In the third part of San Diego 2014, the people stuck in the convention center begin to formulate a plan of action, and then everything is really sad. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read San Diego 2014.
Part III: The Second Act
I went into this knowing it would be a massacre, and I still made the mistake of developing feelings. I should know better.
- I think that Newsflesh as a whole engaged with the idea of what it actually means to be a hero, and how often that means that the people involved don’t get what they want. When you think about what Georgia, Dave, Becks, and the characters in San Diego 2014 did for the betterment of others, they all died. Those they left behind? Well, look towards Shaun, Alaric, Mahir, and Lorelei for the answer to that. Heroism is a depressing thing in this world, and that’s fascinating to me.
- Given what I know about the Newsflesh world after having finished the trilogy, it’s interesting that this third part of San Diego 2014 opens with an examination of the futility of the zombie culture within Comic-Con. For all the “self-proclaimed expert[s] on zombie culture” that are in a single room, it’s not like these people came up with an easy and quick solution to the terror inside that convention hall. And that’s really what I find striking about this entire novella: Grant does not go for the easy kill. Kind of literally, actually! While there is initial chaos here, things settle down in the darkness, and I got the sense that there were actually more living folks than undead. As people develop patterns and strategies to cope with the oncoming threat, they all begin to realize just how fucked they are.
- At the forefront of that is Kelly Nakata, who I like the most out of anyone here. She quickly picked up on how useless it was to develop attachments (evidence: her annoyance at Stuart telling her his name), what she needed to do, and how pointless it was to have hope of being rescued. I’d say that most of these people would not have been able to do much at all had it not been for Kelly’s creativity and perseverance.
- Anyway, people sleep! That is such an amazing detail because it’s highly realistic. As Grant points out, being terrified is exhausting, and the weight of all that stress begins to affect the survivors. This also has the added affect of giving the entire story a relentless sense of dread. This moment of calm is a hint towards something awful. We know most, if not all, of these people die, and we know it’s going to be horribly violent. Oh god, I am so scared.
- ELLE IS QUEER. NO, YOU CAN’T TELL ME THIS RIGHT NOW, IT’S TOO MUCH, OH MY GOD. I am going to develop feelings for people destined to die in the text. This is a dangerous path that I tread.
- I’m interested to see if this novella will tell us how the breakout happened outside the convention center. I’m guessing that things are much, much worse out in the streets of San Diego. Actually, maybe the rest of the convention center is a thousand times worse. Oh god.
- First brutal punch to my emotions: Shawn’s conversation with Lorelei. This is, of course, made worse because this whole story exists because Lorelei is telling it. (I’m referring to Mahir’s “article” that we’re reading.) Hindsight is a hell of a sobering force. It’s why this is so disturbing to me. Mahir is getting Lorelei to recount the story of her own parents dying. Does that mean she finds out right before it happens or after the convention hall is destroyed?
- I like that Stuart and Kelly meet up with Marty, Eric, and Pris, though the possibility of a burgeoning friendship is dashed because y’all are gonna die. But it’s something that Mahir and Lorelei comment on later: These people were bound to interact with one another. It’s interesting because of what Lorelei says at the end of Part III: Are all stories of the Rising like this? How many layers were there? And that’s why I loved Countdown so much. I love the idea of seeing the same event from multiple points of view. (Hello, A Song of Ice and Fire!)
- Next brutal punch to my emotions: Elle’s letter to Sigrid. No. No. Why would you do this to me?
- “Holding the image of Sigrid’s face firmly in her head, Elle relaxed against the door and finally let herself drift into sleep.” YOU ARE EVIL, STOP IT. 🙁
- I shouldn’t have been so affected by Kelly getting bit because it had to happen. I am fully expecting not one character to make it out of this place alive. And yet I was still fucked up by Kelly getting bitten. Damn it, Mira Grant, how do you do this?
- She also manages to convey Lesley’s isolated panic extremely well, and I’d like to amend my previous statement. It’s entirely possible that Lesley could make it out of this alive. She’s in the safest location in the entire exhibit hall: a locked room above the main floor. Unless the government chooses to bomb the place. Fuck, why did I type that? GREAT, THERE WENT ANY HOPE AT ALL. Anyway, how sad is it that Lesley just wants to talk to someone? Ugh, this goddamn novella.
- And then Kelly refuses to go with the group. She purposely stays alone, tucked away in the nook in the wall, waiting for amplification to hit her. She’s a hero for multiple reasons, and the fact that she wanted to give these people a chance to survive is heroic to me.
- “Let’s finish this.” Oh god, Lorelei, I am so sad for you already. I am truly unprepared for a story WHERE I ALREADY KNOW THE ENDING. Sweet baby Gandalf, this is too much.
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