And continuing our discussion of our April Book of the Month Club selection: Annihilation:

Jenny Horn writes: “One thing regarding Annihilation I had not yet considered…perhaps Area X is not on Earth.”

Answer: Now that’s an interesting possibility.  It would explain why the region is so much larger than originally mapped out.  Maybe even an area that exists apart from our space time?

whoviantrish writes: “It’s just so bizarre how they have to enter it and how it’s being kept a secret. Even Area 51 has been discovered.”

Answer: True, but it’s suggested early on that entry (and presumably exit) from Area X is a bigger deal than a simple stroll across an imagined boundary.  If I remember correctly, our narrator even states that she doesn’t remember the actual crossing over.

whoviantrish writes: “The biologist had mentioned they had ways of keeping tabs on Area X.. whatever that means. I’m thinking there were far more truths untold than told. Because they certainly didn’t expect her husband to return so it’s not like they’re guarding it really well.”

Answer: Again, this hints at the possibility that this “entrance” to Area X may be more than just a physical boundary.  If that was the case, the fine folk at the Southern Reach would have gotten their hands on her husband the second he stepped through – rather than being surprised by his reappearance well after the fact.

Jenny Horn writes: “It is clear to me that we are not going to get any answers in subsequent books, so I propose that we make up our own answers to our questions. I’m going to begin by naming the lead character Bridget…Bridget the Biologist. And her husband is/was Richard. Ok, now who wants to say what happened to Richard? Did he morph into the dolphin, or is he still roaming Area X as a human?”

Answer: I’m going to guess his consciousness has been incorporated into Area X.  A sliver of Richard resides in the Crawler, in the mysterious moaning creature, even the dolphin.

Jovanna writes: “I enjoyed Annihilation, more for the dreamy atmosphere than anything else. I always wondered if there were books or stories like this that were just steeped in atmosphere and allowed you to watch without feeling too much.”

Answer: There was certainly a dreamlike quality to the narrative and the way the story was told made it difficult for the reader to connect with anyone beside our protagonist, but I was definitely caught up in the mystery and transported by the story.

Line Noise writes: “It’s possible that the Southern Reach authorities have been infected by Area X and their minds are being controlled in order to keep “feeding” Area X with fresh meat.”

Answer: At this point, anything is possible.  An interesting hypothesis I never considered – even though it is strongly hinted that elements of Area X have infiltrated and infected our reality.

Line Noise writes: “Without advanced technology you need people on the ground to gather information. Assuming the Southern Reach authorities aren’t compromised then I’m sure they are worried about the expanding influence of Area X and it’s a priority for them to find a solution.”

Answer: In which case the team we followed was following a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach.  Would love to find out if this is the case.

Line Noise writes: “They’ve sent in a lot of expeditions but is it wise to tell the current expedition about the tens (perhaps hundreds) of expeditions that have failed before them? […]. If they were told there were 111 previous expeditions that all failed I suspect they’d struggle to find volunteers.”

Answer: A fair point.  But surely, after those 111 previous expeditions had failed, you would think they would arm the new group with some insight into what they were about to face.  For instance, the script in the tower couldn’t have been a surprise.

Line Noise writes: “Is the Area X phenomenon a purely biological one? In which case maybe some sort of hazmat suit and decontamination/positive pressure tent could be employed to ensure no contamination. Or is it some sort of “field” that affects the brain?”

Answer: It certainly seems to affect the brain which begs the question “How is the agent – biological or otherwise – absorbed by the body?”.  It’s not unreasonable to assume that precautions were taken with previous expeditions (ie. hazmat suits) and they failed to protect the team members.

Kathode writes: “I just heard an interview with the author of “Blood Will Out” on the radio a couple days ago, so when I read the “Schroder” description, the parallels were fresh in my mind. Both have a shady German immigrant who goes by a famous, wealthy-family surname (“Kennedy” in “Schroder”; “Rockefeller” in “Blood Will Out”). Both masquerades come unraveled when the shady con man kidnaps his daughter in a custody dispute. Except in the nonfiction tale, the guy is not only a kidnapper, but also wanted for a double murder in California 23 years before his façade came crashing down. I guess that detail would’ve undermined the reader’s ability to empathize with “Stirred” and find some good in him.

“Blood Will Out” is told from the perspective of the author, who was friends with the con man and duped by him for 10 years. From what I can tell, it’s the story of how he was sucked in and missed all the signs that could have tipped him off that the con man’s entire existence was total BS.”

Answer: Interesting.  I didn’t know anything about the book outside of the blurb I posted.  It and the fact that the book seemed to be getting a lot of buzz.  I’ll eventually get around to reading Schroder because it’s already sitting on my to-read pile, but if you read the other book, please give us a report.

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…Ghost in the Machine.

1Akemi found The Daedalus Variations incredibly confusing so I was thrilled with the first 15 minutes of this episode.  It was straightforward, fast-paced and full of mystery and suspense.  And then, when Weir appears in the flesh (so to speak) the episode takes a turn into an arguably necessary but no-less painful extended exposition sequence.  And, once it was finally complete, it was too late.  We’d lost Akemi.  Still, she recognized that the mythologically-rich backstory was no doubt appreciated by longtime fans: “Bonus episode for the loyal Stargate fan.”

So, sadly, not another favorite, but this episode did have its highlights:

Whenever Woolsey appears on screen: “Bob!”

She continues to note the disparity between McKay and Ronon’s line count: “How many sentences handsome guy had in this episode?”

And she continues to find Zelenka all sorts of adorable.

The reveal that Weir’s digitized consciousness was responsible for all the tech failures took her by surprise (no doubt because she missed seasons 2 through 4 that introduced the Asurans and dealt with Elizabeth’s disappearance).  She suspected another culprit was behind the strange happenings: “At first I thought flying monkey caused the trouble.  Very smart monkey.”

The strongest reaction in this episode came after Woolsey gave the okay for Weir to download her consciousness into  replicator body.  “ENH?!!!”were her exact words.  In retrospect, she had a point.

In the end, a tough episode for her: “Very difficult to follow, especially for someone who skips the episodes.  And Joe seems tired to explain every single thing that happened.”  True dat.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular and birthday gal Erika (poundpuppy29)


14 thoughts on “April 9, 2014: Continuing our Book of the Month Club discussion! And our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch!

  1. Ghost was a very sad episode, with Elizabeth left floating in space like that. Sheppard’s look as he was standing alone there at the end was pure anguish. No one can do faces better than JF, no one. 🙂

    All your base are belong to us…. loved it!

    I’m beginning to think that perhaps Akemi and yourself might not want to continue, it sounds kind of painful at this point. Maybe someday if she’s willing to watch Season’s 2 -4 first? I can see why she’s having a hard time, so much has happened before S5 that informs what happens in it.

    Maybe watch Firefly together? That was a very short, but terrific show.

  2. Elizabeth was never my favorite character, or leader. But, I was sorry to see her left floating forever in space.

    I read a nice fanfiction that had McKay sneaking off to rescue Elizabeth. He somehow convinced Chaya/Athar (from Season 1’s Sanctuary) to harbor Elizabeth on Proculus. He thought Elizabeth would enjoy learning all about the Ancients and ascending, and Chaya would have someone to talk to so she wouldn’t be so lonely.

    Hopefully, Akemi will find The Shrine easier to follow. It’s fairly straightforward, as well as being one of my all-time favorite episodes.

  3. Good idea, Bailey. Yes! Let’s watch Firefly together! I love Firefly and I have no idea why.

    Ghost in the Machine was sad and cringeworthy in some places, but twistingly satisfying all at the same time. Fran was cool.

  4. @ Happy Birthday Erika :bear: 🙂

    We told you. :mrgreen: Its very difficult to follow, for someone who skips the episodes. ^^’
    Yes i think flying monkey is behind some of the strange things.

  5. “One thing regarding Annihilation I had not yet considered…perhaps Area X is not on Earth.” I thought about that but then how did the survivors walk back? Also, some of the commenters didn’t like that the characters didn’t have their names. Almost as if the “company” wanted to strip their earth life away and focus on the mission? I didn’t mind that. I mean, we are what we do in some cases.

    I vote for DNA replicas but apparently, we will NEVER know!!!!!! Arg….

    I wondered if skipping eppies would affect Akemi’s enjoyment but I understand why she wanted to. I found Ghost in the Machine very sad. It seemed well written but not one of my favorites.

    Happy Birthday Erica!

    Gotta get on the road. I’m driving to my mom’s house and taking her to a funeral. Long day, and a sad one. 🙁

  6. @Ghost in the Machine.

    Would have been a much better episode with the great Torri Higginson as Weir.

    Anyways happy birthday Erika.

  7. I come out of lurkdom to make occasional comments but today I need some dog-peoples’ shoulders to cry on. I hope you don’t mind, Joe. We suddenly and unexpectedly lost our sweet border collie Jeter last night. He’d happily been playing frisbee in the backyard with my husband, who’d just come home from work. My husband came inside, and shortly thereafter I called Jeter in for dinner but he didn’t come. I went outside and found him lying beneath our deck, dead. Took him to vet and they searched for visible signs of injury like snake or wolf-spider bite but found nothing. They think it was a heart attack or aneurysm. I feel like a piece of my heart has been ripped out. We just lost his sister Sheba 7 months ago to grand mal seizures. Sorry to be a downer, but having a hard time dealing with this today.

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