Monday, September 21, 2015

Agenda 21: Dystopia After Dark

Agenda 21, pp. 122-128

Another day, another trip into mom's sleeping mat of many objects:

A book. The Little Prince. My favorite of all the ones Mother used to read to me. I remembered that the author's name...

Yeah, sure - deeply sentimental, still not the target audience. Not that it matters, really. While this may seem like the kind of thing that would form the basis of the chapter (perhaps as the catalyst for yet another flashback), it's actually entirely incidental. Here's the focus of the chapter:

"Emmeline." A whisper filed in through one of the window slits. "It's me. David. I'm outside your door."

Yep, this is the chapter in which McSexy formally joins the regular cast. That means we're going to start seeing passages like this:

David was by the gate. So tall, with broad shoulders, narrow hips, long legs. His dark hair dipped over his forehead and perfectly framed his firm jaw. He gave a little wave without raising his arm, moving only his fingers. There was a distinct moistness in my undergarments.

Okay, I added that last line. Nevertheless, this is pretty much the rest of the chapter, as well as a sizable chunk of any chapter in which David appears. Parke puts far more effort into describing David's physique than she has into any other character, object or place thus far. I still don't know how big these little colonies are or how they're laid out, but I do know how David fills out his uniform ("And so solid, his shirt was taut against his chest.").

Basically, we're into romance novel territory. If that makes you uncomfortable, then I have bad news.

The climax (ahem) of this chapter happens when David comes back after his rounds. This is against the rules, but it's not like anyone ever gets in trouble for that kind of thing. Just when it seems like Agenda 21 is going to turn into a best-selling KDP novella, we get this:

"You and John. You're friends, right?" 
"He's my father."

Of course he is. I'd call this a "bombshell," but why? All of the Good Guy characters have been directly connected. There's no evidence of any similar ties among the rest of the rabble in the compound, but Emmeline is different - she positively has to be connected to everyone and everything.

Which brings me to my next query / project regarding this novel: I want to figure out just how big this compound is. The world of Agenda 21 seems very empty, and yet we keep bumping into people from the protagonist's past. That might still track given the relocation thing, except the compounds seem far too desolate. It seems like the evil future government would want to move people to population centers, but that obviously hasn't happened here. Did they just shuffle these small-town types around just for the hell of it? What sense does that make? And has there been some kind of massive depopulation event to explain where all the people went?

We'll be trying to assemble that from what clues we're given - and there are more clues coming up.

Next time: Auuuggggh.

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