Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Andalite Chronicles

BRACE FOR EPIC
The Summary
Elfangor and fellow cadet Arbron are stationed on a Dome ship called the StarSword. Life is pretty uneventful, until they are called on to board a Skrit Na ship (because adult Andalites can't fit inside them). Skrit Na tend to abduct aliens, and true to form, Elfangor finds two humans aboard the ship, a girl named Loren and a young man named Chapman.

Under a disgraced prince named Alloran, they are given the task of bringing the humans back to earth. But they are side-tracked when they realize that the Skrit Na have uncovered a powerful weapon--the Time Matrix. Along with time travel, the Matrix has powers of teleportation and can create whole new universes.

Aboard Alloran's ship, the Jahar, they pursue the Skrit Na to the Taxxon homeworld, which is a Yeerk-controlled planet. In the madness that ensues, Arbron is trapped in Taxxon morph and Alloran is infested by the yeerk who will later become Visser Three. Elfangor manages to recover the Time Matrix, but is reluctant to use it for fear of catching the attention of the Ellimist(s?), who supposedly created it.

Elfangor believes he has escaped the Taxxon homeworld (leaving Arbron behind to lead a Taxxon rebellion), but he does not realize Visser Three is onboard the Jahar with himself and the humans. When the Jahar falls into a black hole, Elfangor, Loren, and Visser Three-to-be try to use the time matrix, which creates a totally new universe that is a mix of Earth, the Andalite Homeworld, and the Yeerk Homeworld.

After some horrific experiences, Elfangor and Loren get to the Time Matrix and use it to transport themselves to earth. There, Elfangor traps himself in human morph and begins a normal human life, eventually marrying Loren.

The Ellimist shows up and tells Elfangor that none of this was meant to be. He repairs the timeline, placing Elfangor back on the StarSaber. But Loren is still pregnant with Elfangor's child, even in this new timeline.

Years later, Elfangor is a Prince and hero. After a catastrophic battle, he crash-lands on earth and gives the morphing power to five young humans, including Loren's son, Tobias.

The Review
Ifi: Now I am led to understand that this book was actually published as three separate novels for reasons of PROFIT
Adam: Which would explain why this thing is so damn big.
Ifi: It is HUGE
Adam: At the time it was the largest book I had ever read.
Ifi: It is especially a shock after those tiny little Animorphs books!
Ifi: Which you can finish in like 45 minutes top.
Ifi: This one took hours and I had to stop for a nap at one point because I was just so exhausted by all the epic.

Adam: So anyway, covers.
Ifi: Which cover do you have? As presumably there are three.
Adam: Well, I have the compiled edition, so it has the first cover on the front.
Adam: And the other two as a fold-out on the inside cover.
Ifi: Aw cool
Adam: Although in my book, the second and third covers don't have titles and text.
Adam: It's just the illustrations.

Ifi: Okay so let's talk about this main cover
Adam: First off, one thing I find interesting is that this is the only book in the series not to prominently feature the big Animorphs logo.
Ifi: Though I don't see why they felt the need to include it the way they did
Ifi: IT FEATURES A BLUE CENTAUR WITH A KNIFE FOR A TAIL GEE I WONDER WHAT SERIES THIS IS FROM
Adam: Hey, it was still early on.
Ifi: IS THIS THE NEW GOOSEBUMPS BOOK
Adam: What if someone started with this book, and wanted to go to the main ones from it?
Ifi: Then they would be very confused
Adam: I'm impressed that they got away with making the logo that small at all.
Ifi: True. Good job cover artist
Ifi: Also I think Elfangor turned out pretty good.
Ifi: See that, Ax? THAT is a tail-blade.
Adam: Man, Elfangor is ripped.
Adam: Note that Mattingly did change Ax's official appearance after this book had come out.
Adam: (He did not do this cover, for the record.)
Ifi: Oh I did not know that
Adam: Yeah, you can tell it is a Mattingly because he tends to work in digital/photo collage hybrids.
Adam: This is all digital painting
Adam: In any case, all of the Chronicles books had their cover illustrations done by Roman Kukalis instead of David Mattingly.
Ifi: Well I still like it. Elfangor is there looking all studly as the sun rises behind him and there are also asparagus trees and some random spaceship
Adam: I was going to point out the asparagus as well.
Ifi: They were first shown in The Message. This makes me happy.
Adam: So there you go.
Adam: One thing that puzzles me about this illustration though.
Adam: Why is Elfangor's upper body so well defined?
Ifi: Studlyyyyy
Adam: Logically Andalites would not use their upper bodies as much as we do.
Adam: They don't need to push themselves up when they wake up.
Adam: They can't do pushups or pullups.
Adam: It would make sense for them to have frailer upper bodies then most humans.
Ifi: I want to touch his pecs
Adam: You do that.
Adam: Also, I completely misread "pecs" as something else.
Adam: Moving on...

Adam: This is more or less a close-up from the first cover.  
Ifi: A confusingly purple Alloran poses in the same place Elfangor was
Adam: I thought it was Elfangor also.
Ifi: Nah look at those angry eyes
Adam: The eyes are ten times angrier on the first cover.
Ifi: Hm I suppose you are right
Ifi: I just assumed it was Alloran because of the title
Ifi: Yeah it pretty much is just a close-up isn't it?
Adam: Pretty much.
Adam: We get a closer view of the asparagus.
Adam: They look a bit like tube worms, which I approve of.


Ifi: That spaceship was straight up copypasted
Adam: Now, it's probably just drawn from the same preliminary sketch
Ifi: I don't have much to say about this cover.
Ifi: I mean, I like it. I like the whole 'not morphing' thing they have going on
Adam: Oh one other thing.
Adam: The reason he is purple is because the lighting is red.
Ifi: Ohhh

Adam: Okay, so third cover.
Adam: I swear, I must have made this same exact sort of drawing a hundred times in middle school.
Ifi: My picture of it is very small so you'll just have to tell me if it's as bad as it appears to be
Adam: It is not.
Adam: You can see Elfangor's fur, and all of the kids are rather nicely rendered.
Ifi: Jake, at least PRETEND like you are excited
Adam: Eh, it's just an Andalite.
Adam: We used to get Andalites all the time in my day.
Ifi: So there's that.
Adam: Overall, I have to say.
Adam: These are pretty damn awesome covers.
Ifi: I like them

Ifi: When we first meet Elfangor, he is really more like Ax (who does not exist yet)
Ifi: He is an arsith and has never been in a real battle and he'd just a kid
Ifi: But he's more serious than Ax, I think.
Adam: Well, he's stuck with someone who is basically the Andalite version of Marco, so I suppose he feels the need to make himself look more professional.
Ifi: Yes, he is the straight man to Arbron’s wise guy
Ifi: Anyway, apparently they're the only arsiths on the entire ship
Adam: You'd think they would need more people than that to fetch whatever the Andalite equivalent of coffee is.
Ifi: Elfangor has seniority because he has been there four days longer.
Ifi: He mentions this at least twice.
Adam: Hey, it's important to establish a hierarchy!
Adam: Otherwise society just falls to pieces!
Adam: Those four days mean everything.
Adam: Everything.
Ifi: Anyway, they are just goofing off when they are called to the bridge!

<What did we do?> Arbron asked anxiously.
<I don't know,> I moaned, <but it must have been really out of line.>

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: Those wacky kids.
Adam: But it's okay.
Adam: They aren't in trouble or anything, the captain just wants them to risk their lives in battle.
Adam: Whew.
Ifi: The Skrit Na are gigantic weirdoes, and there's one of their ships like right there. The Andalites decide to intercept it because they are bigger and more powerful and they can get away with it.
Adam: Classy.
Ifi: The kids are the only ones who can fit inside the Skrit Na ship. So they have to be the ones to board it.
Ifi: So they are given the crappiest fighter they have
Ifi: While the princes go around in their flashy new models
Ifi: So yeah
Adam: And Elfangor screws up with launching the damn thing.
Ifi: He is sooo excited it is very cute
Adam: Yeah okay.
Adam: Also, Arbron turns out to practically be a prodigy at shooting at stuff.
Adam: I'm sure that will never come up again.

Ifi: I believe this is the first mention of the Skrit Na in the series
Adam: I am honestly really intrigued by the Skrit Na.
Ifi: They are basically the standard person-abducting aliens with flying saucers
Adam: The Na are explicitly classic grey aliens
Ifi: I am actually a bit curious. Elfangor refers to the Skrit and Na as seperate species, but it should be more like they're different stages of a life cycle or something
Adam: What makes me really curious is something in a later book that implies that they are the oldest sapient species in the universe.
Ifi: That does not bode well for the universe.
Adam: Quite.

Adam: But as it turns out, it was a good idea, as the Skrit Na ship has been overrun by a bizarre, ugly looking species.
Ifi: Surprise! The Skrit Na have abducted two humans
Ifi: One is a girl named Loren
Ifi: And the other is a man named Chapman but I refuse to believe he has any relation to the vice principal from the main series
Adam: I will go with Elfangor's later theory that they are twins.
Adam: Because the personalities of these two Chapmans are so completely far removed from one another, I would honestly be surprised if they were even related, let alone the same guy.
Ifi: Yeah. It just...it just makes no sense
Ifi: The Chapman of this book would never 1) join the sharing only at his wife's insistence 2) give up his freedom to protect his daughter and 3) help a little old lady cross the street
Adam: He would also never mentally fight a Yeerk to the point where he is foaming at the mouth just to protect his daughter.
Ifi: He might steal a lollipop from a baby though
Adam: No, he would steal the baby, then sell it on the black market for a hundred lollipops.
Ifi: I wouldn't pay a hundred lollipops for one baby...highway robbery
Adam: Fifty lollipops and a tootsie roll?
Ifi: Hmm
Ifi: You drive a hard bargain
Ifi: But I accept
Ifi: Place it on the altar there.

Ifi: The humans are baffling to the Andalites
Ifi: Loren proceeds to blow Elfangor's mind by climbing a tree
Adam: Not to mention turn her head around.
Ifi: And taking her shoes off
Adam: Well, how would you feel if you abducted an alien, and she started ripping her hooves off?
Ifi: I'll ponder that for a while
Adam: Exactly

Ifi: Elfangor and Arbron get assigned to bring the humans home because literally nobody else wanted to do it
Ifi: They are told they will be working under a war-prince named Alloran
Ifi: Who obviously suffers from PTSD
Adam: Well, this seems like a promising start!
Adam: =D
Ifi: Guy pretty much has the worst life ever
Adam: He was something along the lines of the Andalite version of Mengele prior to this book.
Ifi: We get to see it in Hork-Bajir chronicles a little later
Ifi: He spends much of his time brooding nowadays
Ifi: and tricking out his totally sweet ship
Ifi: which he named after his wife, Jahar
Adam: Okay, that is a bit cute.
Ifi: I have always felt for him.
Adam: Poor little war criminal

Adam: So anyways, it turns out that they are obligated to wipe the humans' memories when they bring them back.
Ifi: Andalites are dicks
Adam: So apparently they have some sort of memory erasing technology.
Adam: This comes up again a grand total of never.
Ifi: Maybe they proved it causes cancer a few years after this
Ifi: So they had to stop using it
Adam: Well, that raises even more problems, but sure.

<You have wars?> I asked. <But you don't have space travel. Who do you fight?>
Chapman arrived then, having arisen from a nap in his quarters. "We fight each other," he said. He winked one eye. "So, Loren, Daddy went nutso, huh? Another whacked-out 'Nam vet? I guess some guys can't take it."

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: Who is this jerk and what has he done with Chapman.
Adam: Seriously
Adam: And we haven't even gotten to the worst part with him.
Ifi: Yeah. This was just casual conversation.

"Maybe I'm with the wrong aliens," Chapman sneered. "Maybe it's too bad I wasn't grabbed by the Yeerks. They sound like the winners."

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: Dude, what? No!
Adam: Also, why do the Andalites have such advanced weapons technology if they never had any wars before the invention of interstellar flight?
Ifi: I have a feeling that Andalites are very fond of revisionist history
Adam: That…makes a surprising amount of sense.
Ifi: It's not like they're not known to cover stuff up or force people to take the blame for stuff they didn't do to protect the memory of a war hero
Adam: …Touche
Ifi: See! I can be smart too sometimes!
Adam: Let's not be crazy now.

Ifi: The plot suddenly swerves in a completely different direction when Arbron somehow figures out that the Skrit Na have uncovered a very powerful lost weapon called the Time Matrix
Adam: Oh no...
Adam: More time travel.
Ifi: That is exactly what I thought
Adam: Apparently the Time Matrix has been hidden under Great Pyramid of Giza for the past several thousand years.
Adam: So… aliens did help build the pyramids?
Ifi: No that was the Chee
Adam: I would have figured that Erek would have mentioned something.
Adam: The Chee are still technically aliens.
Ifi: Robot aliens!
Ifi: Alien robots!
Adam: Indeed
Adam: I'm just going to assume that the Skrit Na built them and the Time Matrix and stuck it there, in spite of what anyone else says.
Ifi: Why not?
Ifi: Certainly not the oddest thing to happen in this story by a long shot
Adam: My thoughts exactly.

Adam: They decide to go chase after the Skrit Na vessel to reclaim the Time Matrix, instead of taking the humans home.
Ifi: Luckily the Skrit Na don't know what they have. They just found it and were like "yay a thingy"
Adam: Yep.
Adam: And I am sure they're heading somewhere perfectly safe, anyways.
Ifi: And certainly not the most awful of awful places


Ifi: Oh Jesus
Ifi: Taxxons are yuk
Adam: Yuk is an apt word.
Ifi: God owes the entire race a huge apology
Adam: srsly
Ifi: "I am sorry that I forgot to give you any redeeming characteristics whatsoever."
Adam: Jesus-Whale, you are a jerk sometimes.

"Why would a time machine be a weapon?" Loren asked.
But Chapman had already figured it out. "Duh. I go back in time and change history to wipe you out in the present. I could kill your parents before they had you, and you'd never exist." He grinned. "Better yet, I could go all the way back in time, back to prehistoric days and find the earliest ancestors of humans and kill them. The entire human race would cease to exist." Chapman laughed. "I see why you guys are worried. If these Yeerks of yours get this thing, it's bye-bye Andalites."

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: Who. Are. You.
Adam: Dude be craaaaazy.
Ifi: So they have to morph Taxxons. And if that's not terrible enough, they have literally zero morphing experience. And exactly two morphs.
Adam: Only one of which is even moderately useful.
Ifi: Yeah. What are they? It's a bird and...
Adam: And a thing.
Adam: Basically, a six-legged monkey.
Ifi: Something useless, in any case
Adam: Pretty much
Ifi: I guess they were thinking they'd use the morphing for healing injuries more than espionage?
Adam: I…guess?
Adam: Ah, I think what it was is that it was intended for espionage, but espionage among other Andalites.

Ifi: Elfangor gets in his first real fight and flips out when he shreds through the enemies with his tail
Ifi: Don't feel bad, dude. Taxxons are mad fragile.
Adam: He probably could have won the all the same just by giving them mean looks.
Ifi: Then we get a scene where Elfangor refuses to kill thousands of unhosted Yeerks, which pisses off Alloran
Ifi: He is very idealistic.
Adam: Foooorshadowing
Ifi: And then we go down to the Taxxon homeworld. Why are none of these planets named?
Adam: There are a lot of planets in the universe. You want to name them all? It would take centuries.

That was all the morphing I had done. A djabala and a kafit bird. I had never even dreamed of morphing a Taxxon.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: SO I ONCE MORPHED A BIRD AND A MONKEY AND NOW I AM GOING TO MORPH A CANNABALISTIC MONSTER THAT EVEN YEERKS, WHICH HAVE EVOLVED SPECIFICALLY TO CONTROL OTHER CREATURES, HAVE TROUBLE HANDLING
Adam: Seems like a good start.
Adam: And honestly, Taxxons don't come off quite as bad as ants or termites

I looked up just in time to see a Taxxon slip from the mag-lev train track overhead. He hit the ground like a bag of goo. His needle legs crumpled and his worm body split open. It was pandemonium! Taxxons came rushing from all sides.
WHUMPF! A big Taxxon slammed into me, practically knocking me over. More of them, all rushing, came toward their fallen friend.
But they were not rushing to help.
They were rushing to eat the still-living Taxxon.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: I beg to differ.
Adam: I mean in terms of difficulty to control
Ifi: Yeah, there is none of that 'hive' reaction, probably because they are in an urban area and not a hive.
Adam: So…that's a plus?
Adam: I guess?
Ifi: Anyway, in the madness, Elfangor loses Alloran and Arbron. Elfangor barely stops himself from eating the Taxxon. We later learn that Alloran and Arbron did not.
Adam: T_T
Ifi: Hypothesis: The amount of time spent in morph is directly proportional to the likihood of you developing PTSD
Adam: Seems like an apt theory

Adam: Unfortunately, Elfangor is approached by a Hork-Bajir controller who finds his behavior suspicious.
Ifi: So yeah. by NOT eating the guy, Elfangor was immediately noticeable
Adam: This speaks very highly of the Taxxons
Ifi: Yeah really
Ifi: Fuck the Time Matrix. I want off this planet.
Adam: This new controller introduces himself as Sub-Visser Seven, and he seems to recognize that Elfangor is an Andalite in morph, though he might just be bluffing.
Ifi: And then he does a double-bluff thing where he accuses him of being a rebel Taxxon, because apparently there are rebel Taxxons now.
Ifi: Sub-Visser Seven there is something immediately familiar about you
Adam: He seems to be particularly interested in gaining an Andalite host body.
Adam: Wink wink, nudge nudge
Ifi: Oh. I want to point this out

Could Taxxon-Controllers speak Galard? Was it even possible for them, with their strange mouths? I didn't know. I had no experience speaking with sounds. And even though I still had the translator chip in my head, it could not interface with my Taxxon brain.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: So he still has the translator chip in his head.
Ifi: Discuss.
Adam: Well, when Jake becomes a controller, he is able to morph a flea with the Yeerk still in his head.
Adam: Maybe it works on the principle.
Adam: Whatever that principle is.
Ifi: I think the principle is something like "the more you think about it, the less sense it makes"

Ifi: Visser Three-to-be tries to feed Elfangor to some Taxxons but he gets away
Ifi: And then in the distance
Ifi: Elfangor sees Alloran's wife-ship landing. Which they left the humans alone in.
Adam: The ship that he also specifically programed so the humans can't use it.
Ifi: Yeah so much for that I guess

The hatch of the Jahar appeared. It opened, and out stepped a creature no Yeerk had ever seen before.
It walked on only two legs.
It held up its hands, and said, "Hey, hey. Relax. You can put down the weapons. I'm not here to fight. I'm here to trade."
Chapman!

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: WHAT THE HELL CHAPMAN
Adam: Who the hell is this guy?
Adam: What happened to the old Chapman that we loved and tolerated?
Ifi: At least he was LAWFUL evil!
Adam: I wouldn't even classify him as that!
Adam: Heck, Chapman's Yeerk is nicer than this guy.
Ifi: He legitimately is.

Chapman kept his hands raised and made a human smile. Then, very slowly, he stepped back into the shadowed interior of the ship. And when he reappeared, he was shoving someone before him.
It was Loren. She was bound with wire. Chapman pushed her viciously. She fell to the ground before Sub-Visser Seven.
"That's what I have to trade," Chapman said. "A whole planet full of...that."

----The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor's Journey

Ifi: WHAT
Ifi: WHAT
Ifi: WHAT
Ifi: DUDE
Adam: Why would anyone?
Ifi: NOT COOL
Adam: I don't
Ifi: NOT
Adam: I don't even
Ifi: OKAY
Adam: What does he even have to gain from this?
Ifi: He is like the Skrit Na. He doesn't even know what he wants. He just knows that he wants it

Via Dresden Codak

Ifi: Anyway that is the end of part one
Ifi: A pretty good ending if I do say so myself

Ifi: Alloran’s Choice begins with a short recap, as this was originally a separate book
Adam: It's nowhere near as bad as a normal book recap.
Adam: So I can live with it
Ifi: Very true
Ifi: So Elfangor is sort of feeling sorry for himself. He has no idea what to do, but he's pretty sure he's not the one who’s supposed to be doing it
Adam: There is one thing I would like to address.
Adam: Now, in order to try and escape, Elfangor has morphed a native alien creature called a Kafit Bird.
Adam: Now, putting aside the nonsense of an alien creature being referred to as a bird, there is one aspect of the Kafit that completely baffles me.
Adam: It has twelve wings.
Adam: How
Adam: Does that work.
Ifi: I thought it only had 6
Adam: Six pairs.
Ifi: You're right
Ifi: Huh.
Ifi: SCIENCE
Adam: Now, scientists are trying to figure out if it is even possible for a four-winged vertebrate to fly.

I've been practically begging for a way to shoehorn microraptors in here somewhere.

Adam: but twelve?
Adam: I am calling bs.
Adam: Where do they all even fit?

Ifi: Elfangor morphs a Taxxon again and meets Arbron, also disguised as a Taxxon
Ifi: They bluff their way into the Skrit Na ship, where the Matrix is
Adam: Once they're inside, Elfangor demorphs.
Ifi: And then the worst thing happens

<Arbron! What are you up to? Demorph!> I yelled. I guess I hoped that yelling would make it happen. But I already knew. He stared at me through those shimmering red jelly eyes, and I knew. More quietly, almost begging, I said, <Come on, Arbron. Demorph.>
<I really wish I could, Elfangor,> he said. <I really wish I could.>

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Adam: T___T
Ifi: oh
Ifi: oh
Ifi: oh
Ifi: oh god
Ifi: ARBRONNNNNNNNNNNNNN
Adam: Tobias no longer has any reason to complain about anything.
Ifi: Gonna be honest. If I was stuck in a Taxxon body, I might just kill myself.
Ifi: I could not handle that constant hunger
Adam: Eh, I'm pretty much like that already.
Adam: Just with cake

Ifi: Then there is a wacky chase scene through the lower atmosphere
Adam: Which you are apparently not supposed to do in a spacecraft.
Adam: Also, Arbron contemplates using the Time Matrix to fix everything, but Elfangor is hesitant, because he is worried it will tick off an Ellimist or something.
Ifi: Arbron is like, "Dude. The Ellimists aren't real. And neither is Santa Claus."
Adam: Psha.
Adam: <What do you mean the Ellimists aren't real?! Who's been bringing me presents on Xrthrathra, then?!>
Ifi: <It's your parents, dude.>
Adam: <MY WHOLE LIFE IS A LIE>

Ifi: Anyway, Arbron saves their asses with his Checkov's skill
Adam: But with all this done, he snaps, and tries to get Elfangor to kill him.
Adam: T__T
Ifi: I understand his motivation.
Adam: still!

Maybe we'd never exactly been best friends, but it was still horrible to look at his foul Taxxon body and think that this was how he would remain. To look into those emotionless red jelly eyes and realize that he was in there, looking back at me.
And I knew what he was feeling, now that the battle was done. The terror. The despair. The awful Taxxon hunger.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Ifi: Not even his friend wants to be friends with him. He can never go home.
Adam: …I need a hug
Ifi: I rest my case.

Ifi: In the chaos of Arbron's attempted assisted suicide, Elfanor crashes the ship into the desert.
Adam: Why is it that in these series, whenever a ship crashes, it always gently flings everyone outside?
Adam: How does that even work?
Ifi: Very true. It happened just a few books ago, in The Forgotten.

Ifi: Elfangor wakes up and everyone is gone. Abron is gone. The Skrit inside the cocoons are gone.
Ifi: It's the rapture
Adam: Sure, we'll go with that.
Adam: So, he does what everyone does when alone on an alien planet.
Adam: He starts looking through magazines.
Ifi: The Skrit Na have stolen all this earth crap.
Ifi: Including, but not limited to:

Frozen, preserved animals; bundles of the artificial skin that Loren and Chapman wore; glass objects that seemed to contain liquids; odd, antiquated electronic equipment; small objects that looked like hundreds of rectangular sheets of paper glued together on one side; and a long crate of what I could almost swear were primitive weapons.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Adam: Y'know, I really wish there were a Skrit Na chronicles.
Adam: These guys intrigue me.
Ifi: I know right
Ifi: Elfangor falls asleep thinking about how great earth must be
Ifi: When he wakes up, he's gotten his shit together. He decides he needs to go back and rescue the humans.
Ifi: BUT HE IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT
Ifi: WHAT TO DO

This bright yellow machine had four wheels. And you could easily see how humans might sit in it. It had a name in chrome letters: "Mustang." Naturally, I had no idea what that meant.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Ifi: KA Applegate, you cannot be serious.
Adam: Awwww yeah.

I had never experienced anything more exhilarating than racing down the valley and out across the open Taxxon desert in my Mustang. It only went a hundred miles per hour, but with the wind in your face, whipping your fur, bending your stalk eyes back, it was certainly a wild ride.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Have I mentioned that I love this series?

Adam: This thing.
Adam: This thing is the best thing,

I poured, the liquids into a shallow pan, and was able to stick in one hoof to drink as I drove. DR. PEPPER, the bottles had said. I figured that was human writing for "bubbling brown water."
For a while I just put Arbron out of my mind. I put Alloran out of my mind. And I pictured myself with Loren, driving in my Mustang across the green grass of Earth. Wind in my face. Bubbling brown water running up my hoof.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice


Ifi: Eventually he finds Arbron again, who has joined the rebel Taxxons, who technically aren't rebels, the Yeerk-controlled Taxxons are rebels, but that's semantics.
Adam: Also, it seems that the native Taxxons are led by a sapient mountain.
Adam: Which may or may not be mind controlling Arbron.
Ifi: I thought it was like supposed to be the borg collective except with Taxxons
Adam: Same difference
Ifi: Also Arbron fed the Skrit cocoons to them.
Adam: So Arbron is Locutus of Taxxon?
Adam: Ew.

Ifi: Arbron is going to lead a thousand Taxxons against the main Yeerk spaceport.
Ifi: Elfangor keeps the fact that they will be slaughtered to himself.
Adam: Arbron seems largely aware of this anyway, but doesn't really care.
Ifi: It is never stated if the other Taxxons are aware of this.
Adam: Well, we never really get a clear idea of how sapient the Taxxons are independently.
Adam: Maybe in their natural state, they can only make intelligent decisions collectively.
Ifi: That sort of makes sense.
Ifi: It explains why the Taxxons on Earth are such a mess.
Adam: Indeed.

Ifi: So Elfangor (and his Mustang) join the battle.
Ifi: Also Arbron tells him

<You won't be able to tell the difference between my Taxxons and Taxxon-Controllers. So don't hesitate. Do what you have to.>
----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Ifi: You
Ifi: are not a very good general
Adam: <Heck, just go ram into whoever you want. What do I care?>

A huge Hork-Bajir spotted me and began to run for the Mustang. Only when he got close did he cry "Andalite!" in surprise and greedy delight.
He leaped at the moving machine. I spun the steering wheel. The Mustang turned sharply. I gunned the engine! WHUUMPF! I hit the Hork-Bajir in the legs. He cartwheeled over my head and landed in the dirt behind me.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Adam: Hork-Bajir are rather sturdy, aren't they?
Ifi: Makes up for the Taxxons.
Ifi: But Taxxons are better pilots. So it balances.
Adam: So Hork-Bajir are fighters, Taxxons are thieves, and Andalites are magic users?
Ifi: Gedds are rangers?
Adam: Monks.
Adam: Because they are pretty much terrible in every regard.
Ifi: Do we even really see Gedds?
Adam: Elfangor was talking to one a few chapters ago.
Adam: They look like lopsided blue chimpanzees.
Ifi: They are NPC's

<Arbron!> I screamed, as I slammed the Mustang into the mass of ravening Taxxons.
<Elfangor! I can't hold them any longer!>
<Are these Taxxon-Controllers? Or are they your soldiers?>
<There's no difference anymore, Elfangor! Don't you see? Blood has been spilled. The hunger...the hunger! Stop me, Elfangor! Stop me!> 
And with that, Arbron, aristh of the Dome ship StarSword, lost his last shred of control.
He turned from facing down the Taxxon mob. He turned and ran for the humans, mouth gaping open.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Ifi: I'd like to submit the entire segment of this book that takes place on the Taxxon Homeworld to the list of Most Fucked Up Moments in Animorphs

Ifi: Elfangor gets to the ship, insults Visser Three some more, and finds Alloran and the humans.
Ifi: And we're finally off this goddamn planet
Ifi: Oh wait crap they forgot the Time Matrix
Adam: Which leads to a big argument between Elfangor and Alloran over what to do about it
Ifi: Alloran reveals the reason that everyone hates him is that he released a quantum virus on the Hork-Bajiir world
Adam: I'm not quite sure how a virus is supposed to work on a submolecular level, but whatevs yo.

Ifi: There is some more drama, and just as Elfangor is returning with the Time Matrix, he realizes Alloran, Loren, and possibly Chapman are all controllers.
Ifi: He just screwed up quite badly.
Adam: Oh well.
Adam: These things happen
Ifi: But Elfangor manages to turn it around when he knocks out Visser Three-to-be (now in Alloran's body) and claims to be him in order to escape orbit

In a loud, arrogant, harsh thought-speak I said, <What? You don't recognize your sub-visser? Hah-hah! I have done it, you fool! As I said I would. I have acquired an Andalite body!>
The Hork-Bajir eyes wavered, uncertain.
If I showed any hesitation, I was lost. If I was to pass as a Yeerk sub-visser, I could not show any doubt. <You see the Andalite down on the ground?>
"Yes...Sub-Visser Seven."
<Good, you're not blind as well as stupid. I want to see him run. Do you understand me! As soon as I have lifted off, make him run! And then, when he is good and tired, when his knees buckle with exhaustion, make him dead. Dead! And if you fail me, I will feed you to the Taxxons. Sub-Visser Seven, out.>

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Ifi: Elfangor.
Ifi: You are a little too good at this.
Adam: This is even before Visser Three was renowned for being a crazed megalomaniac.
Adam: It's almost as if he based his later attitude off of Elfangor's impression of him.
Ifi: ELFANGOR YOU FOOL WHAT HAVE YOU DONE
Adam: So Elfangor and Loren manage to escape into Z-Space
Ifi: About a day later, Loren gets the Yeerk out of her head
Adam: And Elfangor is kind of a bastard to it.

So I made a deal with the hungry Yeerk. I could keep Loren tied up and wait for the Yeerk to starve to death. Or the Yeerk could come out willingly. I agreed to put it in deep hibernation. To freeze it.The Yeerk decided hibernation was better than death by Kandrona ray starvation.

I kept my word to the Yeerk. After it crawled out of Loren's ear, I froze it. And then I ejected it from the ship into the vacuum of real space. Someday it might be found and revived. More likely it would sink into the gravity well of a star and be incinerated.

Especially since I made sure to eject it close to a sun.

----The Andalite Chronicles, Alloran’s Choice

Ifi: You know who would find that funny? VISSER THREE.
Adam: GEEZ MAN
Adam: That is just
Adam: cold

Ifi: Finally they drop out of Z-space and find the StarSword. The Starsword is busy fending off carnivorous asteroids.
Ifi: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BigLippedAlligatorMoment
Adam: I wanna know more about the living meteors
Adam: They seem like they would have an interesting history.
Ifi: Too bad. They're never mentioned again.
Adam: Nooo
Adam: Go back to them!
Ifi: Loren figures out they consume energy, which Elfangor passes on to the StarSaber. And then the author sort of forgets about them.

Ifi: The Yeerks turn up, and Elfangor's little shuttle gets boarded by Visser Three (Or Visser Thirty-Two, as he is now known)
Adam: Yep, so this is chronologically the first appearance of the blade ship
Adam: I don't know why Visser Three has it at this point, he's still somewhat low on the totem pole as Vissers go.
Ifi: Everyone was just so freakin' impressed with his new host that they slapped it together just for him in three days.
Ifi: Or maybe he snatched it from whoever the current Visser One is.
Ifi: Grand Theft Blade Ship

Adam: So, the deathsteriod attacks, and the ship is running out of air.
Ifi: The segment ends with everyone suffocating.
Adam: fun fun

Ifi: So we're in An Alien Dies now.
Ifi: The transition is barely noticeable.
Ifi: Obviously Elfangor and Loren get the air back on
Ifi: This has the unfortunate side effect of not killing Visser Three
Ifi: Then they realize the Time Matrix is floating around outside the ship. Apparently the bungee cords holding it to the roof snapped in all the chaos.
Adam: How did they attach it before, exactly?
Ifi: Don't ask questions.
Ifi: Visser Three, Loren, and Elfangor all go for it at once, each thinking of their home planets.
Ifi: The Ellimist laughs at them, and then Elfangor blacks out.
Ifi: When he wakes up, he's in his front yard
Ifi: And he tells all his troubles to a tree
Adam: This is apparently just something that Andalites do.
Ifi: Yeah, according to what we are told, every Andalite has their own tree, sort of like a dryad
Adam: It's never clear if the tree is actually intelligent in some fashion, or if it is just a superstition
Ifi: It seems to hear and acknowledge, but that could be in his head

Ifi: Elfangor quickly realizes that he is NOT home. They have created a place that is a mix of the Andalite homeworld, Earth, and the Yeerk homeworld
Ifi: Good job everyone
Adam: So, the Time Matrix is not only capable of time travel, but you can apparently use it to create entire separate universes on a whim
Adam: No one ever stops to consider the ramifications of this
Ifi: Yeah really.
Ifi: "We made a new universe!"
Ifi: "Ok I am hungry."

Ifi: Elfangor and Loren find Visser Three
Adam: With his two pets
Adam: Which are some of the strangest creatures in the universe

The heads were tiny for the bodies, elongated, almost needle-sharp. The mouths were long and narrow. Hundreds of tiny, bright red teeth stuck out, jagged and wildly different in length and shape.
But what struck me as strangest was that the creatures did not have legs in the usual sense. They had wheels.
Yes, wheels. Four of them, to be exact.

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Adam: His Dark Materials had a species with wheels, but at least in that they went out of their way to have it make sense
Ifi: I was just about to mention that.
Adam: Telepathy
Ifi: They co-evolved with a plant that became the 'wheels'
Ifi: These guys?
Ifi: They just have wheels
Ifi: Like a mustang.
Adam: Well, the mustang had to evolve somehow.
Adam: But wait! That is not all!
Adam: The mortrons' heads pop off and fly away in order to attack.
Ifi: It is also a hydra.
Adam: Yes, and when you cut one in half, it spawns an additional mortron
Adam: Conservation of matter, what is that?
Ifi: Pfffft

Ifi: Loren throws a rock at Visser Three (she plays softball, so it actually works)
Ifi: Elfangor is very impressed. Apparently no Andalite has ever thrown any thing ever.
Adam: quote that shit

<Ahhh!> the visser cried. The rock had struck him right in the face, just below his left main eye.
I don't know who was more amazed, me or the visser.
<What...what do you call that?> I asked her.
"That? We call that softball. I pitch for Frank's Pro Shop Twins back home. All-city two years in a row."
<What is softball?>
"It's a game we play."
<And you hit people in the face with rocks?>
"Not usually."
[…]
The visser was not impressed. He was just angry.
<So. You propel rocks at me! You'll be very sorry you ever propelled a rock at me, human.>

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Adam: She has been playing sports in a different area then I have.
Ifi: How do you mean?
Adam: <And you hit people in the face with rocks?> "Not usually."
Ifi: I would not know I do not play sports I do not work well in groups
Adam: Ah.
Adam: I mostly just get hit in the head with rocks.
Adam: Of course, this is not just when I am playing sports...

Ifi: So they can't defeat these ridiculous creatures

"Can you outrun them?"
<Yes, I can. But you can't! They are faster than you are. And I won't leave you.>
"You won't have to. Maybe. How strong is your back? Never mind, it must be strong enough. Elfangor, don't be offended, okay?"
<Offended by what?>
"Hold still. I'm gonna try something."
[...]
And suddenly, she leaned her weight on me, swung one leg up and over, and came to rest straddling my back. She sat there with one human leg hanging off either side of my back and held her hands clasped around my neck.

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Ifi: Oh my my
Adam: Heh.
Ifi: PAGING DR. FREUD
Adam: Well, at least I am not the only one with a dirty mind here.
Adam: That makes me feel a bit better
Ifi: I actually cut out the description of her climbing up on him. That was even worse.
Adam: *whistles*
Ifi: So this plan works and they ride off into the sunset
Adam: Very romantic

Ifi: Eventually they find Loren's house.
Ifi: She insists on going inside, even though Elfangor advises against it.
Adam: Loren's mom is inside.
Ifi: Quoting for WTF

Loren's face was growing pale. She darted worried eyes at me and back to her mother.
"Mom, can't you tell that Elfangor is not a normal friend from school? Can't you tell that he's different?"
"Oh, honey." The woman laughed. "He's just an Andalite like any other."
[...]
"What do you mean, he's an Andalite? You don't know about Andalites! You can't know about Andalites."
Loren's mother made a face. "You know, just because I'm your mother doesn't mean I'm an antique! I do keep up with things, Miss Modern. Your generation thinks it invented everything. You think you kids invented Andalites? We had Andalites when I was your age, too."
"How do you know about Andalites?!" Loren yelled. There was water leaking from her eyes. "Oh, God, you're not real! You're not real!"
"Now, Loren, if you are going to treat me disrespectfully, I am going to send you to your room."
"You're not my mother! You're not real!"
I placed a hand on Loren's shoulder. By now I had learned that humans like to be touched when they are upset. <Loren, you're right. She is not your mother. She's something you made out of your own thoughts and memories of your mother. She knows about Andalites because you knew about Andalites when you imagined her.>

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Ifi: This right here is the most surreal exchange in the whole series
Adam: *traumatized*
Ifi: It gets worse.
Ifi: For example, they go a-wandering and find:

The trees stopped abruptly. The sky above us stopped, too. The ground and the grass all stopped. Just stopped. And beyond it was blank whiteness.
The pure, blank, white of Zero-space. Nothingness.
I felt awed and frightened all at once. We were standing at the edge of our tiny universe. Loren reached toward the whiteness, stretching her hand out beyond the edge of soil and vegetation, air and sky.
Her arm reached that edge and curved back on itself. It simply bent in a perfect arc, so that her hand was reaching back toward her own face.

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Adam: Okay, honestly, I found that really cool.
Ifi: Me too!
Adam: I would have stayed there another hour just fiddling around with it
Ifi: But Loren flips her shit
Ifi: When I was little, I thought the world had an edge like that too.
Ifi: I knew the planet was round
Ifi: but I just had this idea
Ifi: of a place where everything stopped
Adam: There are some people who think that this is basically what the edge of the universe is like
Ifi: Could be, I suppose

Ifi: In another miracle of product placement, they find a McDonalds
Adam: And they go inside, and...

We entered the hollow building. Inside there was a single human.
But he was not like any human I had ever seen.
"Oh, God, what did I do?" Loren cried. She placed her hand over her mouth.
I had never seen this human gesture, but I knew she was horrified. You see, the human looked like any normal human. Except that his face was covered with red splotches and pustules. And he had no eyes. No eyes at all. But he could speak.
"Welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order?"
"Oh, no. No," Loren wailed.
"Would you like fries with that? Or a hot apple pie?"
<Is this a human you know?> I asked.
"No. I mean, yes. He's this guy who works at McDonald's and he always waits on us when we go for burgers after a game. My friend Jennifer says he likes me. But all I ever notice is how bad his acne is. The poor guy. The poor guy."

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Adam: AHH!
Adam: AHHHHHHHHH!
Ifi: AHHHHHHHHHH
Adam: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Ifi: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Ifi: In spite of this horrificness, Loren buys and eats a Big Mac.
Ifi: If it had been me, I wouldn't be eating for weeks.
Adam: That was my reaction just from reading about it.
Adam: Although admittedly, I hadn't previously been surviving on liquid grass for a month.
Ifi: Liquid grass, or McDonalds?
Ifi: I dunno.
Ifi: We should put up a poll
Ifi: Endless liquidized grass or eyeless zit-boy Big Mac

Ifi: So FINALLY Elfangor decides they should probably look for the Time Matrix or something
Ifi: Instead of all this endless wandering
Adam: I would have explored more.
Ifi: Yeah they really didn't push the boundaries of that enough but this book is coming up on 300 pages so we have to move on

<The sky, the way little bits of Andalite and Yeerk environments are mixed in with Earth environments. And probably the other way around, too. I didn't see it at first, but there is a pattern. It just seems strange because it makes sense in higher dimensions, but not in three dimensions. But I am sure now. It's a hyper spiral.>
Loren swallowed. "A what?"
<A spiral. But in extra dimensions. And if I'm right . . . yes! The Time Matrix will be at the center of the spiral!>

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Ifi: O...kay then
Ifi: Let's do that
Adam: Well, seeing that I happen to be an expert on n-dimensional physics, it all made perfect sense to me.
Ifi: So they go along, with Loren riding on Elfangor's back
Ifi: Elfangor chats about the homeworld and Loren sort of confesses her love
Adam: And then she realizes that her fingernails are growing
Ifi: Oh God

"Elfangor! Elfangor! Something is happening!" Loren cried. "My fingernails! They're growing!"
She held up her hands so that my back-turned stalk eyes could see them. The hard portion at the end of her human fingers had grown half an inch.
<Your hair is growing, too,> I said.
She felt it. "My God, it's grown an inch. It's like it would grow in a few weeks!"
<My hooves are growing, too. That's why I tripped. It's something I was afraid of. As we get closer to the center of this swirl universe, time is accelerating. We are going to age faster than normal.>

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Adam: Hmm, I just had a theory.
Adam: Since the closer they get to the spiral, the faster time goes, perhaps when they were further way, time was dramatically slowed down.
Adam: So they were actually out wandering around for thousands of years without realizing it.
Ifi: That actually sort of explains why they took so long out there.
Adam: It makes just as much sense as anything else in this book.
Ifi: Well, it quickly turns ugly
I tripped and fell forward, throwing Loren free. My hooves had become totally unmanageable.
I whipped my tail blade forward and quickly trimmed my hooves. It was a rough job, and as soon as I had cut away the excess, they began growing out again.
I looked at Loren and had to stop myself from crying out. Her fingernails were two inches long! Her toenails were sticking through the fabric of her artificial hooves! And her golden hair was so long it reached to the ground.

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Ifi: Ew.
Adam: *Curls into fetal position and sobs*
Ifi: BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

I swept one stalk eye toward her and almost cried out. Her hair was now so long that it piled on the ground. And her toenails extended nearly a foot through the fabric of her artificial hooves. Her hands were like hideous claws.
<Stand perfectly still,> I said. <Hold out your hands and don't move them.> 
FWAPP! FWAPP! FWAPP! FWAPP!
With four quick tail swipes I cut most of the finger and toenail away.

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Adam: This book
Ifi: Agreed.

Adam: So Visser whatever his number is shows up again with the mortrons.
Adam: And there is more horrible things

Then I saw a frightening thing. Loren's strong human hands were choking the life from the Mortron bird portion. And her fingernails, growing so fast that I could actually see them grow, were growing into the Mortron.

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Adam: Egads
Ifi: DONT FUCK WITH MUGGLES.
Adam: My words.
Adam: I have none left

Ifi: So we FINALLY reach the Time Matrix
Ifi: Except Loren is now eighteen years old
Ifi: She was about thirteen at the start of the book
Ifi: Elfangor decides that he's done with the war, and he wants to live with Loren on Earth.
Adam: Which works out, now that she is legal
Adam: Classy

<Yes. But imagine that they don't. Imagine that you are eighteen and that everyone who has ever known you expects you to be eighteen.>

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies

Ifi: <So what you wanna do is rewrite reality so it syncs with your image.>
Ifi: "Can't I just imagine myself 13?"
Ifi: <What? No.>
Adam: I don't
Adam: understand
Adam: anything
Ifi: <Look. If you don't keep yourself at eighteen, we need to wait FIVE YEARS before we can have sex. Do you want that?>
Ifi: "Won't all my friends still be thirteen?"
Ifi: <Who cares? You can make new friends.>
Adam: Everything is always about Andalite sex with you, isn't it?

Ifi: And then there is this really fast summary of the next few years
Ifi: Of Elfangor trapping himself in human morph and living a human life
Adam: He's apparently buds with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs
Ifi: Lots of name dropping, I agree
Ifi: This segment is poorly written and rushed, especially compared with how excellent the rest of the book was.
Adam: Agreed
Ifi: I guess the editor made Applegate cut fifty pages or something
Adam: Also, Chapman is still alive
Adam: and on earth
Ifi: Even though they left him stranded in outer space
Adam: Elfangor guesses that it is a twin or something.
Adam: I am sticking with this theory.
Ifi: Yes. The jerk died in space and the nice twin became a vice principal of a middle school

Ifi: Anyway, Elfangor and Loren would live happily ever after, but the Ellimist shows up and tells him that by becoming a human, he's fucked up the continuity
Adam: Considering that he had Loren rewrite the timeline to fit her new age into it, I am not too surprised
Ifi: The Ellimist gives Elfangor a little glimpse of the future
Ifi: Loren loses all her memory of Elfangor. In the new timeline, she has a human husband.
Ifi: But she is still pregnant with Elfangor's child because FUCK YOU LOGIC
Adam: Logic has no place in this book.

Ifi: So the Ellimist puts Elfangor back on the StarSword.
Ifi: But Arbron is still on the Taxxon homeworld
Ifi: I am looking at Visser now, trying to make this work
Ifi: Here is my theory: Alloran, Arbron, and Elfangor saved the humans. They went to the Taxxon planet to chase the time matrix.
Ifi: And then...?
Ifi: The Ellimist picked up Elfangor and deposited him back on the StarSaber...but from where?
Ifi: What happened to Loren and Chapman?
Adam: Give it up. Making sense of this is a futile venture.
Ifi: Edriss's words on the subject:

They used this transport ship to evade our defenses and land on the Taxxon planet. There were various events associated with that time, although the sequence is uncertain in the record.

----Visser, Chapter Four

Ifi: ...okay so NOBODY knows WTF
Adam: I hate time travel.
Ifi: Still reading Visser trying to make sense of this
Ifi: Oh I see. After the humans were lost, Edriss was put in charge of figuring out what this new species was.
Ifi: Still doesn't explain why Chapman was out there...
Adam: Twins
Ifi: And if Arbron was trapped in morph and Alloran was infested, how did the humans get back to earth?
Ifi: Yeah. This makes no sense at all.
Ifi: Sorry guys. I tried.

Ifi: After this, the universe goes into the timeline that we're familiar with. Elfangor is a hero, crashes on earth, and gives the Animorphs the cube
Ifi: I have one more quote to throw in

And that's when five human children, no older than Loren had been when I first met her, came by.
Three boys and two girls. Scared at the sight of me. But not so scared that they ran away. One of them seemed especially drawn to me.
And when I saw his face, I knew why.
He could only be Loren's son. My son.
"Hello," the one called Tobias said to me.

----The Andalite Chronicles, An Alien Dies


Ifi: So there's that.
Adam: So now we find out what Tobias was doing when he stayed behind to talk with Elfangor.
Ifi: Basically telling him about how his life sucked
Adam: <You think your life sucks, Tobias? Well, how about this? I totally banged your mom.>
Ifi: -headasplodes-
Adam: My work here is done.
Ifi: and yeah. that's the end.

Adam: So closing thoughts?
Ifi: This book was excellent up to the last twenty pages, even though I was up all night lying awake trying to figure out how the time travel elements fit into the continuity
Adam: They don't.
Ifi: The writing was so good, though. Applegate really showed us what she can do when she has the freedom to go nuts.
Ifi: Which she does.
Adam: All over the place.
Ifi: Also, Elfangor's point of view was excellent. The way he interacted with the earth-ideas he was presented with were believable. He always thought in terms of Andalites, even when speaking with Loren.
Ifi: I loved how he thought humans made roads to keep from ruining the tasty grass.
Ifi: And the parts of Andalite culture we got to see fit into each other very well. It was a legitimate 'alien' culture. With semi-sentient trees and wish-flowers and seventeen species of grass in thirty different flavors
Adam: One thing I had a little bit of a problem with was that he did tend to make references and comparisons to earth things.
Ifi: Really? I was actually impressed by how the author managed to not do that...
Adam: Like referring to the Taxxons as centipedes, or the Yeerks as slugs.
Ifi: Ah. You're right.
Adam: It still happened from time to time, and it rather struck out at me when it did.
Adam: My favorite xenofiction books are the ones where they do this throughout, but you don't even notice until you have it pointed out to you.
Adam: For instance, in the YA novel "Silverwing" there is absolutely no mention of color throughout the entire book.

The series is about bats, and so they visualize things via echolocation.

Adam: I had to reread it to check when I found this out.
Ifi: OH MY GOD I NEVER REALIZED THAT
Adam: *evil grin*
Ifi: gahhhh now I need to find the whole series again
Adam: I still haven't read the third one
Ifi: Don't.
Adam: Aw
Ifi: I'm still mad about it. I read it in the seventh grade and I'm still mad about Firewing.

Adam: So anyway, Andalite Chronicles
Adam: I feel pretty much the same way that you did about it.
Adam: Overall: Excellent, cracky at points, but action packed, and it successfully shows off the strong points of Applegate's writing.

Adam: One more thing.
Adam: Something we do not often talk about in these reviews are the little flipbook gimmicks on the inside pages.
Adam: I mean, these are quite fun, but they usually don't need bringing up.
Adam: But on this book, I have to say, they completely outdid themselves on the flipbooky thing.
Adam: It's divided into three parts like the book is, though they all directly follow one another.
Adam: Part 1: The Jahar chases after the Skrit Na ship, and they engage in a dogfight.
Adam: Part 2: The Skrit Na Vessel escapes, and the Jahar nears the Taxxon homeworld's solar system.
Adam: Part 3: The Jahar flies off, and gets sucked into a black hole.
Adam: Just
Adam: Awesome.

35 comments:

  1. This post is win because it mentions Microraptor and Silverwing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thought maybe the time travel thing hadn't made sense because I was like twelve, so I'm glad it wasn't just me. That whole segment with the alternate universe and stuff was so fucking trippy.

    I always pictured Visser Three's little pet things looking like those missiles or jet planes with the faces drawn on the nose for some reason.

    Oh, and that Andalite-mustang picture is QUALITY.

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  3. So the glue on the cover of my new Sketchbook was drying and yet I HAD to grab it and attempt drawing some of the WTF-ness you guys mentioned (twelve-winged critters, wheeled aliens with a gland that spits out extra heads). I think I wisely quit when I pondered a "Liquid Grass-isize Me!" poster.

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  4. What is this "Silverwing" of which you speak?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was particularly interested in this review (as I was in the one for the first Megamorph) because here in Italy they never actually published the Chronicle books. Nor the Megamorphs. And the last two books of the series...

    But sad thoughts aside, this book and your review are clearly made of win! And now I want a spin-off series about the Skirt Nas and the carnivorous asteroids (asteroids that I now imagine looking like the moon from Majora's Mask).

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  6. Chris: I now am feeling compelled to draw the Mortrons like that.

    Trish: I want to see all of these sketches!

    Hmm...maybe we should have a fanart day or something...

    Beetnemesis: It's a YA series from the late 90's-early 00's about (non-anthropomorphized) bats. It's pretty much the sheer pinnacle of YA non-alien xenofiction.

    Davide: That is rather a shame. The Megamorphs all varied in terms of quality, but all of the Chronicles books (particularly the first two) were pretty much distilled win.

    Also, Ifi, add this to your fanfic.

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  7. "It's a YA series from the late 90's-early 00's about (non-anthropomorphized) bats. It's pretty much the sheer pinnacle of YA non-alien xenofiction."

    I rather enjoyed Silverwing and the second sequel myself, but Watership Down is pretty good on the non-alien xenofiction front, although whether or not it's YA is debatable.

    Really, any book for kids where one of the main characters gets to say "eat shit and die" is a good one.

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  8. The time in the time spiral confuses me. Surely, if time is moving faster, so do they? Their speed would increase at the same rate as their aging does. There's no reason for chemical changes related to nerve signals and muscle contraction to be unaffected, and chemical changes related to cell division to be affected (and if they were, they should starve partway through their journey).

    Also, you guys call Elfangor Ax at one point.

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  9. By all accounts, the time spiral makes no sense at all. But it did occur to me that if it had followed its own logic, they should have starved.

    Hmm, now I am just reminded of the bit from Indiana Jones, where the guy picks the wrong grail.

    And thanks for pointing that out. I fixed it. ^_^

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  10. I would be SO down for a fanart day. visser 3 + mortrons comin up.

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  11. I called Elfangor Ax sooooo many times when we were writing this thing. I don't even know why, they have completely different personalities. I guess I'm just used to typing Ax.

    Also casting my vote for Watership Down.

    But it did occur to me that if it had followed its own logic, they should have starved.

    Yeah I thought about bringing that up too, but that's one thing that's never ever addressed in fiction so I decided to let it slide.

    And I can't write a Skrit Na fanfic until I write my renegade Chee fanfic! Priorities, people.

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  12. Maybe the renegade Chee and the Skrit Na are partners. They solve crimes together.

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  13. An here we go. Kafit "Bird", Mortron, and a bonus doodle of a Mulefa: http://www.flickr.com/photos/babbletrish/6378983369/

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  14. Trish, you are spectacular.

    And we are definitely going to have a fanart day. We'll probably do an official announcement for it a little later in the week.

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  15. Aw, thanks!

    People the Ellimist Has Rescued From Mode-Lock (extremely delayed Fridge Logic):

    1) Andalite trapped in the form of a Human (which sucks for the Andalite, but is at least a sapient species with thumbs and whatnot).

    2) Lousy Human trapped in the form of a Hawk (which he is very Emo about, but is a Killer Rabbit dinosaur that can FLY).

    People the Ellimist Has NOT Rescued From Mode-Lock:

    1) Andalite trapped in the form of a Taxxon (a sapient species that can generously be called Nature's Cruelest Mistake).

    Huh...

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  16. Lousy Human trapped in the form of a Hawk...

    Try Lousy Human trapped in the form of a Hawk because he Did It To Himself Totally On Purpose



    Poor Arbron. The Ellimist only cares about you if you narrate a book.

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  17. A Taxxon Chronicles from Arbron's POV would be so cool.

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    1. I want a HelmaCronicles!

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  18. So I always considered the reappearance of Chapman on earth who is then nice to be a sign that the world wasn't real.

    Like, they don't know how the Time Matrix works. They're just guessing. Elfangor thinks Loren can direct them back to Earth but reprogram everyone's memories, but really she probably just invented a new Earth, again, that worked better than the last attempt because it wasn't getting conflicting input from an Andalite and a Yeerk. She's probably got conflicting feelings about Chapman and wishing he was nicer so he wouldn't have done things that got him abandoned in space. And we already know the Ellimist lies about things, so we can't trust a word of his explanation to Elfangor (or what he shows to Elfangor, since it does seem that Loren never actually got a replacement husband), which is backed up by the fact that he's supposedly "fixing" the timeline but he left Tobias be.

    The Earth is fake.

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  19. I always figured the Ellimist just removed Elfangor? Like they picked him up, erased everyone's memory of him, and had everyone believe Loren's husband had been some random dude the whole time. Everything that happened on that timeline still happened, Elfangor STILL turned into a human and banged her to make Tobias, and when that was done the Ellimist picked him up and put him on the spaceship at the exact day Loren found out she was pregnant.

    Also that he was just totally lying about rewriting the timeline because he didn't want anyone to find out he was "stacking the deck" with Tobias and Ax (which Crayak or Drode bitched about in Megamorphs 1 and they found out Cassie was grounded in the proper timeline).

    It's also totally possible that what J said was right? And the original Earth was just kind of erased in place of Loren's.

    Or maybe Chapman was kind of like that dude in Clockwork Orange? Where he's a total cock and a half, but when he becomes an adult he kind of grows up and is like oh, hey, maybe I should be responsible or something? :I And, like Elfangor (and possibly Visser 3 in the Time Matrix) the Ellimist just picked him up and set him back on Earth (the spaceship still went through the blackhole, but Ellimist interfered before Chapman went through?)

    IDK. I AM PROBABLY OVERTHINKING SHIT.

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  20. Overthinking is what we do here. For srs.

    I hang tight to my belief that it does not make sense and trying to understand it is a waste of time.

    Also Chapman was a different Chapman. Some other guy. With the same name. Nothing anyone says or does will ever convince me otherwise.

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  21. Explanation for Elfangor's Earth references - the time in which he is actually telling this story is while he is dying on Earth, after having spent several years living there. Thus, having most recently had a conversation with five earthlings, one of whom is his son by a human, his human life would be predominant in his mind, and he would be thinking of things in Earth terms. While officially he is making this statement to his fellow Andalites, in his heart, he's really addressing this to his briefly reunited son. Deep down inside he is really trying to justify all of this to Tobias, but having no basis on which to communicate with him, falls back on a familiar practice of making the hirch delest or whatever the Andalite gibberish is. Thus his tendency to over-explain Andalite cultural issues, with which an Andalite reader would be familiar, such as the bit about praying for a new brother and so on. He would not need to tell an Andalite audience that stuff. And when he describes peculiar Earth stuff, he is not really doing so for the benefit of his Andalite readership, he is trying to give his son a reference to understand where he himself is coming from and how he reacted to things with which an Earth human would be familiar. Subconsciously, he is trying to present himself in a sympathetic light to help his kid get past what a shitty dad he has been.

    Of course the real reason is that this is aimed at young kids, who can't be expected to do the heavy mental lifting an adult xeno-fiction work might expect of its readers and REALLY hold to an alien frame of reference.

    But that's how Applegate can explain an adult alien expressing things in terms that juvenile humans can grasp - two of the four Chronicles books are expressly narrated to human teens (Hork-Bajir to Tobias [and passed on from parents to children - IIRC, Aldrea & Dak died when Seerow II was still a kid], and Ellimist to Rachel), and that makes a good explanation for this on too. Even though Elfangor says he is composing this account as a final testimony to his people, his mind is focussed on the encounter he just had with his son, and he cares more about how Tobias would read it, than any particular Andalite, so he deliberately or subconsciously frames it as he would to a human teenager.

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  22. My theory works. Even though I haven't read the book. It's obvous Loren is Hera duh.

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  23. A fun theme with KA is that all the 'alien' words are anagrams of English words/phrases. Hirac Delest works as 'a reset child.'

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  24. Oh wow, I never knew Andalite Chronicles was three books. I've only ever seen the single volume version. Maybe my local bookstore got confused with the individual ones and didn't know where to file them, or they never got wide release before the other edition came out.

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  25. Wait. I'm kind of confused. I don't remember Elgangor revealing at the end that he's Tobias' father. Don't we find that out only later, in book 23? I read the Andalite Chronicles before 23, but I don't remember going 'OMG WTF TOBIAS ELGANGOR WHAT NO WAYZ' until the latter.

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    1. It was right there at the end. Elfangor notices Tobias's resemblance to Loren and puts two and two together. Book 23 was just when this point was revealed to the human cast.

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  26. I thought I was the only one who hated Firewing.

    It's like the author decided he hated happy endings and wanted to craft the most grimdark thing possible.

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    1. I read that a few years ago and I thought another book was going to come out. I waited and waited and eventually realized it wasn't happening.

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  27. Eh I think Loren is Hera, so it works that way.

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  28. More timeline fun. The story takes place 21 years prior to the first story. Elfangor then spends 3 years on Earth before the Ellimist took him away. Tobias being his kid, he should be 17-18 in the first book, not 13.

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  29. I liked Firewing, I wish there was another book tho :(

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  30. No the 2cd cover connects to the first like one big picture

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  31. NPC's? I<3Minecraft TOO!!!! btw This is my fave book I have a copy of until I get a copy of The Alien. I seen The Alien as e-book. LOVIN' IT!!!!

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    1. NPC is just a general videogame/rpg term.

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