In the ninth chapter of Deadline, I didn’t think you could make that thing worse. It was made worse. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deadline.
If you’re looking for my more dramatic reactions to this chapter, I suggest you watch the two videos attached to this. There were many folks who contributed to its existence, including Mira Grant herself! They are all evil humans, and I would be wary of them forever. But now that I’ve had a chance to sit on the big reveal of chapter nine (and filled myself with half a pint of ice cream), I do want to spend some time reflecting on what Grant does well, and what this means for the future.
First of all: this isn’t a long chapter, but it sure packs in a lot of information in short space. The physical space of Dr. Abbey’s office and lab is visceral and real, and it’s what I appreciated the most. You really get the sense that this lab exists off the grid (as much as it can, which isn’t much, given what Dr. Abbey reveals about how much she’s monitored), that she’s made as much of what she has. It exists in stark contrast to the CDC lab in Feed, and that feels so intentional. I love it. In a place that’s clinical, clean, and powerful, the people in power are helping to craft an environment of fear through a clandestine use of political gusto and terrorism. Here, in this haphazard assortment of cages and tanks full of animals being experimented on, in this makeshift environment, we find truth. It is such a clever inversion of light and dark being made to represent good and evil, respectively.
That alley full of tanks is one of the most unsettling things in this whole series, but in hindsight, I know it’s because I sensed the answer was there. Yes, it’s surreal, brilliantly so! But what’s so fascinating to me is that this chapter is about a journey towards truth. Shaun takes one step closer to that horrifying reality at the end of the alley. What does he pass? Creatures with alien eyes. I think that’s intentional, too. It makes him feel alien, as if he doesn’t belong in this world. The truth represents the horrible and tragic irony of nature, and it is fitting then, that this scene unfolds amidst the collision of science and nature. This series has always had a detached tone to it, and it’s one of the things that keeps me reading. Even if this is written in first person, I always get the sense that I’m an outsider looking in. I am never in George’s head, and I’m never in Shaun’s. I am merely seeing what’s happening to them. And so it only makes sense, then, that the fury Shaun feels takes him past all the things that represent truth in this setting.
Thankfully, Grant never confuses us with the science. This is a very personal and very human drama, but the amorality of science still matters. Kellis-Amberlee did not pop into existence out of malice. It just happened. And now we find out that our own bodies found a way to change that nature, to adapt to it, to embrace it. Humanity found a way to keep going, and the government hid it from us. Tate’s sacrifice has a terrible context to it that it never did before. He was part of a conspiracy to keep the zombies around. He was never concerned about a cure because that would take power away from him.
So who else is a part of this? That’s what’s scary about this: the antagonist of Newsflesh is just as faceless as Kellis-Amberlee. And this antagonist took away George. I didn’t read the blog posts at the end of this chapter on video because I forgot they are usually there. I’m kind of glad I didn’t. My twin and I were adopted, and we’ve been close because we matter to each other the most. This is what Tate and the CDC and this shadowy group have taken away from Shaun. And I hate them for it.
Good god, this is so fucked up.
[EDIT: As I was setting this to publish in the future, I realized this is going up on Christmas. HAHAHAHA HOLY SHIT, MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE lol let me ruin your day.]
Many, many thanks to the truly evil group of people who commissioned this chapter. They are, as follows:
Seanan McGuire (Mira Grant)
Enjoy my suffering below.
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