard to tell them apart at first. He had the same mouthless face; the same extra stalk-eyes that turned here and there, checking out everything in all directions; the same powerful yet sleek four-legged body; and the same wicked tail.

But if the Visser looked like any normal Andalite, he felt different. It was like he was wearing a mask, only you just knew that under the fake sweetness of the mask there was something twisted and foul.

I'm starting to think Visser Three isn't particularly nice.

quote:

<Well, well,> Visser Three said.

I almost had a heart attack when I realized I was hearing the Visser's thoughts.

"Can he hear our thoughts?" Cassie whispered.

"If he can we're so dead I don't even want to think about it," Rachel told her.

<He cannot hear your thoughts,> the Andalite said. <As long as you don't direct them to him. You hear his thoughts because he is broadcasting them for all to hear. This is a great victory for him, so he wants all to hear.>

<What have we here? A meddling Andalite?> Visser Three looked more closely at the Andalite's ship. <Ah, but no ordinary Andalite warrior. Prince Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul, if I am not mistaken. An honor to meet you. You're a legend. How many of our fighters have you shredded? Seven, or was it eight by the time the battle ended?>

So, remember how I said that Applegate was a Tolkien fan? You see that again, in the name Elfangor, which references Tolkien's Fangor Forest. Also, though, and I have no idea if this is intentional or not, but Andalites get compared to deer, and the Greek word for deer is Elafos. There seems to be a connection here, although it might just be coincidence.

quote:

The Andalite didn't answer. But I had the feeling maybe it had been more than eight.

<The very last Andalite in this sector of space. Yes, I'm afraid your Dome ship has been completely destroyed. Completely. I watched it burn as it fell into the atmosphere of this little world.>

<There will be others,> the Andalite prince said . . .

The Visser took a step closer to the Andalite. <Yes, and when they come it will be too late. This world will be mine. My own contribution to the Yeerk Empire, Our greatest conquest. And then I'll be Visser One.>

<What do you want with these Humans?> the Andalite asked. <You have your Taxxon allies. You have your Hork-Bajir slaves. And other slaves from other worlds. Why these people?>

<Because there are so many, and they are so weak,> Visser Three sneered. <Billions of bodies! And they have no idea what's happening. With this many hosts we can spread throughout the universe, unstoppable! Billions of us. We'll have to build a thousand new Yeerk pools just to raise Yeerks for half this number of bodies. Face it, Andalite, you have fought well and bravely. But you have lost>

Visser Three stepped right up to the Andalite. I could feel the Andalite's fear, but rather than cower, he fought the pain of his wound and climbed to his feet. He knew he was going to die. He wanted to die on his feet, looking his enemy in the face.

But Visser Three was not done taunting his foe. <I promise you one thing, Prince Elfangor - when we have this planet, with its rich harvest of bodies, we will move against the Andalite home world. I will personally hunt down your family. And I will personally oversee the placement of my most faithful lieutenants in their heads. I hope that they will resist, so I can hear their minds scream.>

Nope, not very nice.

quote:

The Andalite struck!

His tail whipped up and over, so fast you couldn't really see it. The Visser twisted his head aside. The Andalite's tail blade missed the Visser's head by a bare half-inch. But it sliced into his shoulder. Blood - or something like blood - sprayed from the wound.

"Yes!" I hissed.

<Aaaaaarrrrrgh!> I could hear the Visser's howl of pain in my head.

At the same time, a blinding beam of blue light shot from the tail of the Andalite ship. It sliced into the nearest Bug fighter. Hork-Bajir and Taxxons scattered.

Even crouching behind the wall, I could feel a wave of blistering heat. The Bug fighter sizzled and disappeared.

Have to admit, Prince Elfangor is kind of awesome.

quote:

<Fire!> Visser Three yelled. <Burn his ship!>

The night exploded in blinding light. Red beams lanced from the Blade ship and the remaining Bug fighter. The Andalite ship glowed, and, with a strange slowness,
disintegrated.

Then, in the flash and glow of Dracon beams I saw . . . or thought I saw . . . humans. A small group of them, maybe three or four, back in the shadows behind the Visser.

"There are people over there," I told Marco.

"What? Are they prisoners?"

<Take the Andalite,> Visser Three ordered his soldiers. <Hold him for me.>

Three big Hork-Bajir grabbed the Andalite and held him down. Their wrist blades were at his throat, but they knew better than to kill him.

That was to be Visser Three's personal privilege.

Then we saw why a Yeerk as powerful as Visser Three would inhabit the only captured Andalite body. As we watched, Visser Three began to morph.

His Andalite head grew large, larger. Much larger. The four horselike legs merged into two and then expanded, each leg becoming as big around as a redwood tree. The delicate Andalite arms sprouted and became tentacles.

"This isn't real," Cassie whispered. "This isn't real."

In the hideously bloated head, a mouth appeared. It was filled with teeth as long as your arm. The mouth grew wider and wider, becoming a monstrous, terrifying grin. There was nothing left of the Andalite body, A monster had taken its place. "R-r-r-r-a-a-a-w-w-w-w-g-g-g!" The roar of the beast Visser Three had become made the ground shake.

I covered my ears with my hands.

"R-r-r-r-r-r-a-a-a-a-g-g-g!"

I'm personally not a giant fan of the "lets spell out the sound", because it's hard to do it and not make it not look silly. The monster is clearly frightening, though, and I don't really know how to describe it other than "really scary".

quote:

My teeth rattled from the sound. I heard someone whimpering. It was me. Visser Three had become a monster that made the Hork-Bajir and the Taxxons look like harmless toys. He reached out with one thick tentacle and grabbed the Andalite by the neck. "No, no, no," I heard Cassie whispering over and over again. "No, no, no, no." "Don't look," Rachel said to her. She put her arm around Cassie's shoulder and held her close. Then she reached for Tobias and took his hand. I guess you never really know someone till you see them scared. And even scared to death, with tears running down her face, Rachel had strength to spare.

Note Rachel is the only one keeping it together here.

quote:

Visser Three lifted the Andalite straight up in the air, tearing him from the grasp of the Hork-Bajir. The Andalite prince struck again and again with his tail. But each strike was like a pinprick against such a creature.

Visser Three held the Andalite high in the air.

And then Visser Three opened his mouth wide.

I'm wondering in how many children's books, the helpful alien that the heroes meet is eaten alive by the villain just after they meet him. This is a remarkably violent series...I mean, it's a series about a war, and so of course it is, and part of me is wondering how they got away with it.. I'm wondering how much of it is that parents didn't know what their kids are reading. I mean, these are small books, the covers are kind of bad, and they have the Scholastic label on them. So I'm wondering how many parents just let it go with "Oh, it's a book where people can turn into animals".

They rereleased the first eight books back in 2011, and I guess the sales weren't good enough to justify more. They made some changes too...most of them were just to clean up typos, or fix logical inconsistencies or obvious errors, but they also updated some of the cultural references. I'm doing these from the original books, and you'll see, back in Chapter 1, Jake mentions he has a "Sega". In the rerelease, this was changed to a "game console".

So, what did people think of this chapter, and the book so far? Especially those of you who never read the book as a kid, is it any good, do you think?

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 03:31 on Mar 21, 2020

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Epicurius posted:



One thing that the books don't shy away from is the display of emotions, and this is a pretty good example of terror.


I think this is a case where it being kidlit helps a lot. An adult writer would have an easy time falling back on cliche depictions of terror, but most of those are very inappropriate in a kid's book. That means you have to be more creative.


Also, this is extremely violent by 1990s kidlit standards.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



I think the biggest problem is the way the exposition is delivered. For someone who's mortally wounded and in immediate peril, Elfangor sure has a lot of time to calmly explain the entire plot.

A Typical Goon
Feb 25, 2011


why does Jake send Rachel to secretly assassinate Tom in the last book all that accomplished was getting his cousin and his brother killed and the Yeerks still got away stupid as gently caress ya ask me

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers

Insurance.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

chitoryu12 posted:

I think the biggest problem is the way the exposition is delivered. For someone who's mortally wounded and in immediate peril, Elfangor sure has a lot of time to calmly explain the entire plot.

He's certainly suffering from exposition syndrome.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers

But, I love this series, and it seriously deals with some incredibly heavy poo poo, and not just 'for a teen series'. It's far better than it has any right to be.

a neat cape
Feb 22, 2007


Comrade Blyatlov posted:

But, I love this series, and it seriously deals with some incredibly heavy poo poo, and not just 'for a teen series'. It's far better than it has any right to be.

This 1000%.

Cassie was never right.

A Typical Goon
Feb 25, 2011


Comrade Blyatlov posted:

But, I love this series, and it seriously deals with some incredibly heavy poo poo, and not just 'for a teen series'. It's far better than it has any right to be.

I liked when they give a bunch of disabled kids the power to morph and then use them as a distraction and they all die

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

I'm going to ask a quick favor. Obviously, this is a 25 year old series, and a lot of people have read it, and a lot of people who have read it want to share their memories of it here. This is great, and I hope people do. That being said, there are people here who haven't read the series, either because they were too young or too old to read it when it first came out or because they never were exposed to it. So, they're experiencing this series for the first time. Therefore I'm going to ask, as a favor to them, that if people want to post spoilers of plot points, either real or fake, that they use spoiler tags. That way, those people who haven't read it don't have their experience ruined by learning something before they're supposed to.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 6

quote:

I don't know what came over me right then. I had been so afraid. So terrified. But it was like something just snapped in my head. I couldn't just hide and watch, I couldn't.

"You filthy - "

I jumped to my feet. I snatched up a piece of rusted iron pipe from the ground and started to climb over that wall.

I guess I just went crazy or something. It had to be craziness, because there was no way that I, alone, armed with a piece of pipe, was going to accomplish anything.

<No!>

The Andalite's silent cry made me hesitate. I felt Marco's hands grabbing at my shirt and pulling me back. Tobias and Marco held me down. Rachel put her hand over my mouth. I
was trying to scream, or curse, or something.

"Shut up, you idiot!" Marco hissed. "You're just going to get us all killed."

"Jake, don't." Cassie put her hand on my cheek. "He doesn't want you to die for him. Don't you realize? He's dying for us."

I shoved Marco and Tobias away angrily. But I was in control of myself again.

I peeked over the wall again. The Andalite prince was helpless in the grasp of Visser Three. I saw him held high in the air. I saw Visser Three open his monstrous, gaping jaws.
I saw the Andalite fall into that open mouth.

The mouth closed. The teeth ripped the Andalite apart. And the Andalite Prince Elfangor Sirinial-Shamtul died.

At the very end, he cried out. His cry of despair was in our heads. His cry will always be in our heads.

The Hork-Bajir-Controllers began making a huffing sound, like whuh-whuh-whuh. Maybe they were laughing or applauding. The Taxxon-Controllers rushed forward and crowded around Visser Three. They seemed to be stretching up toward him, and then I saw why - a piece of the Andalite fell from the Visser's jaws and the nearest Taxxon greedily gobbled it up.

Tobias turned away and covered his face with his hands. Cassie had tears streaming from her eyes. So did I.

Yep. Visser-Three just ate him and the Taxxon-Controller fed on the remains. It's really a pretty overwhelming moment.

quote:

I heard a sound that was strange because it was so normal. It was laughter. Human laughter. The humans . . . the Human-Controllers because that's what they were - were laughing, like they were at some kind of a show. For a moment it seemed to me that one of those laughing voices was familiar, like I'd heard it before. But then the sound was swallowed up in the huffing of the Hork-Bajir.

Visser Three morphed out of his monstrous form and slowly regained his Andalite body.

<Ah,> I heard him think, <nothing like a good Antarean Bogg morph for . . . taking a bite out of your enemies.>

Again the Human-Controllers laughed and the Hork-Bajir-Controllers huffed, and I heard a familiar human laugh I could not quite place. Marco started throwing up. It was an understandable thing to do. But somehow that sound
caught the attention of the nearest Hork-Bajir.

Visser-Three is 100% the type of bad boss that makes the people who work for him laugh at his jokes.

quote:

The snake head turned. He was perfectly still.

We were perfectly still.

The Hork-Bajir turned toward us. The nearsighted eyes were aimed directly at our little hiding place.

I don't know who panicked first. Maybe it was me. Maybe we'd just had all the fear and horror we could stand. It was like an electric shock went through all of us. We were running
before I had a chance to even know what I was doing.

I ran. I gasped for air.

A cry went up from the Hork-Bajir.

"Split up," I yelled. "They can't follow all of us."

Marco and Tobias and Cassie took off in three different directions. Rachel was still right beside me. Glancing back, I saw the Hork-Bajir hesitate, unsure of who to chase. Rachel and I are the fastest runners. Tobias is totally out of shape, and Marco and Cassie are too short to be really fast. So I figured if the aliens were going to chase anyone, it ought to be us. I guess Rachel thought the same thing. She slowed down just a little and began yelling and waving her arms. "Come on, come on, you - " And then she said some words I didn't realize Rachel even knew.

The two nearest Hork-Bajir snapped around and took off after us. "Ghafrash! Here! Ghafrash fit! Enemy! Get!"

Even in my panic it surprised me. They were talking some mix of their own alien language and ours.

"Ghafrash fit nahar! I get! I kill!"

I ran. Suddenly my foot slammed something and I was down. I hit the ground hard. The wind was knocked out of me. I tried to fill my lungs again. Rachel ran on. She didn't know I had
fallen.

A spear of red light struck a concrete pipe just beside me. The concrete vaporized. The two Hork-Bajir were coming after us, bounding like some devil kangaroos. I was up and running.
Rachel must have realized I wasn't with her anymore. She stopped and started to come back toward me.

"Don't be an idiot!" I yelled. "Run!"

She hesitated just a second. But she knew she couldn't do anything more for me. She ran.

I saw a dark hole ahead and raced toward it.

A doorway. Inside it was as black as a grave. It was one of the buildings that had almost been completed. Just bare concrete walls and scattered junk. But I knew I had been in here before.
Marco and I had walked all through it. There were hallways and little side rooms. It was like a maze.

Marco! Rachel! Had they gotten away? And what about Cassie and Tobias?

I tried to get my brain to concentrate as I scurried across the first big room. There was a corridor . . . somewhere. I groped in the dark and found a wall.
I heard the sound of clawlike feet, huge, tearing, rending claw feet scraping over the bare concrete. A bottle went skittering across the floor.
The Hork-Bajir was close! And in the total darkness my superior human vision wasn't much use. But I knew my way around the empty building.
At least, I would have known my way around if my brain had been working.

I felt my hand go into emptiness. A doorway. Yes! It led down a hallway. I went through just as the light came on behind me. Someone had brought a flashlight

"Efnud to tell fallay nyot fit? Whatever order."

"No. No need to capture them. Whoever you find, kill."

The first voice had been Hork-Bajir. The second voice was human. And the weird thing was, that voice sounded familiar. I tried to think. I knew I'd heard that voice somewhere. Where?
Where?

"Just save the head," the human told the Hork-Bajir. "Bring that to me and we can identify it."

Yikes.

quote:

I slid quickly along the wall.

The light followed just steps behind me.

I racked my brains. Had there been a passageway . . . ? Yes, there it was. As silently as I could, I slipped into it. The flashlight beam was just inches behind me.
I kicked something soft.

"Hey!"

It was a man! He had been lying on the ground, wrapped in a blanket.

"Hey, get outta here. This is my place, and I ain't got nothin' for you to steal."

I started to warn him, but one of the Hork-Bajir was there!

The flashlight landed on the homeless man's face. He blinked like an owl.

There was an alcove. Right behind me. I backed through.

The homeless guy screamed. I heard the sound of a scuffle.

Maybe the guy got away. I hope so.

But I never found out, because with the Hork-Bajir distracted, I ran.

I ran and ran and ran. And as I ran, I really hoped it was all just a dream.

So that's one innocent down. (I'd be surprised if he got away)

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 03:58 on Mar 22, 2020

a neat cape
Feb 22, 2007


Elfangor dying seriously shook me as a ten year old. Re-reading it now brings back a mega nostalgia wave. We are literally six chapters into the series and the coolest person in the series so far just got Ate.

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Did our hero just leave an innocent homeless man to be brutally murdered as a distraction?


Scholastic published this?

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Gnoman posted:

Did our hero just leave an innocent homeless man to be brutally murdered as a distraction?


Scholastic published this?

Somehow it actually gets darker. I remember a later book where they morph into ants and get seriously hosed up in a fight with an ant colony, nearly dying and/or getting locked as ants forever, and Marco finds a decapitated ant head still with its jaws clamped around his hip in the shower later.

CidGregor
Sep 27, 2009

TG: if i were you i would just take that fucking devilbeast out behind the woodshed and blow its head off

Gnoman posted:

Did our hero just leave an innocent homeless man to be brutally murdered as a distraction?

Scholastic published this?

The 90s were a different time, man. Stuff that was ostensibly 'for kids' had some legit terrifying/disturbing parts. Even Disney poo poo. Hell, especially Disney poo poo. Looking at The Lion King through a modern lens, that kind of nazi-ish imagery and elaborate major character death scene would never fly with a G rating these days. Or the hot spicy racism of Pocahontas. Or the old man sexual predator vibes of Hunchback.

So yeah, Animorphs REALLY didn't pull any punches.

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a neat cape
Feb 22, 2007


Gnoman posted:

Did our hero just leave an innocent homeless man to be brutally murdered as a distraction?


Scholastic published this?

Jake is a true leader

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