Monday, August 17, 2015

Agenda 21: The Exposition You've Been Waiting For

Agenda 21, pp. 79-86

"Mother," I said. "Mother, I'm all wet. Everywhere."

I heard her turn over. "Oh, Lord," she said. "It's time."

Well, it's been pretty boring for a while, but there ought to be something to say about Chapter Twelve. We're about to witness the miracle of birth:

I don't remember having the baby. As soon as we got inside the Human Health Services building a technician gave me a shot. She said it would make labor easier. She said it was an amnesiac, and I wouldn't remember the pain. I didn't know what that meant, I just remember feeling like I had to push.

The next thing I remembered was the Transport Team coming to take me home.

Or not. The authors show a remarkable dedication to showing no action. It was already incredible that they killed off two major characters off-camera, but not depicting the main POV character giving birth? That takes effort. But then again, who wants to read about action or drama when there's so much exposition out there?

I don't know if it's coming across in these little bite-sized updates, but Agenda 21 is astonishingly boring. Between the long stretches of expository text, the gray and visually dull locations, and the awkward pacing that manages to be both breakneck and leaden, this is not an especially interesting narrative.

The good news is that in the next chapter, we're going to climb out of the flashback at long last, which means things are going to (slowly) happen. But I am obliged to mention John, the new guy:

"I knew your father," he said when we got outside. "He was a good man. His farm was next to mine. I knew George, too."

How serendipitous. Anything else we need to know about John?

"What is your name?" the Gatekeeper asked.

"My name is my name. I don't need to give it you. It's one of the few things I have left."

He's insubordinate and openly hostile to people in positions of authority. Given recent events, I think we all know that talking like this to a police officer would be taking a hell of a risk. Meanwhile, the agents of this tyrannical evil future government aren't going to do anything to John.

Tell me again why anyone is supposed to be afraid of these people?

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