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HIJK
Nov 25, 2012

People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.


Jake's entire thing is making cruel choices.

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Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


CidGregor posted:

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.

I was a kid in the early 90s. I remember major moral panics over far less than we've alrready seen here.

High Warlord Zog
Dec 12, 2012


Gnoman posted:

Scholastic published this?

I figure most of the "how did they get away with this" moments were down to a punishing release schedule made possible by a lack of editorial oversight. Also why the most of the books never rise above rough draft quality, which the series compensates for with wild rough draft ambition

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

High Warlord Zog posted:

I figure most of the "how did they get away with this" moments were down to a punishing release schedule made possible by a lack of editorial oversight. Also why the most of the books never rise above rough draft quality, which the series compensates for with wild rough draft ambition

Yeah, their turnaround time was straight up like probably 3 weeks because they had to get them out on a monthly basis. It was the primary reason Applegate and Grant hired all those ghostwriters, aside from them starting a family. Even with the two of them working their asses off, they were just barely keeping ahead of the train laying the tracks.

Also I think the base premise played a huge role in the deflection of suspicion. “90s Kids turn into animals and fight aliens” is all that most parents heard and they didn’t read the books themselves so they never got to all the physical brutality and psychological horror. It was the ultimate literary Trojan horse.

Though as Applegate and Grant diverged and began their own separate careers the twin strands of Animorphs’ DNA pulled apart from each other. Applegate wrote emotionally gripping stories about animals, and Grant wrote wrenching books about teenagers being horribly violent and the mental scars that violence leaves.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



nine-gear crow posted:

Yeah, their turnaround time was straight up like probably 3 weeks because they had to get them out on a monthly basis. It was the primary reason Applegate and Grant hired all those ghostwriters, aside from them starting a family. Even with the two of them working their asses off, they were just barely keeping ahead of the train laying the tracks.

Also I think the base premise played a huge role in the deflection of suspicion. “90s Kids turn into animals and fight aliens” is all that most parents heard and they didn’t read the books themselves so they never got to all the physical brutality and psychological horror. It was the ultimate literary Trojan horse.

Though as Applegate and Grant diverged and began their own separate careers the twin strands of Animorphs’ DNA pulled apart from each other. Applegate wrote emotionally gripping stories about animals, and Grant wrote wrenching books about teenagers being horribly violent and the mental scars that violence leaves.

To be fair, Applegate herself straight up told people after the series ended that the Animorphs were terrorists. Terrorists the reader probably agrees with, but that's what they became by the end.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

nine-gear crow posted:

Yeah, their turnaround time was straight up like probably 3 weeks because they had to get them out on a monthly basis. It was the primary reason Applegate and Grant hired all those ghostwriters, aside from them starting a family. Even with the two of them working their asses off, they were just barely keeping ahead of the train laying the tracks.

I haven't really gotten into it so far, but I think that the trigger for the ghost writers was that, in 1999, Applegate and Grant, entered into another contract with Scholastic for another book series called "Everworld", about these teenagers are sucked into an alternate world and forced to fight the gods, especially the god Loki, who's trying to take over our world. That series started in 1999, which is when Animorphs started being ghostwritten. But you're right that the publication schedule for Animorphs was crazy, when you consider they published 64 books over the course of five years, or an average of about one a month.

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

Epicurius posted:

I haven't really gotten into it so far, but I think that the trigger for the ghost writers was that, in 1999, Applegate and Grant, entered into another contract with Scholastic for another book series called "Everworld", about these teenagers are sucked into an alternate world and forced to fight the gods, especially the god Loki, who's trying to take over our world. That series started in 1999, which is when Animorphs started being ghostwritten. But you're right that the publication schedule for Animorphs was crazy, when you consider they published 64 books over the course of five years, or an average of about one a month.

Having read the first Everworld, you can tell right off the bat how much more their hearts were in that universe than they ever were in Animorphs and you can easily see the DNA of what would become Gone all over it. I might be wrong but I think to this day they’re both still pretty burned that Everworld (and Remnants for that matter) never become anything more than an also-ran to Animorphs.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

nine-gear crow posted:

Having read the first Everworld, you can tell right off the bat how much more their hearts were in that universe than they ever were in Animorphs and you can easily see the DNA of what would become Gone all over it. I might be wrong but I think to this day they’re both still pretty burned that Everworld (and Remnants for that matter) never become anything more than an also-ran to Animorphs.

How was Everworld, or at least what you read?

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 7

quote:

Somehow I made it home. I don't know how. I have no memories of anything after that last sight of the Hork-Bajir.

I wish I had no memories of anything that happened that night. If only I could forget it all . . .

I called around to the others. Everyone was shaky, but they were all alive. Rachel kept trying to apologize for leaving me. Marco just kept asking me if I was sure this wasn't a dream. I guess I should have had the worst nightmares of my life that night, but I didn't. The world of nightmares was a joke compared to my new reality.

But by the next morning, a Saturday, I half believed it all had been a nightmare. The onlything that seemed real . . . really real . . . was the way the Andalite had of smiling with just his eyes.

I woke when my mom started pounding on my door. "Jake, are you awake in there?"

I was now. "Um, yeah," I groaned. "I'm up."

"Your friend Tobias is here,"

"Tobias?" What was Tobias doing here?

"It's me." Tobias's voice. "Can I come in?"

"Um, sure." I sat up in my bed and blinked several times, trying to get my eyes unglued. The door opened. I heard Tobias say thank you to my mom.

He was glowing. I swear, he was glowing. Not like he was radioactive or anything, I don't mean that. It's just that his eyes were shining bright, and his face was one big grin, and he seemed to be tingling with energy, bouncing like he couldn't standstill.

"I did it," Tobias said.

I tried to get my hair to go in one direction by raking my fingers through it. "What are you talking about?"

I was yawning when he answered.

"I became Dude."

I stopped yawning. My mouth actually snapped shut. Dude is Tobias's cat. "Huh?"

Tobias glanced around like there might be spies in the room. "I became Dude. Just like the Andalite said."

Putting aside the fact that the kid named his cat Dude, this is, with the exception of Visser-3, the first actual morphing in the book (albeit one not actually seen by us)

quote:

I just stared.

"It was so amazing. It didn't hurt or anything. I was petting him, and thinking about the whole thing last night, right? So I thought, why not give it a try?" He was pacing back and forth, snapping his fingers, bursting with enthusiasm. Very unlike Tobias.

"I didn't even know how to begin. So I just made sure the door to my room was locked. Fortunately, my uncle was still asleep."

Tobias has the most screwed-up family I know. He never knew who his father was, and his mom just decided to leave him a few years ago. Since then he'd been shuttled back and forth between his uncle here, and his aunt, who lives on the other coast. His aunt and his uncle can't stand each other, and it's like Tobias is some burden they each try to shove off on the other. I get the feeling neither of them cares about Tobias.

Tobias's family situation is, as we'll see, probably the least stable of all of them.

quote:

"So there I was, just sitting on my bed, thinking about it. Concentrating. Thinking about becoming Dude. I looked down at my hand." He grinned at me. "What do you think I saw, Jake?"

I shook my head slowly. "I don't know."

"I had fur, Jake. And I was growing claws. You should have seen the real Dude. He went nuts. I had to put him outside before I could morph all the way. He clawed me up pretty good." Tobias stuck a sliced finger into his mouth.

I swallowed hard. Okay, this was definitely crazy now. "Um, Tobias, is it possible you maybe just dreamed all this?"

"Not a dream," he said. Now he was serious Tobias again. The grin was gone. "It's all true, Jake. All of it."

His eyes met mine. I knew what he was saying. He had tried to pretend it was all a nightmare, too. But it was real. I looked away. I didn't want to start believing it had all been real. I wanted it all safely stored away in my head, just another bad dream. Bad dreams should stay in your head, not come jumping out into real life.

"I just kept concentrating on changing," Tobias said, "and in a few minutes, I was . . . not myself anymore."

His eyes bored in on me. "You have no idea what it's like, Jake. Being a cat is so . . . it's . . . I can't even describe it. You're so strong, for one thing. Just all this coiled power, and the way you can move! You know what I did? I jumped onto my dresser Three feet straight up in the air, and I landed like a feather. Three feet! You know how high that is when you're a cat? It's like a person jumping maybe thirty feet straight up."

He stopped suddenly and looked at me. "You don't believe me, do you?" he said.

"Look, Tobias, it's just that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between something real and something you're just imagining or dreaming."

"You think I'm crazy."

I considered for a minute. "I don't know, Tobias, let's review the facts. You say you turned into your own pet cat. Turned into an actual cat. Yes, I have to say that sounds crazy to me."

Tobias nodded thoughtfully. He gave a little smile. "I understand, Jake. You still don't want it to be true."

"What? You mean do I want to believe that you can change yourself into a cat? And all the rest of it? Do I wanted believe that Earth is being invaded by slimy slugs who live in people's brains and turn them into slaves? Do I want to believe that . . . that . . . Duh! No! I don't want to believe any of it."

"And how about the Andalite?" he asked in a quiet voice.

I hesitated. I don't know why, but I didn't want to just pretend the Andalite away.

it's kind of interesting that, for the short time he interacted with Jake, Prince Elfangor is the one part of the memory of last night that sort of anchors Jake to what happened. He's the one good experience of that night.

quote:

Tobias put his hand on my arm. "Stand right there."

"What? What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to help you decide whether it's real or not."

"Tobias . . . "

"Just wait And don't scream or anything."

So I waited.

For a few seconds, nothing happened. Tobias just stood there. I glanced at his face. His eyes . . . his eyes were different. The pupils weren't completely round anymore. I swear there was a reflective greenish light in them. And his mouth was protruding a little, puffing out. He was shrinking. Growing smaller right before my eyes.

The neck of his shirt was loose. His pants started scrunching up at the ankles. He was shriveling. And at the same time fur - yes, fur! - began to grow on his hands and neck and face. It was gray, striped with black, just like Dude's.

I had this absurd desire to start giggling. Tobias was becoming a tabby cat! But I knew if I started giggling I'd just keep on and on and never, ever be able to stop.

Tobias was more cat than human now. The pointed ears rose atop his head. The whiskers stuck straight out from beneath his delicate pink nose. He had dropped to all fours, clothing now half-draped over him, like so many rags. His tail twitched. Yes - his tail.

I wondered if I would just drop dead from the lump that had filled my throat, or from the jack-hammer pounding of my heart. Then I wondered if I was still asleep.

But if it was a dream, it was a really convincing one.

I was standing there in my bedroom, staring down at a gray-black cat that less than two minutes earlier had been my friend, Tobias.

And there's the first actual morph.

Also, here's a picture of an Andalite. How much does it look like the description?

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 01:35 on Mar 25, 2020

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Epicurius posted:


it's kind of interesting that, for the short time he interacted with Jake, Prince Elfangor is the one part of the memory of last night that sort of anchors Jake to what happened. He's the one good experience of that night.


It makes sense to me. Everything else is horrifying, or just so out there that it is simply hard to wrap your head around. Elfangor's death, on the other hand, is tragic, but extremely noble - he sacrificed everything to give them a chance.

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

Epicurius posted:

How was Everworld, or at least what you read?

Pretty good, honestly. It’s clearly aimed for an older audience than Animorphs, as its over all tone is much darker than even Animorphs gets at its worst. It tackles a lot of very mature poo poo right off the bat like racism, toxic masculinity, sexual abuse, violence for the sake of survival. It’s very un-Animorphs in terms of its character dynamics. There’s still the witty banter, but a couple members of the core group literally hate one another, in some cases for very petty reasons, so there’s always this uncomfortable tension that grinds the group dynamic even when they make progress. Moreover, one of their core members is basically like Xellos from Slayers in that they are being actively evil and corrosive to the goals of the group and there’s not a drat thing the others can do to stop them.

If you’re expecting it to be More Animorphs, you’re in for one hell of a whiplash, but I think it stands on its own really well and it was kind of a shame that it basically got kneecapped by Scholastic when it was clear that it was never going to be More Animorphs.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

nine-gear crow posted:

Pretty good, honestly. It’s clearly aimed for an older audience than Animorphs, as its over all tone is much darker than even Animorphs gets at its worst. It tackles a lot of very mature poo poo right off the bat like racism, toxic masculinity, sexual abuse, violence for the sake of survival. It’s very un-Animorphs in terms of its character dynamics. There’s still the witty banter, but a couple members of the core group literally hate one another, in some cases for very petty reasons, so there’s always this uncomfortable tension that grinds the group dynamic even when they make progress. Moreover, one of their core members is basically like Xellos from Slayers in that they are being actively evil and corrosive to the goals of the group and there’s not a drat thing the others can do to stop them.

If you’re expecting it to be More Animorphs, you’re in for one hell of a whiplash, but I think it stands on its own really well and it was kind of a shame that it basically got kneecapped by Scholastic when it was clear that it was never going to be More Animorphs.

Do you think it was partly a marketing thing? Scholastic sells a lot of their books through their Scholastic Book Clubs, which market pretty heavily to elementary schoolers, even having book fairs and mail-order opportunities in schools, and if this was aimed for an older audience, it cuts off an easy sales opportunity.

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 01:14 on Mar 23, 2020

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

Epicurius posted:

Do you think it was partly a marketing thing? Scholastic sells a lot of their books through their Scholastic Book Clubs, which market pretty heavily to elementary schoolers, even having book fairs and mail-order opportunities in schools, and if this was aimed for an older audience, it cuts off an easy sales opportunity.

Perhaps? I suppose there's any number of factors for why it didn't take off as well as it could have. This exchange from an AMA is incredibly telling:

quote:

Q. The Everworld series was probably my favorite thing to read as a teenager. It seems like it would be the perfect material for a movie and or series. Has there been any interest shown in that regard?

katherineapplegate: Thanks. You and six other people. No Hollywood love yet. It's all complicated and controlled by Scholastic.

Q. Was the series not popular? I figured the blend of mythology, magic and aliens would appeal to a large audience.

katherineapplegate: No, it died a painful (and not very slow) death.

Another big factor in Everworld imploding was it was just too much for Applegate and Grant in terms of workload. Between Animorphs ending and Remnants starting, it was just kind of... there, and was the messy collateral damage between those two gravity wells colliding.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 8

quote:

"I hope I'm asleep," I muttered. "I really do."

<You're not asleep.>

"Is that you?" I demanded of the cat.

<Can you hear me?> Tobias sounded surprised. Although "sounded" wasn't quite the right word.

"Yes," I said cautiously.

<I did not know I could send thoughts like this,> Tobias said. <Just like the Andalite.>

"I guess it only works when you're . . . morphed."

I am talking to a cat! I realized. And I thought Tobias was crazy?

I wondered if Tobias had heard my thought. I concentrated. Tobias, can you hear me?

<Yeah,> he said. <I hear you.>

"Did you hear my thoughts before that?" I asked.

<No. I don't think it works that way. You have to think at me for me to hear. Hey, watch this.>

Suddenly Tobias leaped through the air. He pounced precisely on an autographed baseball that was lying in the corner. Maybe a four-foot jump.

Yep, he did it. He's a cat. Morphing also gives him telepathy, which, I guess you can rationalize as the Andalites realizing they still need to be able to talk to each other when morphed. (Of course, the real reason is that they need some way for the heroes to talk to each other in animal form.)

quote:

<That is so excellent! Hey, pull a string for me to chase.>

"Pull a string? Why?"

<Because it's so fun!>

I dug in my desk drawer and found a length of string left over from a birthday gift. I'm not exactly big on keeping my room clean. The string was from a birthday two years ago, "How's this?" I drew the string slowly across the floor, a foot or more from Tobias's nose. He settled back on his haunches and began wiggling his hindquarters. He pounced! He landed on the string, grabbed it in his sharp teeth, rolled over, and began ripping at the string like it was the only thing on Earth that mattered.

I tried pulling the string away, but he pounced again.

<Yes! Got it!>

"Tobias, what are you doing?"

<Pull it faster! I see it! I got it!>

"Tobias, what are you doing?" I shouted. "You're playing with a string!"

Suddenly he stopped. His tail twitched. He looked up at me with those cold cat eyes, but I'm sure I saw a look of confusion there.

<I . . . I don't know,> he admitted. <It's like . . . like I'm me, but I'm also Dude. I want to chase strings, and oh man, if only there was a real, live mouse around! I'd really love to track it. To follow it so quietly. To listen to its heartbeat. To hear its scratchy little feet. I'd wait till just the right moment, and then a perfect pounce through the air, claws stretched out . . . > He extended his claws to demonstrate.

"Tobias, I think we're learning something here," I said. Amazing, how quickly I was becoming used to the idea of talking to a cat.

<What? What are we learning?>

"I think you aren't just Tobias. You really are a cat. I mean, you have all the same instincts. You want to do the things a cat wants to do."

<Yes. I can feel it. It's like I'm two different animals melded into one. I can think like a person and like a cat>

This sets up a bunch of potential if the books want to go this way, with the question of "what does it mean to become another species?" What happens if the transformed characters' human rationality leads them one way and the animal instinct leads them another? Can you control the morph?


quote:

"You'd better change back," I said.

He nodded his cat head up and down. Very weird to see, I can tell you - a cat nodding yes in a thoughtful, normal way.

<You're right.>

The change back to human form was at least as strange as the change to cat. The fur disappeared, leaving bare patches of pink skin behind. A nose grew out of the flat cat face. The tail was sucked up like a snake going up a vacuum cleaner.

Tobias stood there, looking embarrassed. He quickly pulled on his clothes. "Maybe with some practice we can figure out how to change back into our clothes."

Could be a handy thing to learn, yes. Of course, as we saw, the Andalites don't wear clothes, so it was never an issue for them.

quote:

"We?"

He smiled his gentle smile again. "Don't you get it yet, Jake? If I can do it, so can you."

I shook my head. "I don't think so, Tobias."

Suddenly he grew angry. He grabbed me by both my shoulders and actually shook me. "Don't you understand, Jake? It's all true. All of it."

I pushed him away. I didn't want to hear it.

But he kept after me. "Jake, it's all true. The Andalite gave us these powers for a reason."

"Fine," I snapped. "You use them."

"I will," he said. "But we'll need you, Jake. You most of all."

"Why me?"

He hesitated. "Geez, Jake, don't you understand? I know what I can do and what I can't do. I can't make plans and tell people what to do. I'm not the leader. You are."

I laughed rudely. "I'm not the leader of anything."

He just looked at me with those deep, troubled eyes - eyes I can now see only in my memory.

"Yes, Jake, you are our leader. You are the one who can bring us all together and help us defeat the Controllers. We have the ability to be much more than we are, to have the stealth of a cat, and . . . and the eyes of eagles, and the sense of smell of a dog, and . . . and the speed of a horse or a cheetah. We're going to need it all, if we have any hope of holding out against the Controllers,"

I wanted it not to be true. I wanted none of it to be true.

But I knew that it was.

I nodded slowly. It felt like I was agreeing to something awful. Like I was volunteering for a trip to the dentist or something much worse. It felt like a million pounds of weight had just
landed on my shoulders.
I knew what I had to do next.

"Well," I said grimly. "I guess I'd better go find Homer."

Homer. That's my dog.

And we know what Homer would say...

But yea, Jake is their leader.

There was a 26 episode Canadian TV show based on the books that aired on YTV and Global in Canada and Nickelodeon in the US from 1998 to 2000. It was, from what I heard, fairly good.

Jake was played by Shawn Ashmore, who's most famous for playing Bobby Drake/Iceman in the first three X-Men movies. He's still acting. He does some television and voice acting in video games, and was in a really bad Bruce Willis movie in 2018 called "Acts of Violence".

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 01:35 on Mar 25, 2020

biracial bear for uncut
Jun 9, 2009

ask me about being the most obnoxious person of all time

He's currently in The Rookie with Nathan Fillion as a hilariously badly written lawyer, too.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 9

quote:

It isn't painful. Morphing, I mean.

I petted Homer for a while, feeling like a complete and total fool. "This is the stupidest thing I have ever done," I told Tobias.

"Look, you have to concentrate. At least, I did, I mean, I formed this mental picture of Dude, right? I thought about becoming him."

"I see. So I have to, like, meditate on becoming a dog."

"That's right. You have to think about it. You have to want it."

Normally I would have figured he was nuts. But I had just seen him turn into a cat. So if he was nuts, so was I.

I thought about becoming Homer. As I stroked his fur I formed a picture in my mind of me becoming Homer. Homer became weirdly quiet while I did it. Like he was asleep, only his eyes were open.

"Just like Dude," Tobias commented. "I think the process kind of puts the animal in a trance or something."

"He's just scared because he thinks his master is a looney tune." I continued stroking Homer's fur and concentrating, and Homer continued to lie very still. "Okay, now what?" I asked Tobias.

"Now we better put Homer outside. He might get slightly freaked by watching you turn into him."

It took Homer about ten seconds to come out of his trance. But then he jumped up, normal, hyperactive Homer again. I put him outside in the yard.

Ok, so he just absorbed his dog. It probably makes sense, the trance thing. You don't want to be sitting there meditating while you're poking an angry tiger.

quote:

Tobias was sitting patiently when I got back, just waiting. "Give it a try," he urged me. "Think about it. Want it."

I took a deep breath. I closed my eyes. I recalled the picture of Homer I'd formed in my mind. I thought about becoming Homer.

I opened my eyes. "Bow wow," I said, laughing. "Guess it didn't work for me, Tobias."

The back of my hand itched and I scratched it.

"Jake?" Tobias said.

"What?"

"Look at your hand."

I looked at my hand. It was covered with orange fur.

I jumped about a foot, straight up in the air. "Ohh! Ohh!" I stared at my hand. The fur had stopped growing.

"Don't be scared," Tobias advised, "Go with it. Now you've stopped the morph. You have to concentrate."

"My hand!" I said. "Fur!"

"Yeah, and your ears . . . " Tobias said.

I ran to the mirror over my dresser. My ears had moved. They had slid up the side of my head, and were definitely larger than they should be.

"Go on, it's so cool!" Tobias said.

"Cool? It's . . . it's . . . creepy. It's weird. It's . . . I mean, look at my hands! I have fur!"

So morphing takes a deliberate act of will, which means, theoretically, if you stop concentrating you can, I guess, be stuck in the middle of a morph.

quote:

"You have to do this," Tobias said.

"I don't have to do anything," I said sullenly.

Tobias nodded. "Okay, you're right. You don't have to do this. You can just forget what we saw last night. And forget what we know. And as the Yeerks take over more and more people, you can just ignore it. We can all just go along and grow up in a world where human beings are nothing but bodies to be used by murdering aliens."

Okay, when he put it that way it didn't sound like a great option.

"Come on," Tobias urged.

I swallowed hard. I closed my eyes. I thought of Homer. Of being Homer.

I felt the itch mess again, and when I opened my eyes, there was fur growing on my arms. And fur growing out of my face. And fur curling up from under my collar. My legs itched and I realized they were growing fur, too. My bones . . . well, they didn't exactly hurt, but they did feel very strange. You know when you go to the dentist and he gives you Novocaine so the drill doesn't really hurt, but you know it should hurt? I guess that's what it's like.

My bones shortened. I could feel my backbone stretching as it extended out into a tail. There was a scraping sound as my knees suddenly reversed direction. I toppled forward, no longer able to walk upright.

When my hands hit the floor they weren't exactly hands anymore. The fingers were gone. All that was left were short, stubby nails.

My face bulged out. My eyes drew closer together.

Tobias got up and tilted the mirror down so I could see myself.

I watched the final transformation as the last patches of my pink human flesh disappeared.

And the tail - my tail - sprouted to its full length.

And the transformation is done. I do sort of like the details of how morphing feels.

quote:

I was a dog. It was insane. But just the same. I was a dog.

I knew I should be scared by all this, only I wasn't. I was ecstatic. I was giddy. I was thrilled. Happiness just washed over me, Happiness filled me up.

I breathed in through my ridiculously long nose and wow! Wow! The smells. Oh, man, you have no idea! I breathed in and right away I knew my mom was toasting a waffle in the kitchen. And I knew Tobias had walked through the territory of a big male dog. And I knew things I couldn't even explain in human words. It was like being blind all your life and then
suddenly you can see.

I ran over to Tobias and sniffed his shoe. I wanted a better idea of who that big male dog was. From the scent of his urine picked up by Tobias's shoe I got a sort of picture of him. See, Homer knew him. His owners called him Streak. He was neutered, like me. He spent most of his time in his yard, but he broke out sometimes by digging under his fence. He got a mix of
canned and dry food, Purina. No table scraps, unlike me. All this information made me happy all over again, and I had to wag my tail. I looked up at Tobias. He looked tall and strange and not very colorful, I wasn't all that interested in looking at stuff. Smelling things was way better.

INTRUDER!

There was a noise in the yard. A dog! An unknown dog in MY yard. An INTRUDER! I ran to the window and perched against it and cut loose.

"Rrrawf! Rrawf rrawf! rrawfrrawfrrawfrrawf!"

I barked as loud as I could. No WAY some unknown dog was just going to walk through MY yard.

"Jake, get a grip," Tobias said. "That's Homer out there."

Homer? What? But I was . . .

I tucked my tail between my legs. What was going on?

"Jake, listen to me," Tobias said. "It's just what happened to me when I morphed into a cat. The dog brain is part of your brain now. You have to deal with it."

<But . . . there's a dog in MY yard.>

"That's Homer, Jake. You are Jake. You're just in a body copied from Homer's DNA. That's the real Homer out there. You put him out there. Focus. You are Jake. Jake."

I took several deep breaths. The smells! Oh, boy, there was this one smell I couldn't quite -

Focus, Jake! I ordered myself. Focus!

Slowly I calmed the dog part of my mind.

Let go of the smells. Let go of the sound of a dog out in your yard.

It wasn't easy, that first time. Being a dog is so completely amazing. For one thing, there's nothing halfway about it. You're never sort of happy. You're HAPPY! You're never sort of bummed. You're totally, completely bummed. And boy, when you get hungry in dog form, you are nuts on the subject of food.

Again, we're seeing the idea that becoming an animal means you actually become that animal, and its identity and desires are laid over your own, so it's another conscious act of will to master it. And, yea, full emotion does seem to be a dog's go to thing. Dogs tend to be either really happy, really sad, or really angry.

quote:

There was a knock on my bedroom door. Yes, my bedroom door. I knew who I was again. I was Jake. Jake with four legs, a tail and a snout, but Jake.

The knocking seemed incredibly loud to my dog ears.

"Jake, you got Homer in there with you?" My brother Tom's voice. "Mom's on the phone, stop him yapping - "

He opened the door and stepped in. He looked around, confused.

"Who are you?" he demanded of Tobias.

"I'm Tobias. I'm a friend of Jake's."

"Well, where is he?"

"Oh . . . he's around," Tobias said.

Tom looked down at me. There was a strange smell about him. My dog brain couldn't quite identify it. It was an unsettling, dangerous smell. And somehow, in my own mind, I heard the echo of a laugh. A very human laugh I had heard the night before as Visser Three swallowed the Andalite whole.

"Bad dog," Tom said to me. "You keep quiet. Bad dog." And then he left.

I was devastated. I wasn't a bad dog. Not really. I was just barking because some other dog was in MY yard. Bad dog? I was a bad dog? No, I wanted to be a good dog. I crept into the corner, utterly miserable.

Tobias knelt down and patted my head.

When he scratched me behind the ears, I felt a little better.

Jake's a good dog. Also, we meet Tom, and Tom has a "strange smell about him", and also he hears an echo of the laugh that he had heard while amongst the Yeerks. Hmm. I wonder where the author is subtly going with this.

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

Tom is a perfectly fine upstanding young man and I won't have his name besmirched in this thread. Clearly Jake is just biased because he sucks at basketball while Tom is awesome at it.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

nine-gear crow posted:

Tom is a perfectly fine upstanding young man and I won't have his name besmirched in this thread. Clearly Jake is just biased because he sucks at basketball while Tom is awesome at it.

No human could be so good at basketball.

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Okay, this took a distressing turn.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





nine-gear crow posted:

Pretty good, honestly. It’s clearly aimed for an older audience than Animorphs, as its over all tone is much darker than even Animorphs gets at its worst. It tackles a lot of very mature poo poo right off the bat like racism, toxic masculinity, sexual abuse, violence for the sake of survival. It’s very un-Animorphs in terms of its character dynamics. There’s still the witty banter, but a couple members of the core group literally hate one another, in some cases for very petty reasons, so there’s always this uncomfortable tension that grinds the group dynamic even when they make progress. Moreover, one of their core members is basically like Xellos from Slayers in that they are being actively evil and corrosive to the goals of the group and there’s not a drat thing the others can do to stop them.

If you’re expecting it to be More Animorphs, you’re in for one hell of a whiplash, but I think it stands on its own really well and it was kind of a shame that it basically got kneecapped by Scholastic when it was clear that it was never going to be More Animorphs.

Yeah I really loved Everworld. It's not More Animorphs but if you like Animorphs there's a big chance you'll like it as the more adult version of Animorphs. But despite that, it's more adult in a good way.

And I actually legitimately like the whole "the characters don't all get along at all" group dynamic a lot.

Soup du Jour
Sep 8, 2011

I always knew I'd die with a headache.


Animorphs rules and I’m excited to follow this thread and yell about it with you folks.

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..."



I wish we had more time inside the mind of a Good Boy

SardonicTyrant
Feb 26, 2016

BTICH IM A NEWT
熱くなれ夢みた明日を
必ずいつかつかまえる
走り出せ振り向くことなく
&





Radio Free Kobold posted:

I wish we had more time inside the mind of a Good Boy
Scholastic apparently thought having the two weirdest kids being regular narrators was too much and that readers wouldn't like them lol.

OctaviusBeaver
Apr 30, 2009

Say what now?

So this is really nitpicky but since we already discussed plot holes a little, I had never noticed this:


quote:

"I had fur, Jake. And I was growing claws. You should have seen the real Dude. He went nuts. I had to put him outside before I could morph all the way. He clawed me up pretty good." Tobias stuck a sliced finger into his mouth.

We learn later that morphing heals you so if Tobias got cut while morphing into a cat his finger cut should have healed when he transformed back. Which raises the question of why Elfangor didn't just morph something and run away and then be healed completely when he morphs back. I don't remember if the morph healing thing comes up in this book or if it's something she comes up with later.


Anyway I'm a big fan of these books, looking forward to this.

Silver2195
Apr 4, 2012


OctaviusBeaver posted:

So this is really nitpicky but since we already discussed plot holes a little, I had never noticed this:




We learn later that morphing heals you so if Tobias got cut while morphing into a cat his finger cut should have healed when he transformed back. Which raises the question of why Elfangor didn't just morph something and run away and then be healed completely when he morphs back. I don't remember if the morph healing thing comes up in this book or if it's something she comes up with later.


Anyway I'm a big fan of these books, looking forward to this.

In the case of Tobias, It’s probably psychological. He must have imagined himself still injured when he transformed back.

As for Elfangor...we’re expected to believe he’s in too much pain to morph, I guess...but not too much pain to deliver exposition.

Edit: Or maybe he didn’t want to be taken alive and turned into a Controller. Even a healthy Elfangor probably didn’t have much chance of winning in that situation.

Silver2195 fucked around with this message at 00:17 on Mar 26, 2020

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 10

quote:

I called all the others on the phone after I got done morphing back into my normal body. Tobias took off on his own, saying he'd hook up with us later at Cassie's farm. I was on the kitchen phone with Cassie when Tom came in.

"Oh, there you are," he said.

I covered the mouthpiece. "Yeah. Tobias said you were looking for me before."

"I just wanted you to shut your dog up," Tom said. He turned a chair around backward and straddled it.

I hesitated. For some reason I didn't want to talk to Cassie with Tom listening in. "I'll just see you there in a couple hours, okay?" I told Cassie. I hung up.

Ok, so we're finally going to meet Tom, who we've heard a lot of, and who's so far just told a dog to shut up.

quote:

I looked over at Tom. He's bigger than me, even though I'm not exactly small. His hair is darker, almost black, while mine is brown.

I had always trusted him. He wasn't like a lot of guys who pound on their younger brother. We were always kind of close. At least, until the last year or so. Somehow we just weren't spending as much time together. Partly it was that he was involved in this club called The Sharing. They did all this stuff together, so he was busy a lot of the time.

The thing is, Tom should have been the very first person I told about all the stuff that had happened. But as I was sitting there watching him munch toast, I just had this feeling. This feeling that said No, this has to be a secret. Even from Tom.

Instead I told him the other thing I was afraid to tell him.

"I, uh . . . I didn't make the team," I said.

"What team?" he asked. He looked puzzled.

"What team? The basketball team. Your old team."

"Oh. Too bad," he said.

"Too bad?" I repeated. I could not believe how little he seemed to care.

"It's just sports," he said. He munched another big bite of toast.

"Just sports?" I couldn't stop repeating what he said. Tom, saying sports were no big deal? No way. He lived for sports. "Yeah, I guess I just don't have your total skill."

He shrugged. "Well, I quit the team, anyway. A couple days ago."

I practically fell off my chair. "You quit! You quit the team? And you didn't even talk to me about it? What's the deal?"

"I didn't say anything because I knew you and Dad would make a big thing of it. Look, there are more important things than throwing balls through hoops," he said. He had this mysterious look in his eyes. I figured he meant girls were the more important thing. "Besides," he added, "we do much cooler stuff at The Sharing. Maybe you should join up."

I was stunned. Obviously, Tom and I were further apart than I had realized.

So one of the themes of the series is paranoia. At the beginning, Jake warns that the Yeerks can be anybody, even somebody you know, even somebody you trust, somebody you love. But at the same time, the tragedy and the fear is that you don't know. And that's what you're seeing in this scene. Last chapter, Jake detected something off about Tom, and now, Tom's not acting the way he's "supposed to". He doesn't care that Jake didn't make the basketball team, he's no longer interested in the game, he's into this new club called "The Sharing".
But, the thing is, you don't know. Tom could be a Controller host, but there are also plenty of other reasons that he could be acting this way. Maybe it's a girl, like Jake thinks. Maybe the Shining is a cult. Maybe it's drugs. And it's the not knowing that's frightening.


quote:

When we were done talking, I headed outside to mow the lawn. I mow the lawn every Saturday. It's my major chore. That, and taking out the trash, which I hate, because we have to do all this recycling stuff.

That last line comes across as really 90s to me. Remember the days before single stream recycling, where you had one container for newspapers, and one for cardboard, and one for metal, and one for glass, and one for plastic?

quote:

When I was finally done mowing and trimming and raking, I hopped on my bike and took
off.

I had arranged with everyone to hook up at Cassie's farm. It isn't exactly a normal farm, although it had been in the old days. And they do still have horses and a cow. But now the big red main barn is the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic. Cassie's father runs it. They take in any kind of injured animal except pet-type animals, There are always lots of birds, along with squirrels and deer and skunks and so on. Sometimes they get a bobcat or a fox or even a wolf. Cassie's mom is a vet, too, but she works at The Gardens. That's this huge amusement park that also has a zoo - or I guess they call it a wildlife park. Luckily, Cassie really loves animals. It would have been hard, having her parents, if she didn't really love animals.

Me, I have a dog. Tobias has a cat. Cassie has everything from porcupines to polar bears.

By the time I got there, Marco, Tobias, and Rachel were already waiting outside the barn. Rachel had her face turned up to catch the tanning rays of the sun. Cassie wasn't there yet. I figured she was doing chores. She had tons of work to do around there.

Which is pretty handy for people who need immediate access to animals to morph into.

quote:

"Hey, guys," I said.

Rachel opened her eyes and immediately thrust a newspaper at me. "Look," she said, pointing to an article.

I started to read the article. It wasn't very long. It said that police claimed there had been a disturbance in the construction site the night before. It said several people had called, claiming they'd seen flying saucers landing there, followed by bright lights.

"Cool," I said, looking up. "So the cops know about it now. That's a relief."

"Keep reading," Rachel said.

The article went on to say that the police had arrived on the scene and found a group of teenagers playing with fireworks. The teenagers had run away. Fireworks were discovered at the scene.

The police spokesman had laughed at the reports of flying saucers. "It was just a bunch of kids playing where they shouldn't have been," he said. "There were definitely no flying saucers. People shouldn't be so quick to believe nonsense."

"But this is a total lie," I said.

"Ding ding ding ding! Correct answer. Johnny, tell our contestant what he's won," Marco said.

"Did you see the last part?" Rachel pressed.

I read the last sentence. It froze me up good, I can tell you. Police were offering a reward for information on the teenagers.

"They're looking for us," Marco said.

"Why would the police be . . . I mean, why would they lie?" I wondered aloud. But the answer was pretty obvious.

Marco laughed his sardonic laugh. "Let's see, Captain Brilliant - would it be because the cops are Controllers?"

"Probably not all the cops," Tobias pointed out.

ACAC? All cops are Controllers?

quote:

"If the police have been infiltrated by the Controllers, who knows how many others have, too?" Rachel asked. "Teachers? People in the government? The newspapers and the TV?"

"Math teachers, for sure," Marco joked.

We all looked around nervously, like we expected to find ourselves surrounded by Controllers.

Can't trust anybody. Especially math teachers

quote:

"I tried to tell myself it was all a dream," Rachel said.

"Been there," I said.

For a while no one said anything. We all felt the same terrible feeling - like we were all alone.

Like suddenly we were dealing with stuff that was way, way, way over our heads.

Marco spoke first. "Look, why do we have to deal with this? I say we just forget it. We never talk about it. We never morph. We just deal with our own lives."

Tobias and Rachel both looked at me. They were waiting for me to argue with Marco.

"Marco, I halfway agree with you - " I started to say.

Suddenly Marco just went ballistic. "We could get killed!" he yelled. "Don't you get it? You saw what happened to the Andalite. I mean, this is radical stuff, Jake. This is for real. Real! We could all get killed."

Tobias was looking at Marco with this sideways look, like he thought maybe Marco was some kind of coward. I knew better. Marco had his reasons.

Marco shook his head. In a quiet voice he said, "Look, I think these Controllers are jerks. But if something happened to me . . . my dad. He wouldn't be able to handle it."

Two years ago, Marco's mom died. She drowned. They never even found her body. Marco's dad lost it big time. He totally fell apart. He quit his job as an industrial engineer because he couldn't handle being around other people. Now he was working as a night janitor, making barely enough to support Marco. He spent his days sleeping or watching TV with the sound off.

"You can all think I'm a weasel if you want," Marco said. "I don't care. But if I get killed or something, my dad will flat-out die. He's only hanging in there because of me."

We had seen Tobias's tragedy earlier...mother dead, father missing, bounced around between aunt and uncle. Now we see Marco's. His mother's dead and his father's fallen apart. And it's interesting how these two characters tragedies lead them to completely opposite attitudes. Tobias has nobody who he cares about or cares about him. So he's gung ho about this...it gives him a reason to continue, it gives him a mission, a purpose, it gives him a family. Marco, it's the opposite, because its just his dad and him, and he feels a responsibility to his dad that takes up his life. So, he's got that sort of responsibility, which is consuming him.

quote:

I wondered if I should go pat him on the back or something. But if I had, Marco, being Marco, would have just said something sarcastic.

"There's Cassie," Rachel said, shielding her eyes and looking off across the open field. A horse, galloping across the green. Its black mane was flying in the warm breeze. I didn't see any rider.

The horse slowed, trotting closer, and suddenly I had a strange feeling about the horse.

"Cassie and I have been here for a while," Rachel said by way of explanation. "She's really good at this. Look how fast she can do it."

The horse nickered softly. Then the animal began to melt. The big brown eyes became slightly smaller. The long muzzle became a human mouth,

A thing that was part horse and part Cassie smiled at us with big horse teeth and said, "Hey, kids."

Marco suddenly sat down. Very hard. He had never seen a morphing.

"It's cool," I said, trying to sound very relaxed. "It's just Cassie."

I decided I'd better be a gentleman and look away. After all, when Tobias and I had morphed, we'd kind of morphed right out of our clothes. But I noticed that as Cassie emerged from the horse she was wearing a skintight blue outfit. One of those outfits girls wear to do aerobics.

I watched and saw something beautiful happen. For just a few seconds, she stayed half-horse and half-human. She reminded me of the Andalite. I realized it was deliberate. Cassie was controlling the way she morphed.

"Jeez, Rachel," I said. "You're right. Cassie is good."

Cassie is good. And she figured out away around the whole naked thing.

quote:

Suddenly we heard the sound of tires on gravel.

We all spun around. Down the gravel and dirt road came a single black-and-white car.

"The cops!" Tobias cried.

ACAC

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Epicurius posted:

We had seen Tobias's tragedy earlier...mother dead, father missing, bounced around between aunt and uncle. Now we see Marco's. His mother's dead and his father's fallen apart. And it's interesting how these two characters tragedies lead them to completely opposite attitudes. Tobias has nobody who he cares about or cares about him. So he's gung ho about this...it gives him a reason to continue, it gives him a mission, a purpose, it gives him a family. Marco, it's the opposite, because its just his dad and him, and he feels a responsibility to his dad that takes up his life. So, he's got that sort of responsibility, which is consuming him.

This is really neat. Having two characters get different outlooks from very similar traumas is something that not a lot of authors would do.

quote:


Cassie is good. And she figured out away around the whole naked thing.




Finally, something that I expect to see in a YA series!

King of Foolians
Mar 16, 2006
Long live the King!

OctaviusBeaver posted:

So this is really nitpicky but since we already discussed plot holes a little, I had never noticed this:




We learn later that morphing heals you so if Tobias got cut while morphing into a cat his finger cut should have healed when he transformed back. Which raises the question of why Elfangor didn't just morph something and run away and then be healed completely when he morphs back. I don't remember if the morph healing thing comes up in this book or if it's something she comes up with later.


Anyway I'm a big fan of these books, looking forward to this.

It is a little bit of a plot hole but I think that’s just because K. A. was still working out the rules of morphing in this book. It’s like when minor stuff changes from the pilot of a tv show.

Another example is Jake being able to thought-speak to Tobias our of morph, which as far as I know doesn’t happen again in this book or series.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Honestly, there are a bunch of inconsistencies in the books, and Applegate admits it. Her comment on the entire thing is “I do make mistakes from time to time, I'm afraid. I try not to, but on the other hand, it can be kind of a game for readers: Find the KASU. The Katherine Applegate Screw Up.” It's fair, I guess.Even the best edited books have errors, and these aren't the best edited books.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



The writing is pretty simple, but this book is already dealing with way heavier stuff than you would expect from it. "They never found the body" isn't an average sentence halfway through a kids' book.

Avalerion
Oct 19, 2012



It seems like if the andalites had just taught the yeerks how to morph, they wouldn't even need to be conquering and controlling other species in the first place huh. Probably a bad idea to give them that power since the yeerks so far seem like huge dicks, but it's a thought.

HIJK
Nov 25, 2012

People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.


The topic does come up later in the series fwiw

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Invasion-Chapter 11

quote:

"Cassie. Morph. Now!" I snapped. The police car was coming fast. "We do not want to have to explain a half-horse half-person."

"Which way should I morph?" Cassie wailed. "Horse or human?" She reared up slightly on her hind legs.

I knew what was happening. She was fighting the horse's urge to panic.

"Human, human, human!" I said. "Everybody, stand in front of her!"

The police car squealed to a stop, sending the gravel flying. A single policeman stepped out.

I waved at him.

"Morning," he said. "You kids, uh . . . hiding something?"

I wanted to look over my shoulder and see what kind of shape Cassie was in. But that would have been a mistake. "Hiding something?" I repeated.

"Step aside, all of you," he ordered.

We did, revealing Cassie. Fully human.

The policeman looked puzzled. But then he shrugged.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"Can we help you, officer?" Rachel asked in her best "responsible" voice.

"We're making some inquiries," he said, still looking at Cassie like something must be wrong with her. "We're looking for some kids who were shooting off fireworks in the construction site across from the mall last night."

Suddenly Marco started coughing.

"Something the matter with him?" the policeman asked.

"Nope," I said. "Nothing wrong with him."

"We want these kids," the policeman said. "We want them real bad. See, it was dangerous what they did. Could have been someone hurt. So we want to find the kids."

Suddenly I knew. He was one of them. The policeman was a Controller. I looked at his face. It seemed normal. But inside his head was a creature from another planet - an evil, parasitic slug. Just behind those normal, human-looking eyes, something vile lurked.

"I don't know anything about it," I lied.

He looked at me real close, and I began to sweat.

"Hey, you know what?" he said. "You look familiar. You look like a young man I know named Tom."

"He's my brother," I said. I was trying not to let my voice go weird. But I just couldn't forget the fact that it wasn't really some normal, human cop I was talking to. It was a Yeerk. This wasn't even a human anymore. Not really. It was a Human-Controller. The human brain was totally enslaved.

"Tom's your brother, eh? Well, he's a good kid. I know him from The Sharing. I'm one of the adult supervisors. Great group, The Sharing. You should come to a meeting."

"Yeah, um, Tom invited me already," I said.

"We have a lot of fun."

"Yeah," I repeated,

"Well, you call me if you hear anything about these kids in the construction site. I should warn you - they may come up with some wild story to conceal their guilt. But you're too smart to believe a bunch of crazy lies, aren't you?"

"He's a regular genius," Marco said.

Finally the policeman took off.

So this is just confirmation that the Yeerks are actively looking for the kids at the construction site...its not just a newspaper article with the promise of a reward.

quote:

"Okay, rule number one," Rachel announced firmly. "We don't do anything to attract attention. We have to be secret about everything. Especially morphing."

Cassie looked embarrassed. "Yeah, it was stupid of me. It's just, man! It is so amazing, running like that. Out in the open spaces, running and running."

"How did you manage to morph with clothing?" I asked. "When Tobias and I did it . . . well, let's just say it's a good thing neither of you girls was around."

"It took some practice," Cassie said, "And it can only be tight clothing. I tried it with a coat on. It got shredded. I don't know what we'll do in the winter."

And more information about morphing...you can morph with skintight clothing.

quote:

"That's not going to be a problem," Marco said firmly. "Because there isn't going to be any more morphing."

"Maybe Marco is right," Rachel said. "This is too big for us. We're just kids. We need to find someone important to tell this to. Someone we can trust,"

"We can't trust anyone," Tobias said flatly. "Anyone could be a Controller. We tell the wrong person, we are all dead. And the whole world will be doomed."

"I don't want to stop morphing," Cassie said. "Do you realize all we could do with this power? We could communicate with animals, maybe. Help save endangered species,"

"Humans may be the next endangered species, Cassie," Tobias said quietly.

"What do you say, Jake?" Cassie asked.

"Me?" I shrugged. "I don't know. Marco's right, we could all get killed. Rachel's right, this is too major for a bunch of kids." I hesitated. I didn't like what I was about to say. "But Tobias is right, too. I mean, the whole world is in danger. And we can't trust anyone."

"So, what do we do?" Rachel demanded.

"Hey, it's not up to me to decide," I said hotly.

"Let's take a vote," Rachel said.

"I vote we try to live long enough to get driver's licenses," Marco said.

"I vote we do what the Andalite said - fight," Tobias said.

"You've never even been in a fight," Marco sneered. "You can't handle the punks at school. Suddenly now you want to kick butt on that Visser Three freakazoid?"

Tobias said nothing, but a blush spread up his neck.

"I vote with Tobias," Rachel said, giving Marco a dirty look. "I wish we could dump all this on someone else. But we can't."

"Let's think it over for a while," Cassie said. "This is a big decision. I mean, it's not like we're deciding whether to wear jeans or a skirt."

I was relieved. Thank goodness for Cassie.

"Yeah, let's wait for a while," I agreed. "In the meantime, no one say anything to anyone. We just go back to normal life."

There was a smirk on Marco's face. He thought he'd won. But I wasn't so sure. Tobias was still blushing. He sent a secret, grateful look to Rachel.

While they are children's book protagonists, I think it's kind of good to see that they aren't just gung ho about the entire "Lets go on an adventure!" sort of thing. They're reluctant, which makes sense. I mean, I know I'd be.

quote:

Marco and I took off toward my house again, trying to act normal. We talked about the baseball season. We talked about who was going to slaughter who in Dead Zone 5, which is this CD game we were going to play on my computer.

By the time we'd reached my house, we'd run out of stuff to talk about.

We played Dead Zone for a while. Neither of us did very well. Face it, games just weren't all that interesting anymore. My mind was totally not there.

Tom came in after a while. "Hey, you guys," he said. "Can t give that a try?"

It had been months since Tom had done anything with me like play a game.

"Sure." Marco moved over and gave Tom his control stick.

We played for a few minutes, and Tom did pretty well. But then it was like he got bored or something. He gave the control back to Marco and just sat back and watched.

"You guys hear about all the stuff going on with the construction site last night?" he asked me.

Marco jerked in surprise.

"What stuff?" I said.

"It was in the newspaper," Tom said casually. "They said some kids were there shooting off fireworks. A bunch of morons who live around there decided it was flying saucers or something."

He laughed. "Flying saucers, right."

Marco and I both laughed, too.

"Yeah. And it was just these kids playing with fireworks," Tom said.

"Uh-huh," I said. I was trying very hard to concentrate on the game.

"You were out at the mall last night, weren't you?" Tom asked me.

"Uh-huh."

"Did you come back through the construction site?"

I shook my head. "No way."

"Didn't see any kids hanging around there, maybe?"

"Nope."

"It's not like I'd get them in trouble," Tom said. "I mean, I think it's kind of cool. They're just shooting off fireworks and they get all these people terrified of flying saucers."

"Uh-huh."

"Flying saucers," he said. He laughed again. "Only complete dips believe that kind of stuff."

He leaned close. "You don't believe in that, do you? Aliens and spaceships and little green men from Mars?"

I wanted to say no, none of them had been little or green. But I just said, "No way."

Tom nodded and stood up. "Cool. You know, Jake, I feel like we haven't been hanging around much lately."

"I guess not," I agreed.

"That's too bad," he said. He snapped his fingers like he'd just had an idea. "You know, you should join The Sharing. Marco, too."

"Why should we join?" Marco asked.

Tom just grinned. "I gotta go," he said. He gave me a playful punch on the shoulder. "Catch you guys later. And don't forget - let me know if you hear anything about those kids at the construction site."

He left.

Marco looked at me. "Jake. He's one of them."

"What?"

"Tom. Tom is one of them. Your brother is a Controller."

No doubt. That's also the least subtle interrogation I've seen.

Soup du Jour
Sep 8, 2011

I always knew I'd die with a headache.


Interesting to note how much Marco and Tobias dislike each other here. It takes them quite a few books to really warm up.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Poor Cassie, thought of ants and morphed.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers

I get that they needed to establish things quickly, but man... those question sessions are just painful

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Comrade Blyatlov posted:

I get that they needed to establish things quickly, but man... those question sessions are just painful

"So, you guys playing video games? Cool, cool. Hey, you know what would be crazy? If alien parasites infected people's brains. You guys.don't know anybody who thinks that, right? No? Ok. Hey, if anybody says anything like that, tell me, so we can laugh at them together. Well, I got stuff to do. Mom says make sure you set the table before she comes home. Later!"

Avalerion
Oct 19, 2012



How old are all the main kids supposed to be anyway, don't remember if that got mentioned.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Avalerion posted:

How old are all the main kids supposed to be anyway, don't remember if that got mentioned.

It's not really mentioned at this point, but the general idea is that they're middleschoolers, like 13-14.

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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..."



Avalerion posted:

How old are all the main kids supposed to be anyway, don't remember if that got mentioned.

Mid to late teens, I thought. Like, 14-16. Old enough to run around town and fight aliens hang out without anybody really asking questions, but still young enough to need the whole family support structure (as opposed to getting one's own place and not living with a controller)

Radio Free Kobold fucked around with this message at 16:17 on Mar 27, 2020

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