In the nineteenth chapter of Blackout, Georgia makes contact. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Blackout.
There are just so many things here that floored me, that made me emotional while reading this, and that cemented the idea that this is one spectacular book. Let me get the obvious out of the way, since I’m sure quite a few of you were thinking this as you read chapter nineteen: THIS IS HOW YOU NARRATE SOMEONE USING THE INTERNET. Nearly four years ago, I read that awful chapter in Twilight where Meyer thought it was a great idea to narrate the experience of Bella Swan using Google. Wait, no – her favorite search engine. It actually made me feel like an author couldn’t ever use the Internet in a narrative. Like ever.
Now, granted, this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned that Mira Grant has made a scene where someone uses the Internet suspenseful and terrifying. That happened all the way back in Feed. But this chapter? Oh, y’all, this is simply unreal. It’s both suspenseful and emotionally devastating, a sign of just how high the stakes are. I admit that I still don’t know how the EIS is going to use Georgia to their advantage, but I feel like she’s finally found a group of people who might actually get her out of the CDC in Seattle. Initially, though, I was curious as to what Georgia was going to do once she had an Internet connection. Shit, where would you even start??? Seeing that unfold alone was fascinating and rewarding to me, but it brought up so many other questions. Who would she contact if she contacted anyone at all? What could you tell a person on the Internet to get them to believe you? What else would you want to see? Was she going to look for news or focus solely on getting herself extracted?
It’s through this that I’m reminded yet again that Buffy is no longer here, and I’m intriguing by how her legacy has lived on beyond Feed. She still matters to these characters, and they often remark that they wish she was still around. And that’s not just because they need her technical expertise. They miss her. Even more fascinating, I’ve noticed that when Shaun or Georgia do bring her up, they are less inclined to mention that she betrayed them. At first, it was something that was always mentioned, but now we don’t hear anything about this. Truthfully, I bet things would have been a lot different had Buffy not died.
Still, it’s all conjecture. While Buffy’s work lives on beyond her (as we see in all the clever tools and tricks Georgia goes through to access After the End Times), this is not about the past. This is about how Georgia can move into the future. I mean, she didn’t even know Dave was dead. She has to find out through Gregory. This is the world she’s come back to! Or… oh god, does that term even work since Georgia is a clone. This is so complicated! Regardless, I simply couldn’t fathom what this all meant to Georgia. I can only imagine how she felt, to believe Mira Grant’s words, as Georgia was finally connected to the only world she knew, and she saw it still existed, and she still existed in some form, and good fucking lord, this chapter made me emotional over an instant message chat.
It speaks to how immersive the Newsflesh world is. I know what this means to Georgia. These characters are attached to their online universe at all times, and Blackout explores how they cope when they forcefully or voluntarily are taken away from it. As Shaun and the rest of his team try to survive off the grid, Georgia wants to desperately rejoin it. And what a goddamn task she has ahead of her! I wasn’t surprised that Alaric was both hostile and suspicious of Georgia’s messages because – dude, WOULDN’T YOU BE? Even after Georgia tells Alaric a detail about their first meeting that is terribly specific, he barely budges. It’s a brilliant set-up for the next portion of this novel, especially since I know that the After the End Times team must break into the Seattle CDC for The Monkey. Given the message that Alaric sends Mahir, I am hoping that this info reaches Shaun in time. Oh god, how is Shaun going to react to this? Is he going to run into the right Georgia or another copy of her? HOW WILL I MAKE IT THROUGH THIS?
I’m glad that this chapter ends with one of Dr. Kimberly’s emails, one that specifically acknowledges just how fucked up this experiment has become. That acknowledgment is nice from the text because it highlights what a complicated predicament this is. Georgia is her own person, and she also knows that her memories, knowledge, and experience were taken from another brain. It’s weird, surreal, and incredibly messed up.
This book, y’all.
Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
– I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am doing a live reading/Mark Does Stuff event at Borderlands Books on April 21st at 5pm. Come on out! I’ll have copies of my latest book to purchase and sign.
– 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!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!