In the thirty-third chapter of Blackout, I am unsure how much longer I can stand this unending sense of dread. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Blackout.
It’s fascinating to me how much has changed since Feed and how much has remained exactly the same.
This group of people is different from what it once was, but they’re still heading directly into an unknown future in the name of the truth. What that truth is, is still a mystery in many ways. If I stop and think about it, I don’t even know if I’m all the more knowledgable about this fictional universe than I was by the time the endgame of Feed kicked in. Granted, I’ve been immersed in it for some time now, but I’m equally as unprepared for the end of this trilogy as the characters are. I haven’t pieced together this conspiracy. I don’t know how to end it. I don’t know what life will be like after that moment. (Is there an after???) There’s still the threat of the undead in some ways, but then we’ve got Georgia, re-animated in a sense, or Shaun, who is immune to such things, or the group of rich, entitled scientists and government agents who are an even bigger danger than zombies. Y’all, there’s something worse than zombies in this trilogy, and we still don’t know who they are. Oh gods, I am so unprepared.
It doesn’t help that the main cast of characters have all been betrayed and duped so many times. I have just come to expect that everything will always go wrong with these people. The plane ride makes me nervous. The decontamination of the plane makes me nervous. Dr. Shoji being forced to fabricate a reason for taking the plane to the east coast makes me nervous. I am a continuous ball of anxiety throughout this book. So it’s not surprising that these people have to make an effort just to trust one another, which is why this passage is so important:
“You are a ray of sunshine and I don’t know how we got by without you,” said Becks.
I nodded sympathetically. “I’m sure it was hard. But it’s all right. I’m here now.” Inwardly, I was ecstatic. She was acknowledging me in the present tense. She was admitting that, real Georgia or not, I was the one they had. And it felt wonderful.
It’s like an act of trust is a miniature revolution for these people. Georgia trusting Dr. Kimberly and being excited to see her is a radical act! Wave o’ feelings, y’all.
And yet, the banal and the mundane still exists. I was so struck by how plain the sequence was where everyone used the EIS testing kits. It’s a silent, dull scene, and it’s that way on purpose. It doesn’t matter that one member of the group is immune. It doesn’t matter that there was no contact with anything that might activate Kellis-Amberlee. This will forever be a part of their world, and the scene was a sober reminder that some things are forever the same.
So, time for me to freak out.
“I miss Steve,” I said quietly, looking at the car.
“Me, too,” said Shaun.
The passenger-side door of the SUV opened, and a big blond mountain of a man unfolded himself, straightening until his head and shoulders were higher than the car’s roof. “It’s good to be remembered,” he said. “Shaun. Georgia.”
OH MY GOD, IT’S STEVE. I MISSED HIM SO MUCH, AND NOW HE’S HERE, AND I’M COMFORTED BY HIS PRESENCE, AND HELP ME. Oh my god, did Steve stay with Rick and Peter? HE TOTALLY DID, DIDN’T HE?
Of course, that comfort is complicated. First, Steve is uncomfortable (understandably so) with the presence of Georgia, given that he once went to her funeral. Then Alaric points out how easy and convenient this all is. That is unsettling, not just because he’s right, but because what other choice do these people have? Who else can they turn to? They know Rick financed Georgia’s return, and it stands to reason that they should finally return to him to figure out the last step. But after having been used and manipulated multiple times, it’s only natural for them to assume this is another trap. I don’t have a better idea or theory to propose, either. Still, given the long list of rules the team has about their next stop, I’m a bit freaked out. No broadcasting or recording. No uninitiated physical contact. No questions without permission. Jesus, WHERE IS STEVE TAKING THEM? Why are these rules in place at all???
The car door swung open, revealing the bulky shape of Steve. He stepped aside, letting us see the man who was standing behind him.
“Hello, Georgia,” said Rick, smiling as he offered me his hands. “I know we’ve never actually met before, but I have to tell you… it’s been a long time.”
I might just spend the entirety of chapter thirty-four crying uncontrollably. I can’t deal with this.
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!
– 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!