Friday, December 23, 2011

Book 17: The Underground

The Summary
The Animorphs are abusing their morphing abilities to crash a celebrity event when they see a man trying to kill himself by jumping off a building. They manage to save him, and the story is all over the news the next day.

It turns out Rachel's mom is going to be representing the guy in court. His name is George Edelman and his family wants him declared incompetent because he is babbling about aliens living in his brain. Rachel and the others decide to visit Mr. E in the mental hospital.

Mr. E explains that his Yeerk ate too much maple-ginger oatmeal, which renders Yeerks immortal with the side effect of also making them insane. He is normal most of the time, but when his Yeerk takes over, he is a babbling lunatic.

The Animorphs fight over what to do with this new information. Rachel and Marco really want to force maple-ginger oatmeal down everyone's throats, the others are less sure of how ethical this is. They begin to try and find a new way into the Yeerk pool. After a few unsuccessful attempts, they morph moles and burrow their way in. Cassie suggests that instead of feeding the oatmeal to the human-controllers, they can just drop it in the Yeerk pool, where the Yeerks will absorb it through their bodies.

Chaos happens, but Rachel manages to find a shed where the Yeerks store all the contraband oatmeal (200lbs worth). Marco throws a crate of it into the Yeerk pool, and threatens to explode the box if Visser Three doesn't let them all go. Visser Three could not care less about the lives of 500 of his underlings, so they throw him in the pool too. He changes his mind.

The Animorphs run away, but Visser Three is about to catch up with them in morph. So the Animorphs blow up the crate of oatmeal, causing even more chaos. They escape in the madness, and never do learn what effect they had on the Yeerks, but Rachel breaks Mr. E out of the hospital so he can live life as yet another raving homeless person in LA.

The Random
Ifi: Last night I dreamed they changed Marco's name to Adam in the reprint series. 
Adam: @_@
Adam: I always compared myself more to Tobias personaility-wise
Ifi: No like there was a whole reason, kids didn't like the name Marco, so Scholastic had to change it to something else
Adam: Kids like the name Adam?
Adam: This is news to me
Ifi: Apparently Marco was too unusual
Adam: it's just a syllable away from Mark
Ifi: DONT ASK ME
Adam: I ask

The Review
Ifi: This cover is pink
Adam: Very pink
Adam: I think this one actually manages to beat book 4 in sheer Lisa Frank-itude
Ifi: Lisa Frank does not do bats
Ifi: Those clouds are quite vibrant though
Adam: Well, if she ever wants to, she now has a starting point.
Ifi: That middle phase is horrific
Ifi: Moreso than usual
Adam: I don't think it is quite as bad as some of the other ones.
Adam: What do you dislike about it?
Ifi: I think it's the small face
Adam: It's shrinking proportionally with the rest of her body
Ifi: Is still creepeh
Adam: Well, to each his/her own

Adam: This book
Adam: is a bit infamous.
Ifi: This book
Ifi: is a bit ridiculous

"Let me get this straight. There's a new Planet Hollywood opening in town. And you and Rachel have decided you want to go, but you can't get tickets. So you want to fly there in morph. You want to use our powers for a totally selfish purpose. Is that it, basically?"

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Adam: Of course
Ifi: Way to give away your location guys
Adam: Wait... 
Adam: Isn't Planet Hollywood just a restaurant chain?
Adam: I don't think they have actual celebrities go there.
Ifi: Yes and no. There are snazzy parties there.
Adam: Huh, I guess I am mistaken.
Ifi: I dunno I once went to a publishing party there.
Ifi: (Once you get past security nobody asks any questions)
Adam: I always thought it was just the sort of place where you can get overpriced fast food and buy tchotchkes.
Ifi: I know the one in Times Square has a restaurant area and then the top floor has a bar and you can rent the whole space.
Adam: Every day is a day for learning, I suppose.
Ifi: Gonna assume the one in California (which is actually closed down now) is the same.
Adam: I see
Ifi: I did my research this morning.
Adam: I am proud of you.
Adam: You get a cookie.

Ifi: There are a lot of celebrities mentioned by name in this book, moreso than usual. I know there was a rumor going around that all the references were going to be updated in the reprint. Did anyone ever confirm this?
Ifi: For example, Jake is thrilled about Shaq being there, Rachel wants to see Lucy Lawless...
Ifi: And a whole bunch of other people an elementary school kid would never identify.
Adam: The reprints are not even close to this book.
Adam: #7 just came out recently.
Ifi: I know but it will happen someday.
Adam: But other pop culture references have been updated, and/or removed
Adam: In anycase, they don't really mention any celebrities who have completely faded from history at this point.
Adam: Although the Schwarzenegger bits will be funnier now
Ifi: I feel like the series would be totally different if it was set in the 2010's rather than 1990's.
Adam: Any particular examples of how that would be the case?
Ifi: Cell phones dude
Adam: Those can be tracked
Adam: they would likely have to leave them home most of the time
Ifi: And then parents would go "WHARRRRRBRRRGARBL WHERE IS YOR PHONEEEE?"
Ifi: And we could take pictures of the aliens and blog about them
Adam: That Yeerk website would likely be a bit more elaborate
Ifi: Word would spread about the invasion more easily
Ifi: With facebook and all.


Adam: Speaking of which, there is new group on there that I just liked.
Adam: It's called The Sharing.
Adam: You should definitely come check it out.
Ifi: Sounds like fun!
Ifi: Are there camping trips?
Adam: Oh yes.
Ifi: And free food?
Adam: By the truck-load.
Ifi: And a guy with a shotgun?
Adam: By the truck-load.

Ifi: The Animorphs are being morons at a celebrity event when they spot some guy trying to kill himself by jumping off an office building.
Ifi: Rather than leaving the poor man to die in peace, they decide to go make his last moments even more difficult.
Adam: I'm not sure why he picked this specific moment, when there are hundreds of cameras around to do this.
Ifi: So how do we save a dude that is falling to his death?

I opened my talons, stretched them forward, and caught a shred of collar as he dropped. Instantly his speed dragged me down and I sank a second talon in. Right around his collarbone. I think I managed to nick him pretty good, but that was the least of this guy's problems.
I opened my wings, but I might as well have been opening an umbrella. Maybe I shaved one mile an hour off his speed. Not much. Then Tobias swept in like a guided missile. He grabbed the man's left arm. Jake was next, in his insanely fast peregrine falcon morph. He snagged the back of the man's collar.
He was slowing. But not nearly enough.
[...]
Cassie and Ax arrived. Both grabbed talon-holds. Marco was last and he went for all that was left, grabbing the back of the man's suit jacket.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Oh.
Adam: Buh.
Adam: "And then all seven of them fell to the ground and splattered. The End."
Ifi: They manage to keep the guy from going splat, only to nearly drown him in a nearby river.
Ifi: Rachel handles this badly.

I powered back toward the poor suicide guy. Although by now I wasn't feeling sorry for him, so much as really annoyed. I mean, what is it with people killing themselves? How big a moron do you have to be not to figure out that at least if you stay alive you have some hope, as opposed to being dead and having zero?

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Wow Rachel. Just wow.
Adam: Rachel's thoughts on philosophy and life.
Adam: She should start an advice column or something
Ifi: Called SUCK IT UP, PRINCESS
Ifi: You wanna kill yourself? That's because you're a MORON. Yeah, that's right. Wanting to escape the voices that talk to you from behind the wall makes you a BIG MORON, MORON.  
Adam: I bet it would gain a very devoted fanbase.

Ifi: It all turns out okay because suicide guy is rescued by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Ifi: That's not a joke.
Ifi: It's actually in the book.

"Well, that's just classic," I complained the next day as we all hooked up at the mall food court after school. I had USA Today. I had our local newspaper and a bunch of others. Every one of them showed the same picture. And they all had basically the same headline: Schwarzenegger Real-Life Hero: Gives Mouth-to-Mouth to Drowning Man. One paper said: Terminator Becomes Resuscitator.
[...]
"We were lucky," Jake said. "No one happened to snap any pictures of a pack of raptors carrying the guy to the water. And no one happened to wonder why a dolphin would be so far upstream from the ocean."

----Book Seventeen, The Underground


Adam: Bodybuilder turned future politicians are much more interesting anyway.
Ifi: Anyway, now that that is over, Rachel goes home. She notes that her house is not completely repaired from the last book she narrated.
Ifi: Also Rachel could not care less about the guy she saved
Ifi: Named George Edelman apparently.
Adam: Well, we have already established her as being a complete and utter sociopath.
Adam: But yes, George.
Adam: Apparently, his family is having him committed.
Adam: Poor guy was caught rambling about aliens living in his head or something.

"So what's this about being a celebrity?" I asked.
"Oh, well, I was mostly kidding. You know that guy in the papers a few days ago? The one who was rescued by Arnold Schwarzman? He was on TV and CNN."
"Schwarzenegger?"
"No, the man he rescued. Anyway, guess what? I'm his lawyer. His family says he's incompetent. They want to—"
[...]
"So what are you supposed to do?" I asked. "Prove he's not wacko? I mean, he is, right? He jumped off a building."
"Lawyer Barbie could save him," Sarah said.
"Actually, it's a little worse than that," my mom said, gathering Sarah up into her arms. "Apparently this poor man claims he has an alien living in his head."
My heart beat three times real fast. Then stopped.
"He calls them Yerks or Yorks or something."

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Pony!

Adam: ?
Adam: I think those are a bit too large to fit in a person's head.
Ifi: There's a yak in my head.
Adam: Suddenly it all makes sense.
Ifi: It's a baby yak. Very small.
Adam: Aw

Ifi: The Animorphs are like, "Well, I guess we should...go check on this dude. Or something."
Ifi: It's the best lead they've got all week.

"So we get in, we find this George Edelman and try to figure out if he knows something about the Yeerks. Then we leave Marco behind and get out."

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Adam: Is Marco really the one who needs an extended stay there?
Ifi: I think Marco is actually the best out of all of them at dealing with stuff
Adam: What about Ax?
Ifi: Ax doesn't count. They don't take Andalites in crazyhospitals.
Adam: How do you know?
Ifi: I called and asked.

Ifi: So I guess we're going to sneak into a mental hospital.
Adam: They plan on sneaking inside of the food in roach form.
Adam: Ew.
Ifi: Yeah really dudes gross

<Bananas,> Marco said. <We're in a crate of bananas.>
<Oh. That must be what we were smelling. The sweet smell,> Jake said.
<Good. This should be easy. They're moving us now. In a few seconds we'll be inside.>
<Gross. Roaches on bananas,> I said, making conversation while we waited. <Maybe that's why Cassie always washes her bananas before she peels them.>
<No,> Jake said. <It's because of pesticides. You know, poisons.>
[...]
<I think it's for the spiders,> I said. <Haven't you ever heard how sometimes there are tarantulas crawling around bananas? Happens all the time. They come up in the holds of ships and—>
<Excuse me? Tarantulas?> Marco squeaked.
<Oh, come on. What are the odds that there's a tarantula in this particular crate of bananas?>

----Pretty high, actually.

Adam: I am pretty sure that is an urban myth.
Ifi: Well that urban myth just ripped Rachel's leg off
Adam: You're pulling my leg.
Ifi: You are the worst.
Ifi: The very worst

Ifi: They are saved from the mythical tarantula when Tobias eats it.
Adam: I would consider trying tarantula.
Adam: They're supposed to be high in protein.
Ifi: You can't. It's a mythical creature.
Adam: Well, then I will gain its magical powers.
Ifi: +5 resistance to poison
Adam: It could come in handy.
Ifi: Like for when I poison you.
Adam: Promises promises

A man shuffled in, wearing slippers. He headed for the toilet. He hesitated. Slowly, very slowly, he turned. My human mouth was just appearing. My lips grew from melted roach mouthparts.
"Hi. Could you get George Edelman for me?"
The man nodded. "Sure." He started to go. Then he turned back. "Are you real?"
"Nah. Just a figment of your imagination."
"Ah. I'll get George."
I was human by the time Mr. Edelman poked his head cautiously into the room.

----Mental illness is hilarious

Ifi: The Animorphs opt for the subtle approach.
Adam: Tasteful.
Ifi: Mr. E is really a very sad character.
Ifi: Also apparently CAT scans don't exist in this universe.
Adam: And it's not like this center is run by Controllers or anything, otherwise they would have just offed him.
Adam: So yeah, it really doesn't make any sense.
Ifi: In the history of the entire war, no Controller has ever got in an accident and been too unconscious to say no guys wait brain scans are against my religion
Adam: This is why I liked that Scrubs fanfic

"Look, I can't stay much longer. But you have to tell me: How is the Yeerk staying alive without Kandrona rays? You've been in here for more than three days."
I cannot possibly describe the way he looked at me then. Hope. Dread. Amazement. All three.
I grabbed him again by the shoulders. "I know it's weird, but you have to trust me. How does it happen? Why is the Yeerk insane? How does it survive without the Kandrona?"
"Andalite?" Mr. Edelman whispered wonderingly.
"Yes," I lied. "Andalite."

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Adam: Promptly, Edelmen calls in the Hork-Bajir standing right outside the room, and they take Rachel captive.
Ifi: Apparently Yeerks write the insane ex-Controllers off as a loss
Ifi: and let them run around free to possibly spill locations and names and security codes
Ifi: For the rest of the host's natural life.
Adam: Yeah, I dunno.

Adam: Now we learn the great secret.
Adam: Of how George's Yeerk has remained alive.
Adam: Drumroll please.

"It's okay," I said. "What's this food? The food that allows Yeerks to survive without the Kandrona?"
"They discovered it quite by accident. No one guessed what it could do. No one realized it would prove addictive. But it did. Terribly addictive. And over time, the continued ingestion of it began to eliminate the Yeerks' need for Kandrona rays. At the same time, it drove them crazy. You see, it seems to literally replace some of a Yeerk's brain stem."
I nodded. I could barely contain my excitement. A food that could destroy Yeerks! "What is the food, Mr. Edelman?"
"Oatmeal," he said. "But only the instant kind. And then, only the maple and ginger flavor." He shook his head. "Yeerks cannot resist the addiction, once exposed. And they slowly, but surely, drive themselves mad. There are dozens of men and women like me. In places like this. On the streets. Or worse."

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Oh.
Ifi: This is going to be one of those books.
Adam: This is not one of those books
Adam: This is that book
Adam: This is the most one of those books that any book has ever been, ever.
Adam: This is the paragon of one of those books.
Ifi: *falls down in worship*
Adam: Indeed.


Ifi: So the Animorphs have a gripping and emotional debate over the ethics of using this new weapon against the Yeerks.

<They will never compromise, anyway,> Ax said. <They must be forced back to their own home world.>
<So we try and feed them addictive drugs,> Tobias said with obvious distaste.
"It's OAT-freaking-MEAL!" Marco exploded.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: I am going to cite OAT-freaking-MEAL the next time the Animorphs debate ethics.
Adam: There is one other aspect of this I would like to address.

<The Yeerks are made invulnerable to their normal hunger for Kandrona rays. They can live inside their human hosts forever, even if the oatmeal is later taken away. These hosts would lose all hope.>

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Adam: So apparently, what Ax is saying here.
Adam: Is that the oatmeal does not just replace Kadrona radiation for the Yeerks.
Adam: It also makes them functionally immortal.
Adam: Excuse me, but WHAT?!
Ifi: idklol
Adam: And this is just something that is mentioned offhand.
Adam: But the Yeerks have discovered a way to make themselves immortal.
Adam: And everyone just sort of shrugs it off.
Ifi: Well it also drives the Yeerks completely insane, to the point where the hosts have no trouble regaining control.
Adam: Still.
Adam: You'd think they'd be working nonstop to come up with some sort of maple and ginger extract that would have less of the unpleasant side effects.
Ifi: I dunno, from what we've seen the Yeerk Empire does not have much of a science department.
Ifi: Most of it is ganked from the Andalites.
Adam: There are some later plots that revolve around sabotaging the Yeerk R&D departments.
Ifi: Maybe it's a supertopsecret project on the homeworld
Adam: Would they have a large enough supply of oatmeal to allow that?
Adam: I can't believe I just said that.
Adam: That was a sentence that resulted from me.
Adam: I fear for tomorrow.
Ifi: This sort of thing happens all throughout the book, and the characters have a similar reaction
Ifi: As if they are beginning to suspect that God is phoning it in.
Adam: I am not sure if that makes it better or worse.
Adam: The sheer mood whiplash is just more than my poor heart can take.
Ifi: Just look at that quote where it's revealed. We go from desperate tearful host forever trapped to instant oatmeal.
Adam: This is why I think this book is worse than the horse poop one.
Adam: That one at least had a consistent tone throughout the whole thing (albeit a stupid one.)
Adam: This is all over the place.
Adam: It deals with legitimately series ethical issues that feel right at home in this series.
Adam: But at the same time.
Adam: It is a book about oatmeal.
Ifi: OAT-freaking-MEAL
Adam: It's enough to make a person's brain explode.
Ifi: I think they are both bad but you can't compare them because they are so wildly different that you can't quantify it.
Adam: Alright, fair point.

You guys have no idea how much fun this is.

Ifi: So let's go do some chemical warfare!

We were flies. The six of us. We were inside a McDonald's, zipping madly around. It was crazy. The scent of food was everywhere. Pickles. Meat. Ketchup. Grease. Special sauce. My fly body thought it had died and gone to heaven. Outside of a good trash dump, there's no place a fly likes more than a fast-food restaurant.
<What about the Happy Meal?> Cassie asked.
<Why is the meal happy?> Ax asked.
Tobias decided to answer Cassie's question. <That's how you signal. That's the code. You go up to the counter and say "I'd like a Happy Meal. With extra happy." That's the signal.>
[...]
<Then what?> Jake asked.
<Then I don't know. I could never see all the way inside.>
<Okay. So here's the plan,> Jake said. <We watch till someone orders the Happy Meal with…what was it?>
<Extra happy,> Tobias said.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Operation: Dump heroin in the Yeerk pool is a go.
Adam: They haven't even thought that far ahead yet.
Adam: They were just sort of planning on forcefeeding it to everyone there.
Ifi: If anyone illustrates that I will write them into the fanfic.

BrrrrEEEEET! BrrrrEEEEET! "Unauthorized life-form detected." BrrrrEEEEET BrrrrEEEEET! "Unauthorized life-form detected."
The Controller woman looked around. I saw her blue eyes, each the size of a swimming pool, turn and look. Through the shattered, splintered fly vision, I could see her focus.
Then she muttered under her breath, "Security fanatics. It's just a couple of lousy flies."
But the mechanical voice was giving instructions now. "Shut your eyes tightly to protect against retinal damage from the Gleet BioFilter."
<The what?> I asked.
<Get out of here!> Ax yelled.
<What?>
<Out! Out! Out!> he yelled.

----The brilliant plan to sneak into the Yeerk pool is thwarted by some new security measures.

Ifi: Well crap.
Adam: This is the first time Ax has yelled, I am pretty sure.
Adam: Which is pointed out in-universe too.
Ifi: Didn't really want to get into the Yeerk Pool anyway, now that I think about it.
Adam: Understandable.
Ifi: So now we need a ridiculous way to get ourselves into the Yeerk Pool


I sighed. "So let me get this straight. You're suggesting we morph this mole and dig our way down to the Yeerk pool?"
Cassie shrugged. Then she winked at me. "Just trying to be helpful."
"It's probably, what, fifty feet down through the dirt to the top of the Yeerk pool?"
<At least,> Tobias said.
"That's a lot of dirt," Jake said. "But I don't know of another way. If we're going to do this, we need to get back to the Yeerk pool."
"Has anyone figured out how we're supposed to get a whole lot of oatmeal down there after we dig these mole tunnels?" I asked.
Jake nodded like he was going to say "sure." Instead he said, "Nope. But we need to start stocking up. Everyone start bugging your parents to buy instant maple-and-ginger flavor oatmeal. Lots of it. We'll start with that. Then we'll spend our allowances for more."

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Is it over yet.
Adam: Not by a long shot.
Adam: Also, this means that Marco is stuck eating nothing but maple ginger oatmeal for the next month.
Ifi: Sounds like it would taste sort of gross.
Adam: I don't know, I like ginger.
Ifi: I have never had maple ginger oatmeal. I didn't even know that was a thing.
Adam: Neither have I. I've looked it up and found recipes, but I can't find any brand oatmeal that makes the stuff.
Ifi: The Sharing put a stop to its manufacture
Adam: You'd think that they would go do this right away, wouldn't you?

Ifi: So it turns out that being a mole underground sort of sucks
Ifi: Everyone is sort of traumatized by it, though Rachel flatly denies this.
Adam: I am very glad that I am not claustrophobic
Adam: Also:


"How far did you get? You were down there for twenty minutes." 
Twenty minutes? No. It had been an hour at least.
<I…um, I don't know.> I tried to visualize the tunnel I'd never actually seen but only felt. How long was it? <I guess it was, I don't know, probably only three feet.>
"Three feet straight down?" Jake said with a whistle. "That's pretty good. The top of the Yeerk pool dome is probably what, fifty feet down maybe?"
<Not straight down,> I said. <The mole can't dig straight down. It's just barely downhill. Maybe a foot deep.>
<Oh, man,> Tobias groaned. <This is going to take us forever.>

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Wow this is fascinating you guys.
Adam: If this was a movie, they would have compressed it into a comical montage.

We took one-hour shifts. Between shifts those of us who weren't digging or standing guard walked down to the Mickey D's and bought fries and Cokes.
Six hours of digging till we had each done our shift. The day was over. We couldn't stay any longer. We had to head home.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Adam: Life is tough.
Ifi: What a riveting plot.

We got better at digging as we became more experienced. But then we found ourselves running into rocky levels no mole was designed to dig through. We had to figure out ways around the rocks. Long, time-consuming ways around boulders.
And we could only dig after school. We'd bring our homework and sit in that stifling shed and quiz each other on history or science. Ax would stand there, listening gravely to the history, and laughing at the primitive nature of our science.
One by one we'd go down that hole. We timed it out so the next person was always in morph and ready to go. Four more days we dug.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Four. Days.
Adam: Eventually they end up striking oil.
Ifi: Somewhere, Elfangor is facepalming.
Adam: Elfangor is the one reading these books?
Ifi: No I mean like he is in Andalite heaven looking down and facepalming
Adam: They read 90's YA novels in Andalite heaven?
Ifi: What else is there to do?
Adam: Play games on their nintendo 64's and play with sock em boppers?

Ifi: Okay so just as the Animorphs are thinking it would actually be easier to turn themselves in, they tumble into a batcave
Ifi: An underground batcave
Ifi: Under the city
Ifi: Apparently this is a thing.
Adam: No, this isn't too uncommon, depending on the region you live in.
Ifi: Look at that, a science fact.
Adam: SCIENCE

Ifi: The Animorphs actually have bat morphs from that one scene in The Android that we sort of skimmed over because it was not very interesting.
Adam: Tobias doesn't, but they are somehow able to catch a bat without much difficulty.

"You know," Jake said in a conversational tone as we waited for Tobias to acquire the bat, "from the point where Edelman said 'maple and ginger oatmeal,' I should have known this was going to end stupidly."
"Instant maple and ginger oatmeal," Cassie said.
"Battles that involve oatmeal are just never going to end up being historic, you know?" Jake went on. "Gettysburg? No major oatmeal involvement. The Battle of Midway? Neither side used oatmeal. Desert Storm? No oatmeal."
<Excuse me, but what is oatmeal?> Ax asked.
"It's a kind of food," Cassie explained.
<Is it tasty?>

----Is it just me, guys, or does the universe seem stupider than usual today?

Ifi: Ax, why did you wait until just now to ask that?
Ifi: We are more than halfway through the book.
Adam: I had tonsilitis back in July, and I subsisted on oatmeal for a little less than a month.
Adam: I am now unable to consider it tasty.
Ifi: I don't really have an opinion on it. I ate it when I was a kid but its not something I'd go out and get for myself or even be like "aw man let's eat some oatmeal today"
Adam: EVERY DAY IS OATMEAL DAY
Adam: =D
Ifi: OAT-FREAKING-MEAL
Adam: If they made oatmeal from goats instead of oats, would it be goatmeal?
Ifi: That is disgusting.
Adam: You say tomato, I say goatmeal

<Now we figure out how to get that oatmeal in here and feed it to a bunch of human-Controllers,> Tobias said.
<You know...maybe we don't have to give it to human-Controllers,> Cassie said. <I don't know why it didn't occur to me before. But it's the Yeerk that can't resist the stuff, right? So why don't we dump it right in the Yeerk pool itself?>
<Would it work?> Tobias wondered. <I thought all Yeerks ate was Kandrona rays. Do they even have mouths?>
<Yes,> Ax said. <Yeerks have mouths. Or what humans would think of as mouths. Actually, if I remember my exo-biology classes, and sadly, I sometimes—>
<Fell asleep,> I said. <Yeah, we know. You didn't like exo-biology class.>
<I didn't fall asleep,> Ax said, sounding injured. <I merely let my mind wander, and became very calm and restful and not completely alert.>
<Did you snore when you got all calm and restful and not completely alert?>
<The point is, on occasion I would pay some attention in class. And I believe that Yeerks have something called osmosis nodes. It's what they use to absorb Kandrona rays, but they absorb other nutrients as well. They absorb from the liquid of the Yeerk pool.>

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Okay now we dump heroin in the Yeerk pool
Adam: Sounds like an ordinary Friday night to me.
Ifi: And then they just fly out into the Yeerk pool
Adam: They do get attacked by killer robots, if it helps.

<Hey,> Tobias said. <l think we have company. Over there.>
I looked around. I saw two shiny steel balls. Each was about the size of a beach ball. My echolocation confirmed their size. And they were moving toward us through the air.
<Hunter robots!> Ax yelled. <We should leave!>
<Why?> I asked.
But at that very moment, I had my answer.
TSEEEEEWWW! TSEEEEEWWW! TSEEEEEWWW!
Three narrow Dracon beams fired from the balls. I felt a sharp pain in my right wing. I smelled something burning. And when I looked, I saw a neat, round hole the size of a quarter burned through the leather of my wing.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Jeez the Yeerks really stepped up security.
Adam: Shouldn't they have had these things from the get-go?
Ifi: Maybe they always had them but left them in the box because nobody could be bothered to unpack them and they were like "Meh, what's the point?" but once they started getting attacked by Andalites, Visser Three was like <WHERE IS THE GODDAMN SECURITY SYSTEM?> and so the interns spent a whole afternoon setting it all up.

Adam: Wasn't there some movie were the characters get attacked by floating metal spheres?
Adam: Darnit, this is going to keep me up all night.
Ifi: Magneto sometimes used them.
Adam: Wait!
Adam: Phantasm
Adam: That was it

Probably NSFW.

Ifi: One of your low-budget D-movies
Adam: Whatevs yo

Ifi: Oh and Rachel falls into the Yeerk pool
Ifi: but she's a bat so it's fine.
Adam: Of course, she unmorphs in the Yeerk pool
Adam: Still fine though.
Ifi: Then she morphs an ant but it gives her no trouble.
Adam: I think being an ant is really only a problem if you are around other ants
Ifi: Yeah that makes sense

There was a square pad outlined in red, just an inch on each side.
"Well, why not?" I muttered. I pressed the pad. Instantly the top of the box came loose with a sound like a vacuum seal breaking. It sounded like when someone opens a can of coffee.
I looked inside. Then I smiled. I reached in and lifted out a hand-size Dracon beam.
"Cool."

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Oh dear.
Adam: I fear for my life.
Adam: And I am just reading this in a book.
Ifi: Rachel shoots a -lot- of people after this.
Ifi: It's on the lowest setting, but still.
Ifi: We're lucky she didn't hold onto it for the rest of the series.
Adam: She would eventually figure out a way to wield it as a bear or something.
Ifi: Rachel proceeds to basically run around the Yeerk pool firing randomly while wearing some other girl's clothes and glasses
Adam: Being this book, nobody catches on to her at all.

Dracon beam design (c) Trish

"I don't know how it got there!" a human voice wailed. "I'm telling you it's a mistake!" She was young. No more than eighteen. She was scared but helpless in the grip of the Hork-Bajir.
An older, male human-Controller shook his head. "You can tell it to the Visser. He'll be here soon."
"No!" the young woman gasped. "It's a huge mistake!"
"It's a mistake, all right," the man said. He reached into the backpack the girl was carrying. He lifted out a small Rubbermaid container. He shoved it in the girl's face. "What do you call this?"

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: "It's medical! I have a prescription! We’re in California!"
Adam: And then the Yeerks start having those terrible ads where there dogs claim that they liked you better before you started taking oatmeal.
Ifi: Above the influence.
Adam: Say no to the O.
Ifi: I bet the Yeerk pool is plastered with propaganda posters like that.
Adam: With an ominous Quaker Oats guy looming in the background?
Ifi: Exactly.


The Hork-Bajir dragged the girl into the building. The older man handed the Rubbermaid to another human-Controller. "Too many of our people going host-happy. These human hosts can be insidious. Check this in with the contraband locker."
"They're running out of room over there. They've taken in over two hundred human pounds of this stuff."
Two hundred pounds?
"Well, hello opportunity," I whispered.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Adam: They need some sort of intervention program here
Ifi: They need to infest some therapists or something.
Adam: I wonder what a Yeerk rehab clinic would be like.
Ifi: You don't get a cool host unless you're mentally stable.
Adam: Wouldn't a cool host aid with mental stability though?
Adam: Though I guess that didn't apply to Esplin
Ifi: Yeah that's pretty much the inverse
Adam: Fair point

Ifi: The real trouble starts when people start finding the trail of bodies Rachel has left.
Adam: That is such a profoundly Rachel line you just made there.
Ifi: Well, it's what alerts everyone to the fact that the Andalites have showed up.
Adam: That, plus they've already managed to take Ax hostage.
Ifi: Then Visser Three shows up.
Adam: Rachel does manage to track down Cassie and Marco, if it helps.
Ifi: Everything is total chaos by now.
Adam: As it should be

Adam: Wait.
Adam: Just earlier, we had a gorilla guarding a bunch of crates and barrels
Adam: dohohoho
Ifi: x_X

I wrapped my trunk around one of the barrels of confiscated oatmeal. I lifted it up like a feather. I saw the closest Hork-Bajir hesitate. I threw the barrel in a high arc. It landed with a big, soggy splash, right in the middle of the Yeerk pool.
<It's not sinking!> Cassie cried.
<Marco. Point the Dracon beam at the barrel. Now.>
The big gorilla raised his mighty arm and aimed the Dracon beam at the barrel.
<Your move, Visser,> I said.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Adam: This is the dumbest Mexican standoff I have ever seen.
Ifi: This sort of thing never happens on Leera.
Adam: We're almost there.
Ifi: Visser Three does not want to give up that easily. He's willing to destroy the 500 or so Yeerks in the pool in return for capturing the Andalites.
Ifi: Rachel solves this by throwing Visser Three in the pool
Adam: Couldn't she just have killed him if she was going to all that trouble?
Ifi: Nonsense we're only on book 17
Ifi: Since he is an Andalite, his hooves automatically draw nutrients from whatever they're touching.
Adam: Does it honestly work that way? 
Ifi: Shut. Up.
Adam: Never

We were weak and exposed on the stairs. I was practically out of the fight. Jake was still a bat. No way to win if he managed to come after us.
<Marco has to shoot,> I said. I looked at Cassie and Tobias to see if either of them would object.
<He's not leaving us any choice,> Tobias said grimly. He hopped over to sit on Marco's shoulder. <You're aiming high,> he said. <A hair lower. Lower...fire!>
TSEEEWWW!
Far down below us, one of the floating barrels went, POOMPF! A gray substance like confetti exploded out and settled in the water.
<That should keep them busy,> Tobias said. <Let's bail!>

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: Wait
Ifi: Was that it?
Adam: Well, so much for that moral dilemma
Ifi: Yeah really.
Ifi: Visser Three morphs something ridiculous again, but the Animorphs get away.
Ifi: We do not learn what happens with the oatmeal.
Adam: Nor is the oatmeal ever mentioned again.
Adam: Even though having it around could at least make for a good potential threat against the Yeerks, should they ever need one.
Ifi: And the Animorphs are left eating Marco's maple-ginger oatmeal for the next three weeks

Adam: Oh, and Rachel breaks George out, and tells him to leave town.
Adam: So now he is wanted, people think he is crazy, and he has a deranged voice talking in his head.
Adam: And he has been pre established as having suicidal tendencies.
Adam: Honestly, I just want to give this guy a hug or something.

And, by the way, if you ever see some poor, mad, deranged gentleman wandering the streets and raving away about things that live in his head…well, if you can handle it, give the man your spare change.

----Book Seventeen, The Underground

Ifi: You heard the lady.
Ifi: Give Adam your change.
Adam: …Thanks
Ifi: :D

31 comments:

  1. The Facebook images are genius. Hope to see them as a regular thing in the future. XD

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  2. Those facebook posts. Oh my god. Oh, and just because it seems appropriate:

    http://tinyurl.com/75mwnpm

    But yeah this book was pretty ridonk. Even as a kid by the time I got to "OATFREAKINGMEAL" I had stopped taking it seriously. I appreciate how psychotic Rachel is in it though, even when she's trapped in a stupid plot nothing slows her down.

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    1. Dear god, my childhood.

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  3. "Dracon beam design (c) Trish"

    OK, that made my day. The only way it could be better would be if it were Christmas!

    It is? Yaaaaay!

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  4. Oh god the facebook pages, hahaha.

    No, he is a bird.
    Like he is a legit bird.

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  5. The Facebook things are genius, and It's good to see Rachel in her element.

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  6. What I learned from book 16 and book 17:

    - Eating Yeerks can replace Kandrona radiations.
    - Eating oatmeal can replace Kandrona radiations.

    Therefore, Yeeks are made of oatmeal.

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  7. being a fan of MLP... I must quote " Oatmeal?...Are you crazy?"

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  8. When this book came out I was in third grade and was grounded from reading Animorphs for some reason (my parents' favorite punishment for me). I got the book from one of those Scholastic book orders at the start of the school day and proceeded to read the entire book by the end of the day before school let out. My mom then asked me if I had started reading it on the bus ride home, and I was able to truthfully answer "No."

    The facebook stuff is awesome.

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  9. Oh my God, the Facebook pages. Please please please let that be a recurring thing.

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  10. Also, I forgot: the Facebook pages. I want MOAR.

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  11. Davide: It is the transitive property, after all.



    Also, I am certainly not bitter after spending 20 straight hours working on that oatmeal poster and then everyone focuses on the facebook comics, nosir.

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  12. No Adam don't feel bitter D= That poster was legit shit. I showed it to my girlfriend and read aloud the poster thing and that's why I got laid. I want THAT on a tshirt or a poster.

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  13. Ha, *that* book... When they translated it to French they changed the oatmeal to corn flakes (makes sense, as we don't really eat oatmeal in France). But still, when I read the Animorphs book in English for the first time, I felt betrayed. It will always be corn flakes in my heart.
    And I remember I kept looking for some maple and ginger corn flakes at my local store, but I never found any. How disappointed I was.

    (Also, the line "It's OAT-freaking-MEAL!" becomes "But think about those poor corn flakes !".)

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  14. Anonymous: It's these small things that bring joy to my heart.

    Elfae: Now that is legitimately interesting. Do you know of any other things in the series that got changed during the localization process?

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  15. It's true about the posters, everybody. Give Mr. Art School the credit he deserves! I'm just derping about in MS Paint.

    What the hell are 'maple and ginger corn flakes'? That makes no sense!

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  16. Yeah I know it doesn't make sense, but oatmeal would have sounded just as weird to French readers. The translator had to think of something and just went with the most common breakfast cereals.

    I did notice some other changes while I was rereading the books in their original language, but most of them were pretty minor, such a adapting a joke so French readers would get the reference.

    One thing that stood out, however, is that in the French version, Edriss is male. I was weirded out when I discovered she was supposed to be female. ^^

    I don't remember anything else that got changed off the top of my head. I'll keep checking you fantastic reviews and see if I can spot more changes. :)

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  17. This can't just be me, but when I think of "Animorphs" this book and the one where Rachel burps a crocodile are the first two to come to mind.

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  18. I like to think that the reason the Yeerks were kind of incompetent is that they all had secret oatmeal fixations.

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  19. One thing that stood out, however, is that in the French version, Edriss is male.

    Bwuh? But then... but why... but then... and... what? What???

    I like to think that the reason the Yeerks were kind of incompetent is that they all had secret oatmeal fixations.

    Let's just go ahead and call this canon.

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  20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-Elr5K2Vuo
    This, with oatmeal, must be a pretty common PSA in that voluntary controller lounge at the yeerk pool.

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  21. Tom at the end of the first facebook thing killed me.
    Good show, jolly good show, chaps.
    Top notch as always.

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  22. Phantasm is A LOW-BUDGET A-PLUS MOVIE! RAAAAAAAGE

    Yes, I'm a phan.

    I had a bunch of the books, but I certainly don't remember this one...at least, not well. I remember the biofilter, and not much else.

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  23. I didn't really see the "immortality" argument in Ax's lines. At best, it can be seen as him saying Yeerks, once in contact with the Oatmeal, have an unlimited natural lifespan (or at least one as long as the host is alive). That is rather different from being immortal (and also not of much use to the Yeerks, since their very method of reproduction makes natural lifespans moot). I see no indication they couldn't be killed by other means (Host's head being destroyed, Yeerkbane, etc.).

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  24. Oh gosh those facebook comics. And the poster is brilliant, I may have to print it out or something and put it on my wall.

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  25. Hey, with all the Planet Hollywood stuff, I'm surprised you guys forgot that was already name-checked in book 10. In Book 10, Rachel had to beg off a mission because her Dad was in town "for just one night" and was going to take to Planet Hollywood. If he's in town for only one night, I can't imagine he's going to take them to a far away restaurant, so there is apparently already a Planet Hollywood in the Animorphs' hometown, and now they are holding a big celebrity bash to celebrate the opening of a SECOND franchise in the same town! Wow.

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  26. I made my parents buy instant maple-and-brown-sugar oatmeal for like a month after this book came out, every time we walked past it in the store, just because.

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  27. The way they nonchalantly mess with the mentally unstable, I bet the only reason none of them thought to half-morph into a rabbit and follow some poor guy around going, "28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12 seconds," is because Donnie Darko wasn't a thing yet.

    Those facebook posts. Jordan was the best.

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  28. So there was an argument elsewhere about Rachel's Dracon beam and I came back to this page looking for details: Rachel probably lost it in the rubble that collapsed on them, when they escaped.

    Why did that girl even have oatmeal on her? I mean, this isn't like getting caught with drugs on campus or at work, this is more like getting caught with drugs in church - you don't go there everyday, and there is no reason to bring them when you do go! Not only that, by coming to the pool, she is bringing her drug to the place where she can't enjoy it, because the Yeerk is going to be in the water for most of her visit! People sometimes have their illegal drugs in unusual places because that's where they meet their dealers or customers. Oatmeal is readily available, and there is no reason for it to be aquired in clandestine deals in unmonitored corners of Yeerk HQ.

    If you're an oatmeal junkie, you go and buy it at the store, eat it at your host's home or wherever else you eat your meals or need a fix, but there is no reason to bring it to the pool. If nothing else, it's a little complicated to prepare. It's not like you can light up a quick oatmeal blunt in your free time, after all, so why bring it?

    Other thing I gleaned from a re-read though: Rachel was badly wounded just pushing V3 into the pool, and later collapsed from the wound, and had to demorph to survive. Killing him was not in the cards.

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    1. Could be they're concerned about being caught with it in the grocery store. Still makes no sense to make their deals in the actual Pool though.

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  29. So oatmeal is like unicorn blood in Harry Potter? Sort of?

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