Friday, September 21, 2012

Warning! Really Long Post

Sorry, sorry, for the late post. I was visiting family and was unable to post. Also, sorry for the unimaginative post title; it's getting harder and harder to come up with witty post titles. Anyway, you know the rules: links may not be worksafe.

Well I'll be: Judd and Mr. Stein do actually leave the airport. Apparently Immen drives them out to the desert where some nomads live. Apparently somehow, these nomads are so isolated that only a few words of their language is known and they've for the most part just kept to their ways, a lifestyle that was in no way affected by centuries of colonialism or by the myriad disasters that hit the earth back to back. I did a cursory glance at Wikipedia and apparently there are nomadic herders in Mali, but I call bull on them being utterly isolated from the modern world. Also, note that Ellanjay the ghostwriter doesn't bother to give a name to the group, just calls them the nomads. I think they're cheating and trying to avoid doing research on nomadic tribes of Mali. I thought they'd mention the Tuareg because it would give them an excuse to bring up someone regarded as a martyr for the faith, Charles de Foucauld, but then again, that would shatter their Noble Savage motif they got going plus Charles was Catholic and you know Ellanjay believe that Catholics can only be raptured if they stop following the teachings of the Mother Church and stop being so inscrutable and Catholic.

I can't help but wonder since Immen only knows a few words of their language and Judd and Mr. Stein don't know a single word, how are they supposed to preach to the heathens so to speak. Probably do the old trick where they talk slowly and loudly because doing that instantly makes you more easy to understand and isn't at all an assholish thing to do.

At the school, Vicki is being all pissy at Janie (who is rapidly becoming my current favorite character) for running off, even though Janie swears up and down that she wouldn't rat them out to the GC. Vicki is all "You have no idea what the GC can do to you!" but Janie goes "I do but I don't expect you to care about it!" and storms off.

Vicki then talks to Lenore who tells her that the man they found frozen to death was her husband, Tim, and that he'd died because they'd eaten all the food and burned just about everything else in order to keep warm during the Freeze,so he went out to get food and firewood so she and baby Tolan wouldn't freeze. Vicki expresses sorrow but never makes the connection that Lenore's husband would be alive if Zod hadn't decided to go for the Exterminate and/or Convert the Brutes! approach. Not to mention, I have a sneaking suspicion that she's not really feeling any sympathy for this woman but is only acting like she does because she knows it's expected of her. Then again, my feelings towards the main characters are abysmal so I can't be trusted.

If you're wondering how Judd and Mr. Stein and Immen are going to convert the heathens, never fear! That handy Babelfish spell comes back and since all other religions are basically going "La-la-la can't hear you!" and that saying "Jesus died for your sins!" immediately opens all eyes to the truth, the nomads convert in droves. They then ask Judd and Mr. Stein and Immen to witness to the tribe's enemies. If you're wondering the only descriptors given to these nomads are that they wear loose clothing, cloth around their faces, carry spears, and sleep in animal skin tents. It must have taken Ellanjay all of five minutes to craft that description. Thank goodness they weren't too burdened with Research to get this sucker to market.

I've been doing a lot of one chapter snarks lately but this one's a little skimpy, so here's a second one.

Vicki and the other Stockholm Sufferers Good Christian Boys and Girls are having yet another meeting at the schoolhouse about all the heathens they keep attracting. I start grinding my teeth as they discuss the dangers hosting non-converts brings until Darrion, who I'd nearly forgotten existed, brings up a verse from the book of James reminding them to care for the widows and orphans, which makes the first paltry mention of any kind of social gospel we get in these books. Frankly I'm wondering what would happen if they read the rest of the Book of James. Because James was all about the social gospel. I foresee heads exploding.  Either way, Janie, Charlie, Melinda, Lenore, and Tolan are allowed to stay and Vicki actually goes upstairs to apologize for yelling at Janie, while I wonder if the effect of the Flavor-Aid has worn off, albeit briefly, because this is the first time Vicki's shown empathy for Janie's feelings.

Janie tells her story about being tortured by the GC and reiterates that she won't rat them out because she knows what the GC can do, Mark, aka yet another character I've forgotten about because no one has any discerning personality traits in this series aside from being either a main character or a minor one, makes plans to go see Carl, and on the news, the GC make mention of yet another massive object about to hit earth. Naturally, they predict that it'll break up in before it hits earth, but Vicki goes digging for Token Jew's message, even though you'd think she'd know what all was going to happen next.

Judd and Mr. Stein convert members of the tribe and that's all that happens.

Meanwhile, we finally hear from Lionel again. He's been hanging with Nada and teaching Samuel. He also has sense enough to keep Samuel from going to see his father. Nada expresses a desire to go back to the states with them but Lionel tells her she can serve Zod by staying in Israel. Judd calls to ask for help getting back to Israel and that's all that happens on Lionel's end.

Our last stop in this snark is once again, the schoolhouse. Mark leaves to go after Carl and Vicki tries to convert Lenore but they're interrupted by a quake. Turns out this Unidentified Foreign Object (henceforth referred to as UFO until told otherwise) hit the earth causing a massive mushroom cloud to rise into the air and triggering massive volcanic activity. I would worry but given how many disasters have hit, back to back, and how little effect they've had (only one of the main characters, Ryan aka the Buttmonkey have died and only a few NPCs have died), I'm not worried. In fact, I'm jaded, which is the opposite of what I should be when reading this kind of novel. Once again, I bring up the Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It too, played fast and loose with science and had a whole mess of shit get dumped on their heroes, but the thing is, it eased off the narrative gas and allowed the readers to feel the suffering the characters were going through. In fact, she was unrelenting in showing just how awful all this was and made sure you knew that the characters were suffering. But since Ellanjay see all this suffering as simply the heathens receiving their just deserts at the hands of an angry God, they can't focus on the suffering because that would detract from their busy schedule of Nelson laughing.


Firedrake said...

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two pious-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Jehovah."

All the things that could make this story interesting are carved out of it by the premise. There have been plenty of books and films about natural disasters on Earth - but they're about people trying to do something to prevent them, or mitigate their effects, or at least help people, not just sit in their holes and wait for the end.

The only possible reason to stay alive in this scenario is to get more people out of eternal hellfire. The more, the better, surely? So they should be subverting the GC communications network (easy since it's so centralised), not wandering off to preach to a few hundred guys in Mali.

Apocalypse Review said...

Thank goodness they weren't too burdened with Research to get this sucker to market.

*Uncontrollable snickering commences*

I like that Vicki isn't always 100% right, and is shown to correct herself and learn a bit from the experience - like not realizing that Janie had actually already suffered at the hands of the GC, and then learning this and realizing why Janie won't rat them out.