Chapter 21. This book is finally old enough to drink in the states it takes place in. Too bad I can’t, it might make this easier to get through… This particular chapter is especially terrible. For reasons I thought we were done with chapters and chapters ago. In short I spend most of this chapter choking on my own rage. Enjoy!
We start where we left off but Wanderer mercifully skips over most of the rest of the tour, just saying she was paranoid the whole time waiting for Ian or Doc to murder her. Though she does spend an entire paragraph describing in significant detail the things she says she’s not focusing on.
My attention was not focused on the second set of gardens he led me through–one with corn growing waist-high in the blistering heat of the brilliant mirrors–or the wide but low-ceilinged cavern he called the “rec room.” That one was pitch-black and deep underground, but he told me they brought in lights when they wanted to play. The word play didn’t make sense to me, not here in this group of tense, angry survivors, but I didn’t ask him to explain.
If she really wasn’t paying attention she could have said ‘the second set of gardens and the ‘rec room’. But she had to say the height of the corn and the brilliance of the mirrors. Wanderer also displays her idiocy here further. Because humans never need to just unwind with some fun and games right?! Especially not in tense situations? Or stuck in a cave with no internet, books, movies, music… We would neeeeeeeever want to play a game! We’re so angry and horrible, having fun isn’t possible!
The next couple of pages are just her describing how paranoid she is and the looks on Jamie’s face. It’s incredibly dull and there are much worse things in this chapter to dwell on so here’s the summary: ‘I’m so scared of these people who are being nice to me and all humans ever are just cruel and murderous except Jamie who I’ve hurt and I am so horrible for doing that to him.’ Melanie does show up for a four sentence conversation about Jamie, but she’s only there to give Wanderer a chance to get emo about how much she’s hurt him and I’m really sick of everything being about Wanderer. Melanie isn’t a character, she’s a sounding board. The background characters aren’t characters, they’re plot devices. I’m sick of it and it’s boring as all fucking hell.
They get to the end of the tour, which happens to be the ‘hospital’ area, and of course Wanderer flips the fuck out thinking that they’ve tricked her into walking into the torture chapter and to that I say fuck you Wanderer, you dumbass. If they wanted to torture you they could have done it in the hole. If they wanted to torture you they could have dragged you off. If they wanted to torture you they could have done it when he said he was taking you to the bathroom. If they wanted to fucking torture you they would have done it when you fucking thought they were torturing you over the Seeker shit! I AM SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF YOU DISTRUSTING PEOPLE WHO HAVE SHOWN YOU NOTHING BUT KINDNESS YOU SELFISH BITCH! I need a stronger insult than Bitch. It really doesn’t cut it anymore.
Everyone goes out of their way to make her feel better and calm her down and I say they should just punch her in the face. She’s the alien invader who took over the body of their loved one and sought out their home. They took her in, protected her, nursed her back to health, and she repays their kindness with distrust and spiteful ignorance. She deserves anything they could have done to her, but she didn’t get it. And for that she’s treating them like cruel murdering psychopaths. Wanderer needs to go fuck herself. SICK OF YOUR SHIT WANDERER. SICK OF IT.
After they get her calmed down Doc asks if she knows anything about alien medicine. Apparently the parasites threw out all human medicine when they arrived.
I took a deep breath, then whispered, “I’m not a Healer. I don’t know how they–the medications–work. Only that they do work– they heal, rather than merely treating symptoms. No trial and error. Of course the human medicines were discarded.”
There is no end to how angry this makes me. Our medications generally don’t just treat symptoms. MOST medication DOES actually cure the disease. Yes, there are some diseases we currently can’t cure so we just manage the symptoms, like viral issues. But in general that is not how medication works. How can there be no trial and error?! Our anatomy would be vastly different than the see weeds. There are some medications that are more or less effective based on what race you are. There are some medications that work on monkeys or rats but kill humans. You can’t just claim that the medications ‘just work’ on every single species in the known universe! THAT’S NOT HOW BIOLOGY WORKS!
YES the aliens probably WOULD have better medical equipment than us. YES they would probably be able to cure illnesses we couldn’t and heal minor damage faster and better than we can. But only AFTER arriving and learning about our anatomy and adjusting their medication accordingly. But Meyer just said ‘fuck it, she’s not a healer, so I can do whatever I want and never have to figure out how it works because Wanderer will just say she doesn’t know!’ Perfect get out of jail free card. Except it isn’t. It’s weak, pathetic, cheap writing. It’s fine to not explain everything. Just make up words that sound medical instead of just saying ‘medicine’ and don’t bring attention to the fact that you don’t know how it works! Don’t SAY you don’t know how it works dammit!
AND FUCK YOU FOR THE THIRD TIME THIS CHAPTER WANDERER. Don’t you act so goddamn FUCKING SMUG. You look down on people every chance you fucking get. You think you’re so much fucking better than humans you self-righteous miserable excuse for a character. I hate you. I hate you so much words do not adequately express it.
All four of them stared with blank expressions. First they were surprised when I didn’t answer, and now they were surprised when I did. Humans were impossible to please.
She says some more things that make me wish they would strap her to one of the medical beds and rip open her skull to tear her out of Melanie’s head, and to put off the stroke this book will inevitably cause me before I’m through reading it, I’ll just move along. You’re not missing anything but me saying ‘go fuck yourself’ repeatedly. I lack creativity this review. This chapter has literally given me a headache.
Anyway, they get back to the start and Jeb sends Doc and Ian off and puts Jamie on guard duty. Jeb hands Jamie his gun and Wanderer has a hissy fit. This exchange lasts a while and it’s meant to be important but it’s incredibly uninteresting until the very end when it’s clear to the reader but not Wanderer that Jeb has figured out Melanie is still alive in there because of the way Wanderer cares about Jamie. I’m skimming because there are rants coming for worse parts of this chapter and I only have so much rage before my headache turns into an aneurism.
Jeb leaves, and after an hour or two of awkward silence Jamie asks about the other alien planets. Wanderer blathers on about the see weeds again. She keeps it short though because he wants to know about the other alien species! Let the rage begin.
She skims over the bats and bears and flowers, thankfully, but dear lord do I wish she skimmed over what comes next.
“How did you come here, then–if you weren’t the little green guys, who were you? You had to have bodies to move and stuff, right?”
“Right,” I agreed, surprised at his grasp of the facts at hand. I shouldn’t have been surprised–I knew how bright he was, his mind like a thirsty sponge. “We used our Spider selves in the very beginning, to get things started.”
Ooooookay, deep breaths. Remember, many, many chapters ago, I talked about how they needed to have been in the bodies of another species to have infected the first few humans, and how there was no way that that wasn’t traumatic enough to cause as many problems for the first wave as Melanie’s emotions caused Wanderer? WELL! Now we know it was fucking SPIDERS. Or at least something with enough resemblance to a giant spider that seeing that before you ‘die’ would cause so much terror that there is no way in fucking HELL that ANYONE wouldn’t be traumatized enough to cause problems for the parasite!
Imagine yourself getting abducted by giant fucking ALIEN SPIDERS who are trying to put a glowing silver centipede into your brain and try and tell me that you wouldn’t struggle and fight and be filled with adrenaline and powerful emotions! You can’t! Because that’s fucking not goddamn possible. Even if you aren’t afraid of spiders, which the majority of humans ARE to varying degrees.
I told him about the Spiders–a fascinating species. Brilliant, the most incredible minds we’d ever come across, and each Spider had three of them. Three brains, one in each section of their segmented bodies.
“Arachnids are further distinguished from insects by the fact they do not have antennae or wings. Their body is organized into two tagmata called the prosoma, or cephalothorax, and the opisthosoma, or abdomen. The cephalothorax is derived from the fusion of the cephalon (head) and the thorax, and is usually covered by a single, unsegmented carapace.”
Spiders only have two body segments. I know that Meyer already said that there was a new species referred to as dolphins when they really resemble dragonflies, but I’m really fucking sick of this bullshit. Why would you use the names of Earth species if they don’t actually resemble those species at all? I know Meyer just didn’t want to name things and she tossed in the dolphins that look like dragonflies because she wanted to have people not picturing giant spiders, but, it’s really fucking lazy. It is beyond lazy. They could easily have come up with names for these new species. None of the humans that used to be biologists or science fiction authors had any names for them that they could use? They had to just go with something that was relevant for only the loosest associations?
These distinctions exist for a reason! This is why we have varieties of dogs instead of calling Chihuahuas and German Shepard’s all just ‘dogs’! BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT THE SAME FUCKING THING! They’re all dogs because they can interbreed somehow, but they are not the same fucking thing! So we don’t CALL them the same fucking thing!
We have come up with millions of names for everything from the tiniest single cell bacterium to the blue whale, and they have access to our entire language and how we’ve named things so they couldn’t use any of that knowledge?! NOTHING?! Couldn’t even just say ‘insectoid’ or, hell, call them cephalopods! That would make more sense! Insects only have 6 legs, these fuckers have 8, but arachnids only have 2 body sections. She makes no mention of whether or not they have a carapace, so cephalopods have multiple limbs and some of them have multiple bundles of neurons that could be considered primitive brains, making octopus a MUCH better comparison than fucking SPIDER.
Though I will say I’m glad she didn’t call them that because I actually like octopi and that would have tainted them.
We’d yet to find a problem they couldn’t solve for us. And yet they were so coldly analytical that they rarely came up with a problem they were curious enough to solve for themselves.
What?! WHAT?! I can’t even articulate how much of a problem I have with this statement! Cold and analytical does not equal incurious! In fact it kind of means you ARE curious! Does Meyer not know what the word ANALYTICAL means?!
Of all our hosts, the Spiders welcomed our occupation the most. They barely noticed the difference, and when they did, they seemed to appreciate the direction we provided.
TEXT IS INCAPABLE OF ACCURATELY REPRESENTING MY RAGE! HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS BULLSHIT WORK!? HOW DID THEY NOT NOTICE?! YOU WERE KILLING THEM! OR WAS THEIR CONSCIOUSNESS STAYING ALIVE INSIDE ONE OF THE OTHER TWO BRAINS!? HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS SHIT WORK!? I DON’T GET IT!
The few souls who had walked on the surface of the Spiders’ planet before implantation told us that it was cold and gray–no wonder the Spiders only saw in black and white and had a limited sense of temperature.
Okay, well, here’s the evidence that the spiders couldn’t have survived on the fire eaters planet, and probably not Earth either. I mentioned in the chapter about the fire eaters that the spiders couldn’t have lived there. This is why. That planet’s temperature would be drastically different. ‘limited sense of temperature’ is a really fucking dumb statement. They wouldn’t notice the cold. That would have been their base state, it would have been fine. It would make no sense whatsoever for them to have evolved to be able to deal with the HEAT if they lived on a COLD planet.
As well, the fact that the planet is gray and cold implies that it is far from its sun and probably doesn’t have much atmosphere. A fiery planet filled with sulphur would suffocate the spiders, and since they ‘weren’t curious’ SOMEHOW they likely wouldn’t have invented space travel without the dumbass parasites coming along. This would mean that they likely wouldn’t be aware of the other species and wouldn’t be prepared for the differences. Their insides would probably boil and kill them before they even realized that there was something to worry about. I’ll spare you a gif of that image.
What would be the point of evolving three brains if they’re not using them?! Not everything that succeeds through evolution has a useful purpose, but three brains would use up a lot of energy. On a cold, gray planet, without emotion or the need to process much sensory input (the brain power needed for black and white vision is much less than colour, and remember, humans are somehow the only species with a sense of SMELL and she said the idea of any senses outside our base 5 seemed stupid) if they’re not curious what would be the need of having multiple brains? Why would evolution favour the massive waste of energy? It would give them no advantages at all. There’s no reason for it to have happened! Every species on Earth with a larger than average brain also has high levels of curiosity. Because that brain is there for a REASON.
It processes sensory input and extrapolates what that sensory input could MEAN in context. If the species doesn’t need to process emotions, it has limited sense of temperature indicating limited sense of touch, it doesn’t need much brain power to process what it sees, it doesn’t have a sense of smell, and it doesn’t care about figuring out what’s going on around it, what possible reason could there be for 3 brains? It may have evolved at some point, but she says later they’ve been self sufficient for thousands of years. That’s long enough for those extra brains to stop being useful and start to shrink like the appendix. That’s how evolution works. After a while, something unnecessary gets weeded out. They would be smart enough to put off the death of their species until something evolved to take advantage of the fact that they wouldn’t notice or care about anything in their environment that didn’t make sense. Get close enough, murder the shit out of their entire species before they even got up off their asses to do anything about it.
The Spiders lived short lives, but the young were born knowing everything their parent had, so no knowledge was lost.
I just smacked my head against my headboard. On purpose.
DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.
The last five quotes from the book are all the same paragraph. I’m finally done with that paragraph.
I don’t understand why they took over this species. She claimed that they only took over humanity because they were a danger to themselves and their planet and deserved it. But them taking over the spiders implies that they just take over the primary species of a planet with no regard whatsoever to the wants and desires of that particular species. They make it sound like the spiders didn’t even care but they make it sound like that mattered. Like the spiders stayed spiders somehow. There is so many plot holes to the motivations of this species that I cannot even begin to wrap my head around how it even could pretend to work or delude itself into moral justifications.
Wanderer talks about how she only lived one lifetime there, but we already knew that. Why do we have to have her keep repeating things she’s already mentioned? Does she think everyone reading this book has the attention span of a humming bird? That would certainly explain why there are so many positive reviews for ‘rocks are pointy and humans are evil; the book’.
She actually says that the planet had been self-sufficient for thousands of years. The ‘spiders’ didn’t need the parasites. The parasites needed them. They took them over because they wanted the knowledge that the species of geniuses had, but admitting that would require them to admit that they did something for selfish reasons and so they couldn’t continue to claim their moral superiority.
The Spiders’ bodies were almost as useful as their minds: four long legs to each segment–from which they’d earned their nickname on this planet–and twelve-fingered hands on each leg. These six-jointed fingers were as slender and strong as steel threads, capable of the most delicate procedures. About the mass of a cow, but short and lean, the Spiders had no trouble with the first insertions. They were stronger than humans, smarter than humans, and prepared, which the humans were not.…
More deep breaths… Oh god this chapter is causing me literal physical pain. I wish I was joking for dramatic effect but nope, physical pain.
First of all, she said they had three body segments. That would indicate it has 12 legs, not 8. Also that it has legs coming out of its head. I’m still assuming she means that it has 4 legs for each BODY segment, and no legs coming out of its head making a total of 8 legs, but that statement is incredibly unclear.
I don’t think Meyer knows what hands are. Hands are grasping appendages (including a thumb) on the forelimbs. They cannot have hands on all of their limbs. They would be prehensile feet or paws or something. Not hands. I know that particular complaint is incredibly nitpicky, but she has fucked up so much science in the last 3 paragraphs I feel the need to point it out. The hands don’t even sound like anything I would refer to as hands. It sounds more like each ‘finger’ is closer to a prehensile tail than a finger.
How can they be lean and the mass of a cow? Does Meyer not know what the word lean means either?! Or maybe it’s mass that she doesn’t understand. I suspect she’s using it to imply overall size, but, that’s not what mass means. Taken literally, these spiders that walk on their 12 fingered hands are the relative weight of a COW, yet they’re short and skinny. So are they incredibly dense? That would suggest that their limbs would have to be very strong to support their weight. But she describes them as long, and if the legs are what caused the comparison with Earth spiders, probably skinny too. Keep in mind that unlike mammals, spider limbs don’t sit underneath the center of mass, they’re off to the side, which affects the weight they can support.
The fact that they’re stronger than humans is relevant. It implies that they had to overpower the first humans. Insert the physical description of the spiders into the scenario I mentioned earlier and tell me how you would react to seeing that forcefully attacking you. Go ahead and try and claim that wouldn’t be traumatizing and probably brain shatteringly terrifying.
After this Melanie cuts her off because Jamie is crying, since she just went into how they came in and over powered the humans. Wanderer berates Melanie for not stopping her sooner, because everything is about Wanderer and how DARE you even IMPLY that she is not the one you should feel bad for!
She apologizes and Jamie says it’s alright, he had asked after all. Wanderer wants to wipe the tear from his face, but holds back at first. She goes on and on about how this is all her fault and woe is her, and feel bad for her ‘cuz she feels bad! She gives in and hugs him and prattles on about how powerful motherly love is making me want to stab her in the face because she has no right to talk about this at all.
Jeb shows up while they’re still hugging to save me from having a stroke ranting about how angry it makes me to see Wanderer go on about how mothering she feels. He breaks the awkwardness of his timing by non-chalantly chastising Jamie for letting the gun roll to the floor the way he did.
Before Jamie runs off in embarrassment he asks Wanderer her name and she finally tells them what to call her. Jeb asks if he can call her Wanda instead. Then she actually surprises me for a change.
He waited this time for a response. Finally, I shrugged. It didn’t matter to me whether he called me “kid” or some strange human nickname. I believed it was meant kindly.
She actually believes he’s not being a jerk! IT’S A MIRACLE!
But don’t worry, it only lasts that one paragraph.
He grinned that huge, cheek-stretching grin, and I couldn’t help grinning back, though my smile was more rueful than delighted. He was supposed to be my enemy. He was probably insane. And he was my friend. Not that he wouldn’t kill me if things turned out that way, but he wouldn’t like doing it. With humans, what more could you ask of a friend?
This is her version of being nice.
Anyway that’s how the chapter ends. This is by far the most infuriating chapter yet. I skipped over most of the chapter because I cannot properly convey just how angry reading this chapter makes me. If I had actually talked about the whole thing I may have broken my laptop and I need that for work.
Llama tells me the next couple of chapters are painfully dull. I’ll take that over high blood pressure inducing rage though, so I look forward to being bored! Till then, happy Halloween!