In the first part of the sixth chapter of Lifeboats, Kit visits Ronan and Nita and makes a connection. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Okay, so we’re still sort of plodding along, but I get the sense that Kit’s thoughts on the sibik are going to become very important. Aside from that (and I’ll go into more detail in a bit), Duane mostly begins this chapter with an exploration into bathroom facilities, donuts, and EXISTENTIAL DREAD.
Which is all very important! I swear to you all: when I was revising Book #2 before sending it off to my agent, I honestly looked for places to put in people using the bathroom. Despite that it’s something that is common to my every day, I literally NEVER think about when I’m writing, and SOMETIMES THIS IS BAD. My second book is all about a long journey that characters accomplish by walking, and it was only upon reading it after I finished the first draft that I realized no one went to the bathroom. EVER. Not even once.
I’m an adult, I swear.
So I actually dig that Duane addresses this in multiple ways, and that includes touching on how the Tevaralti hygiene works. Look, they have automated dust baths, this is 100% the coolest and funniest bit of worldbuilding I have ever seen, I CANNOT GET OVER THE MENTAL IMAGERY. Also??? Guess who has developed a taste for high-end hotel rooms and really fucking ridiculous showers in his thirties? THIS MOTHERFUCKER. I have been traveling for over five years under the Mark Does Stuff name, and I’ve mostly stayed in absolutely terrible places in that time. I did what I could, and that meant in those first few years, I was in a lot of shitty motels or I slept on the floor of some folks who really should not have had people over in their homes. (I still appreciate those latter people a great deal, but I have anxiety around cleanliness. At the same time, I had no money to do better, so I KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT.)
It’s only after I saved up tons and tons of reward points over years and years (and getting my first adult credit card!!!) that I was able to stay in some nice fucking rooms. It’s still a rare thing—maybe two or three times a year—but oh my god, I get rich people? I get why they want king-sized beds with simulated rain showers because ME TOO, HELP ME, IT’S A TERRIBLE ADDICTION I CAN ALMOST NEVER FULFILL.
I also used to be addicted to those Entenmann’s donuts that Duane describes here, which I have not seen once since I moved to the East Coast. If you haven’t seen the video yet, then allow me to admit that until a week or so ago, I had never had any Little Debbie snacks. Only Hostess and Entenmann’s were available where I grow up. Oh god, those mini donuts with powdered sugar are evil, especially since it’s so easy to choke on the sugar if you at all breath in while eating them. Still, I’m glad that I don’t eat this stuff anymore because it is certifiably bad, but this took me back, y’all. I REMEMBER THESE DONUTS.
It’s fun to talk about this stuff, but the opening of this chapter doesn’t let me forget just how fucked up this book is going to be. There is no happy ending, and that’s the case even if that first chapter wasn’t a literal nightmare. Even if, as the kids suggest, every living creature was rescued during the evacuation of Tevaral, that doesn’t mean there’s a positive end to their story. They’re still refugees. They still lost their home and they can never return to it. And that kind of trauma is going to be passed along from generation to generation, you know? What sort of stories will they begin to tell about their evacuation? What myths? How will future generations come to know this time?
The existence of the sibik further complicates this, though they’re not the only species of non-humanoid animals that will be affected by this migration. But they have a connection to the Tevaral that confuses me and it certainly confuses Kit. How the hell do they communicate? How are they able to pass information between one another? And given their attachment to other Tevaral, it seems all but confirmed that many of them will, in their own way, refuse to leave the planet.
So how does Kit fit into this? Clearly, the sibik near Kit’s gating facility are kind of obsessed with him, which is putting it mildly. They’ve figured out that he has crackers, and I’m guessing that the next time he sees them, there will be way, way more sibik awaiting a meal. Why? How? Can the wizards use the sibik to understand the Tevaral?
Mark Links Stuff