The Talisman, Part 3

The Talisman, Part 3
August 22, 2013 Constant Readers

Here we have Part 3 of our discussion on The Talisman.
Click here for Part 1.
Click here for Part 2.

So far, Jack Sawyer has been flipping between parallel worlds, getting chased by were-goats, befriending and losing a werewolf buddy, imprisoned in a boys’ home run by a psychotic, murderous Christian, and, most recently, he was besieged by evil Wolfs on his old chum Richard’s boarding school campus. All to retrieve a thing called the Talisman, which has the power to cure his mother, who is dying of cancer back in New Hampshire, where medical talismans are illegal. When we last saw him, Jack and Richard had just escaped the Thayer School to a train station that exists in the same spot in the Territories, the parallel world tied to our own.

Part IV: The Talisman

Anders/Sloat In This World (IV)

Jack and Richard end up in a train depot in the Territories with a dude named Anders, who recognizes Jack as the son of the Queen, the Jesus-like character Jason, who died as a child. Sure, why not? Anders is supposed to take a golf-cart-like train out through the Blasted Lands to Morgan of Orris’s Asshole Wolf camp, but Jack takes the train instead to surprise them.

Pat: Then to the station!
With Dude McDrinky Railman?
Andrea: So they get on this fucking old ass train and Richard’s dad owned it? Or used to take him on it all the time? And he’s all bitchy as per usual and also he keeps thinking he has the flu even though he doesn’t even have a damned temperature.
Freaking rich kids.
Pat: Richard’s dad had it built because somehow it’s the same in both worlds? And that’s helpful for some reason.
Andrea: Because they can jump back and forth while still on the train.
Pat: Maybe because if it travels in the Territories, it has a shorter distance to go. But then, it also has to go through an IRRADIATED WASTELAND WITH RADIOACTIVE DEATH-DEALING FIREBALLS
Andrea: Also the train is strong enough to plow through a damn wall apparently.
Pat: I got the impression that it was a glorified golf cart. Maybe 30 miles an hour.
Andrea: You mean, a glorified train of golf carts attached to each other?
Pat: Well, like two carts.
Andrea: I was picturing it looking like an old steam engine.
Pat: OLD STEAM ENGINE? It was electric.
Andrea: Okay, let’s be honest. I pictured it looking like Thomas the Tank Engine.
Except without eyes and junk.
Pat: Yeah, wait until you mean Blaine. You want to talk about a fucked-up Thomas the Tank Engine.
SURPRISE he’s a train in a radioactive wasteland.
Andrea: Hipp, I couldn’t even tell you what an electric train looks like compared to a steam engine. I am not what you would call “mechanically inclined.”
Pat: The train station guy also freaks the fuck out over Jack being Jason, his whatever and savior.
Andrea: That was weird. Didn’t they let him come along with them for a bit?
Pat: No. He stays behind. He’s terrified of Morgan of Orris.
But the point is, he sees Jack and knows he’s Jason because of the coin or somesuch. And his Other Side is like some sort of charismatic dynamo.
Andrea: What happens next?
Pat: They leave on a midnight train going anywhere.
Pat: Knowing full-well that some will win, some will lose, and that some were born to sing the blues.
Andrea: I hate you sometimes
Pat: Look, you’re the one who said they were on a Journey.

Richard is playing sick because he is a Total Bozo. Jack realizes that Sunlight Gardener and Osmond are twinners, flip sides of the same shitty coin. Sloat visits Lily, and she tells him to sit on a spike and spit.

The Blasted Lands/Jack And Richard Go To War

These lands are super blasted, and Jack’s little train crawls through it as mutants chase after them and nuclear fireballs bounce around the fucking place. Richard thinks he’s having a fever dream, and Jack discovers machine guns and explosives on the second car of the train. Apparently the depot is a place where things do not change between worlds!

Pat: Here’s about the point where their journey starts to look and sound a lot like the last part of Gunslinger. And they even have guns.
Andrea: Yes, totally. Except Gunslinger didn’t really have an old ass fucking spider castle part.
Pat: No, nor did any oracles try to pedo-rape Jack or Richard.
So they’re trying to get this train to California before it’s scheduled so they can surprise Morgan of Orris. Who, given the stuff on the train, is trying to arm bad Wolfs in the Territories with real-world machine guns and bombs and shit.
Which, how did those remain guns on the other side??
Andrea: I think that is a huge plot hole. Or Morgan is strong enough to make shit be whatever he wants it to be, who knows.
UGH NEW RULES
Pat: Maybe that’s what’s so important about this railroad that is the same on both sides. It means he can traffic guns.
Andrea: Yes. It would have been nice if that was made clear but whatevs. It would have also been kind of cool if all the guns turned to slingshots
Pat: What good would slingshots be???
“Hey Queen Laura, we got slingshots now, your reign is over. GTFO.”
Andrea: That’s why it would have been cool. Game-changer.
Pat: THEY PROBABLY HAD SLINGSHOTS ALREADY
Andrea: I mean the guns replaced with slingshots.
Mid-shot
Andrea: Maybe I just have slingshots on the brain cause Thinner.
Pat: I’m fairly certain you don’t have anything on the brain.
SO: mutated everything. I’m betting you were deeply creeped out by the mutants following them. And then the mutants in the hills.
Andrea: Yeah I don’t like mutants. I always think of that part in the hills have eyes remake with the rapey mutant.
Pat: They go through the, what, the mountains? And Jack fucking deals with these sniping mutants like a champion.
LIKE JASON.

They arrive in the Territories’ version of California and deal on the Wolf camp with alarming brutality. Osmond and Elroy are there! It’s a party and everyone’s been invited… TO DIE. Jack kills Osmond’s by pushing a burning hot coin with the visage of his mother on it into his fucking forehead. Holy titties at a taco stand. Jack and Richard escape their own killing fields just before Morgan rips through the world and arrives.

Pat: Anyhow, speaking of electricity, Jack and Richard get to the end of the line, and Richard is still batso, but a little better. Sort of gets it now about his dad. BOOM THEY BARREL INTO THE CAMP OF THE BAD WOLFS
And Osmond/Sunlight Gardener is there with his weird mutant kid.
And Jack and Richard basically deal on them.
A lot.
Andrea: Right. They totally rectify in a fierce way, even though, let’s face it, Richard is a gigantic puss.
Pat: He is, but that’s his foil-y nature.
He kills Osmond’s kid by just pushing the pick or the coin into its forehead.
Which was sick.
Andrea: OH MAN THAT WAS GROSS

Richard Remembers/End Of The Road/Point Venuti/Speedy On The Beach

What he remembers is that the camp they were just at was a survivalist retreat in their world, and he and Morgan Dearest used to go there and, afterwards, Morgan would stare at this black-ass hotel. The same Black Hotel where the Talisman resides. Richie is now onnnnnnn board the crazy train with Jack as they pull into the last stop: Point Venuti.

Pat: So that all happens. And they’re out, and then they walk to Point Venuti where the Black Hotel is, and Richard starts remembering shit.
Andrea: Yeah, I really liked that part. Much needed backstory/context.
Pat: Taking the kid to a fucking boot camp for survivalists and then spending whole days staring at a black hotel? Sheesh.
Andrea: That was creepsville.
I love-loved the dad went into the closet and disappeared thing, then cming walking back down the street later. I would have read a whole book just about that shiz.

Pat: Yeah, total Narnia. And Richard went through, didn’t he? And it was one of those pits. Or something horrifying.
“Seabrook Island stuff,” for sure.
Andrea: Yuuuuuuuuuuuup
I don’t understand how Jack didn’t beat Richard to the ground during his whole fake fever episode. He is a more patient man than I.
Pat: Everyone is more patient than you.
Andrea: That is a true fact, yes.
Pat: But at least we get context on Richard’s disposition against anything strange or unexplainable. He’s protecting himself against the weirdness of his father. Well, the weirdness and the sinisterness.

The Black Hotel is finally in sight, and the Talisman is talking to Jack telepathically, but too bad—there are all sorts of Morgan Sloat-approved lunatics canvassing the area, starring Sunlight Goddamn Gardener. They elude them and run into Speedy Parker, Now Apparently Dying, down on the beach. He gives them a raft, which is really helpful, what with the fact that Richard is actually sick now with radiation poisoning, and we all know that blow-up rafts cure radiation sickness.

Pat: They do a pretty good job of eluding the guards, but maybe that’s just because I couldn’t get a handle on exactly what was going on.
Andrea: CREEPSVILLE AGAIN. Is this the Black House in Black House?
Pat: It’s something similar. This is the first of three times we will encounter houses almost exactly like this. I think the next is in The Wastelands. The third is Black House. The house on Neibolt Street in It is definitely a contender for Other Weird Houses That Are Possibly Related.
We’re just at the periphery of the mythology of the Dark Tower here.
Andrea: We are SO not finishing this today.
Pat: We have like nothing left. Come on.
Andrea: I said that only because I have so much to say about the gross dock. And that fucking spider.
Pat: They get to the hotel, and it’s surrounded by bad Wolfs in the black cars we will see in Hearts In Atlantis. ALSO Osmond is there, ALSO Speedy is hiding on the beach dying for some unknown reason, ALSO Morgan is around and everyone is like, whut?

They raft on out to the dock of the Black Hotel and slip inside. Morgan Sloat has Sunlight Gardener rifle-up, because Jack ain’t leaving that hotel alive, whether Richard survives or not.

Pat: Was I wrong in thinking the sea creatures were HELPING Jack get the raft up to the dock?
Andrea: I didn’t think they were.
Pat: Because I was initially like, UH THERE’S LEVIATHANS UNDER THIS WATER
Andrea: I might have been mistaken.
Pat: No, they were lifting the thing. Pushing them towards the dock. AND blocking the gunshots from Osmond’s men. While Speedy is like, how did I even get here? Straub? King? How?
Andrea: Yeah, I don’t even know why he was thrown in at the end. For diversity, I guess.
Pat: The hotel was already the token black character.

The Black Hotel/Jack And The Talisman

The Black Hotel is not known for its hospitality. It wants Jack gone. It likes having the Talisman around, even though it does not pay its bills on time. Or ever. A spider with a speech impediment calls Jack a thief before he’s even taken the Talisman! Richard is super-fucked by now, and Jack leaves him safely behind in the hotel.

Pat: SO WE’RE IN THE HOTEL. GO. IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE.
Andrea: Oh snap.
That fucking spider talking. I hated him so much. SO CREEPY. Possibly the creepiest thing SK has ever written.
Pat: FUSHING FEEVES
Andrea: And Richard lays there, and Jack gets the Talisman, and I kept expecting something to stop him, but nothing did.
Pat: Except stomping, tromping suits of medieval armor.
Andrea: Well, yeah, those.

Jack faces down two or three livings suits of armor, beating them in pretty goofy fashions such as: using a guitar pick or a coin, and yelling “Get you off the skin of this world!” Sure thing, Jack!

Andrea: Yeah, whatev. A child could do that.
Pat: It would take a child to beat living suits of armor by continually realizing that things in his pockets are powerful. It just didn’t seem like there was much fighting him in that hotel. It should’ve warped around to keep him away from the Talisman, like the Overlook hotel.
Andrea: That’s what I’m saying!
Pat: It does kind of blow him through every reality ever when he gets to the ballroom, though. But that might’ve just been the effect of being in close proximity to the Talisman and not the hotel trying to keep him away.
Andrea: And then he gets to his mom and they live happily ever after.
Pat: You just skipped the last hundred pages of the book.
I guess there might’ve been too many boss battles, because the real shit was with Morgan.
Andrea: LOL @ BOSS BATTLES

And now, finally, the Talisman. Jack is pretty much mostly Jason now, and whatever, he gets to the Talisman by flipping through infinity worlds, nearly probably colliding with Jake Chambers somewhere along the way. This is some Dark Tower shit right here, kids. It’s just a glowing fucking ball, probably made of glass. Oh and it contains ALL POSSIBLE UNIVERSES.

Pat: So the Talisman is this crystal ball that is all things and somehow sort of not solidly glass or crystal but living glass or some such shit. And it cures people. He rubs it on Richard, and it’s all good.
Andrea: Right. And then Richard wants to hold it and Jack is all like “MINE” at first but then he realizes that is not what the Talisman is all about.
Pat: Then they leave the hotel, and pretty much everyone dies except Richard, Jack, and Morgan. I believe Osmond gets it in the eye because of a glint of magical light?
Andrea: Yes! That was awesome!!!

The Earthquake/In Which Many Things Are Resolved On The Beach

Point Venuti experiences a motherfucker of an earthquake that kills a lot of Morgan’s men/Wolfs and sends most of the others running. Jack and Richard limp out of the hotel, where Gardener is waiting with his rifle. The scope reflects light, which hits the Talisman, which the Talisman sends back a billion-fold through Gardener’s sight. Gardener takes off after Jack, and there is a fight in which Jack realizes that Gardener killed his father. He uses the Talisman to melt all of Gardener’s skin off.

Pat: On Gardener’s demise:
The sunlight flashed off the shooter’s rifle-scope again. The ray of reflected light this time struck the Talisman. And the Talisman reflected it back directly at the shooter. This was what Richard later told Jack, but that was like saying the Empire State Building is a few stories high.
Andrea: Yeah, I was picturing something like the Care Bear stare here.
When they shoot the light out of their bellies and it gets reflected at the bad guy.
Pat: Are you fucking serious right now?
Andrea: That’s a LITERARY ALLUSION, chum.
Pat: If you remove the intervening paragraphs, this is the exchange between Osmond and Jack in the Territories, after Gardener gets a face-full of super-sun and Jack flips to dodge his knife-charge:
“Goat’s-penis,” Osmond said, almost lovingly.
Andrea: snort
Pat: Jack looked straight into Gardener’s crazily dancing eye. Yes.
“You killed my father,” Jack said.
Andrea: Oh man, the crazily dancing eye. That’s an image to behold

Morgan goes after Jack, but Richard blocks him and ends up getting his head split open. Jesus!

Pat: You’ve got Morgan out there with Gardener, right, and Jack comes out with Richard, who is still alive, and then like five minutes later, Morgan trips Jack and Richard goes flying and dashes his brains out on a rock.
It’s like, come on, man, you’re not even trying to save your son now.
Andrea: He outright said that he didn’t care if he killed his son in the process of getting to Jack.
Pat: Yeah, but still, it’s not like Richard was standing in front of Jack, screaming, “NO YOU FUSHING FEEF.”
Andrea: WTF WAS THAT????
Pat: You know, the thing the spider said.
Andrea: No, I know. I was marveling at its weirdness
Pat: I’m just putting it in Richard’s hypothetical mouth here to weird you out.
Andrea: Weirding out achieved.

Now it’s time for Jack and Morgan Sloat/Of Orris to face off, and they do, with Uncle Funtimes side-stepping in and out of the world to reappear, strike, and disappear again.

Pat: So this last battle with Morgan of Orris/Morgan Sloat: cool, super cool, eye-burningly cool, or Mentho-lyptus cool?
Andrea: Yes. It totally made up for the castle where Jack basically walked right in and took the Talisman, hindered only by that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog of a spider.
Pat: That’s what I was saying about the hotel boss battle. If it had been this huge, epic thing with the three walking suits of armor, then this fight would be a secondary climax, and you’d be like, “Oh shit, I didn’t know Zak Snyder directed this book.”
Andrea: I have never considered the word boss battle to apply to books before, but it totally fits.
Pat: I can’t remember why it was smoky during the fight, though.
Andrea: I thought it was just one of the castle’s tricks, as if the castle was the Overlook Hotel all of a sudden.
Pat: You keep calling it a castle. Is it ever described as a castle?
Andrea: No, but I pictured it as a big stone castle. I don’t know why.
Pat: It’s a hotel made out of painted-black wood that is supposed to look sort of stony.
Andrea: I think in my lizard brain stony = castle. I have no idea what fake stony equals.
Pat: Okay, we lose visibility because Sloat fires the key at the sky and makes it dark and then it starts snowing ash or some shit.
At this point, Jack has told Sloat to go hump a weasel, and Sloat’s response is “I’ll hump your corpse!”
Andrea: That might have been my favorite part of the entire book. Wtf, Sloat?
Pat: So this whole battle is really cool, with Jack having to figure out that Sloat is slipping back and forth between worlds to deke him out.
BUT AGAIN
I fear a sinful transgression against The Rules.
Andrea: I think that you should just accept that there are no rules.
Pat: Wait, hold on. I’ve solved it.
Andrea: Or at the very least, that they are EXTREMELY flexible
Pat: The problem I was having is: so both Sloat and Morgan of Orris are forced to flip to wherever the other is, right? If Sloat is in New York and Morgan of Orris is in the Territories’ version of California, Sloat will flip into Morgan’s body in California. It ain’t like when Jack flips and just ends up in the geographical analogue because he doesn’t have a twinner.
BUT. OR, SO:
When they’re having that final battle, and Sloat is flipping so Jack doesn’t know where he is until he flips back, attacks, and then flips again, I guess we have our answer: when Sloat flips into Morgan, or Morgan flips into Sloat, whoever’s doing the flipping must just disappear from the world.
Andrea: Right. I think that we discussed that earlier but what we didn’t resolve is what happens if they are driving? Or talking to someone? etc. etc. and they just disappear.
Pat: I think that’s why Sloat was like, “Hey, let me walk into this wardrobe and flip, so I don’t freak anyone out.” And proceeds to freak his son out for fucking LIFE.
Andrea: Exactly.
Pat: Anyway, I just find it kind of weird, because if Sloat disappears when he flips, does he come back to the same place when he flips back? Why? I guess he probably doesn’t, or else he’d have come out of that wardrobe?
Andrea: I have no clue. I feel like this whole flipping/twinner business needs to be explained WAY WAY BETTER.
In a way, I like SK better when he keeps it simple. Although his epics are great, they are usually full of entanglements like this.
Pat: The key thing for me isn’t that it’s explained all the way—it’s that I can figure out the rules for myself because they’ve made sure nothing won’t jive. Which tells me they thought it all out, even if they didn’t tell us explicitly.
Andrea: Do any of these rules play into later books?
Pat: I’m pretty certain they don’t come up outside of Black House, if at all. Most people moving through worlds just move through them. Father Callahan, for example, who shows up in Wolves Of The Calla.
Andrea: This explains why I totally couldn’t follow Black House at all.
Am I wrong in remembering that grown-up Jack was a bit of a mofo?
Pat: He was already a mofo at 12.

Jack gets wise and gives Morgan some fuck-you to consider. Then he just gives Sloat the Talisman, who turns his key/lightning wand on it and gets repaid with a superblast of reflected energy. Morgan Sloat, In This World and The Others, burns alive.

Pat: So Jack figures Morgan’s game out, and then Richard wakes up, and Daddy Dearest is like, fuck it man you want me to kill your best bud? And Jack’s like, whatever, you gotta be able to give something up to truly own it or some guru shit.
The description of what happens when the Talisman absorbs the lightning and then goes dead and then just BLASTS IT ALL THE FUCK BACK is awesome.
Andrea: I KNOW. This is probably the most sci-fi thing I’ve ever thoroughly enjoyed.
Pat: …the altered geography of Point Venuti was lit up as if the God of All Universes had bent forward to snap a picture.
And that’s curtains for Morgan Sloat, also known as Morgan of Orris, chief and principal shithead of The Talisman.
Do you wish Richard had stayed dead?
Andrea: Yes. He is useless.
Although I thought the idea of Jack taking Richard with him back to his mother was interesting.
Pat: You don’t think he redeemed himself in the end? He’s a convert, a devotee of Seabrook Island stuff.
He’s basically Jack’s brother now.
Andrea: I mean, he’s fine, whatevs.

Another Journey/Journey’s End

Richard and Jack have to get back to New Hampshire. Luckily there’s a fucking goddamn other Wolf, a brother of Wolf, to drive them there while blasting Creedence the entire time.

Pat: The Richard and Jack: Brothers 4eva thing ties into the whole Hey Here’s Wolf’s Litter-Brother Wolf To Drive The Boys Back To New Hampshire? That was a cool little twinner of a situation.
Andrea: Oh yeah, I loved that, even though it was kind of tying everything up in a neat bow. It was still pretty cool.
Pat: I dug the part during the trip home where it goes:
Here at the end of the day; here at sunset with color fanning up from the western sky in glory.
Here:
Right here and now.

Pat: As in: that shit makes me tear up just typing it.
Andrea: I don’t know about that but it is some nice writing.
Andrea: EVOCATIVE SHIT

Wolf #2 drops them off at the Alhambra and goes off to join a cover band somewhere in Western Massachusetts, probably.

Pat: Anyhow, he gets back to the fucking Alhambra, cures Lily, the end.
Which wasn’t a stellar ending, by the way. I like that the Talisman just flakes away to nothing, and I was misty-eyed the entire time, but that whole last page isn’t as good as the ONE-SENTENCE EPILOGUE.
Andrea: AGREED. This is one of the few times, though, where SK truly nails the ending.
Pat: Andrea.
You literally
seriously
say that
about every book we read.
Andrea: I DO NOT
Pat: You said it about Pet Sematary.
“The ending is one of the few times that SK has really, truly stuck the ending.”
Andrea: UGHHHHHH
Fine. You win this round, Hipp.

Over in the Territories, the Queen opens her eyes.

Andrea: I just realized there were barely any female characters in this book.
Except Jack’s mom and the ho-bag in Oatley.

News From Everywhere

Andrea: Are we done with this book cause I need some bugles to fuel my afternoon
Pat: No, we aren’t. I purposely skipped over my favorite part of the book because it feels like the last thing we should discuss, even though it couldn’t have been the ending.
Andrea: YOU’RE GOING OUT OF ORDER
UNACCEPTABLE
Pat: No, you can’t go out of order because you can’t remember anything.
Andrea: Man, you call me bossy, but you are awfully bossy yourself.
Pat: About this, sure. I can do as I damn well please because I’M THE ONE KEEPING TIME.
Andrea: I hope you poop yourself. As Natalie Portman is walking by.
Pat: “News From Everywhere” is probably the best part of the book. It’s just killer. And really well written.
Andrea: Remind me what happens.
Excuse me: “remind our readers.”
Pat: This is basically the moment Jack touches the Talisman, in the instant before the earthquake comes and the Agincourt and the evil Black Hotel eat themselves.
First, we go back to Lily, who feels better than she has in ages, and wakes from a doze gasping, “Jason?” It’s a short thing that ends with her saying, “I think I just quit smoking for the second and last time in my life, Jack-O… Hang in there, kid. Your momma loves you.”
“And she found herself for no reason grinning a large idiotic grin.”
Andrea: I thought that was super cheesy, in fact.
However, it was necessary to check back in with her after MILES AND MILES of journey with no clue if she’s alive or dead.
Pat: What’s it like HAVING NO HEART, TIN MAN?
Then we get Donny Keegan, who’s in a new orphans’ home, shouting, “You’re right, I DO love him! He’s beautiful and I DO love him!”
Andrea: OH YEAH. Man that is cheeseballs.
You are a sucker
Pat: And we’re told that who he’s shouting to is Ferd Janklow, although Donny’s already forgotten his name.
Andrea: I’m sure Janklow appreciates that as he languishes in the pits of hell.
Pat: You think that’s cheeseball? The clouds over the home split and a single ray of light illuminates Donny. And “one of the other boys would whisper to a close friend that night that for a moment Donny Keegan had looked like Jesus.”
Andrea: UGH
I cannot believe this was your favorite part of the book.
Pat: What about the last paragraph, then?
“The moment passed; the clouds moved over that weird clear place in the sky, and by evening the snow had intensified into the first big winter storm of the season. Donny had known—for one brief moment he had known—what that feeling of love and triumph actually mean. That passed quickly, the way dreams do upon waking… but he never forgot the feeling itself, that almost swooning sensation of grace for once fulfilled and delivered instead of promised and then denied; that feeling of clarity and sweet, marvellous [sic] love; that feeling of ecstasy at the coming once more of the white.”
Andrea: OK, that gets me. I’m not totally soulless
Pat: Okay, instead of cheeseballs, next we get Judge Fairchild, the dude who sent Jack and Wolf to Sunlight. He’s cleaning his nails with a pocketknife, then gets an itch to put it up his nose, says, “Oh shit. Why not?” and drives the blade into his brain.
Andrea: Realistic? Could a human being actually go through with that?
I shuddered so hard.
Pat: Andrea.
This is a world where keys shoot lightning bolts.
Relax.
Then Smokey Updike is at the Oatley Tap, and his computer says TALISMAN TALISMAN TALISMAN et al. The best part is after the readout of the calculator is typed out, the next line is just: “Then his eyes exploded.”
Andrea: Okay, so the parts that you are listing now kind of ruled, but the sappy ones were dumb as hell.
Pat: Then the Oatley Tap blows up, and we get one of my favorite things, a sly reuse of a Gardenerism: “No great loss, children, can you say amen.”
Andrea: I was wondering what happened to Lori. Was that her name?
Pat: Yeah. Well, I have to say that I strongly believe she was incinerated.
Over at the Thayer School, Etheridge has a boner, Mr. Dufrey is circling his carpet and barking, Albert the Blob sees the white maggots and starts losing mad weight. “For the first time in his life he felt that he might survive his mother’s love.”
Andrea: I LOVED that line.
Pat: Then the bells start ringing out all over the campus, playing a song that they’re not supposed to know: “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
Andrea: What do you mean they are not supposed to know it?
Pat: The bells are computerized, and that song isn’t one of the ones they’re programmed to play.
MAGIC
Andrea: Ah.
Pat: The Talisman is a really powerful Muzak transmitter.
Then Wolf’s mom gets pregnant and has kids.
Andrea: And they are all happy and warmy.
Pat: Buddy Parkins has a revelation: “He’s there! By diddly-damn, he’s there, he made it after all, he’s there and he’s got it!” for no real reason.
Meanwhile, the Sunlight Home, which has had its gas tanks pumped dry by the gas company, explodes at the exact moment the Oatley Tap blows up. Again, a Gardenerism: “Can you gimme hallelujah?”
Andrea: I wish Gardener narrated all the books, Morgan Freeman-in-Shawshank style.
Pat: It’s the sarcastic version of Gardener that I like. Can you say amen.
And that’s it. News From Everywhere ends with the earthquake beginning. “It did not go to sleep for the next seventy-nine seconds, according to the Institute Of Seismology at CalTech.
“The earthquake had begun.”
Andrea: I give News From Everywhere 2.5 out of 5 stars
Pat: I’ll give you five out of five stars circling your head cartoon-style.

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