Mark Reads ‘Blackout’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of Blackout, Georgia gets good news. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Blackout.

Chapter Eleven

Oh god, you couldn’t make me choose whose chapters I’m enjoying more at this point. With Shaun and Becks heading for Berkeley (after a ZOMBIE BEAR!!!!) and everything I learn here, I’m pretty much ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Which is a good thing! I’m glad that Grant is able to balance these two stories (and the possible convergence of them that is making me SQUEAL) because it’s not an easy feat.

But let’s just focus on Georgia for now. Can I definitively state that I am completely disgusted with Dr. Thomas? He is revolting, and I can barely tolerate reading his sentences at this point. Bravo, Grant, you’ve created a character I despise so much that I almost don’t want to read this. Just kidding I WANT TO READ THIS ALL IN ONE SITTING. Like, can we talk about this dude’s cognitive dissonance???

“Boredom and stress aren’t the same thing,” I said. “You can check the dictionary if you want. I’ll wait.”

He made a note on his tablet. “Inappropriate humor is a defense mechanism, isn’t it?”

JESUS CHRIST, DUDE. IS EVERYTHING ARMCHAIR PSYCHOLOGY TO YOU??? Oh my god, first of all, how is this inappropriate humor? It’s not like she just cracked a crude dick joke. SHE USED SARCASM. SARCASM. And I get that it’s entirely possible that people don’t understand sarcasm, too! Plenty of people who aren’t neurotypical can’t comprehend the intent or tone behind sarcasm, so I’d be willing to give Dr. Thomas the benefit of the doubt if that were the case. Instead, we see innumerable instances of Dr. Thomas treating Georgia like a rambunctious puppy, and it’s infuriating.

Which is why I am so impressed with Georgia during this chapter. Grant is using this opportunity to tell us a story of identity and resilience, and I admit that I have never read anything like this. Georgia first struggles with who she is. She has to admit that she’s not the Georgia Mason anymore. That person is long gone, and will never come back. Instead, she is “someone else who just thought she was [Georgia],” and it’s with that conclusion that she decides to be whoever it is she wants to me. As she puts it, Georgia is “creating [her] values, and compromising the values of a dead woman.” It’s a reinvention of sorts, isn’t it? That’s so fascinating to me because Georgia gets to pick and choose who she is. She doesn’t have to obey the preferences or values that were implanted into her brain. She chooses to lie to Dr. Thomas, and chooses to love Shaun. Feelings??? I HAVE SO MANY OF THEM.

This chapter also reminded me that GEORGIA MISSED THE ENTIRETY OF THE LAST BOOK. Like, I was so confused as to why she didn’t know Rick was president until I realized she was dead during that whole thing. But I’m extremely disturbed that Dr. Thomas pretty much admits that one of the people “monitoring” Georgia’s “case” is Rick. Like…. HOW??? HOW CAN HE KNOW THAT THIS IS HAPPENING TO HER? WHY ISN’T HE TRYING TO BREAK HER OUT? Well, wait, I suppose that he could be, but I just don’t know yet. Still! It’s heartbreaking to read without any other context. Goddamn it, Rick, I HOPE YOU’RE BEHIND THE EIS OR SOMETHING. Please? Please?

I mean, this is bad enough, but then Dr. Thomas just casually mentions that Georgia is legally dead, so he can’t just let her do what she wants all willy-nilly. It’s a chilling implication because of what that means for her as a clone: If someone kills her, they’ll get away with it, since you can’t murder a dead person. OKAY, GREAT, NOW I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS, TOO. Like, I am not going to sit here and say, “Well, Grant won’t kill off Georgia again.” BULLSHIT. Have you ever followed her on Tumblr? Be warned, she’ll post the most soul-crushing GIFs like right in the middle of your lunch hour, and you know she’s just sitting there cackling.

Anyway, back to Georgia. I am intrigued by how much this chapter (and her story so far) is her assertion against being dead, despite all the signs that suggest otherwise. Like that line in pointed out before about her being a ghost, there are tiny moments here and there in chapter eleven that exist just to try and force Georgia to give up. Dr. Thomas’s behavior makes up a lot of them, admittedly, because the guy is awful. But then there’s the doors that won’t open for her, or the surreal experience of being in the biodome. It’s as if life itself is the lie, not just her surroundings.

That’s why it fills me with hope that Georgia finds a way to counteract this. It’s not until Dr. Thomas gives Georgia her “treat” (WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE, SHE IS NOT A PET, WHY DO YOU USE THAT WORD) of a half hour in the facility’s CDC that she realizes what this means for her. Thankfully, her memories of Mahir’s info-dumps on CDC buildings are still intact, and this allows her to narrow down her possible location: Seattle or Phoenix. And while I was interested in the biodome and Georgia’s experience in it, I was mostly screaming internally. PLEASE LET IT BE SEATTLE. PLEASE. THAT’S WHERE MAGGIE AND MAHIR ARE HEADED, PLEASE.

I crested a low hill and found myself facing a pine forest. It was small, no more than fifteen trees forming the edge, but it was enough of a surprise to stop me in my tracks for a moment. The shock was probably a good thing; it kept me from punching the air in sheer delight. We were in Seattle. The Seattle CDC was the only campus with an evergreen forest inside their biodome.

OH MY GOD, YES. PLEASE. THIS HAS TO HAPPEN. IT CANNOT BE A COINCIDENCE. PLEASE. Of course, this burst of joy was nearly ruined when it seemed like Dr. Thomas may have spotted Georgia’s gun falling out of her pant leg. Jesus, that whole sequence was agonizing. Thankfully, Georgia’s secret is still safe. And I know I shouldn’t get too hopeful about this series yet, because I’ve noticed that the rug gets pulled out from under me in Newsflesh quite often. Still, the seed’s planted, and I can’t ignore it. Even Shaun’s unpublished blog post at the end of this is pretty exciting! ZOMBIE BEARS!

Mark Links Stuff

 I am now on tour!!! I have 26 events spread out across the eastern HALF of the U.S. and Canada. They are all free and all-ages. Come see me speak about the Mark Does Stuff Universe and read terrible fanfiction live!
- Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
- Commissions are still open while I am on tour! There may be a day or two delay to get them done, but I am accepting them graciously to help fund my tour!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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