Friday, August 21, 2015

Agenda 21: Coop de Grace

Agenda 21, pp. 89-93

Chapter Fourteen introduces us to this story's MacGuffin. Remember that Unmotivated Close-Up on Emmeline's mother's sleeping mat all the way back at the beginning? We're about to find out what's up:

There was a small tear in the gray fabric. In the dim dawn light I could see something white inside the tear. Something that looked as though it did not belong.

Mother, it seems, was hiding contraband in her sleeping mat (which Ingsoc would have found about twelve chapters ago, I'm sure). The first thing we see appears to be made of paper, and...uh oh:

The day the paper was taken was still vivid in my mind. I think I was about seven. Mother had taught me...

Oh, you thought that just because we were one chapter out from a 17k word flashback that we were done? Heavens, no. At least this one only lasts two pages.

After the flashback ends, something happens that must have even made some of Beck's fans scratch their heads:

The Gatekeeper started his morning rounds, bringing breakfast...

"...An egg, tomorrow," he said, and moved on.

An egg. As in a chicken egg. This society ruled by nature worshippers who seem to be imposing veganism on the populace nevertheless gather and eat chicken eggs.

Eggs from these things. Sans dye, I assume.

Now, I could obviously delve into the logic behind that. We could discuss where they get these eggs, or how they distribute them. We could ask how much power they're using to cook them (they seem to be hard-boiled). Speaking of power, we could discuss the energy boards at greater length here. The authors make a special point in this chapter that the boards are monitored - we could discuss how it is they could do that, or even how the damn things work as the narrative treats electric power like it's liquid fuel.

But I'm not going to do it. You see, I plan on saving my long-winded rancor for what happens on page 94.

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