Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Agenda 21: The Story So Far

Agenda 21, pp. 128-139

We're going to autopilot over this next part. While it sets up the second half of the book, it does so in an unnecessarily ponderous way. Here's what you need to know: Emmeline is going to be sent to work in the Children's Village, and it is implied that she's going to be paired off with sexy David though we won't know for sure until later.

The problem is that the novel takes a rather circuitous path to reach this turning point. Here's what happens: In Chapter Twenty, John tells Emma what she'll need to do to get into the Children's Village. Then, in the first part of Chapter Twenty-One, Emma does exactly what John told her to do and achieves the predicted end - no complications, no tension, just a convenient plot device.

All you need to know is that the protagonist is being reassigned. You miss nothing except some scenes of the protagonist eating eggs that are growing so frequent and vivid that they border on the fetishistic.

Since we are nearing the midpoint of the novel, and since we're about to be introduced to the plot proper, this seems like a good time -

AARON: Take a little more to set this up, asshole.

ME: ...Right. I've invited a character from my own works, Aaron Bellamy, to help me with the recap.

AARON: "Invited" me, huh? That's one way to gloss over the fact that you're talking to yourself in this post. Not to mention that you're less than halfway to freedom and you're already leaning on gimmicks.

ME: Aaron is here to provide a slightly more blunt and earnest analysis, the kind that you would expect from someone who regularly reads science fiction. Now -

AARON: Hold it, I do not read "science fiction." "Science fiction" is all wish-fulfillment crap where the self-insert protagonist totes some ridiculous plasma handgun and has a catgirl lover with four tits. Liston and that fatass friend of his read science fiction. I read speculative fiction, which is serious out literature that explores the possibilities of our universe in a nuanced and well-detailed manner.

ME: Yeah, this was a good idea. Anyway, we've picked up about all the lore we're going to get in the first novel, so we can now examine the world of Agenda 21 in more detail.

In this universe, "Agenda 21" refers to a series of laws passed at some point in the recent past - recent enough that there are many people alive who remember it. Similar laws were apparently independently adopted in other countries in a manner similar to the shift in governance described in 1984.

AARON: Don't compare this thing to 1984.

ME: I didn't.

AARON: Don't even discuss them in the same sentence. Just get to the relocations, because this doesn't make any sense.

ME: Well, at some point the government turned tyrannical, dissolved the existing government and created something called "the Republic" - or something like that happened, anyway. One of their big policies was forced relocation of all citizens.

AARON: Not that this author is going to tell us anything more about it than that.

ME: Actually, she did. John mentions in this chapter that he speculates that they were sent to Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia.

AARON: Wait...why? Why would they take people from Kansas and send them eight hundred miles to Ohio? In the old Communist states, there was always some purpose to forcible relocation, like the central planners trying to populate a desolate area or seeking to quietly eliminate less-than-loyal party members.

ME: Or gathering natural resources.

AARON: Like what? These people aren't mining anything.

ME: Well, soy appears to be their new staple food, and Ohio is one of the top producers of soybeans.

AARON: But Kansas is too, isn't it?

ME: Perhaps the government wanted to move everyone closer to the coasts so that they'd be easier to monitor.

AARON: No, no, no. You already said before that all of these compounds are miles away from each other. What sense does it make to draw everyone to a single location and then scatter them around in the general area?

ME: Uh -

AARON: And why all the secrecy? Why the hell would it be so important that no one know where they were sent? Was the government afraid that someone would memorize the route she took, escape from the compound, and then walk back home through a thousand miles of wilderness? Hell, it's a train - couldn't someone just follow the tracks? The depots would have to be marked.

ME: This concludes our look at the background of Glenn Beck's Agenda 21. Next time, we'll enter the Children's Village and actually get a good look at a new location.

AARON: Damn it, you're not cutting me off! I have more to say! I swear, I'll -

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