Oh man guys, is it time again for another one of these things already? Where does the time go, anyway? Is it spent watching people jump out of space balloons? IT WAS TODAY, EVERYONE TAKE A MOMENT TO APPRECIATE THAT THIS IS A THING THAT HAPPENED AND IT WAS AWESOME.
Okay so anyway, back to horrible people on a boat.
Billy gives another rallying speech on Facebook because I guess that’s what he does now, and then Justin talks about how the CDC put up a website about how to survive a zombie apocalypse, which is a thing the CDC actually did as a joke aimed at people on the internet in order to get them to just take the idea of having a disaster kit seriously, but in this book they were TOTALLY FOR REALSIES—although hilariously in a line that sounds like it came right out of a brochure, Justin says ‘being prepared for zombies will also make you prepared for natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes,’ to which Billy responds ‘No shit, Sherlock,’ which hey, I’ll actually give you that one, Billy, you lit some sick fires, bro.
Then, thankfully(?), we are done with Billy and co. for the time being and we get to go back to Scott Handsome, now joined by his wife and ‘several close friends’ as they sit and watch TV for more news.
A news conference comes on (heralded by Michelle pointing and saying ‘Looks like a news conference or something’) starring the President of the United States himself! Who is I assume supposed to be some kind of Obama/Bush blend, or maybe just Obama, whatever who cares. The first thing we’re told is the President is ‘relying on a teleprompter’ to give his speech ‘as usual’ so uh, okay I guess this is a shitty President whoever he is.
The President explains the situation, urging people to not get all caught up in the AAAAGH ZOMBIES thing, stating that ‘There is a logical explanation for this outbreak…and you can rest assured that we will find it,’ which sounds like the sort of thing I’d want to hear I guess. Except then he doesn’t actually provide a logical explanation, just goes on to talk about finding a cure for the infection (which I guess we are either supposed to assume that he’s skipped the part where he explains it is a virus, or maybe just assumed everyone was up to date on things).
Anyway the President declares martial law, saying that everyone should barricade themselves in their homes in order to stay safe and since Congress happened to be in recess (or at least is currently absent) he’s ‘issuing executive orders under the emergency powers of the President,’ which I guess is pretty potentially dangerous but hey whaddayagonnado, there’s zombies running around fucking shit up. What, you wanna wait for a vote? NO. YOU WANT THERE TO BE GUNS AND SHIT PUTTING THE ZOMBIES DOWN. And so all the National Guard gets called up, and the military ‘is… deployed throughout the nation to defend you,’ which, so far so good. Then ‘looters will be shot on sight’ WAIT WHAT REALLY? Uh, o…okay there buddy, I mean I guess looting is a pretty big problem during an apocalypse… oh, and ‘Acts of violence will be met with deadly force,’ which okay I can buy that one that is a little less overtly batshit than WE WILL SHOOT ALL LOOTERS.
The President then goes on to say that ‘your government will protect you…Do not panic…Do not try to go to a hospital….You are safer staying at home. Help will come to you as soon as possible.’ Which, okay. This is actually pretty good advice, assuming that the military isn’t a shambles. Assuming the military can contain the threat (and there’s a lot of military stationed in all states, so they could move fairly quickly assuming they do their job), barricading yourself indoors and waiting for help is actually a pretty solid strategy. And anyway it’s partially the President’s job to give hope/succor to people who are, mostly, completely fucked. That’s what you want to say. Oh, and Air Force One is just going to keep flying as long as it can, because that’s the best way to prevent infection among the President and his staff (which is the same thing that Scott Handsome is doing, except in a plane rather than on a boat). This way the President can stay in command of this whole mess, which is probably for the best. You gotta assume that the whole government turning into ravening zombies is not good for the country’s psyche.
Then there’s some stuff about how they’ll totally find a cure and distribute it for free and share it with other nations, and this is ‘the greatest mission of my life’ now, and that ‘My administration will provide all of you with everything you need to survive this crisis and rebuild a better and stronger America,’ which I don’t think any actual president would actually say. The Government, certainly, but ‘my administration?’ This is pretty obviously put in for reasons which will become clear later. The Prez signs off after saying that he’ll provide another update in 24 hours (just like Billy and his radio that he doesn’t know how to use! Billy is like the President, except shittier at his job!) and to ‘Trust in God and your government’ which is exactly the sort of Presidential shit you expect to hear in a crisis.
Then Fox Rusher(!) appears to recap the speech for us, and ACTUALLY RECAPS THE SPEECH IN THE BOOK EVEN THOUGH WE JUST READ IT, HOW AMAZING IS THAT? And then Scott turns it off because he’s going to go on just the GREATEST FUCKING RANT, but alas we’re out of time for this week so you’ll have to wait for that particular turd until next week. It’s some good shit, let me tell you. You’ll enjoy it.
Well, as much as you can enjoy any of this crap.
So last week Billy watched a Bro-down get organized at his friend’s Malibu mansion (in a zombie outbreak, it helps to at the very least have parents who are rich as fuck, or to be rich as fuck yourself, because then you can afford to have Malibu mansions with gates to keep poor people/zombies out) and then, in a fit of I guess optimism(?) promised his bros that he would totes take his dad’s helicopter out and save them. Then he felt all good for at least pretending that his friends were not going to be overrun by zombies (please let them get overrun by zombies) and noticed that all his other bros on the boat seemed to have a severe case of the sads.
Mitch informs Billy that his friends (we’re told that Mitch ‘had a whole different set of Facebook friends from home,’ because Mitch is apparently from Oregon) are probably all dead—he has one friend who is holed up in Portland, but his other friends aren’t responding and neither are his parents (question: Why weren’t Mitch’s parents invited on the cruise? Was the barrier for entry really so high? Scott invited his fucking contractor, for fuck’s sake!). Mitch’s take on the whole situation is an eloquent ‘This just sucks.’ Yes it does, Mitch. Yes it does.
Beth, meanwhile, is also pretty sure her parents are dead, because they sent her an email that morning saying their flight was canceled and have failed to send any kind of follow up for like five hours. Of course this doesn’t mean her parents are definitely dead, because by now there’s probably not a whole lot of internet access left (we are assuming here that there’s a certain amount of chaos and damage to the country’s infrastructure. Given that all descriptions of roads seem to involve lots of car wrecks, I’m willing to bet there’s some service outages. Shit, my fucking internet is spotty and there’s no fucking zombie apocalypse going on). This is pointed out by her boyfriend Justin, who is sure to call her ‘baby’ to emphasize that they are in a relationship because that is what everyone in this book does.
Billy and Mitch exchange a glance ‘and shook their heads’ in what is probably the best scene in this whole book, basically acknowledging that no, her parents are probably fucked, while Beth sobs into Justin’s manly chest and stoically bears her grief because that is what Men Do. But deep down he’s really sad.
Justin asks what Billy found out, and Billy tells everyone about how their Cal Tech friends are probably worm food, but then points out that hey at least his bros in Malibu are going to be okay! Then for some reason he tells everyone that he’s totally going to save them using the helicopter.
‘“Say what?!” exclaimed Mitch,’ echoing my own response to this entire book. Justin gets super pumped, because he also knows all the people from Malibu, and can I just say that I really feel like Mitch is getting shafted in this story? All his friends and parents are dead, and stuck in Oregon, but hey at least Billy’s going to save all his real friends! Billy, you’re a dick.
So of course Mitch rains on the parade by pointing out that Billy was really in no position to make any kind of promises re: helicopter rescue, and Billy insists that he’s ‘got a hunch’ his dad will want to go to Malibu, because his dad’s friends are all there too. Billy insists that he had to give his Malibu bros some hope, which in a just world would all but guarantee that Billy fails and has to read the increasingly panicked and angry tweets from his bros (‘YOU LET US DIE, BILLY! YOU LET US DIIIIIIIIE! WE’RE NOT BROS ANYMORE!’), but whatever, they’re probably going to mount a helicopter rescue.
And hey, Justin also thinks that the idea of a helicopter rescue is ‘brilliant’ and they should ‘make it happen!’ so hey, at least he’s on board (he then advises Beth to ‘Hang in there baby,’ because I don’t know, I guess Beth is really taking this hard? I think it was just an excuse to have someone call a woman baby again). Billy goes back to looking at Facebook and sees that a bunch of Malibu bros are now totes on board with the ‘hole up in a mansion and get rescued by a helicopter’ plan, and feels proud for helping ’to create a survival community of his own friends from high school,’ which like… it was getting put together before you chimed in, Billy, stop taking credit for shit you didn’t do. You asshole.
Billy feels the need to make another post to the group so he still feels relevant, and tells his bros to have a radio ready so that he can send them messages at sundown (which is a thing right out of Walking Dead, which is another (slightly less shitty but still shitty) zombie thing I am sure we all know about). Except he doesn’t pick a channel to broadcast on or in fact know which radio equipment to use! Billy is full of useful ideas that he has no fucking clue how to implement, isn’t he? Fuck you, Billy. You’re the goddamn worst.
That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll wrap up the Facebook saga and get a MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT. I’m sure it will be great (it will be horrible).
I thought things couldn’t get any fucking worse than what we saw last time, but I just didn’t know how deep this guy was willing to dig to really bring some sentences that would make my head hurt.
So when we last left Billy and his friends, they were checking Facebook and read the last posts of some girl who probably is dead by now. Billy felt kind of bad about that, because it’s fucked up to watch people die in real time! But of course he is not going to step away from the computer, because there might be more people he can watch die (or at least lose contact with the outside world)! Billy is a shithead.
But hey it’s not all people dying, there are some friends of Billy’s in Malibu who seem to be doing okay, because whatever, the virus isn’t there yet. Brad Thomas (which is a pretty bro name—and well deserved) sets off to rescue Amanda Steinbeck, along with his buddy Shawn Smith (incidentally, both Brad and Shawn apparently are gun owners! How fortunate!), and ‘things are getting freaky’ so they decide to rally at Brad’s parents’ McMansion, which is ‘plenty big enough and it’s gated’ plus Brad’s dad is out of town so ‘We’ll have an Apocalypse party’ and presumably CRUSH some Natis.
Billy gets super excited about these guys being okay, and figures they will do great against the zombies because they played a lot of ‘D&D, paint ball and air soft war games…during high school.’ Which, I mean…
No. We won’t even bother. I grant that using paintball guns and airsoft might make you slightly more used to shooting a gun, but they’re really completely different, really. The balance, the amount of kick…
There is no way in hell that being able to hit a target with a paintball gun means you would be able to dome zombies, is basically what I’m trying to say. As to how D&D would ever possibly translate to zombie killing skills, well…
I have no fucking clue. I don’t. This is so fucking dumb.
ANYWAY Billy decides to leave a message saying that they’re all on a boat near Mexico and it’s cool they’ll try to come past Malibu and pick them up because ‘My dad has a helicopter,’ which like… again, unless their McMansion is right on the coast I don’t see that helping them out a whole lot. But whatever, Billy admits to himself that he was just trying to give his bros hope.
The response is ‘See ya when ya get here. And don’t waste time doing it. We’ll kick zombie ass till then. Later bro.’ BECAUSE OF COURSE YOU ARE GOING TO SAY ‘LATER BRO,’ OF COURSE THESE GUYS CALL EACH OTHER BRO. I know, I shouldn’t stereotype, but NOBODY WHO PLAYS D&D WILL EVER REGULARLY CALL ANYONE BRO WHO IS NOT THEIR ACTUAL BROTHER.
So then Amanda chimes in and asks Billy for advice (for some reason) and he responds with basic advice that I’m sure his bros already knew (like shoot them in the head, take care of one another, stay together) and promises that they’ll have a helicopter even though ‘Billy couldn’t be sure he’d be allowed to use the helicopter to save his friends.’ He signs off with ‘Hang in there and good luck,’ which I guess is better than ‘Later bro,’ but ONLY SLIGHTLY. Billy posts the message and feels better about himself, and then notices that his buddy Justin and Beth (remember these guys? They are the not-Mitch people who just kinda showed up, said ‘yo we want to look at computers too’ and then never did anything else) look sad. Mitch also looks sad. Everyone’s sad, especially Beth who is crying because the guys don’t cry only the girls cry.
AND THAT IS WHERE WE STOP FOR THIS WEEK. Next week: We find out why Beth is crying and the others look sad, plus Mitch continues to be the smartest person in the room (which is pretty easy to do).
Oh my god I want to destroy everything about this chapter and I’m only three pages in, guys. It is utter shit. On the other hand, we get new characters! So buckle up, here we go.
Picking up where we left off (i.e. Scott Handsome suggesting the kids get on that Twitter he’s heard so much about), we are introduced to a couple of kids who aren’t really kids because they are ‘engineering students at Cal Tech’ who were pretty curious about the internet not working but now they know why. Their names are Mitch Franklin and Billy Allen (presumably the Flash’s less-cool cousin). Also Billy is Scott Handsome’s son. I forgot about that (nobody cares).
The two discuss whether or not they should panic (no seriously) and decide that no they are safer on the boat than they would be otherwise, so no, they won’t panic (They also agree that it was best that the internet was blocked because ‘We would have freaked out if we saw that stuff on You Tube, you know?’ Because that is totally how the kids these days talk). However they also figure that ‘everyone we know back home and at school are totally fucked!’ which isn’t true because we’ve been getting regular updates about Carl and it is probably likely there are other survivors. Billy declares ‘I’ve gotta check my email and Facebook, man’ because ‘we could have missed something important.’ Like a zombie apocalypse I guess?
Mitch thinks Billy is stupid (I agree, but that’s because everyone in this book is stupid) for wanting to check Facebook like the posts are going to go anywhere any time soon—but really if we’re looking at a breakdown of infrastructure I’m willing to bet that the internet would go down pretty quick, right? Billy responds that while the messages might still be there ‘the people who posted it might not be,’ and then goes on about all the reasons people might not be in front of their computers, up to and including the fact that they could be ‘a God-damned zombie by now,’ which doesn’t make any sense! The messages will still be there regardless of the status of the person who wrote it! So Mitch still has a point and Billy really is pretty fucking stupid.
But whatever, it’s time to meet Justin and his girlfriend Beth, who are friends of Billy. And they want to go to the Internet Cafe and check Facebook as well, because ‘This is some freaky shit, man’ and ‘maybe we’ll find more answers to what’s happening on-line’ (how good are all the hyphens, by the way? From God-damned to on-line, this is some old school hyphenation).
So the four log on and Billy pulls up Facebook (which the book notes is loading slowly (it’s not like you’re on a satellite connection or anything)) and ‘leaned forward intently,’ then says ‘eagerly’ that there are lots of posts. Which actually sounds really creepy, right? Like Billy is SUPER EAGER to read these panicked last messages for whatever reason. Billy is an asshole, is what I’m saying.
Then we get a bunch of posts of people frantically posting things like ‘Kelly Small is alive….Can anyone help me?’ and then a dude clearly tries and fails to help her and Kelly also pretty obviously dies because ‘Kelly Small is scared. It’s been half an hour!’ and then ‘Kelly Small Hello? Christine? Anyone? Someone is pounding on the door! I’m scared.’
Which I mean… It’s a neat idea. I’ll give him that.
But it also would never happen, because I think the odds of people turning to Facebook and taking the time to make their statuses fit the ‘x is ying’ format that people tend to use on Facebook while the world goes to absolute hell is kind of… stupid.
But whatever. There’s also a couple messages from Kelly’s dad who is all like ‘DADDY WILL COME GET YOU’ and then Ben actually has the decency to feel bad for whoever the fuck Kelly is.
NEXT WEEK: A whole new thread of Facebook posts! Aren’t you excited?
Yeah, neither am I.
Oh shit boys and girls, we are back in the saddle and rearing and ready to go, right? Right. Vacation ran a week longer than I intended it to, but that’s okay because that just means you all should be one thousand times more excited about the glorious return of Carl, the Football Field Goal Kicker, than you were before. Let’s dive right into this shit, shall we?
So when we last left Carl, he was puking on the side of the road, having just driven an ambulance through a bunch of bad traffic and corpses (‘Bad Traffic and Corpses’ is the title of my new sitcom about hearse drivers, by the way). So when we pick up with Carl again, he’s still driving, except now he’s in El Segundo, because the PCH was too full of ‘traffic jams and swarming zombies,’ which is a pretty good reason to get off the highway, I guess.
Anyway the ambulance dies, because I’m pretty sure most vehicles stop working after you run over enough things, but lucky for Carl, it didn’t die until he got to ‘a stretch of road without any zombies roaming along it.’ Carl’s a pretty lucky dude! So obviously when he decides to check out the ambulance for anything useful (‘a smart move,’ says our narrator) he finds all kinds of shit, because this ambulance ‘was equipped for more than simply picking up sick people,’ it was also made to… I guess fight fires? Because there’s a fireman’s suit (in Carl’s size! Lucky, lucky Carl!) made out of fabric ‘that would deflect all but the sharpest zombie teeth,’ because I guess some zombies sharpen their teeth instead of gradually wear them down to nothing what with all that gnawing on skulls and whatnot. Carl also picks up what sounds suspiciously like a D&D Adventurer’s kit (rope, knife, bolt cutters, water, and ‘the paramedics’ uneaten dinner of plastic wrapped sandwiches, sodas, chips, and candy bars’). Carl also finds a fold-up ladder that he decides to take along with him and a rappelling harness. About 40 pounds of gear in all for our man Carl, but fortunately it’s all important gear so he doesn’t have a lot of trouble carrying it.
Carl also takes the pickaxe thing he used to kill the zombie in his windshield earlier, because he’d be pretty fucking stupid not to bring along some kind of zombie killing weapon, let’s not kid ourselves. He spots a water tower in the distance and arbitrarily decides he’s going to walk over to it.
But a zombie attacks! Oh no!
Well not really, Carl just kinda hits it with his axe thingy, but despite gutting the attacker they keep coming! Then Carl finally fucking realizes he’s in a zombie movie and remembers ‘in most zombie movies they could only be stopped by destroying their brains. ”So be it,” Carl thought,’ which is another excellent line. I guess I’m in a crappy zombie novel. SO BE IT. Yes, Carl, you are excellent.
Carl notices that his splitting of this zombie’s skull seems to have attracted more zombies, so he sprints for the water tower and, while sprinting, begins ‘to unfold the ladder,’ which is ridiculous. But whatever, the zombies are ‘less than a hundred yards away’ at this point, and are moving ‘faster than Carl thought zombies were supposed to be able to move.’ WELL I GUESS YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE NEW DAWN OF THE DEAD, HAVE YOU CARL? THE ZOMBIES WERE PRETTY FUCKING FAST IN THAT!
Carl realizes that he can’t get the ladder unfolded, because that would take too long, so instead he throws it over the fence (what?) and uses the bolt cutters (oh) to cut through the padlock (wait, wasn’t there a whole commercial series where Masterlock showed how you totally couldn’t use bolt cutters on their padlocks? Nevermind), thanks to a last second surge of adrenaline, which is just dandy. Carl gets through the gate and latches it (without the padlock, obviously), and some zombies start rattling the fence. Carl ‘studied their behavior for at least twenty seconds’ (which really isn’t very long. Twenty seconds is not long enough to even bother mentioning studying behavior beyond ‘well they sure are trying to eat me,’ right? Is that even anywhere close to a study? No. NO IT ISN’T) and then kills them all, then grabs his ladder so that he can get up to the ladder on the water tower.
And that’s where we leave Carl, because this was a really short interlude. I hoped it would be longer, personally, because Carl is about a thousand times less annoying than fucking Scott Handsome, but whatever. We don’t get to choose our main characters, here.
Next week, it’s back to the boat! Oh boy! I can’t wait.
During experiments on the axons of the Woods Hole squid, we tested our cockroach leg stimulus protocol on the squid’s chromatophores. The results were both interesting and beautiful.
Ed note: Now that you know squid cells like hip hop, here are 14 more facts about cephalopods.
“Yes, I’m the pirate, pilot of this ship / If I get with the ultraviolet dream / Hide from the red light beam / Now do you believe in the unseen?”
Science is SO COOL.
Since there will be no Voyaging with the Dead this week, have some squid cells dancing to Insane in the Membrane instead.
Because I care about you.
Holy shit guys how long has it been? Two weeks? TWO WHOLE WEEKS WITHOUT A VOYAGE WITH THE DEAD?
I’m sorry guys, let’s never fight again. Or rather let’s never have social lives that keep us from updating our Tumblrs again (or let’s never have cool ideas that are taking up a lot of our other time which we can actually talk about later, like, maybe when they are ready to get off the ground). Alas! I will probably skip next week’s installment though, because I will be going back to Ohio. Regular service should resume in September, August has just had way too much shit going on, you would just not even believe how much shit has been going on here (hint: A LOT of shit).
But you don’t care about what I’ve been up to, you just want your sweet, sweet fix of people arguing on boats, right? Right.
When we last left our people, back in the mists of time two weeks ago, Scott Handsome had just finished humblebragging about how awesome his boat was and opened the floor to questions. The first question is not actually a question, just a response to Scott asking ‘Any questions,’ which is an exclamation of ‘Damned right there are!’ from a guy named George Hammer, who is obviously not as healthy as Scott because he’s described as having thinning hair. George is a general contractor (OF COURSE HE IS HIS LAST NAME IS HAMMER) ‘who had just finished building Scott’s new beach house’ and I guess Scott had taken him on a cruise as a ‘bonus for completing the job on time,’ and are you kidding me how big was this lottery jackpot that Scott can afford to trick out this boat and build a fucking beach house? A custom beach house from the ground up which
unfortunately we don’t get a brochure-esque rundown of. Anyway, Scott ‘had expected trouble from him,’ because he’s the help, probably, and also because Scott supposes that being stuck on a boat with people MC Hammer doesn’t really know ‘had obviously not been part of the deal.’
So George gets around to asking his questions, which are pretty standard questions, like “What do you mean about waiting out here at sea” and ”Who made you king?” and (my favorite) “Why don’t we all vote on what to do now?” George also expresses a desire to save the rest of his family who are trapped on an island full of the living dead, probably.
But before Scott can soothe the savage beast, Captain Fisher ‘trumpeted’ that “This is not a democracy!” and goes on to point out that since they’re at sea it’s actually the captain’s decision where the boat goes (oh and also the owner’s decision, even though literally no boat ever has said “well the captain has all this sea experience but the owner owns the boat, so I guess he gets to plot the courses!” BUT CLEARLY SCOTT HANDSOME IS SPECIAL GUYS), and then the Captain straight up threatens to put George in a raft with a life jacket, because Captain Fisher don’t shiv. If you’re going to step to Captain Fisher you best come correct.
Scott of course steps in to play good cop to Fisher’s FUCK YOU cop, and says that hey, he’d like to go rescue all his friends and family (he can think of ‘at least a hundred people that I would like to save at this moment’ which, come on, no you can’t Scott, shut the fuck up) but that “Our priority, or should I say my first priority [SCOTT HANDSOME: DICTATOR FOR LIFE. Also why is there an emphasis on my and not on first? What the fuck is he trying to say here? I don’t know!], must be the security of this ship and the people aboard her.” And really, this is the logical thing—you don’t know what the mainland holds, so obviously stay the fuck away from it until things settle down into a nice, predictable zombie wasteland.
Hammertime still wants off the boat, and Scott agrees that while the ship won’t be going anywhere near the mainland, he has “already considered a scouting flight with the helicopter” and he’d be willing to drop Hammerlock off if it looks safe. Which hey, that’ll get rid of the dissenting opinion! But blah blah once you’re off the boat you might be good as dead so it’s on you if you want off.
Having quelled a mutiny before it started, Scott proceeds to answer a question about whether or not the internet is working (it is!) and furthermore asks ‘some of you young folks’ to try ‘getting through on instant messenger, or twitter, or whatever’ to see how things are going on the mainland, and yes, I want to frame this sentence and put it on my fucking wall. YES YOU YOUNG FOLKS, USE THE INTERNET TO FIND THINGS OUT FOR ME, BECAUSE I AM SCOTT HANDSOME AND YOU CAN KEEP YOUR FUCKING INTERNET. Probably there’s already a tumblr set up devoted to the zombie outbreak, as well as fierce arguments over whether or not it’s right to try to kill the zombies because they have rights, and some kids are already zombiekin or whatever, because that is more or less how I would expect tumblr to respond to a zombie apocalypse. zombielovers.tumblr.com or some shit like that.
Then Scott, having answered all of two questions, only one of which was a real question, lets the Captain talk about the ship’s gear some more. They intend to track “all vessels in the area,” and also they plan to keep monitoring radios on “both civilian and military frequencies” because I guess the military doesn’t encrypt their radio transmissions (seriously, they don’t? Is that right? I would think that you couldn’t just hop on to military transmissions, but hey, I’m not the expert here). Scott calls the meeting to a close, telling everyone to watch television and go on the internet to see what the fuck is going on, especially since he spent all morning suppressing the news from everyone.
NEXT TIME (so in a couple weeks): GUYS GUYS WE GET TO FIND OUT HOW CARL IS DOING I AM SO FUCKING EXCITED TO GET BACK TO CARL GUYS
We will also officially be in uncharted waters, because the first time I tried to read this book without being a smug jackass on the internet I had to stop after the line about twitter or whatever. I just couldn’t go any further.
By the way, did you know that Ryan North finished his reading of the Back to the Future novelization? Did you know that you can get it on Amazon as an ebook so you can ALWAYS HAVE IT WITH YOU on your Kindle or Nook or whatever? DID YOU KNOW IT IS ONLY $2.99?
Now you know and you have NO EXCUSE.
Okay so it’s exposition time again, and fortunately Scott Handsome is here to wrap up his Fox Rusher presentation and give us all an idea of what the plan is, because ‘it was obvious that this was no longer a pleasure cruise. The course they set now would be based on the necessities of survival. [italics are mine]”
So Scott explains that ‘It’s like a zombie movie come to life out there,’ thus marking the thousandth time someone has referenced zombie movies in this goddamn book and we’re only just in chapter two. So while everyone is probably worried about ‘friends and family ashore’ there’s ‘no reason to lose hope for them,’ because I don’t know, ‘the news networks will only be interested in the bad news today.’
Because you know how the news media is, always focusing on the bad news, especially during the end of the world. Scott’s here to deliver some good news, like ‘we are in the middle of the ocean,’ and ‘nobody on this ship is showing any signs of infection’ because according to the news (which we just had described to us but let’s do it again), ‘this virus has been spreading passively around the world for several weeks,’ which again, let’s just ignore the fact that viruses don’t work that way and move on, which means in this book at least that ‘none of us have been exposed to it yet,’ because the ship has been sailing for pretty much the last two weeks straight apart from a brief stop in the Glalapagos, according to the Captain, who basically doesn’t get to say anything else.
Scott then says that the other bit of good news is the ship itself, and then launches into what is basically a sales presentation of all that the Sovereign Spirit has to offer the global zombie pandemic avoiding traveler, and ‘spent the next few minutes cataloging all of the advantages and options,’ which if you thought that we weren’t going to get the rundown of the boat’s options BOY DO I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU because we get the whole list of features and information, which if nothing else proves that Forsythe (the author, who I don’t think I’ve ever named directly) read a lot of books about boats.
I’m not even going to go into all of it, because even I am not cruel enough to subject you all to it. I’ll just highlight a few things:
1. The boat was only $10 million, which is apparently ‘a steal’ for Scott, because he won more than $300 million in the lottery and as you know there are no fees or anything associated with that when you take the amount as a lump sum, and certainly the logistics of taxes don’t enter into the picture either. Good thing you took the lump sum though, Scott, because I’m willing to be you wouldn’t get any further payments after this.
2. Scott spent a further $5 million on ‘toys and upgrades,’ as well as replacing one of the engines (another million, which seems pretty steep for replacing a boat engine but I’m not gonna really question it).
3. The ship was originally a ferry, and since I guess they liked it that way they left it with the ability to carry ‘several hundred cars and trucks,’ and wouldn’t you know it they have ‘about forty vehicles aboard… even a mini submarine’ which I guess is useful?
4. Scott got rid of some of the lifeboats and replaced them with ‘more useful auxiliary vehicles,’ which I’m pretty sure violates some kind of safety code, but whatever they’re really impressive boats (and yes, we get full descriptions of each of the boats as well as a bunch of information on their capabilities, which you will NOT get because I just skimmed over it).
5. They have a helicopter. Yep. AND a seaplane.
6. Plus I guess there’s a lot of room for people on the boat because it is a big boat. THE END
So after this lengthy fucking sales pitch, Scott says that basically they’re in good shape despite the whole end of the world thing, and then opens the floor to questions.
AND BOY ARE THERE QUESTIONS, but you can wait until next week for those.
I have never regretted anything more than I regret saying I would do a double-dose of this book to make up for last week. Apparently three pages is the maximum amount a man can take without just starting to get irrationally pissed off. Even just skimming this thing is making me mad. This is what I do for you, ladies and gentlemen. This is how much I am committed to this stupid project that nobody reads.
So now we’re back to the beginning of Chapter two, which opens with a quote from REM’s ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It,’ cleverly(?) reflecting on the title of the chapter, which is ‘The End of the World as We Knew It’ and I just threw up in my mouth a little there.
We’re told that the passengers and crew are summoned to a meeting in the main forward lounge after breakfast (which seems to me like a bad idea considering the meeting is going to consist of watching people get eaten alive, but whatever), and we’re given a totally unnecessary overview of where everyone is from and what the route of the cruise is supposed to have been, which I’m not going to even bother going over because that’s just stupid. All the passengers are ‘family and friends - or friends of friends - of the ship’s owner, Scott [Handsome],’ which, I don’t know why we had to be told again that Scott owns the boat, considering we’d been told that way back in chapter one. What do I know, though? Not enough to realize that I should stop reading this book, apparently! Then again, perhaps it does make perfect sense to recap, because if anyone had read continuously to this point they probably have lost most of their higher brain functions by now and would need to be reminded of what was going on every couple of pages. So yes, everyone knows Scott somehow and they’ve all had a great time on the cruise ‘but now it looked like the voyage would not have a happy ending.’ Which is just the most… I don’t know what the word I’m looking for is here, but let’s go with ‘shitty’ sentence I’ve read in a while. It contributes nothing and is just… I don’t know, I’m really angry at this book.
So everyone files into the room wondering what the hell’s going on, and Captain Fisher steps up to make the announcement that, basically, there’s a bunch of fucking zombies now. Except of course he doesn’t say that, he tells everyone that they shut off the television and internet this morning for the good of the people ‘to prevent panic or undue distress’ (which causes ‘a murmer of unrest from the audience’ which I mean, why did they even have to tell them that they did that on purpose? If the world’s ending don’t you think you could get away with saying ‘yeah well what with the world ending and all we figure some outages are just gonna happen,’ which will prevent everyone from getting shitty at you but whatever, I’m not the one in charge here), and now that they’ve had a chance to go over all the news broadcasts that nobody else was able to see, they’re going to go ahead and show them ‘some excerpts from the news’ which should, if I’m not mistaken, cause some panic and undue distress, but OKAY. So after warning people to get their children out of the room (we’re told ‘a few teenage kids gave their parents defiant looks,’ because YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO WATCH ON THE TELEVISION, MOM) the Captain goes ahead and promises to turn back on the internet and television so everyone can watch because ‘there is probably no way to hide from this anyway’ so they might as well watch all this horrifying footage together right? Right.
Then we get a recap about how there has been an outbreak of zombies and blah blah blah no this isn’t a joke. At this point I’m tired of hearing about it. A screen comes down and displays ‘the end of the world into the lounge in living and dying [ed. note: FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, I HOPE YOU DIE] color’ and whatever, a bunch of stuff gets displayed that we’ve already heard about BUT HE ACTUALLY WRITES IT ALL OUT AGAIN.
That’s right, we get to hear about all the shots of cities in chaos, which we already heard about. But then at least Fox Rusher shows up again for another completely retarded infodump about the cause of the violence, courtesy of the CDC: ‘The current widespread violence appears to be caused by an unknown pandemic virus that may be related to rabis. It may have had a long incubation period when transmitted by airborne delivery, or there may be another source, but it now appears to have a very rapid effect on the nervous system…’ which okay, let’s just stop right here.
You expect me to buy that a virus’ incubation period would come to an end at the EXACT SAME TIME for EVERYONE INFECTED all over the world in such large numbers that it would immediately destabilize everything? Tell me in what world that makes sense. It fails completely to follow any of the rules of a large-scale outbreak—there’s always a patient zero that kicks things off, but from what we’re told at the very beginning, everyone seemed to come down with it at the same time. There would have to be isolated cases of people coming down with, yes, ‘Super Rabies’ is the name the book chooses to go for, and I just don’t buy it at all.
But look at me, applying anything like thought to the plot of this book. Let’s just get back to the action and see what Scott Handsome’s up to: Oh, looks like he’s ‘watching the reactions of the people filling the lounge,’ which range from ‘total shock and fear to outrage.’ Scott decides he needs the people who look angry the most, who are coincidentally made up mostly of ‘his friends and extended family,’ instead of those friends-of-friends, who are all pussies. Also his crew looks murderous, so that’s also good news for Scott, because ‘As long as they were in that frame of mind…all of them had a chance to survive.’ Which I mean… I don’t know if I agree that people who look super pissed off and murderous are really going to give you a good chance of survival. If I were looking for a particular mindset I’d be looking for people who seemed to be thinking over the situation instead of just looking ‘ready to kill every zombie they came across,’ but I have a pretty sneaking suspicion that this book subscribes to the GRR I AM STRONG school of thinking.
Fox Rusher then concludes by saying that you shouldn’t go near any of the high population areas because there’s a lot of shit happening there, which is good advice, and goes on to mention that the GNN building has been locked down and the cops are there ‘to help us secure it as a national media asset,’ adding that even though power is failing everywhere the GNN building has its own generators. Nevermind how much food and other supplies they have, or the fact that their continuing to be on the air means precisely dick to people who don’t have backup generators for when their televisions go out, or indeed that the infrastructure needed for transmission is probably going to go down anyway, at least they’ll keep broadcasting to a bunch of people who aren’t able to receive the transmission! Oh, and I guess it means Scott Handsome and co. will be able to get regular infodumps about what’s going on. Whew, thank god for that, I can’t wait for more Fox Rusher updates.
The video ends and Scott starts thinking about how he needs to step up and be the leader now because while Captain Fisher is the captain of the boat, ‘Scott was the owner who would decide where they sailed,’ which is another stupid thing. Trust the sea captain who actually might know where to go, not the guy who won the lottery and basically has only quit smoking in terms of smart decisions.
THUS ENDS YOUR DOUBLE DOSE OF THIS AWFUL BOOK. It may not seem that much longer than most other posts, but trust me, it felt like an eternity to read. Next week, Scott gives a rousing speech that nobody should give a shit about, and we get to learn ALL ABOUT THIS FUCKING BOAT. Exciting!
You may have noticed that I actually changed my tumblr theme to something that I figured was a little more readable. You’re welcome.
Also, and this is completely unrelated to anything, but The Dark Knight Rises was a really enjoyable movie. I am a fan of it, is what I’m saying. Made me want to go back and watch the first two again, then go see the third again. WHICH JUST MIGHT BE A THING THAT HAPPENS.
Alright that’s all, see you next time dudes.
Wow totally didn’t realize that I’d made two Part Sixes—last week was not six, it was seven, which I have every intention of going back and fixing.
Whatever. The point is that this week’s installment will be fairly short, and for a good reason: the interlude comes to an end in the next couple pages. So instead of going back to Scott Handsome and the rest of his merry crew, I’m just going to finish up the interlude. Everyone okay with that?
So anyway Carl had just finished puking after bravely driving like a mile, which I guess got him well away from the major hordes even though we’re talking about LA and I find it very hard to believe he’s gotten that far away from a heavily populated area BUT ANYWAY.
‘While he was bent out of the door, he noticed a multipurpose fireman’s tool strapped next to his seat,’ which if nothing else proves that Carl has great situational puking awareness. Because the zombie in the windshield was not forgotten, Carl decides that he’s going to have to do something about his windshield zombie problem, and after a description of the fireman’s tool which makes it pretty obvious that it is going to be great for killing zombies. Carl ‘raised the tool with the spike forward and drove its point into the top of the zombie’s head’ which pretty much kills it immediately. Carl, because he has obviously become a homicidal maniac at this point, finds ‘himself grinning stupidly as he pulled the spike out of the skull,’ which is a legitimately disturbing little image, hooray! Carl’s going to probably have a lot more adventures involving driving spikes into skulls, I’m sure, because why wouldn’t he?
So now that he’s just got a huge hole in his windshield instead of a plugged hole in his windshield, thus making the vehicle way less secure than it was a moment ago, Carl decides to start the ambulance back up and keep driving, and of course the ambulance is in pretty shitty shape by this point, ‘shaking and grinding,’ probably with another one of those wild young ambulances in their nightclubs listening to the rap music.*
Because he was rightfully distracted by all the zombie running over and head-spiking, Carl only just now realizes that there’s a radio on, ‘tuned to the fire department band which told its own story of disaster,’ and then there’s another paragraph of pretty generic ‘what is going on there are all these weird acts of violence going on’ talk, although at least there is a sign that they’re not all morons in that there’s a recommendation not to take anyone to the hospitals, so I guess word’s gotten out about all the fiends and maniacs.
The interlude closes with a fairly weak joke, where the radio starts trying to locate its units, including Rescue 66, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s the ambulance that Carl’s driving! ’Carl had a pretty good idea why those units weren’t responding,’ we’re told, and while he’s ‘tempted to pick up the microphone and tell them what happened,’ he decides not to, because he ‘wasn’t sure if they would believe him, or arrest him.’ They may think it is a result of watching too many Dawn of the Dead videos or making Orson Wells-esque pranks, after all! Because obviously despite all evidence to the contrary people still don’t believe what’s going on? And that’s it for Carl, driving somewhere listening to the radio. I hope you die soon Carl, so we don’t have to keep checking in on you.
It’s back to the ship next week, where Scott will finally tell the rest of the passengers what’s going on. Expect the whole ‘is this a joke’ thing to be hammered into the ground again! Oh boy!
To make up for this week being so short, I shall present you with a DOUBLE DOSE of Voyaging with the Dead next week, going six pages instead of three—because I really only had to do one and a half pages this week and must make up for my slothful ways.
*That’s my shitty joke for the month, thank you ladies and gentlemen, you’ve been great