Truckers (The Bromeliad Trilogy #1)

The beginning tells of the lifespans of nomes and the differences of other species. Some of their tenets from when they moved into the Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) is shared. Then a day when a lorry crashes is mentioned, but this being a false start and moving further back to a dismally wet, rainy day. Masklin was hunting for food when he notes of the lorry stopping as usual, he running to get Grimma and the others before the lorry drove off again. Masklin returns to the lorry whilst Grimma gets the others ready to go as they slowly made it to the truck and were hoisted into it, one of the old men dropping the Thing. Masklin also hears the footsteps of the lorry driver, he believing there wasn’t time to retrieve it. After being convinced he must get it, he does, but the lorry begins moving.

Masklin is pulled up whilst the lorry moved faster, he hearing and smelling loud and nasty pollutants from the truck. Masklin then considers the possibility of death and where nomes go when they die. After being brought in from his loud elevator ride, the number of nomes there used to be is mentioned, but since the takeover of man, the areas they used to live were harder to uncover.It’s also told of how much more difficult it was to hunt for their group without as many hunters, Grimma having the hope of Spring bringing natural foodstuffs, like berries, etc. The difficulties there were in returning with food, when found, as well as their process for keeping their home warm and deterring predators is also made clear. At one point Masklin confessing to Grimma of wanting to leave for not being appreciated for all he did for them, Grimma attempting to convince him to stay, even whilst feeling guilty for sensing his being right.

After having this conversation, Masklin contemplated the lives of the humans, seemingly having it much easier, then a flashback of he hearing a scream, and upon investigation sees a fox, he taking out his anger and frustration on the creature by stabbing it in the leg to save Torrit. Even after driving the fox away into traffic, they still act as if he hadn’t done enough, he not entertaining their lack of thankfulness. Then back in real time, Grimma fretting over the older nomes missing their meal and how long their trip would be, Torrit calm for the Thing knowing what they’d do next, Masklin not having heard the Thing say or do anything before. When Masklin looks outside the truck, he can’t make out where they are, and when they stop and he checks again, he sees many lorries and humans roaming about. Masklin goes out to gauge the place, but then they hear a click and silence after, until seeing a human-like creature descending from the ceiling and surveying his surroundings, he built stockier than a sumo wrestler and looking hardcore.

Masklin is looking about outside and discovering an edible apple core as well as a rat with a collar, someone exclaiming for he not to kill it once he’d reached for his spear. Whom he saw looked like a nome, but wasn’t wearing the proper nome-attire. The weirdly dressed nome began interrogating Masklin until he learned what Masklin was doing, his tone changing. The nome is resistant to believing Masklin was from outside, he inquiring of what it was like, Masklin not sure how to describe the nature of outdoors, the odd nome describing it like one would the interior of a house. The nome finally gets a grip on himself to finally give his name, Angalo, and his rat, Bobo. Angalo is also impressed by the old people Masklin was traveling with, he leading them to where his father was and they learning they were in the perfect place, the Store.

The Book of Nome mentions how the indoor nomes lived, forgetting the outside, they having wars with nomes in other departments. Meanwhile Angalo has led the group to a hole in the wall, Granny Morkie insisting it was a rat hole and wouldn’t go inside, Grimma describing how the inside didn’t look like a rat hole for the stairs and lights. When they get to the bottom, they see more nomes than they’ve heard of being in one place before, all eating and walking through aisles and some walking rats, some ladies walking mice, and Granny Morkie disapproving of the whole scene. After Angalo explains some of the foods they saw, and the group pretending to know some of them, Angalo offers them to go and sample, anyone asking to mention it would go on the Haberdasheri account, Masklin being the only one to hang back, asking questions about Angalo’s father, he learning of how many title’s the man held, he seemingly important.

When they meet the man, he doesn’t believe they are from the Outside, saying the Thing was “amusing”. Masklin attempts to convince him, but the Duke allows only the possibility they came from an area of the store which hadn’t been fully explored. Masklin openly asks why the Duke would bother fighting with his own kind, upsetting the Duke to the point of he dismissing them from his presence to go where they will, but would not be accepted to the Haberdasheri. Masklin then considers how ridiculous nomes with food reacted as opposed to those who go without, then believing humans may not be as dumb as presented since the nomes were stealing items made by them. Masklin almost had an interesting reply to a thought of the humans brain similarities to a rat when Grimma asks Angalo what became of the nomes who didn’t join a department, it being a lamentable life, but he believing them and positive of his father lightening up. Masklin then seeing more of the Store and noting it was incomparable to the lorry since being infinitely larger.

Masklin decides he’d be returning outside for an odd feeling of being watched which he shares with Grimma, he letting her know he’d help the group settle in a spot but then would leave to help ease his mind, Grimma believing it was more because he wouldn’t be needed to hunt for food any longer. More information about the different territories is given, Millineri being a faction which wasn’t currently fighting with the Haberdasheri, Angalo encouraging their group shouldn’t have trouble being taken in by one of the factions. Granny Morkie dismisses him and has Torrit lead them on. Masklin then becomes annoyed when Torrit mentions the Thing helping them, Masklin insisting to know what the Thing has actually said to Torrit. He struggles to explain, Masklin calling him out on it, Grimma standing up for him, and as Torrit feels the pressure of relaying the Thing’s value, it speaks out loud, Masklin now impressed, but Torrit in shock since it hadn’t spoken aloud before, he dropping it, lights illuminating it all over. Masklin is first to comply with the Thing’s wishes of being nearer the electrical wires. Torrit is still processing the renewed chatter of the Thing, sharing how the nome before him told of the Thing not having spoken for hundreds of years.

As this is being discussed, Masklin is mesmerized by the patterns the lights are making on the Thing, which reminded him of a time he’d seen a human sign, the nomes guessed the meaning and Masklin the only one attempting to think outside the norm. The Thing then states thousands of years have passed, repeatedly. Masklin being the only one brave enough to respond to it, the Thing begins to ask probing questions of terms their kind used to know, Masklin stating they didn’t anymore. After the Thing is told their current whereabouts, Granny Morkie becomes impatient for them to consider their next move. The Thing responds with information on their past, but Masklin thought it was referring to someone named Shipwrecked, the Thing then informing them the sorts of tasks it could be used for, but Masklin not understanding the words. Everyone agreed they didn’t want what they didn’t understand, so Masklin conveys the group only wanted to “go home, and be safe”, no one knowing how famous this quote would become in the future for nomes. The Thing withdrew to essentially a “working sign” indicated by all lights shutting off, but for one, Grimma asking what their next move should be and Granny responding with how Angalo made it seem their lives would be quite bleak.

An overview with what the Thing was attempting to do for the nomes is shared and what the previous chapter contained, through excerpt of the Book of Nome. The group spent their “night” in a small space next to some large wooden walls, they noticing the Thing seemed to have developed what looked like a small satellite dish and some additional lights. Meanwhile Granny was first to voice of more noise than last time being heard, Masklin looking through a crack in the wall which revealed a horde of humans, the Store open. Masklin then asks the Thing about humans, the Thing stopping and starting the main task previously requested. Then an old nome they didn’t know began to speak with them about the humans, introducing himself as Dorcas del Icatessen, Masklin was at the end of his patience with nomes treating him like he didn’t know anything when the Thing informs him, they would need Dorcas, he overhearing and thinking the Thing was a small radio. Dorcas then offers to take them with him to where he stayed, he showing how he’d made use of the human elevator to aid him, not being so good with so many steps these days, Granny resisting, but then agreeing due to being shocked by Dorcas referring to her as “madam”.

When they arrive on Dorcas’ floor, they also learn how he’d gotten away with his own space since no one else had figured how to work human contraptions. Dorcas also showed them his drawing of what he believed nomes from outside should look like, explaining the reason of body shape. Masklin inquires why none of the Store nomes didn’t end the mystery by looking for themselves, realizing after, the nomes inside would be blinded by the sunlight since living in such dim light their whole lives. Dorcas asks to know everything they can remember of Outside as the Thing flashed a second green light of progress. As the nomes ate, they chat of different subjects, Dorcas mentioning his status as inventor with focus on electricity, Dorcas then asked about the Outside, Masklin sharing the name of the moon and not knowing why it was there at night. They were chatting about why the nomes happened to be living in the Store, when Grimma interrupts to learn about whom the person was to have started it, Dorcas not being able to divulge much since the Thing came out of his work mode to state the monitoring of telecommunications. The nomes take his big words in stride, the Thing finally realizing they didn’t understand, it discovering they understood the word destroyed, after attempting a simpler terminology which also landed on deaf ears. The Thing then relates the Store would be destroyed in twenty one days and needed to inform the community leaders.

The Book of Nome then tells of deaf ears being plentiful since none of the leaders would believe the bad news. The group being followed as they shadow Dorcas looking for the most open-minded, but not by much, Abbot, Masklin attempting to calm him with the prospect of having plenty of time, but Dorcas knowing it wouldn’t be easy since many didn’t believe the Outside existed. Dorcas tries to keep them away from crowded nome areas since they didn’t have a department and it was dangerous for them, but they get ambushed by bandits from Corsetry, regardless, the group discussing how to handle the attempt at robbing them and whether to comply. Masklin returns with the answer of respectfully declining, but when the bandits move to grab Granny, they get the surprise of a slap for each who touched her. Torrit held his own against one, as Grimma dropped another. After Masklin makes it clear what they were doing was wrong, he gives the leader a chance to leave, he and his gang taking it.

Dorcas was quite amused by the scene and wondered aloud what the Abbot would make of them, they walking on to Stationeri. When they arrive, they learn this group is obviously the oddballs of the communities since they knew how to read and write. When the Abbot and the group were in his guest hall, the Abbot refused to acknowledge the presence of Masklin and bunch, only speaking with Dorcas, the Abbot not receptive to the news of the Store closing since it seemed to occur every year, and nothing happened. When Masklin sets the Thing in front of the Abbot, it describes what it was and what it had understood from the Store computers, but the Abbot was stubborn to believe, dismissing them. One young Stationeri monk gets their attention, wanting to speak with the Outsiders. After asking about the Thing and whether they believed what it said was true, Torrit tells of how long it had been looked after by the men in his family. The monk, Gurder introduces himself and confesses to being the Abbot’s assistant, asking if they’d follow him, since the Abbot was aware of something different in the Store and was worried. Granny Morkie complying if snacks would be in attendance, Gurder acquiescing to send for some.

The Book of Nome mentions the unrest over the new signs not being understood when expecting ones for Christmas once more, but those up only showing “Clearance Sale”. Gurder guides them through a place with many books which were closely guarded, the Thing stating the necessity of acquiring them, but Gurder unable to do so, he leading them to a place where the Abbot waited once more, he commanding Gurder to show them the food whilst he spoke with acting leader, Masklin, the Thing staying behind as well to speak with the Abbot, whom begins by smiling awkwardly, confirming he had Masklin’s name right, which he had, Masklin relating being confused by the Abbot’s conduct earlier, he explaining he had to officially shun them since many Abbots before him would’ve done the same, and if he suddenly changed, it would look bad and make him sound crazy. The Abbot then explains politics more clearly than ever I heard before, politics is about being certain, not about “being right or wrong”. The Abbot also speaks of how they helped the nomes in the Store through some wars, using “cunning and common sense and diplomacy”.

After the Abbot noted how Masklin had all the qualities of a leader, he gave him sound advice about not underestimating people, then he moved on to his memory of seeing the Arnold Bros (est. 1905) for himself when he was young. He inquiring about Masklin’s home, which as he spoke of it now, seeing more of the good than the bad. After, Masklin invites him to come with them when the Store is demolished, the Abbot declining pleasantly for having other plans, he sending for Gurder to show Masklin out and educate him a bit, but to leave the Thing whilst he rested, and once Masklin’s brief education was done, to return. The Abbot begins by asking the Thing what it was and its function, the Thing giving more detail about the nomes ship and its other task of returning them home safely, the Abbot at first seemingly to understand well enough. As he sends Masklin and Gurder out, he also mentions upon their return he’d have a task for them. Gurder takes them to where the Book of Nome was kept and began reading, Granny first to interrupt with questions about whether the Store had been built for nomes, and what was there before, he then sending the elders of the group to wait for them in the Food Hall as he showed Masklin and Grimma how he knew of seasons, but not weather.

The Book of Nome about the signage within being ignored by humans. As Gurder led them along, Masklin learned the Stationer weren’t considered a department since only boys were chosen from each department every year so they could serve the entire Store. Grimma asked why women weren’t chosen, Gurder stating it was caused by women’s inability to read due to overheating. Ha! Grimma plays it down, but Masklin knew the tone as a start of trouble. They then note how respectfully the nomes acted around Gurder. When they reach the Haberdasheri department, Gurder points out the odd sign, as well as the usual ones, he wondering what they could mean, also worrying over the shelves not being restocked anymore. Grimma asked why they didn’t ask Arnold Bros (est. 1905), himself what was happening, but Gurder balked at the idea and the only one to see him being the Abbot. When they get back to the elders, they inform them the Abbot had asked for them, they doing so after Torrit marveled over the soft read and nearly choking when foxes are mentioned.

When Masklin and Gurder go in to see the Abbot, he’s deep in thought, he sharing what the Thing had told him sounding demented, and eventually decides they had to ask Arnold Bros (est. 1905) what the truth was. Gurder attempts to dissuade him due to it being a perilous undertaking, the Abbot agreeing and so sending the two in his stead. On their way out Masklin asks about whom Bargains Galore was, Gurder explaining she was the opposite and enemy of Prices Slashed. Gurder then departs to gather some belongings for their trek, planning on leaving immediately since if they didn’t, he’d lose his nerve. Meanwhile the Abbot was still questioning the Thing about how they arrived and was told of nomes relationships to humans in the past in the hopes of developing the technology of metal so they could return to the main ship, the Abbot also asking about what agriculture was and having reached his limit of understanding which resulted in a funny response by the Thing. The Abbot continued to listen about astronomy and drifted off happily as he listen to the Thing go on.

The Book of Nome then describes Arnold Bros (est. 1905)’s sign which indicated someone would be available to answer questions if something can’t be found. Meanwhile Masklin is speaking on Grimma’s behalf to join them, Gurder not wanting her to come due to the danger, it not being suitable for a female. Masklin’s viewpoint was if she wanted to accompany them she should, women stepping into dangerous situations plenty, but Gurder not brought up to think this way. Grimma insists since no one needed her to stay, in the end Gurder relenting, Masklin unimpressed with their journey to the Kiddies Klothes and Toys Department, where a kind people lived, no danger occurring at all. The Klothians offer them a guide to the “moving stairs”, these people on a higher floor and not getting many visitors, their food coming from the staff restroom (break-room). The guide points them to the escalator and retreats, Gurder nervous due to the superstition of Arnold Bros (est. 1905) was said to be waiting at the top and an unfinished thought relating to when nomes die. Grimma is first to sprint forward to see if it’s true, impatient by all the dallying. They get to the top with nothing terrible happening, Gurder leading them on.

They go down the hall to find the general manager’s office, Masklin volunteering to go in first, the room dark, and the carpet thicker, the three eventually making it onto the desk, no Arnold Bros (est. 1905) to be found. What Gurder does discover is a letter confirming the closing of the store and the construction of what would be built in its place. Gurder takes this news badly, needing help to move after it’s decided they would take the letter with them for the Abbot, and Masklin noticing a shadow heading in their direction caused by the lamplight. Masklin sees the man’s hat which spelled “security”, he ready to incapacitate him if he saw Grimma and Gurder on the floor, but he doesn’t. Gurder becomes uncontrollably emotional, getting the attention of the security, the cleaning lady working her way down the hall with a vacuum. As Masklin rejoins the other two, they consider a better hiding spot, Gurder insistent the woman is Bargain’s Galore come to protect them, Masklin and Grimma letting him believe what he wanted since he was calmer, the group escaping through an opening in the floor, their return to The Kiddies Klothes Department taking half a day since Gurder kept breaking down. After being fed and requesting an escort back, they make it to Stationery just in the nick.

The Abbot seemed ill in the way of being close to death, he indicating for Masklin to come closer, and requests he ask Granny Morkie to step out. She had provided one of her medicines which tended to pack a wallop. She agreeably goes and Gurder has the chance of relaying the letter, the Abbot instructing their people would have to leave. He then relates to Masklin of what the Thing had shown and told of the universe. He commanding Masklin to get everyone Home, and then dying, and Masklin wondering aloud to the Thing of how he was going to convince everyone to leave. Next, the odd funeral for the Abbot, Masklin not having known a nome die of old age before, and the customs of a service being new to him. When Gurder attempts to explain the dead’s ability to possibly return to see them once more as a spirit, no one understands, so he has them visit the gardening department to see if a demonstration could be given. As they walked through the fake grass and seed packets of flowers Masklin had not seen in the real world, Gurder inquires if it was similar to the Outside, Masklin relating the differences. They also see the garden gnomes people buy to adorn their lawns, Gurder believing these were Arnold Bros (est. 1905)’s way to show nomes lived after death, the area this falls apart being their weren’t any female gnomes.

Torrit shares a story where he’d actually seen a gnome out in the world when he was a boy with his grandpa, the priest whom had been giving them the tour becoming quite upset for the group not comprehending their ideas. Granny Morkie reluctantly attempts to soothe him whilst Torrit insists of what he’d shared of his memory to be true. Then Gurder, whom wasn’t happy to learn the former Abbot had chosen him to take his place is covered, he not liking the idea of leading, but everyone else being in agreement with the former Abbot’s decision. Gurder believed he wouldn’t be suitable due to his Doubt over the Outside which Masklin supposed was partly the reason the former Abbot picked Gurder. The group, as well as the rulers of other Departments were currently in the area for important meetings, Gurder sensing Masklin had a plan, he knowing if he was going to convince all the nomes they’d be able to take everything with them so all could leave safely was going to be a delicate process, Masklin going over all the important details learned from the Thing. Especially of the larger Ship still waiting for the nomes’ return in space. Masklin then shares the plan with Gurder whom was preparing his speech as the new Abbot, Masklin insisting Gurder needing to break the plan to all at the same time.

In the Book of Nome, Gurder gets the leaders to listen to Masklin as he shares his plan. Masklin has difficulty convincing them though, the Duke Haberdasheri vocal of the absurdity, but Angalo looking starry-eyed. When the Duke had heard enough, once Masklin mentions the stealing of a truck to get them and all their belongings out, some followed whilst few waited in the back near the door, uncertain. The Count of Ironmongri and the Baroness del Icatessen stayed to listen, Masklin going on to say everyone would need to cooperate in order for the plan to succeed which would mean to share previously secret information from individual Departments, Masklin also mentions how Stationery would be extending to anyone who wanted to learn to read, including women, would have the opportunity, due to needing as many as possible to begin reading books so they’d learn the information, if any, needed to survive and help with the plan, Gurder balking at the idea, but not disagreeing. Grimma then gets the chance to mention how she’d already begun to learn to read which interested the Baroness, Masklin divulging how they had a driver’s manual to study and if humans could do it, they wouldn’t have a problem.

The two leaders were convinced enough to share the news with their people, the grand total of volunteers being twenty-eight, Masklin seeing it as a fair start until others decided to join, he conveying to Grimma of how the instructing process would go and how he thought she should continue to learn to read more so they could think critically and have the right words to explain things properly. Gurder was still prickling over Masklin’s open offer to everyone learning to read, but made it so he’d have to go along to save face. Masklin then had Gurder look into the books which would help them understand certain words and the possibility of uncovering one which would help a nome learn to drive a human truck, complications unfolding, but working it out one at a time.

When they’d made it to a truck, Angalo had insisted learning to read so he could assist with the driving, he getting to the drivers seat, and Masklin knowing he was now the only nome whom knew anything about trucks, but it still not being much, which was why he’d be hiding so he could accompany a human driver to learn the process. The only other unknown was why the trucks were loaded with product and came back with product, the thought being they were the same trucks, but the process took no longer than two days, so Angalo would hopefully be able to explain upon returning. Masklin not looking forward to describing to Angalo’s parents the scenario if he was lost, but knowing Angalo had the motivation, this as Dorcas mentions the possibility of discovering an easier way to get nomes into the trucks. Another work in progress.

The Book of Nome then regards the status of Angalo’s trip. Masklin was sleeping in Stationery when a group of nomes are seen waiting for him, books in hand. Masklin gets exasperated with the books and how their usefulness wasn’t straight forward. A particularly quick, but not quite attentive reader came up with an idea involving taking a human hostage with a “gnu” and forcing said human to drive them wherever they wanted, Masklin too tired to disagree and replying he’d keep it among the working ideas. Masklin then asks the Thing what a gnu was, it being an antelope, he then realizing the nome’s idea wouldn’t work, the Thing suggesting Masklin sleep, he overextended on what they needed to do, and dropping off after sharing his worries. A couple days passed and another issue arose when they realized the garage door button was high up on a wall, as well as Gurder informing Masklin he found a map.

After showing the map to Masklin, it was “logical” guesswork as to where they were and then the truck returns during this exchange, without Angalo. Masklin rushes to the truck, one of the nomes knowing for certain it’s the same one for the license plate. When Masklin reaches the nomes already at the window who inform him of it being dark and seeing no one within, Masklin decides he wants them to lower him inside while someone else goes the long way to the steps to the door. Masklin is lowered to the ground, he going to get in through the bottom of the truck somehow, but when he does, he discovers Angalo’s jacket, and no Angalo, so he goes back out and shows the group of nomes who’s imaginations of what could have happened run wild, Masklin attempting to keep the possibilities logical, when the Duke shows up, motioning for his son’s jacket, asking the odds of detecting Angalo Outside, Masklin knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the possibility still there, and the Duke then offering as many people necessary to operate the truck so they could go out and search.

When fifty Haberdasheri show up at night, Masklin immediately put those who seemed able, on to the reading program. Gurder argued with their status being basic soldier-types, but Masklin sensed they would need them. The material found in the books ranged so widely between all genres, Masklin found it difficult to decide what to ignore, especially with the fiction books which no one understood couldn’t occur (usually) in reality. For instance, when the same reader found Alice in Wonderland and thought the “Drink Me” bottles could be utilized for one nome among them to drive the truck, Masklin decided to err on the side of safety and dedicated a night with some others to search the Store for a bottle of the tincture, it nowhere to be found, then noticing some of the information in the books weren’t easily discovered in the Store and why Arnold Bros (est. 1905) would keep them at all. Masklin had found a book for children with constellations and other facts of the sky which he knew was true, he enjoying looking at it when he was overloaded with other responsibilities. He shared some of the names with the Thing to see if it knew them, but due to differing knowledge of the names, it failed to be recognized. Masklin inquires what the name of the nome planet was, but Masklin learned the Sun they’re from isn’t the same as the one in the Milky Way Galaxy. He also learns how many planets nomes had gone to, it a large, impressive number, and when considering his task of moving a measly truck, made his difficulty seem insignificant.

The Book of Nome then alludes to one of their own having returned from the Outside by vehicle, and how vast the Outside was in size. Angalo then returns after four days, exhilarated, dirty, and tired, but eager to share what he’d seen. The nomes who heard him, found he’d seen plenty and how majestic the Store looked from Outside. He also wrote down what a sign in front of the building had on it, most of the nomes able to read now, it being another reference to a “Closing down sale”. After, Angalo fell asleep still raving over the sights, later Masklin visits to notice Angalo’s eyes still brilliant with his new adventure. Granny Morkie was watching over him and discouraged any talk of excitement already having dealt with the Duke, Masklin stating his need to speak with him, Granny Morkie allowing him some time, Angalo chattering about all he’d seen and how he’d gotten lost, Masklin then able to ask about how the trucks were driven, Angalo showing his detailed notes, but it seeming quite complicated, Masklin becomes overwhelmed with how they’d manage to pull it off.

Angalo looks for confirmation of his notes being well-written, but Masklin looking unhappy, he letting Angalo know he’d given him much to think over, Angalo then blurting excitedly over the other Stores he’d seen and the possibility of other nomes living there, Masklin urging Angalo to rest. Masklin walks out of the room to witness Granny Morkie facing off with the Duke from taking his son and provide his own care in recovery. When the Duke saw Masklin, he decides to give in, but they then negotiate the minutes allowed for visits, and after coming to an agreement, he catching up with Masklin on how well the people he’d sent were working out, Masklin conveying their value, and the Duke offering to aid him any way he could, before walking off. Masklin asks Granny Morkie’s opinion of why the Duke seemed to be acting strangely, she stating it was because he had to think about something which put him at unease.

Masklin is next shown moaning over the amount of steps one must learn to drive a truck with Gurder and Grimma, he about to share his most recent idea when Vinto, the imaginative reader walks in with a fresh idea from a book. Masklin was in the middle of turning him away when Grimma encourages him to listen, Masklin doing so and Gurder passive-aggressively questioning the sort of wild idea he was bringing this time, Vinto showing them an illustration of a human caught by nomes with rope, Gurder recognizing the story as Gulliver’s Travels, but Masklin becoming inspired, and then yelling of his moment of eureka. After the Store closed, Masklin and a few dozen others go to where the trucks are parked and test out the pedals, Masklin unable to move one by himself without quite a few others to help.

Dorcas then brainstorms with Masklin of how they could work the pedals, he deciding a lever would be needed, they testing the idea with a long piece of wood lowered through the door, and after learning how many levers it would take, Masklin mentioning the use of ropes with squads of nomes moving the truck where they wanted. Dorcas figuring the only issue being the noise (to him, fixable), and the need for training (everything would be set up in time, but a day for training the nomes, would not be enough), Dorcas suggesting Masklin locate a small practice truck, as well as thinking over how he was going to get the elderly and children on-board. Masklin open to any ideas, Dorcas deciding they’d meet up again the next night, he having an idea which could solve the practice and entrance for minors and elderly nomes. Masklin’s only other concern was for the nomes acting like it was life as usual, he noting even the leaders weren’t completely convinced, Masklin resting and waking an hour later when the panic began.

The Book of Nome has a poem which has the rhythm of a song (Skip to My Lou works pretty well) and about escape. The Store is then mentioned being currently quiet on a work day, the nomes attempting to reassure themselves nothing was amiss, but then humans arriving to remove the remainder of the product off the shelves and into trucks, they also removing floorboards, this setting a panic into motion, Gurder waking Masklin to inform him of what was happening, and Masklin then asking the Thing which explained the fourteen days until demolition didn’t include the time for the removal of stock, Masklin advising the people to gather as much food as they could, but some good news coming in the form of a member of Dorcas’ group, the humans storing everything in a convenient spot.

The Book of Nome then gives detail of the humans making nomes relocation easier by loading a variety of items onto the trucks. Masklin is informed by Dorcas of the items being loaded in the garage, a couple runs already having been made and Dorcas deducing the travel wasn’t far due to their quick return to the Store. So far the items being moved were carpets and mannequins which nomes debated about the latter’s immobility being caused for some religious reasons. The two were deciding whether the humans would be able to clear the Store in a day, Dorcas struggling to come up with a way of securing one of the trucks, he confident the new Ironmongery exiles would be able to help, and as Masklin left, became worried with the looks they gave him being hopeful of his working everything out.

News looked grim since many items were being moved out and when Masklin returns to Dorcas, he’s told one positive development being Dorcas had lifted a part of the truck which would keep the humans from driving off, since it contained many items they could utilize. Dorcas having gone to great lengths with back up plans to be certain the humans didn’t succeed in fixing the truck, Masklin satisfied and then speaking to the Thing about where they’d need to go once in the truck, he told of where an airline was, and Masklin knowing the Thing would be nonoperational until they were next around electricity, Masklin losing drive on his next move, Grimma entering when Masklin desperately needed to vent his stress, she giving him tough love by informing him of the nomes asking for him, to get himself together, and start making a plan. Masklin gets defensive, but Grimma snaps him into game face mode, and looks on the bright side of the Thing’s last words being read as, they would succeed, it only depending on the length of time it could take.

When night fell, and the last human gave up attempting to fix the lights in the garage due to Dorcas’ handiwork, the nomes got to fixing what was ‘broke’. Masklin learning it could take about an hour to get the truck in working order. As they were getting on, Granny Morkie was ‘cattle herding’ all the nomes into the back, and doing so with efficiency due to her natural talent. Once realizing Granny Morkie had taken care of Masklin’s only other idea of checking boxes, he returned to the cab of the truck due to not having left himself a task, and after watching Dorcas attempt to lead a practice for the nomes grouped at the gear shifts, Masklin asks about progress, the update not being positive, but they being ready to give it a whirl and deal with the hiccups on the fly, and when the time came, Masklin, Angalo, the Thing, Gurder (in case of any ‘splainin’ to Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) was needed), and Grimma were all in front, Gurder asking why she was up front with them, Masklin responding it was to help him read, he not being as quick as she.

Grimma set up The High Way Code and related the first instruction to check the mirror, no one knowing why, but Masklin still checking, not noticing anything but himself, Gurder deciding he should be the one to relay to the others they were ready to go after Grimma had taken initiative, but then giving Masklin the duty, he asking to start the engine, the air then alive with vibration, Angalo assuring him he’d get accustomed, the next signal to move forward not going as planned, since they ended up in reverse and hitting something, making the engine die, Dorcas going off on the teams on gears. As he does, Gurder is overcome with they moving at all, Angalo annoyed they hadn’t gone far. Then Dorcas informed of they ready to attempt it again, Angalo glad, since then smelling petrol, so when the time came to open the garage, Dorcas and Masklin having trouble hearing each other at first, but Dorcas wanting practice time for the teams, and when conveyed to skip it and get the garage open, Masklin discovers Dorcas had forgotten to fix it, this the perfect time for security (Prices Slashed) to walk in with flashlight in hand, Angalo noticing the bad (in many ways) cigarette in his mouth, he explaining why to Masklin, and then when security reached the door, Gurder speaks biblically in anger for the man to leave with his ciggie, he giving (what I imagine the same look as Flash from Zootopia)  when coming to the realization of, in this case, terror, he moving quicker than nomes are used to seeing a human move, but drops his ciggie, Masklin and Angalo yelling to their signaler to sign for Dorcas to inform the teams to shake a tail feather out of there. Masklin urging them to go faster to hit the door, which to a nome still looks like sauntering, they successfully breaking through though, and on to the street with little difficulty, they hearing the phwoosh of fire Angalo had expected.

The Book of Nome plainly states the items and departments all needing to go. Also, the Book describes the store going out with a “bang”, when it was actually a “whoomph”. None of the nomes paid this much attention due to the all encompassing need to follow the directions Angalo dictated quickly, not hitting any cars, fortunately, but did hit a store window in passing, stopping soon after when hitting a wall, the group needing a powwow about a more efficient way to steer, and to detect the headlights lever. As this is discussed, Masklin decides he, Grimma, and Gurder would go check those in the back whilst Angalo and Dorcas hashed it out. They found Granny Morkie helping a nome with a broken leg caused by a falling box, then Masklin invited Gurder a look Outside, he surprised by the rain. After hearing the “singing” cars, Gurder views the burning Store, he taking it better than Masklin expected. They return inside and Angalo had worked out a new string-pulling system to help with what he wanted done with the gears below. Angalo then attempted to have the lights turned on, instead getting the windshield wipers and radio, the switch for the lights discovered soon after, turning the radio off, which they couldn’t understand, but had news of the fire and the missing truck, they moving sort of along the road, and it close to midnight, the town fairly asleep, and then when a sign is misinterpreted as working, Masklin has them quickly stop for a hole in the middle of the road, Angalo meekly asking to back up.

When next they attempt to figure out what a roundabout is, Angalo obviously becomes a speed demon, they again stopping abruptly, Masklin and Grimma putting the smack down on Angalo and Gurder, the latter for not giving correct information and arguing, Masklin especially getting on everyone to start cooperating with each other for all the nomes relying on them, Angalo finally calming down enough to take Grimma’s original advice of taking it slow. Then when Masklin was considering a place to stop, they see Prices Slashed with a cop car, Angalo ready to knock into him, but Masklin grabbing a string for them to steer clear, they instead backing into the cop car, Angalo taking over again, and vying for Gurder to agree it would’ve been acceptable to hit Prices Slashed, but Gurder unsure it was the same being, Angalo having lost faith and Gurder forming the idea, if Arnold Bros (est. 1905) was in one place, he could be in all places, needing to think further on it. They they notice the cop car behind them, Masklin asking Angalo to get to another road when available, then going to report what’s occurring to Dorcas, Masklin having a plan needing pliers, Dorcas offering to join him.  When the truck stops, the police car stops more forcefully, the two men running and wrenching the door open, wondering where the driver had gone, they checking the bushes, Masklin and Dorcas dashing to the car, and quickly returning to the truck, it starting, the cops running for the car, but unable to start the ignition. The truck was abandoned and discovered a couple days later, the battery, wires, light bulb, radio, and switch missing, only the strings left.

The Book of Nome relates of a “New Place”, for keeps, and of a silent “Outsider”. The nomes had settled in a quarry after running hurriedly through fields, fussiness about the Outside and the state of the food found being dealt with in stride, and Dorcas even finagling some electricity, Masklin getting the Thing close to it, and only receiving a response of a few lights flashing. He was content not to bother the Thing until they accomplished more, this resulting in the passing of a few seasons, they fast-forwarding to Summer. Masklin was on watch with a button Dorcas had installed so if Masklin saw danger, those below would see a light turn on. Dorcas also had students to instruct on the finer points of electric. Masklin considering how whilst they were getting comfortable, he knew the probability of they having to pack up again someday, something they’d need to look forward to, he then looking below where he sat, Grimma teaching a few young nomes to read, he then thinking about how the departmental nomes tented to tiff fairly often and looked to him as mediator, he reminding himself of their true home, he glad though, they at least aware of the goal, their current location in view of the airport, he having sent a large team to investigate more closely, the last bit a conversation between Masklin and Dorcas of they considering the likelihood of being able to hijack a jet, Dorcas believing it possible due to only having three wheels.

One thing is for sure, this story is great for kids (the sensible ones), conquering one’s fear, teamwork, planning, organization. Another thing, this beats the movie ten-fold, I was intrigued only until catching the dialogue after a few minutes, finding other pastimes as I listened, I’m looking forward to the sequel.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & other selections

We begin with The Author’s Account of Himself, which describes of he having enjoyed discovering new places, which bothered his parents, but he exploring all the spots known for robbery, murder, or ghosts, one day viewing a vast scenery from a hill, impressing him with its many miles. From then on studying books about travel and neglecting his school work, he traveling to watch ships sail away and fantasizing of the adventures they’d had so far away. He goes on to contemplate, after seeing parts of America, to go to Europe to see the history of his origin. He concludes with having and not knowing whether it was luck or not of being able to travel many countries and studying the scenery like a tourist rather than a “philosopher”, he going so far as to sketch a few scenes from the places he’d been for friends and how differently his choice for sketches would be from a landscape painter, whom would choose the secret, lesser known spots rather than the tourist attraction areas.

Then The Legend of Sleepy Hollow begins with a description of Tarry Town (not important), which explains where the name stems from: housewives in the next town, caused by their spouses going to the bar, then we learn of an especially quiet spot a short distance from the town, the only noise coming from a brook and birds. Inhabitants of this area coming from the Dutch and the glen known as Sleepy Hollow. The town had rumors surrounding it which indicated there were hex-like powers within it. Many odd sightings and feelings being experienced by the people, one leading apparition being the Headless Horseman. The story behind the Horseman’s origins is of he being a Hessian trooper whom was hit by a cannon-ball in the Revolutionary War, the ghost having some space to ride, it being said to go as far as a churchyard where he was supposedly buried. We then are told of Ichabod Crane whom had stayed there some thirty years previous to teach the children, then receiving description of his physical character (which reminds me of Johnny Depp’s version more than the TV show version). His school house is shown and how it was easy to enter, but if closed, was rigged for being difficult to escape from, as well as the sort of teacher he was when it came to corporal punishment, but had a “justice” about whom he’d target. He also tended to chum about with the older boys and made rounds of the children’s homes when it came to room and board. The scene painted of Crane is wildly different than those portrayed, except, again with perhaps Depp’s role, if only he’d been focused on multiple ladies, as mentioned in the story; the boy’s eye wandered, for sure. 

Crane attempted to make himself useful for his staying though, doing chores in and outside of the property’s of the farmers hosting him. He also orchestrated and taught the local church choir, he being quite popular among the ladies for his fancy dress and speech, but also having the latest news to share with each home he entered. He also enjoyed reading a book of witchcraft by the brook until dark after he taught class, singing as he made his way to whichever home he stayed. He also enjoyed spending time with the wives as they spun clothes, sharing ghost and scary stories, Crane doing the same with his choice of reading and scientific facts. Crane did become spooked by his walk home some nights due to sounds or mistaken view of shrubbery. One day he’s running into a barely legal girl whom was daughter to a man of prominent stature, Crane having been to the man’s home once, he imagining what his dinners must look like with such meaty variety, he then viewing the inside of the farmer’s home. Crane contemplated how he’d win Katrina, the girl’s heart, especially since there was already plenty of contenders and the main one being a young man called Brom, a tough, mischievous, good-humored hooligan whom sometimes did horse ride-bys with his buddies late at night making loud whooping noises, waking the ladies up who knew the culprit immediately upon listening. Back to Crane’s woo, though, even knowing Brom was testing his luck with Katrina, Crane couldn’t give up and made his move as well, but more toned down, Brom hearing about it anyways, and his threat of what he’d do to Crane getting back to him, he making sure to avoid Brom, but he getting at Crane other ways, like his school house being vandalized. Besides these happenings, one afternoon Crane receives an invitation to a party at the Van Tassel’s, Katrina’s family, this happening on a school day and prompting Crane to rush the rest of the lessons and let the kids out early so he could prepare.

There is also multiple reference of Crane being similar to the “knight-errant”, he again having this air as he rode to Katrina’s, looking quite a figure atop the horse he’d borrowed. When he’d arrived, the other guests were noted in attempting to look their smartest, Crane noticing, but not acknowledging Brom, the two entering, and Crane bringing his attention to all the yummy goodness around him (the man loved his food). Then he has a dance with Katrina, as Brom watched, and afterwards goes to listen to a conversation with her father, officially losing his momentum by leaving Katrina alone, the loser. Crane heard the group sharing terrifying tales of every kind, soon landing on the Horseman, Crane hears the latest of a man’s run in and where the Horseman was seen most often, as well as a story from Brom with his encounter. After a bit more stories are related, the party breaks up, people go home, except for Crane, whom waits for a moment to speak with Katrina, whom he thought he was at the top of the game with. The Narrator doesn’t know the details of the conversation though, only knowing Crane didn’t stay long after and wasn’t happy. He waking his horse with disrespect and riding by the gnarly tree, but having another moment of uncertainty when coming to a brook where the man of the namesaked tree had been held up. Crane attempts to rush by the obstacle, but now the horse resists stubbornly, unwilling to obey his savagely made demands. Then he notices a presence in the dark, Crane calling out for an answer and getting none, so begins humming a psalm (hilariously), the creature moving into the horse’s blind spot, and Crane realizing it was the Horseman.

Crane rides off, attempting to lose him, but regardless of speeding up or slowing down, the Horseman matches his pace. When Crane notices where his head was though, it renewed his energy to flee, the horse taking a route of his own decision, it leading past a “goblin bridge” and the church. Crane’s saddle then comes loose and he slides back and forth as the horse runs in a panic. Crane then notices he’s approaching the bridge Brom had lost the Horseman, Crane not as lucky since getting across, he looking behind him and seeing the Horseman readying to chuck his head at him, Crane attempts to avoid it, but the Horseman has some spot on aim, for it connecting directly with his head. Crane falls hard, and all ride on without him, his horse scampering home and no one noticing Crane missing until after he’d missed his class, they tracking his hat down first, but nothing of the man was found, his school house closing. Someone visiting Sleepy Hollow from the city however, knew Crane was alive and doing well for himself, but the wives preferred to remember his disappearance being related to the Horseman’s doing, a farm boy claiming to have heard psalm singing at the deserted school house. Definitely unlike the adaptations; an alright tale, but does read like an overview, and knowing how much of a butt Crane is, definitely makes his horrendous scare much more satisfying.

There is then a Postscript where we learn the Narrator heard the story at a meeting, the man sharing of getting the response of amused laughter except for one whom asked of the moral, the man responding of life having ups and downs and he himself not believing parts of the story either, the man having a confused expression by the answer.

Rip Van Winkle is then related by introducing the story being discovered in a deceased Diedrich Knickbocker’s papers. The man having written the tale and how it was either loved or dismissed, it being said he should’ve spent his time in some other way, but since he wasn’t alive, there being no harm in sharing the story now. We truly begin with mention of the Kaatskill mountains, which changed color and shape depending on the hour and weather. This story also following descendants of the Dutch, who lived in a village at the bottom of the mountain. We discover Rip Van Winkle lives among them and is a pleasant sort. He marrying an opposite personality from himself, so when his domestic tiffs were gossiped about, he consistently had the unanimous support for his side. Even the children of the village “sang his praises” since he’d teach them new games, make them toys, and told all sorts of stories. The one area he lacked was the motivation to keep up with his own household chores, but offering assistance to others, as well as having abundant patience with the most mind-dulling pastimes, i.e. fishing, hunting were his shtick. Rip didn’t have any luck when it came to the weather being on his side when necessary to do farm work, and so his was the lease successful in the village. His children weren’t any better for him, his son looking like a street rat, and his wife constantly berating his laziness, so to escape, he would walk about outside. Wolf, his dog was looked with the same contempt as Rip by his wife since she believed the dog wasn’t helping her husband’s lackadaisical ways. His marriage didn’t get any easier with time, so Rip began attending a club of sorts where the great thinkers of the neighborhood would meet.

The men of the group weren’t safe from Mrs. Van Winkle though, she going after all of them when it came to sharing the blame for Rip’s kickback lifestyle. It was this kind of situation where Rip would go off to the woods with Wolf, one day he going squirrel hunting, getting higher onto the Kaatskills, soon tiring himself and resting, then realizing it would be well dark by the time he returned to the village, he not excited by the reception he expected from his wife, but when planning on descending, hears his name being called, surprised anyone would be in such a deserted spot, but he thinking it was a villager in need, going to meet the stranger and helping him with his load, they walking higher into the mountain. Rip is curious of why this man carried liquor and was complacent with the diversion. They reach the man’s desired location where other oddly attired men were passing their time playing a bowling game. Whilst their actions conveyed good times, it was quiet, and none were smiling. Rip was put off by their behavior, he helping divvy out the drink upon request, the men accepting and going back to their game.

Once Rip no longer felt he was being watched, he tastes the keg, it being a flavor he enjoyed, soon having enough to put him to sleep. He awakens at the spot he originally sees the stranger when it’s light, he thinking he’d slept there the night and what excuse he’d need for wifey. He looks for his gun and discovers an old one falling apart, concluding the men of the night before must have robbed him. He then decides to return to the place where they’d been, the route now containing a stream which was dry before. When he gets to the spot where there should be a place to enter the clearing, there was none, Rip having to resign himself to being without gun or dog, and needing to put up with the confrontation his wife would surely bring to him since he couldn’t put off going home for being famished. When he reaches town he was baffled by not recognizing anyone he saw, and upon copying the gesture of the men to rub their chins, he realizes is beard had grown quite a bit. He also notices the houses and names over the doors weren’t familiar, as well as the building he knew no longer standing, but the landscape having stayed unchanged.

Rip locates his home which had decayed greatly, as well as a skinny dog which must’ve been Wolf hanging around the property, but no longer knew him. He then goes to his club’s meeting place, discovering a different scene with a man talking about politics, the place no longer lazy, but busy with people. When the politicians notice his odd appearance and being noticed by the women and children, they each inquire how he voted, and the like, Rip responding with confusion. When another man asks whom he was looking for, Rip names his friends, their fates ranging from death to holding a place in Congress. Rip felt so forlorn to the changes he blurts of anyone knowing “Rip Van Winkle”, some immediately recognizing the name and pointing to a man standing against a tree, Rip now questioning his own identity, he relating this when someone asks his name, he not knowing what to say. He having forgotten he had a son with his moniker, apparently. When a young lady approaches him with her child, also speaking the name of Rip, her child’s name, Rip asks whom she was, he learning about his wife, how long he’d been missing, twenty years, and what they’d thought had become of him. Rip then informs her of whom he was to her, an older woman walking up and recognizing him as her neighbor. He then finally gets his chance to share his short story of what happened to him.

Everyone had trouble believing his story until the local historian vouched for Rip about the Kaatskills being haunted by odd entities, the man relating how his father had seen a similar scene, and he himself had heard the noise of their bowling. After this, the party disperses to resume their election, Rip’s daughter inviting him to stay with her and her husband, he one of the boy’s whom would climb on his back all those years past, Rip’s son employed on their farm, but maintaining the disposition of his father, doing all work, but his own. Rip began to continue his old ways, and whilst seeing some old friends, preferred making new ones with the younger age group, he becoming a fixture of the neighborhood, but also having to become updated about the war and he now being a U.S. citizen. Rip did take up his post once more outside the inn to share his story with those who hadn’t heard, the details being on the minds of similarly nagged husbands, hoping for a fate like his. Mr Knickerbocker then corroborates the story by having spoken with Rip Van Winkle, himself and seeing a certificate stamped by a justice’s hand as proof of the truth. Fairly how I remember it the from the first time I’d heard it, odd tale upon rereading. 

We next have a Postscript of a story of a squaw whom managed the day and night, doing all the work of making the new moon and what happened with the old (basically recycled). She was in charge of the snow and storms, as well, and there was also a mischievous spirit whom would trick Indian hunters, we learning where the spirit liked to stay, Indians respecting the spot by leaving it unmarred by hunting animals there, etc. One Indian didn’t do so and paid for the slight when he touched something which shouldn’t have been moved, ending in his death and was connected to a stream which is still joined by the Hudson, the stream called the Kaaterskill. I do enjoy Native American mythology and due to this also being short, is a nice little break before the next.

The Spectre Bridegroom takes place in Germany and follows a Baron Von Landshort, whom comfortably lived in his family home, his neighbors keeping up with the feud their families had fueled for two centuries or so. The Baron had one daughter, whom was smart and beautiful, being given her education by her two aunts. This knowledge not as spectacular as made out to be, but considering the era, I suppose was still a fine enough accomplishment. When further explanation of her ability to follow instruction is given, it makes aware how she wouldn’t fall for a man without explicit measure to do so. We learn as well, of the family he would invite to his parties, praising his greatness and would agreeably listen to his tales relating to the portraits on the walls. Reminds me of my grandfather, hopefully my interpretation is wrong in thinking the Baron’s family enjoyed his company only for his sharing of the wealth. The story moves to the main point of when the Baron was expecting his daughter’s bridegroom to arrive. The marriage was arranged by the Baron and another agreeable dignitary, the two being betrothed and not meeting until right before the wedding day. The young man, for being in the Army and delayed for unknown reason, gave mention of when to expect him. Whilst the household was preparing for his arrival, the aunts prepared the girl’s dress and counseled her on how to carry herself when they first met, but the day drags on and soon into night with no Count in sight.

The Count’s perspective is then shown, his blasé attitude of not feeling rushed to make his appearance and how he’d waylaid himself in preference to visiting a friend in arms, nearby. The two catch up and decide to accompany each other due to their destinations lying in the same direction a ways. They unhurriedly journey through a forest and are molested (older definition) by robbers, they almost being overpowered until the Count’s men join in, the Count sustaining a terrible wound which a doctor attempts to heal, but making clear the Count’s odds not being good. The Count gives his friend his dying wish for him to travel to his bride’s home and explain why he hadn’t shown up. His buddy, Starkenfaust held trepidation in going through with the Count’s last request since his family were enemies of the Baron’s family and also due to his news not being fortuitous. Starkenfaust was intrigued by setting his own eyes on the beauty of this bride, though and couldn’t deny his inclination for escapades of these kind.

Meanwhile the Baron endeavored to postpone the feast, the meat already overdone for the evening getting later, he ready to reluctantly proceed when he finally hears sounds of approach from the gate. When the Baron sets eyes on the stranger whom he presumes to be his late guest, he babbles on and interrupts the man so often, he decides to wait to explain, the bride then making her appearance. The man becomes mesmerized and no longer fights to make his explanation known, the group proceeding to the banquet hall. The groom then only entertains himself with conversation with the blushing bride, she taken with her groom’s handsome countenance. The party starts well, but the man seemed to become weighed down with his secret, the bride soon becoming affected. After one of the Baron’s tales, the groom decides to leave, the Baron surprised since he’d prepared for the man to rest there for the night. The man shares of having other plans and when the Baron follows him out, the man claims he’s a ghost, he riding off for his funeral and the Baron sharing the news with his guests. The story of the Count’s demise is confirmed next day, the Baron’s guests staying for his “comfort”, and the bride downcast by the news.

The second night of the bride’s mourning, one of her aunts had stayed with her in her room, the woman falling asleep, and the widow-bride then hearing music, going to her window to again see the specter, the aunt having awoken due to the music and seeing the same, fainting straight away. The aunt thenceforth refused to sleep in the room, the girl not wishing to sleep in any other, the aunt vowing not to relate their supernatural visit until one morning, the girl goes missing and the aunt spills the frightful tale, two workers supporting the possibility of the specter carrying her off for hearing hooves at midnight. The Baron sends scouts to search for her, but was joined by the specter and his daughter as he was readying to search, as well. The man then explains fully what had occurred the previous nights of his visits and had wedded the girl, since. The Baron accepts this in preference to the alternative, everything working out to their advantages in the end. If not for the criss-cross, this story reminds me of Corpse Bride. Quick and entertaining, if not a bit corny.

English Writers on America states the mentality of English views on American writing, of which they are biased due to the English reviewers. I’d also agree with Irving’s opinion of the English being top dog with “graphical descriptions”. He also states we, as Americans also offer the “worst” of the Englishmen, the “good” ones going to more exciting and remote locales. Those whom travel here, getting a small-minded view of the world’s greatest “political experiments”. The ideas being attempted to relate getting lost by the minor viewpoint of “surface…interests”. The disappointment of these viewpoints colored by their idea of money falling in their laps, etc. The true beauty of America lost in translation. I’m hesitant to agree with Irving’s view here. He lets his rant end with this, wanting to address it due to other Americans apparently dwelling on this. He then attempts to calm aching egos with words of optimism about America. He goes on to mention the differences of writers between England and the U.S., claiming England is bashing the U.S. in their news articles. Haven’t researched, can’t comment. Irving claims England will regret their words when they need the U.S. as compatriots. This is where I begin to skim since Irving seems to have been writing this as a political piece during his time of not accepting his place in the government, but sharing strong opinions. The last bit describes of extricating wisdom from England’s perspective of the U.S. to make Americans stronger. Not my favorite, if I had more experience with multiple time periods politics, perhaps.

The Mutability of Literature begins with the ideas of partial dreaming and our Narrator in such a state whilst hanging about Westminster Abbey, his lazy thoughts being interrupted by loud, happy boys from Westminster School playing football in the passages, our Narrator withdrawing to the library to escape their noise. The church officer unlocks the rarely used room to the library, it being above ground level, the Narrator barely hearing the boys now, and even less after the bells for prayer were rung, he viewing the small table and unused inkwells, pens, and a few books sitting atop it. Our Narrator pays these no mind as he takes a quarto and settles in an elbow chair, but then is overcome by the somber air of the place, and how futile the lives of authors be! As he thought this, the quarto “yawned” awake and began to speak in its archaic tongue, our Narrator attempting a modern translation. The book complained of not being read for two hundred years and would prefer the dean open the library to the school so the books had better chance of being opened and aired, but the Narrator argues the bright side of the book not being worn out so often, the quarto’s counterparts most likely already dust. The book didn’t see the value of this since it had been meant to circulate many hands, but the Narrator maintains the luck of the book being it hadn’t been constantly used, but preserved. He goes on to compare other authors works having already been forgotten, the book noting those mentioned being quite older than it. The Narrator then mentions an author of whom’s work has helped the mutability of literature, but a public library making him cry in knowing the books within would most likely be forgotten in a century.

The book mentions a few popular titles from its day, but the Narrator informs how their time had passed. He spoke of how long before the printing press, works of literature weren’t so common and works of genius would have their time and fade out, whilst now, if those works were to stay, the new wonders of literature combined would leave the reader “in the endless maze of literature.” Doesn’t sound terrible, to me. The Narrator mentions how the expanse of choices overwhelms people, so we only end up reading reviews, and critics are helpful for what they do, by weeding out the failures. The quarto then asks after Shakespeare, the Narrator denying his work had been forgotten due to unparalleled originality, but commentators of his collection were drowning out his work from only knowing its pure beauty. The quarto laughed its back cover off (not literally), the Narrator taking slight offense and defending the poet as being a writer whom wrote from the heart, which helps gain immortality. Due to his poetic style, he has an edge over prose writers (they going on too long), he able to capture the essence of the spirit. (The Narrator is wrong about settings needing to possibly be changed, even though his mention of Chaucer in regards to this is true) he launching into another speech when interrupted by the church officer whom was there to close the library, the Narrator noticing the book had stopped responding, and even when returning a couple times after this, didn’t hear a peep from the book again, uncertain whether he dreamt it all up. Fascinating, usually I’m a sucker for literature-themed literature, and it certainly wasn’t bad, but I do believe I’m tiring of Irving’s style. His talk of archaic language makes me respond with “ain’t you the pot calling the kettle”, etc.

Westminster Abbey first describes the Fall being gloomy and our Narrator walking through the Abbey describing his course of seeing a church officer making him imagine the man was a ghost drifting through the corridors. He then details the age of tombstones and walls, but then a sliver of sunlight makes the building itself show some elegance. He then ponders over three abbots’ gravestones, reading their names. Once the bell tolls the hour, he moves on to another part of the inside of the abbey, impressed by its enormity and how it made one aware of the noise made by walking through. He then considers how once great men fought for a place among the dead for their tombstone to be among so many others. He relating Poet’s Corner where monuments and such, house sculptures of Shakespeare and others. The Narrator gives homage to the sacrifice authors make for their work and how it services humanity for their thoughts preserved. After, he goes to the burial chamber of kings which used to be chapels. Each room carried a different statuary scene which brought to the Narrator’s mind one was seeing an estate which showed a legendary city with the inhabitants turned into stone (so, Medusa’s lair?). He is also affected by how the people of those times had a direct and proud way of writing the inscriptions of those who died. The Narrator then describing a monument across from Poet’s Corner which he didn’t find incredible, since it was a terrible display of wife being targeted by death with her husband watching. As the Narrator experiences this, he’s periodically struck with the noise of life from outside which confuses the sadness of the place. It was getting closer to dark and the sounds begin to lessen as evening prayers were starting. He stood outside Henry VII’s chapel, it located up some steps and looking through a depressing, but impressive arch, the place seeming hesitant to allow anyone to walk through such a dazzling place. More detail of the inside is given, its Gothic and magnificent surroundings (one would probably be better off experiencing it in person, but the usefulness of this text lies in the inability to go or its eventual destruction). The Narrator contemplates how once this place had looked new and lighter, now dreary and deserted with birds nesting in the ornamental corners of the ceiling. He then shows the room with Queen Elizabeth, and the other, her “victim”, Mary, resting on a bench for all of his walking. He hears the priest speaking his sermon, and the organ playing giving the place another side of nuance. He sits and allows the music to entrance him as the day grew later. Before leaving the abbey, he visits Edward the Confessor’s shrine, where other kings and queens are also housed. When viewing the tomb, he noted it had been vandalized, he leaving the way he came in, noticing the jolting sound of the closing door, and its echoes within. The Narrator then realizes only the moment after stepping out, the memories of what he’d seen were fading, like a joke of death. The Narrator also has revelation to the history of the place eventually falling and being forgotten. Fascinating only if one enjoys architectural and Gothic description.

The Creole Village is an overview of the mixed population in Louisiana of French, Spanish, and Indian, the French characteristics seeming to surface to the top of the other genetics as most prominent. The language also being the main form of communication, which makes them indifferent to politics and would follow blindly to whatever rules the government implemented, and the few older men who were followed simply because they were authoritative. The people lived with a lack of money lust which was also confusing to our Narrator. He mentioning having met an unofficial leader of one of these villages, he describing the man as having original Gallic features, and traveled with a black servant, whom looked quite content, we learning our Narrator’s thoughts on this being atypical for black men, contrasting this with Indians. We are also introduced to another man of the village, he being a school teacher, playing sports, and surveying land, we learning the men’s opposite personality to their canine companions. The group was heading back to these two men’s village, upon arrival, they receiving a warm welcome by the townspeople. Each man goes off with their families, the Narrator following the teacher home, where he and his family chatted of gossip. The Narrator then walks about town, seeing how most everything was French in architecture and clothing, with some Gallic construction. He heard the fiddle of the teacher which he would’ve returned to hear and see the festivities involved, but the steamboat was close to disembarking, he hoping the village stayed as it was, unmarred by money and greed, the next stop being a place of which the opposite was occurring. The village was expanding and life was richer and more complicated, the Narrator desperately wondering the fate of the Creole village. Surprise there, I suppose. Easy read and interesting viewpoint.

English and French Character has the Narrator explaining how he saw his role of viewership and being an important judge of character between the French and English, he relating how the English stuck with their own; the French and English staying unmixed. We then get a braid of facts, of the English and French personalities, the former being consistent and precise, whilst the latter is fast to conclusions, etc. The French seize the day whilst the English prepare for the worst. The French social, the English reserved and prefer solitude. French are masters of wit, English, humor (Agreed), as well as the former having more decadent taste, the latter having a vast imagination (Agreed, again). We then get the correlation of their political stances. This one is short, but interesting with its simplicity. Especially good for those interested in Sociology/History.

The Tuileries & the Windsor Castle gives the impression of being similar to “Westminster Abbey” and the previous essay, the Narrator entertaining himself by giving French character to national buildings. In the Tuileries, the Narrator describes the military doing their usual fare on base, we learning some men lounged whilst others patrolled, and detailing the building itself being quite sophisticated, but every nook having an occupant, whether they be court employees or royalty and their families. The royalty varied in status, those who having fallen in stature, living modestly within their rooms. It goes on about how surprisingly many children and nursemaids resided inside, this description before Windsor Castle had its repairs and additions since the author made it sound as if the place was crumbling. I called it, easy read, pleasant enough if wanting detail of military and royalty living in a castle like a motel.

The Field of Waterloo immediately makes known of this essay expanding on the French and English character. The two opposites and both fit for the other’s competition, the best example being by their armed forces, each having long pasts filled with wins, the Battle of Waterloo then being referenced as the latest in their facing off, one side showing courage and the other stubborn motivation. Then we are given how the English, since not receiving the command to fire, stood in their ranks bravely as the French came at them. A moment of humanity is relived by how a French soldier spares an Englishman since he’d dropped his weapon. Both sides fight exemplarily to the point of not being able to figure who’s side showed the most ‘character’, the Narrator painting a pleasant and worn picture of the time he’d visited the war-zone. The essay concluding with details of a man called De Latour d’Auvergne. Enjoyable one, giving some extra insight to go with the reading of Les Miserables.

I hate to do this, but due to the next story, Knickerbocker’s History of New York being a part of a much larger work, I must wait until I get my hands on the entirety.

Also, to prelude the start of A Tour on the Prairies, since I read some favorable reviews and one which made me question whether I’d want to read the full volume, I’ll be using these excerpted stories before deciding to commit to the whole collection.

A Bee Hunt gives location as being in a spectacular forest, camp near dead trunks where non-farmed bees reside nearby, a search party soon goes off in search of one of the bee hives, our Narrator accompanying when invited. They soon come across the lure for the bees so the group could be lead to their honey stores, they choosing a destructive way of getting to the honey, chopping the tree down. As the group and neighboring hives utilizing the honey, the bees returned to the hive, at first confused by the change to location of their hive, then fly to a nearby tree, possibly considering their next move (the queen most likely smooshed). The group leaves a lot of the honey there, discussing how animals of the forest would clean it out, especially bears. Depressing, well written, and having me question whether I’m a fair-weather fan of this style and period of writing, but definitely have decided I’m not enjoying these topics, so will go straight to the Crayon Miscellany.

On Astoria, due to there apparently being better resources out there (this being repetitious in style), I’ll be a’skippin’ ahead, didn’t sit well with it being another excerpt, anyways.

Since I can’t say I care about Oliver Goldsmith, the man, or the history, moving ahead. Plus, there’s Wikipedia for a reason, right? *wink*

Here I go again, I’d prefer reading Tales of a Traveller in it’s full text, which will now take longer, since Phoenix Public Library is a joke.

Might as well add The Alhambra to the ever elongating list, as well.

The Guests from Gibbet Island relates of a well known village called Communipaw where a building looking dilapidated and evil-looking has been standing for many years, where gangs of malnourished dogs roamed about, and in front of the building stood a platform looking like the sort one lynchings were performed on, but was only a post to hang signs, the building before being used as a bar, where a well-remembered meeting of men was held, they having discovered New Amsterdam. The owner of the establishment would hang mysterious signs and was entertained by the mystery it instigated among the patrons. Then introduction to Yon Yost Vanderscamp is given, he the prankster variety, pulling tricks like putting gunpowder secretly in pipes of the regulars, Vanderscamp was the nephew of the proprietor, Tuenis Van Gieson, and he looking upon him as a son, took this with humor. Gieson, however would have his patience tried by a man called Pluto, he a mystery himself since arriving during a storm in bad shape, no one knowing his origins. Gieson revived him to health, but soon learned Pluto didn’t speak the same language, since when asking his home, he would point to Gibbet Island, which everyone knew wasn’t populated. He stayed long enough to learn some Dutch and was seen as a goblin of the bar, he doing odd jobs when he felt charitable. Pluto enjoyed most being in a boat or raft, fishing, and wouldn’t be detoured by stormy weather, he also having bonded to only Vanderscamp, he tutoring the boy to be the most irritating mischief-maker, the two riding off in the ocean until Vanderscamp was cultured on all the bays and islands in the area. During one of these excursions, the two disappear for longer than usual, no one minding since their village was quiet for once. When Gieson died, the bar closed, Vanderscamp the heir, but years passed with no return. Until he did many years later, looking grizzled and with a crew of like demeanor. Vanderscamp had plans on reopening the bar for he and his fellows, well-off merchants, he changing the bar to a raucous place. The men essentially turning the place into a piratical resting house.

Pluto, looking more rough for the passing years was treated roughly, but seemed to enjoy the put downs and abuse, he egging on the violent behavior until the men took their wild night out on the town, the locals withdrawing indoors. Vanderscamp would insist on renewing old acquaintances though, until the day his crew and he would leave, when next to return, to be a surprise. The locals realized Vanderscamp’s new role as a successful pirate, their town now his safe-haven. The British government soon took notice to the piracy though, and on Gibbet Island, hung some of Vanderscamp’s crew, he and Pluto escaping capture, the townspeople hoping his demise had been delivered elsewhere. Unfortunately, their return is made, but Vanderscamp had found himself a wife, of ill-temper, he having changed his ways and ready to retire in his hometown. Vanderscamp was soon seen dealing with shady, but unassuming men, the idea being he was trafficking stolen goods. One night, a trade had occurred and Vanderscamp was a bit on the alcoholically toasty side, as a storm began to brew, Pluto rowing them past Gibbet Island, where the bodies of his comrades still hung, Vanderscamp regarding the dead kindly, the two getting to shore at midnight, he knowing his wife wouldn’t greet him kindly, but not expecting the news of guests awaiting inside, he going up to see them, and shocked to discover the gallows-men, he backing out and falling down the stairs, losing his life. From then on the house was considered haunted. Pluto acted more off his rocker, and one night the town heard screams, but ignored them, some brave enough, checking the next day to see the place a mess supposedly, by the storm, and Vanderscamp’s wife strangled. Later, fishermen discovered Pluto’s boat and he close to Gibbet Island, all seeming to have received terrible fates.

Surprisingly engaging, not much of a ghost story, but I’m no longer expecting much from Irving.

The Legend of Don Munio Sancho de Hinojosa begins with a convent at Silos in Castile, a decomposing, but majestic memorial of the Hinojosa family. A scene where a knight conquers men and women, and they repenting is shown, but due to its age, the meaning harder to understand for anyone other than an expert. The tale was protected in Spanish texts and is as follows. Long ago, many hundred years previous, there lived a courtly man named Don Munio, etc., he owner of a castle along the borders, and making a name for himself as being known for brutality, he having many trophies of his conquests, and when he wasn’t off to war (Shout out to Curtis! Showed me and my buddy the proper way to go to war is with metal bowl upon head, and spoon in hand!), he enjoying hunting of all sorts, being married to a gentle soul, not cut out for his daredevil lifestyle. One day as he’s on the hunt, a group of Moors both male and female, wearing expensive accessories were walking in his line of sight, they not carrying weapons, as well as a young man and woman, quite taking in the looks department, on a horse, Don Munio took advantage of this happy coincidence, calling his men, and they taking them as prisoners, the young man, once learning whom had captured them, praising Don Munio for his successes and offering all their possessions if he allowed them to continue forward to their wedding, Don Munio then offering for they to stay with him, as guests for fifteen days, Don Munio’s wife greeting the new bride with sisterly affection and led her inside, and as promised, they celebrating for two weeks and a day, Don Munio gifting them wonderful handmade trinkets (presumably), and got them safely on their way. Years later,Don Munio answers the call of war against the Moors once more, his wife distraught, he promising to make this his final fight, the battle was a lengthy and wound-heavy one, Don Munio rallying the troops so their king could flee, Don Munio and many of his men dying in the effort, Don Munio taken out by a familiar face, and upon realizing whom he’d slain, felt deep regret. Meanwhile, Don Munio’s wife waited anxiously, and on one night, a guard sounded the sign for a party on the road, they believing Don Munio had returned (true) with Moorish prisoners (not so much), the young man kneels guiltily before Don Munio’s wife, and the ancient scene erected was made at the young Moor’s expense. The ghostly part happening the same day of Don Munio’s death, he and his men seen at a church, they disappearing when approached. It concludes by mentioning if there’s any doubt to the story, check History of the Kings of Castile and Leon by Fray Prudencio de Sandoval, Bishop of Pamplona, in the History of the King Alonzo VI on page 102.

I do give props for the specificity, this one a charming way to end an up and down collection. Recommended to history and or sociology buffs.

 

 

 

Bone Vol. 7: Ghost Circles

For the 6th volume. We begin with Ted waking Jonathan to learn what has been going on, Ted realizing the news Jonathan had, wasn’t good and learning Lucius had done something which endangered Gran’ma Ben and Phoney Bone. Ted then discovers Jonathan had seen something questionable happen which made him think this, and Ted reasoning there must be a viable answer for it, the bug then easing Jonathan’s mind on he telling the Stick-eater Headmaster of what he’d seen. We then see Wendell being summoned to the main gate by the Headmaster due to tremors getting more noticeable, the Headmaster noting how he spoke, his conduct disclosing his obvious feelings about the Stick-eaters and how Lucius wasn’t one of them, the orders of the monks not coinciding with his own goals and being too hung up on Rose and devoted to her and her sister, Briar. This leads into Wendell discussing  with the Stick-eater about the disappearance of Gran’ma Ben and Phoney, the reason for the war beginning, and their disappearances lying on Phoney’s head, to which the Stick-eater discusses why his notion is ludicrous. The Stick-eater then shows Wendell the crest of the Harvestar family, he not recognizing it but being told of the purpose of the current keepers of “the source”, Wendell then uncovering how serious the legend of the Lord of the Locusts actually was. When they hear an explosion, the attack begins, Wendell being told to go and lead the villagers whilst the Stick-eater Headmaster took care of business on his end. We then get a close up of the destruction occurring at the mountain, seeing Gran’ma Ben leading Thorn and the Bones through the exploding rocks. When Fone almost gets crushed by a statue, he realizes they are going the wrong way, even though they were heading down, but then they are confronted by Kingdok, Thorn looking straight at him until Gran’ma Ben pushes her and Fone out of the way, Kingdok trying to bite them and getting a mouthful of rubble. They all get behind another statue and Gran’ma Ben uses it to throw at Kingdok, he busy spouting death threats.

They all retreat as Kingdok continues his pursuit, Fone looking for a secret passage which will get them down the mountain safely, Phoney thinking he’s crazy and Smiley the one to discover it, everyone piling in before Kingdok can lunge at them again, Gran’ma Ben offering to hold off Kingdok, but Phoney hearing something in the tunnel, they having no choice but to continue, and Fone remembering and warning everyone of how the tunnel had made them hallucinate the first time around, Gran’ma Ben knowing this for having been there before, as well. Thorn is first to speak up about leading them deeper through the tunnel, Gran’ma Ben advising the Bones to get ready to run, she grabbing them as she let Kingdok’s face push through. Another explosion gets Kingdok’s attention and then we see the fighting amongst the rat creatures, villagers, and Stick-eaters. The Stick-eater Headmaster is ordering one of his men to deal with a gathering of enemies when they see the explosion on the mountain, his orders changing to get as many villagers and men into a cave, knowing there won’t be time for proper refuge from the danger to come. We then see Briar being revived by the Lord of the Locusts and learning she had configured their powers incorrectly, losing part of them and being told to fix her mistake. Meanwhile the Bones are continuing down the stairs of the passage and wondering if they’d missed a turn for having been walking awhile, Fone starting to notice he and his cousins were starting to take on the personalities of the characters in Moby Dick, soon realizing he’s sharing the hallucination with the other Bones. Gran’ma Ben then calls them further down where Thorn has collapsed and is ice cold despite the extreme heat they were all feeling and we find she had seen Thorn being invaded by the locusts and confiding in the Bones of this.

When Thorn revives and shares of speaking with the Lord of the Locusts, Gran’ma Ben relates to this story by confessing of how she had the same experience many years before (the details of which are in Rose and isn’t needed to complete this volume). She relates of following her sister to the cave and being confronted by the Lord of the Locusts, Thorn finishing for her by supplying what he’d been searching for, she being saved by Fone before the Lord of the Locusts had found her dreaming power source. Thorn then shares with Gran’ma Ben of a mistake regarding her sister’s abilities, they heading for a light source up ahead which turns out to be the end of the tunnel, they thinking it was snowing until realizing they are seeing ashes in the wind and everything’s gone. Thorn then speaks of only some of the destruction being real, Briar having used many ghost circles to give the illusion of everything being destroyed, sharing with them of she able of seeing where they must walk, but having to follow her exactly, failing to do so would mean the walker being gone forever. Fone asks how Thorn would reverse the changes, she unsure, but knowing it’s possible for how Fone had given her the charm necessary to repel the Lord of the Locusts and she having the missing powers Briar is searching for. As the Bones follow Gran’ma and Thorn, they argue about whether they believe the ladies about the ghost circles and all the fantastical creatures mentioned, Fone not interested in rocking the boat, especially when he and his cousins were attired like his Moby Dick dream. Phoney then lays into Fone about how he consistently seemed to come up with a reason why they couldn’t escape and go home, he making Fone promise the next time he figures a way out, he’ll drop everything and come with him, Fone reluctantly agreeing.

Meanwhile Gran’ma Ben reaches the spot she’d left Lucius and is becoming upset about not seeing him there, Thorn trying to calm her by speaking of the possibility she may still be able to help him, she attempting to see if she could sense him, but when it fails, has a vivid vision with Fone there, he seeing a new place and Thorn warning him to stay close to her, they finally returning to the others, Gran’ma Ben is relieved to hear of the trees surrounding them since she had left Lucius elsewhere. They then go toward the spring Thorn had noticed and stop for the night for Phoney requesting desperately for a break. Smiley then speaks frankly to Fone about whether he was feeling homesick and how they didn’t have to listen to Phoney all the time due to his usually being wrong, Fone seeming to be surprised by Smiley’s insight. Smiley going on to mention how even though Fone believed dreams didn’t mean anything, Smiley saw Fone react as if he’d dreamt something and told the others of Thorn being alright when she’d still been lost. Fone dismisses this and goes to sleep, dreaming of being in the middle of the ocean on a casket, and sinking under water. Fone then sees a large body, it coming into focus as being the Red Dragon, Fone attempting to get his attention and failing, the Dragon opening his mouth to yawn and inhaling Fone, we soon only seeing a spark.

Fone awakens to everyone gone, but is called to by Smiley whom was bathing, then mentioning Phoney had woken without his pirate look. Fone then has a bad feeling of Thorn being in danger, but Phoney trying to calm him, mentioning where she was and how she and Gran’ma Ben had argued about where they should head, Thorn thinking back to Old Man’s Cave, it having less ghost circles than going south, Gran’ma Ben wanting to head south. Neither Gran’ma Ben nor Thorn could pick up anything from the veiled world, Thorn only noticing the ghost circles seemed to be spreading. She then describes what the ghost circles signified, it having to do with the dreaming and the real world getting mixed. Fone then asking how the piece of the locust inside Thorn could be removed, which leads into why Gran’ma Ben wanted to head south to Atheia, where help could be found. Gran’ma Ben is still attempting to discover signs of life from the villagers, but soon hears sounds on the other side of a ridge, everyone seeing it was a slew of rat creatures. Due to where they were headed and they not having noticed Thorn and gang, they would now have to head south, Phoney agreeing, and assuring Smiley it didn’t matter if it took them further away from Boneville (giving the sense the little grifter had a devious plan), Phoney sharing quietly what he was thinking with Smiley.

As the group then discusses whether the rat creatures may have actually noticed them, they run right into them. As they attempt escape, Thorn and Fone get separated from Gran’ma Ben, Phoney, and Smiley, but Smiley then sees someone whom makes him smile. We then seeing Thorn and Fone trapped at the edge of a cliff, Thorn threatening to kill the Hooded One, she of course dead already, but sharing of how two would be needed to help the Lord of the Locust, Thorn not wanting to take part, and Briar attempting to convince her of the good she could do with the power it would give her, then confessing how her parents were responsible for her death and how they had actually died, then confiding when they would perform the ritual. As Fone defends Thorn though, it is revealed he also had a piece of the Locust within him which meant she no longer needed Thorn, but as Briar seemed about to do something terrible, she’s bum rushed by Smiley on a rat creature. The group now reunited, Thorn is thrown on Bartleby with Smiley as the rest ran after, Thorn stating she’d be able to lead them through the ghost circles as the herd of rat creatures again headed towards them.

As they traveled down a dune, Thorn describes their current route being filled with ghost circles and would need to slow down so they could navigate through them, which they implement as they see rat creatures disappearing due to stepping in the wrong spots. They stop after some distance, Thorn wanting to take a break, but Phoney eager to push on for thinking they weren’t quite safe yet, the group moving once more. We then see Wendell picking up robes nearby a bunch of dead, then being called since the group had found Lucius, he being carried and they describing how and where they’d found him. Wendell wakes Lucius, whom’s memories are hazy after the blast, after deducing Jonathan not being as fine as Wendell made it seem, they then being approached by the Stick-eaters, the Headmaster wanting to know if Lucius knew where Thorn and Rose were, he not knowing, but did know where they’d go if they had survived, the Headmaster not seeing the logic behind it, regardless of it being the place of their throne and believing Atheia was deserted, then stating Lucius was an enemy of the royals and to place guards outside the infirmary.

We then see Thorn and group still on their trek across deserted land, Thorn stopping them for the ghost circles getting thicker, she thinking it would be the opposite as they got closer. Phoney decides they were breaking, and it soon leads to him accusing Fone of being the cause of the trouble, the rat creatures not even going after the others anymore, only Fone, Smiley shocking the two with his electric fingers, then Gran’ma Ben interrupting Phoney’s revelation of they being chased because of what the Hooded One had said of only needing Fone for the ritual, to let them know of the new path they would walk. Gran’ma Ben deciding she’ll bring up the rear, for now being suspicious of Fone’s part which could be played, and everyone walking a longer, but safer way around to Atheia. Bartleby then informs Fone of Smiley falling, Thorn warning him to be careful not to fall into ghost circles already avoided as he rushes to aid him. When they reach Smiley, he indicates his fall was due to “taco”, he being hungry, of course. Phoney then comes up with the idea of Thorn and one other should go into a ghost circle to search for food, she considering the idea, Fone offering to go with her again and the two going in before logic set in, they near a farmhouse and Thorn sensing a family within, not alive but moving, they grabbing fruits, but then Thorn hears a sound, she figuring it was the family, which spooks her and drags Fone away, but too quickly since he dropped their loot.

Thorn continues to hear the dead call to her for help, then relaying a message from her mother, also warning her of how to extract the locust piece from Fone and of the Hooded One being close. Thorn and Fone escape before the Hooded One gets near, and then we see Lucius getting a visit from Wendell, they discussing the Headmaster being stubborn on moving the camp and whether the villagers were willing to travel to meet the Atheians. Wendell then begins asking Lucius of his connection to Rose and her sister and whom he’d been with when he was found by Jonathan. Lucius admits his story from his youth when he’d fallen for one of the sisters, and after Wendell spoke of his concerns, Lucius decided they were going to leave. We then hear from Bartleby speaking of the rat creatures superstitions about their tails and other parts of them which were medically altered, Fone inquiring what had happened when Bartleby had returned to them, the rat creatures shunning him due to believing he wouldn’t eat the Bones and group when it was necessary, he admitting the truth to the statement, Thorn then collapsing and Gran’ma Ben reassuring of they finally reaching where the ghost circles thinned. Fone is ready for them to go through Tanen Gard in order to reach the people who can help Thorn, then being more wary when Gran’ma Ben mentions of  the trespassing penalties if caught; it being of a serious nature.

Thorn is becoming weaker as they journey on, Fone mentioning to Gran’ma Ben of what he felt when Thorn had returned them, Gran’ma Ben trying to push them more quickly, especially after Thorn mentions of the Hooded One coming. As Phoney and Smiley struggle to follow Fone, Gran’ma Ben, and Thorn, Smiley mentions how he felt ill at ease and likening it to a story of their youths when Phoney had prompted Smiley to steal pies off of windowsills, they going through the dragon graveyard feeling similarly wrong. Fone then runs to them to share the news of discovering a way across the possibly bottomless crevasse, when the ground begins to shake. Bartleby recognizes the smell first and shouts of dragons coming from the pit, everyone rushing to the slim way across, Fone being the first to slip, but being caught by Thorn, whom at first had to be carried by Gran’ma Ben, but she relaying how she was starting to feel better due to Tanen Gard, they continuing across. When they get across, which is also the end of Tanen Gard, Thorn mentions of they being clear of ghost circles and the hope of the villager survivors making their way to Atheia since she still couldn’t sense Old Man’s Cave. We then see Wendell leading the villagers toward the Stick-eater guarding Lucius, they disarming him. The Headmaster meets Lucius as he’s walking out of his cell, he again mentioning of only destruction anywhere else and they being safe there. After Lucius shares how he can’t understand why they were protecting their brotherhood when everyone was going to die anyways, the Headmaster shows his face, and finally agrees to accompany them to the Old Kingdom. We then see Kingdok surrounded by darkness and walking somewhere. Gran’ma Ben is guiding the group to higher ground for a better view of where they were heading. When they reach the top, Gran’ma Ben breaks down how long it would take them to reach Atheia and what they could have in store with two days out with no cover. Smiley and Phoney have a little quarrel which Bartleby concludes by confessing of Smiley being “aces”; this volume coming to a close and making me start the next, immediately! If my statement isn’t a testament of the staying power and greatness of this series, then I’ll be blunt: It’s quite good and if other readers have made it this far there’s no sense in stopping now.

The Martian Chronicles

After reading Bradbury Stories, I realize I’ve read a few sections of this novel which hopefully doesn’t affect the story. We begin with seeing how everyone is dealing with winter until “rocket summer” begins, which means rockets will be launched and make everything warmer.

The next section, February 1999: Ylla is in Bradbury Stories where we are introduced to Ylla and Yll, a Martian married couple who differed in temperament and would soon be dealing with strange dreams of an odd looking man. Yll had lost interest in Ylla and preferred playing with his books; since this was how they go about reading them. Ylla has this dream during the day and Yll irritably goes to her to learn if she’d called to him, she not realizing she’d made a sound at all and told him of her dream, he thinking it all meaningless. We discover in her dream after the Earthman had landed and spoken to her in his home language, she somehow understanding, he hadn’t traveled alone, being with another man still inside. Yll is bothered even more when Ylla sings a song she’d heard in the same strange language, putting him off the meat she’d prepared for him after continuing to sing. When he finishes his meal alone, he offers they go to the city for fun, which she’s surprised he would even offer after how long it had been since they both had gone, he making business trips fairly regularly, but not offering to take her out for half a year. This day though, she doesn’t actually want to go for waiting for something to occur, but he insists so they go out and as they’re flying toward the city in their fire-bird drawn canopy he decides they should go away on vacation the next morning to her surprise, but in the end she decides against it. The next morning Yll is watching Ylla wake up from sleep after informing her she’d woken him with her talking in her sleep so much, he then getting upset after hearing what had happened in the dream and confronting her about the parts he’d heard her say out loud, she not denying it and after exploding his rage, calms down, and she offering they forget all about it whilst she prepared breakfast, he agreeing and mechanically showing affection as apology for his outburst. Ylla then informs Yll she was planning to visit a friend in the same area as her dream of the Earthman had been, Yll then confessing he’d invited a doctor to come visit in the afternoon and she must stay, he insisting again and she being trapped to agree. He then decides he’s going to go out to hunt and after leaving, Ylla continues to do some housework, she listening to his gun go off after hearing something flying through the sky and when he returns, explaining how he’d forgotten the doctor would be coming the next day. When they then sit down for dinner, Ylla becomes upset for not being able to remember the strange song she’d been singing and her husband believing she’d feel better tomorrow. This story annoys me for her lack of conviction.

We then get an overview of what some towns in Mars had going on in their night-life, one band singing and playing music they hadn’t heard before and didn’t understand, bewildered and surprised when it continued to happen and effectively ending the night. Elsewhere some children recite a rhyme in another language no one understood and how in certain areas women were waking up screaming and upset by the dreams they were having, believing something horrible would occur in the morning.

We are next introduced to a woman, Mrs. Ttt who is invaded upon by three Earthmen who didn’t seem to want to leave her doorstep, even after bidding them adieu, the man whom continued to knock was a Captain Williams, he trying to explain why they were there and how many expeditions had already been made, she not caring. Captain Williams then asks to see Mr. Ttt after Mrs. Ttt explains she’s quite busy with her usual chores, after which explaining Mr. Ttt was busy, as well. Now Captain Williams is adamant in speaking with Mr. Ttt, so Mrs. Ttt goes to inform him of the idiot Earthmen downstairs, making them wait an hour before handing Captain Williams a slip of paper to see a man on a neighboring farm for whatever it was he wanted to speak with someone about, the Captain finally giving up and taking his men out. After reaching the other farm and trying to explain who they were to Mr. Aaa and he not willing to be interrupted after realizing Mr. Ttt would send the group to him regardless of whether Mr. Aaa was busy, told them he’d refuse to speak to them at all if they didn’t stop signalling for him to stop speaking since he was used to people gladly listening to what he had to say. After Mr. Aaa gets out he’s planning on calling Mr. Ttt for his inconsideration and after doing so mentions having a duel with the man, he sends the men to Mr. Iii in another town who may be more inclined to listen to them, they not being in his line of study. When they get to the town, the Captain enquires of a little girl where Mr. Iii lived and after she points it out, he proceeds to try and unload his story on her, revealing how York, the man in Ylla’s dream was the one in the first expedition and he was the second, they not knowing what had happened to them and the little girl not displaying much interest in his story and after he’d finished suggesting they go on to see Mr. Iii who would show more fascination with their arrival. Mr. Iii is about to be off to a lecture, but takes a moment to uncover the proper paperwork for the Captain to sign, getting a kick out of his question of whether his crew would have to sign, as well and then giving him a key to a place for them to stay until Mr. Xxx could go see them. The Captain asks if Mr. Iii would oblige him by at least congratulating them on their awesome ability of even getting to Mars, Mr. Iii going along with his request mechanically, the four now deflated by such a lackluster welcome. After getting to the place the key opened, they are greeted by a Mr. Uuu, the four getting more of the welcome they thought they deserved after disbelieving the reaction by the rest inside until a minute of it’s staying strong. When it dies down and Mr. Uuu asks them to speak of themselves, they begin to get confused by how some believed they were from Earth, as well even though the cities didn’t sound like anything from Earth, soon realizing these places were not the same Earth. The Captain then deduces where they must truly be staying, his men checking the door they’d gone through and it being locked. By morning Mr. Xxx shows up and takes them to his office, he believing only the Captain to be insane and after Williams tries to explain who they were and how they’d gotten there, finally convinces the doctor to go with them to look at the rocket ship. When they get there the doctor requests to look inside and as the crew wait outside for him to emerge, they speak of how they planned to veer others away from going to Mars since the people were so wary and unbelieving of visitors off-planet. When the doctor comes back out he admits to the Captain of being impressed by his complete psychosis and congratulating him on his ability to sustain all senses to impress his made-up reality then asking if he had any last words before he put him out of his misery for being incurable. The doctor doesn’t believe the other crew members would survive if he killed the Captain, he testing the theory and soon realizing he must have gotten the insanity from the Captain, administering the cure to himself.

Pritchard from Ohio is our next focus, he wanting to go to Mars and fighting for his right by declaring to be a tax-paying citizen and not wanting to be on Earth when the atomic war broke out in a couple years. The men working on the rocket didn’t take him seriously and believed him to be joking, confiding how the first and second expeditions hadn’t even returned and it didn’t look good they were even still alive which would beg the question why Pritchard would want to go to Mars, at all. Pritchard declared they didn’t know for sure of anything having happened and so he should be allowed to be on the third expedition, the crew demanding he shut his trap and Pritchard being dragged away in a paddy wagon.

The third expedition to Mars is given a healthy farewell from the townsfolk of Ohio and the sixteen surviving crew make it to Mars with only one casualty to sickness. When the rocket lands, everyone within is surprised to observe their surroundings were confusingly similar to Earth with the exception of the air being a bit thinner, but breathable. The captain of this rocket, Black reasons why there would be so many odd coincidental similarities between Earth and this part of Mars and not willing to exit the ship until he had more understanding on the subject, also figuring it to be strange since the two previous expeditions had landed on the opposite side of where they had, to protect them from the possibility of hostile Martians. Black relates to the two members who were more willing to go out and investigate this strangely mirror-like town they three would go and the rest of the crew would stay there until they found out more and would be able to flee if necessary on the possibility of anything going wrong. When they got outside, they hear someone is playing a song they knew on the piano within the town somewhere. One of the two younger crewmen, Hinkston began theorizing why, as they got closer to the town, it would be so similar to the homes they left, coming up with an almost sensible consideration. They reach a home with a woman humming inside, Captain Black getting her attention by ringing the doorbell. The lady whom answers the door has some troubling information the Captain and crew have difficulty believing which involved the planet they were currently on, wasn’t Mars and the year wasn’t the one they’d thought they were in, she going back indoors to leave them with their thoughts. Captain Black decides to try another house to consider the possibility the people living in this town believed they weren’t on Mars through group hypnosis, but then Lustig, the other crewman sees something he can’t believe and runs off to another house, where he’s met by his grandparents who invite him in for iced tea. When they have sat down, they are told some troubling information about the grandparents and how they’d somehow arrived on Mars, Lustig glad to see them. Captain Black then decides they need to get back to the rocket to figure out what is going on when he hears shouts of greeting coming from outside and upon going out, sees the rest of his crew is no longer within the ship, but pouring out to meet the people outside. Captain Black becomes incensed when the entire crew disobey his orders of staying inside the ship and instead go off with their loved ones into their homes, vowing to make them regret their forgetfulness when Captain Black is approached by his brother, he then realizing how the crew could leave their orders aside to investigate their individual improbable reunions; his two men also leaving to be among their families. Captain Black follows his brother who mentions of their parents waiting for them back at the old homestead, they racing each other back. After an afternoon and evening of wonderful family living, Captain Black is about ready to gather his men to get a report together, but his parents convince him it could wait until morning due to the lateness of the evening and some of them possibly being in bed asleep already, so he goes to his old bedroom to rest until morning, as well. As he lays in his bed, he thinks a terrible and what seems to him impossible thought, it being the idea perhaps the Martians’ way of warfare included the ability to telepathically disarm the intruders by giving them their memories of family and home. Captain Black theorizes this to the point of true fear and silently gets out of bed, but his brother asks after him when he’s about to walk out and not sounding kindly when he did so, either. After coming up with a valid excuse, his brother doesn’t buy it and even as Captain Black tries to escape, in the end he doesn’t make it out the front door. The next morning the town, after taking care of some downbeat business, takes “the day off”.

This next section June 2001: -And the Moon Be Still As Bright is also within Bradbury Stories, it dealing with Spender, an archaeologist who learns the crew he’s with not having the same values to preserve the area on Mars they were inhabiting as purely as he believed they should, his belief becoming stronger as he learns more of the dead city they were camped near. It doesn’t end well for many of the crew, but if one would care for a more detailed description, click on the above link.

We then have a short section on the first settlers of Mars and how it was promoted by ads, not many choosing to go, but it slowly progressing as time goes by, although the first group being the more lonely for choosing and being chosen to go first.

We next follow a Benjamin Driscoll who has the aspiration of getting more trees on Mars for multiple reasons, but the main one being for more oxygen and then to help ease people’s abilities of getting through hard weather. Benjamin even likens himself to an even better Johnny Appleseed since he was planting a variety of trees rather than the only one Appleseed was known for. We then get a flashback of Benjamin’s first encounter with Mars atmosphere, he almost being returned to Earth since he couldn’t seem to handle the minimal oxygen, but he fighting to get through it and then figuring out his place on Mars would be to plant trees. He’d been going about it for a couple weeks and wondered whether his plan was futile or if his planting would be successful, not being able to know until it rained. At night, getting lucky and being awakened by rain which lasts two hours, he then goes back to sleep and by morning is surprised by what he sees, fainting with what he breathes in.

A couple months later, rockets are seen blasting Mars with flames, destroying parts of its surface and being molded to something man was used to, women doing the same in their kitchens; Pff, ha-ha!

Six months after we follow a Tomás stopping at a gas station where he engages conversation with the old man whom owns the place, he confessing why he’d gone to Mars to live somewhere different from what he knew. Tomás being on his way to a party and the ancient highway he was driving on devoid of any other drivers. He had the feeling Time was palpable more than usual as he drove along the deserted road and soon stopped at a dead town, admiring its majesty, driving on and stopping further along to eat some lunch, soon noticing a Martian coming down the highway on a strange praying mantis-looking machine. Tomás then greets the Martian telepathically to override his fear and being sociable, continuing to try in English, the Martian responding in his own language, they having a misunderstood conversation with each other, including introductions. Then whatever impeded their inability to understand each other, changes and they communicate with each other easily, Tomás offering a coffee and then they both realizing they can’t touch what the other has and both being able to see through one another, then both believing the other must be dead. The Martian then asks where Tomás is from and how long he’s been there, he revealing to the Martian they’d found many of his kind dead already and few survivors, the Martian unbelieving and adamant to the opposite, then pointing out the city he’d slept in and Tomás, upon looking at it seeing ruins and when Tomás tries to point out the Earth rocket ships, the Martian being unable to see them and only seeing the ocean. The Martian is first to consider perhaps one of them is from the future and past, but then they argue which is from where, the Martian figuring perhaps it’s neither, explaining his theory and the feeling they’d both shared when Tomás was driving his car and feeling alone. In the end, they decide to leave well enough alone and bid each other farewell, the night ending with complete silence in the surrounding area with no other people, Human or otherwise to break the silence.

The next section tells of the first men and second group to emigrate to Mars, both being American and from different lifestyles, but both complementing the other so there wasn’t friction between them. We then getting a rundown of the types of trees and lumber brought to Mars to build the towns which were slowly popping up and how the pastimes and religion of the people hadn’t changed because their scenery had.

Some boys are then followed on a hike through Martian country with their packed lunches from their mothers and threats of beatings if they did go through the dead towns, but the boys still daring each other to run through the deserted homes and stomp around what is vaguely described as particular kinds of ashes and not caring if their parents found out, succumbing to their inevitable punishments before the dead towns were burned down.

The next three chapters are also in Bradbury Stories, the next one, June 2003: Way in the Middle of the Air being an odd one with all the black people deciding to go to Mars to live instead of having to endure their slavery on Earth anymore. Here’s another link to Bradbury Stories for a more detailed review.

The one after, The Naming of Names which makes more sense after reading some of the previous stories since some of these names are characters which weren’t mentioned in Bradbury Stories takes the places on Mars which not only kept Martian names, but added those who had come there by rocket. After Mars was properly settled, the higher class would drop by for vacation and whatnot trying to place rules on people trying to escape from being directed how to live their lives which then made some rebel.

Usher II is also well reviewed in Bradbury Stories in which a Mr. Stendahl is a bit nuts and decides to build his own house of Usher with dark results.

The old people are now interested in emigrating to Mars and since this chapter is more of an introduction I’ll continue on to the next chapter which shows a Mr. and Mrs. Lafarge noticing it’s raining from their house and Mr. Lafarge is reminiscing about a person called Tom and how he wished he was there with them, his wife thinking he should forget about him since he’s been dead for awhile and to forget anything else to do with Earth. He agrees with his wife and they both then go to bed, but Mr. Lafarge soon asks if she hears anything, she having not and then confiding he’d heard whistling, deciding he’ll go and look. When he opens the door to the outside he sees a slight figure standing in the rain, Mr. Lafarge calling out to discover who it was and when he doesn’t get an answer, starts getting fearful, his wife coming up behind him to ask him to get to bed since Mr. Lafarge thought the small figure looked like Tom. When he tries to convince her, showing her he was still out there, she sees and shouts for the little guy to move along, spooked to even consider dealing with the situation, going back to the bedroom. Mr. Lafarge stays only long enough to let the boy whom looks like Tom know he’d leave the door unlocked if he was cold so he could come in and get warm by the hearth, then going back to bed to comfort his wife who is still shaken by the experience. Later on he hears the door open, well after his wife has gone to sleep and by morning it’s extremely hot and not seeing anyone in the living room, Mr. Lafarge goes to get bathing water from the canal, but before he gets out the door, he runs into Tom who’s already gotten a bucket of water and greets Lafarge who gives a confused response on how Tom was actually there, Tom making sure Lafarge was glad to see him and revealing how he’d gotten his mother to accept his presence there, as well, getting the proof when she soon enters the room. After some good times, Mr. Lafarge questions Tom as to whether he was a Martian, since it was rare, but sometimes occurred Martians would take human form, which Tom then tries to shield his face and answering, declaring he should accept him, regardless, then running off along the canal, Mr. Lafarge asks his wife if she remembered Tom getting ill and the cemetery he was buried in, she not seeming to understand and taking his questioning lightly, he dropping the subject. When Tom returns from a town he said he’d almost gotten trapped in and not understanding or being able to explain we then see a man poling a boat through the canal and greeting Mr. Lafarge who knew the poling man as Saul. They immediately begin talking of a man they both knew who had fled Earth because he’d killed someone, naming the man and then Saul revealing what the man had done to himself the same day and when Saul had gone, Mr. Lafarge asks Tom what he’d done in his time away from the house, getting the answer of “nothing”. Anna, Mr. Lafarge’s wife then decides they were all going to town, making Tom go even though he didn’t want to and Mr. Lafarge wondering about Tom’s origins whilst they rowed there. When they reach town, Tom starts acting squirrel-y and protective, wanting the two to stay close so he wouldn’t get trapped, but Anna believing he was overreacting. The town was quite crowded and Mr. Lafarge tried to ease Tom’s mind by letting him know he’d be close by, but he and Anna lose him in the crowd, she not worried and believing he’d turn up by the boat. They go to the theatre and unlike Anna’s thoughts, Tom didn’t appear at the boat, Mr. Lafarge offering to look for him. He then runs into a man called Mike, soon getting into a story about a girl named Lavinia who had been thought dead and was found by her parents and upon hearing this story and seeming to look faint, is offered a spot of whiskey, but declines then moving off to where he soon observes Lavinia and how she used to be Tom, but how it was now too late for the being to change back for the thoughts of her parents being too strong to break, but Mr. Lafarge doesn’t give up and when the change of Lavinia back to Tom is done, they escape, but must split up for being followed and shot at, Mr. Lafarge informing Anna, Tom will be along shortly. With Tom taking so long, Mr. Lafarge soon questioning himself whether the boy was caught until they see a figure running toward them, but a crowd is coming after and they stop them before they can disembark, they all having seen someone they knew and when drawing the creature back on to the dock, everyone’s belief and thought he was whom they recognized was too much and the results, scaring everyone off leaving Mr. and Mrs. Lafarge holding hands in the rain until they eventually go home and again and Mr. Lafarge again hearing something in the night, looking and waiting, but this time nothing coming of it.

We next learn through the radio of a luggage-store owner there will be a war breaking out on Earth which seems impossible to those on Mars since Earth was so far as to look like a bright star, comparing it to when China was at war and how Americans saw it. We then discover the people on Mars might even decide to go back to help on Earth if the war did come about due to only having been gone for a couple years and still having family on Earth, the collected few who were old most likely the only ones to stay, but the idea being rejected and the store owner making a sale with the man he was speaking with, realizing he needed a new overnight bag.

Sam Parkhill is then shown sweeping up in front of his hot dog stand, speaking with his wife about how much of a success he’s going to be and how lucky he was to not still be working as a soldier. We are told where Captain Wilder is stationed after dealing with the Spender incident. They then speak of the atomic bomb and how the wife isn’t sure of a war actually occurring and would believe all the people would come to Mars when she saw it, she then informing Sam a friend was there to see him and we being shown a figure with a mask and Sam acting menacing toward the creature, threatening disease if he kept showing up. The creature then informs Sam of something is going on with Earth, he not knowing since his radio didn’t work. Sam is feeling imperiled to the point of whipping out his firearm and when the creature pulls out a scroll-like object, Sam decides it’s a gun and shoots, his wife stating it was a message in another language and Sam verbalizing his mistake, but getting paranoid of he being watched and deciding to bury the criminal evidence. Sam is continually apologizing to his wife for his hasty actions until she tries to quiet him, noticing and pointing out blue sand sail ships obviously of Martian origin. Sam is properly fearful of their getting closer and tries to get his wife, Elma to flee to their truck, but she’s enamored by the sight of the ships and once he directs her to his truck he realizes it won’t go far as his mode of transportation, then deciding on his newly bid upon sand ship, she at first against it, but he insisting and getting them away temporarily until he sees a vision of a girl advising him to go back where he was before he fled and how the others had need to talk with him, he again, threatening with violence by his firearm and she revealing they had no intention of hurting him, but he giving her until the count of three to disembark his “stolen” vessel. He does what he wants and she dissipates in his wake, his wife now agreeing to the idea of him stopping, but he not doing so and beginning to destroy the ghost towns they passed, but the following sand ships are now getting closer. When his ship finally stops and the Martians aboard the other ships finally talk with him as he tries to explain his killing one of their people, they suggest he return to his stand and wished to explain why they were there. The Martian Leader then gives Sam deeds to all the surrounding lands once he’s back at his stand, he asking why he’s given him the legal territory, the Leader warning him to be ready and Sam believing it was because of all the Earth-men to arrive sooner than expected. Sam excitedly prepares his stand for what he believes will be droves of Earth people, but Elma is first to notice what Earth began to look like, Sam realizing the planet was changing and Elma coming alive again with the knowledge the busy season to come would now be an “off-season”.

All the other settlers of Mars stopped what they were doing to look at Earth and had their evening meals outside until they got a Morse code message which demanded the settlers to “COME HOME”. Everyone then sold out the luggage owner’s business.

We then ascertain towns are becoming newly abandoned and a man walking down the street dropping dimes as he went being Walter Gripp who had discovered the towns deserted and making merry with the food and drink, he living in the Martian foothills and going to town periodically only to meet a good woman to marry; but, now he stayed in town and ate like an epicurean, but soon becoming cogent to his being the last one on Mars, until he hears a phone ringing and at first dissociating the fact he’s the only one who can pick it up, soon rushing to ferret out the phone, but all for naught, missing the call and shouting at himself for being a dingus and hoping aloud whomever will ring again. He waits there trying to ignore he’s waiting for a return call, soon verbalizing how he’s hoping it was a woman trying to reach anyone left on Mars. Walter begins listening for a ring from any other phone, soon hearing one and racing for it, but again, not reaching it in time and taking out his frustration on the innards of the house he’d had to break into so he could reach the phone. Soon Walter resorts to calling the numbers in the phone book, getting duped by a voice-mail and leaving a profane message due to being had by it’s humanistic trickery. Walter after more disappointing choices of phone numbers, finally decides to try a beauty parlor, since where else would a woman decide to stay if she were the only one left in her town; Cripes, Bradbury, of the times, yeah? Lo and behold, a woman picks up and she’s quite happy to hear someone else is still on Mars, but before he can answer her question as to his whereabouts, the line goes dead and Walter books it to where she is, a thousand mile drive. He gets there in the middle of the night and happens upon only a handkerchief, now thinking she must have gone to where he was, not encountering her. He drives even more quickly back, hoping she’ll be there, upon arriving, she stepping out of the local beauty parlor in Marlin Village. Walter, upon viewing her ample physique, realizes she’s not what he’s expecting and most likely vice versa, they making sure the other is who they think and then they picnic and he sets up a movie, she only wanting to see a Clark Gable film and being sticky fingered like a child, but it not stopping her from pinching and getting her grubby hands on him; hilarious, especially since he’s so uncomfortable. She then seems to be ready to end the night and Walter voices his divergence, offering to play her a record, but she wanting to show him something she’d brought with her from the town she was in, being a wedding dress and Walter then admitting he wished to say, “Good-by!”, high-tailing it out of there before she could say anything else, he driving for a week until he reaches another satisfying enough town and knowing well enough to not answer the phone if it rang.

April 2026: The Long Years is another specifically reviewed story in Bradbury Stories and is about a Mr. Hathaway and his family, revealing what he’d done to survive on Mars until he’s reunited with his old crew.

We then get an alarm which verbalizes the time and what is to be done during the hour from a living room and a home where the kitchen has a sizable breakfast awaiting the lucky taker to eat it. Other recordings are played stating the date and of the bills of the home and what events would be taking place the same day. We then detect the house is empty and no one would be partaking of the food or driving the car still waiting in the garage, the home then cleaning the dishes and announcing the hour to be cleaning more thoroughly. We also learn part of the house has been burned with a portion blackened by whatever fire had occurred, this home being the last one standing in a specific city in California. The house lets back in the family dog which is by this time greatly emaciated and when it smells the freshly baking pancakes, but isn’t able to get them in time, is given a disturbing end. We watch the rest of the scheduled and automatized human pastimes get shuffled along until a fire breaks out and the house is unable to save itself for using up its water reserve. The house takes a last resort which ends in futility and as it dies unreservedly, it also vocalizes other mechanized responsibilities it would normally be useful for and ending with a single voice speaking of the day, repeatedly.

We then see a family going off on a picnic and fishing, the mother, father, and three boys who pile into a boat for their destination. Their mother points out a dead city and their father looks into the sky for moral reasoning. They then begin to see a group of silver fish and their father digresses into the state of Earth, being quieted by his wife, the boys asking if they’ll see Martians and their father confirming it whilst their mother believed they were a dead race. Their father then began listening to a portable radio which gave some news which made him speed up their boat and land a bit violently on a wharf to see if their boat’s ripples were visible to follow, they all waiting and listening. The eldest child deduces what their father had heard to make him speed the boat up and after their father no longer heard anything from the radio, he revealing to the questioning children they probably wouldn’t until they had great-grandchildren. Their father then gives them the option to choose the city they most liked and once arriving, declaring it would be where they would live from then on, one of the boys getting upset until their father soothes of he getting more in return, soon making them realize they owned the city and pretty much the world which did it’s work of calming the boy. The father then reveals eventually of going back to their blown up rocket to pick up the hidden cache of food and to look for another couple with children who were supposed to meet them. Once night fell and their father lit a fire, he told them of why they’d fled Earth, digressing into a politician’s rant, of which he was one, but supposedly a openly honest one, an enigma of his kind. After he expresses to the children why they were genuinely there he goes on to bring them to a spot to show them the Martians, this one ending in metaphor.

Overall an interesting, if not told in an old-world way of thinking, but quite entertaining and an extremely easy flow of story, the one’s collected in Bradbury Stories not affecting the whole of this story, whatsoever.

A Sound of Thunder

We begin with being shown a sign which promotes being able to supply any animal at the customer’s choosing to hunt, Eckels being the one to read this and ready to purchase. The man tells him the rules behind the counter, mentioning his guide will give him instructions as to what is fair game and if disobeyed will be fined upon return and there not being a guarantee of the customer’s survival on the trip. We realize then they use a time machine to give their customers the opportunity for these hunting excursions, Eckels decides on one which would put him in the past well before humanity would show up. To keep up with the idea of anything touched changing the future, this company constructs an anti-gravity walkway and before letting the hunters out, consisting of two others including Eckels, he asks why they must only shoot the animals allowed.

The Safari Leader, Travis then giving him the rundown of the butterfly effect, making him realize how serious it was to follow their instructions. We then are told how they choose the animals who will be game, going through a thorough background as to when they’ll die and when they kill them. Eckels, who is now seeming to be the trouble-maker with how he’s taking certain rules and questioning them, asks of the assistant whether he’d run into himself on as he had been gathering information beforehand, he explaining how it isn’t possible and when Travis tells them all to get ready to go, Eckels is messing about aiming at animals who aren’t tagged which Travis puts a stop to upon noticing him. Then Travis gets everyone ready for the first game and Eckels is to shoot first, now getting nervous, especially since the animal is close by and everything has gone silent. When the creature bursts through mist one hundred yards away, Eckels is taken aback by its agility, speaking how he didn’t believe it could be killed and being hushed by Travis since the creature hadn’t noticed them yet. Travis then decides Eckels needed to get back to the Time Machine and since he didn’t take his shot he’d get half his fee back.

Then the behemoth notices them and the assistant directs Eckels to move slowly back to the machine. Eckels makes a wrong move and the creature lunges, everyone shooting at it and making their mark, but not before the path is crushed by the weight of the animal, its original fate still happening after its death by the hunters. The assistant, Lesperance then offers the hunters a picture with the dead creature as their trophy. No one takes him up on this and when they get back inside the machine, Travis orders Eckels out, noticing he’d stepped off the path and how much trouble he’d made for them, deciding to leave him there. Eckels offers more money to them which Travis then decides Eckels can make up for his faux pas by digging out the bullets from the Monster’s brain. When he returns with the bullets they go back in time and upon arriving at their proper destination, they find their environment hadn’t exactly changed, but was different in some way. Eckels then notices what he’d stepped on when he had gone off the path, Travis making good his threat he’d made to Eckels after they’d gotten out of the Time Machine; A plain example of the butterfly effect for certain and quite entertaining in the telling, Ray Bradbury certainly had a gift.

Bone Vol. 3: Eye of the Storm

For the second volume. This one begins with Fone reenacting a scene from Moby Dick, which is overseen by Miz ‘Possum who is bewildered by the display. Fone stops reading, even though Miz ‘Possum was curious to hear more, but she had stopped by to check up on everyone. They apprise her where they’d been sleeping whilst the roof is getting fixed and then she enquires about Phoney Bone and how he’s being handled since his little cow race mischief. Miz ‘Possum leaves after to get back to her kids and Fone Bone learns Thorn is up for watch duty, offering to sit up with her, but she doesn’t mind the alone time for being free of the dreams she’s been having. On the walk back they run into Smiley and he shares Phoney’s new plan of raising enough goods to get them out of debt and back home, seeing what he had in mind set Thorn’s belief Phoney’s adjusted to his new life well, back into perspective.

Then it’s night and we see some rat creatures are paranoid of someone nearby, especially the one which hasn’t been checking for four days. Once he confirms there’s no one about they settle with the thought Kingdok won’t detect them. Then one hears something again and requests the other to look, realizing Kingdok has only then found them. Kingdok isn’t going to kill them though, but has brought them a bag of rabbits, giving them words of encouragement and leaving, to their extreme relief. Then we see the farm-house and Thorn has drifted off, having another dream. First she’s quite young and practicing the flute, then she’s older and a hooded figure asks her to approach, when the hood is slid up, it’s Fone, which is when she wakes and tries to speak with Fone who’s dreaming, quite asleep.

We then see what Fone’s dreaming of, being a Moby Dick inspired one, with he and Phoney chasing the white whale, which turns out to be Smiley. Phoney still tries to catch him, though and in so doing, Fone goes overboard, but before, noticing a coffin on the ship, which had gone overboard with him. As he climbs atop the coffin, he sees the Red Dragon cresting a wave and then Fone wakes up to discover it’s late in the day and no one is inside. When he looks around outside, there isn’t anyone about out there, but Ted who makes small talk about Fone’s terrible love poetry, who then relates what the group is up to and realizing it’s break time, Fone decides to work on the new poem he’s been writing for Thorn. As he’s making headway on the poem, Thorn walks up asking about what he’s up to and after playing it off, she inquires as to whether he remembered what he’d dreamed of.

After Fone imparts what he remembers, she lets him know she’d had a dream with him, but possibly not him in it as well, making him bashful and picking her flowers, but she having left already and the Red Dragon walking up after, plays it like they’re for him, unbeknownst to Fone, but once he turning around and realizing who he’s now talking to, confides his dream, which the dragon is unsurprised to hear about, revealing they’d both had an “intruder” in their dreams and leaving him. Fone is irritated by the dragon’s parting nickname and goes back to writing his poem when Smiley and Phoney walk up and Phoney decides to intrude on what Fone’s been writing. Phoney then makes sure to differentiate how Fone’s been acting to how they’ve been acting toward Gran’ma Ben and Thorn to how he’s been offering his time like a slave, but upon hearing the “dinner” bell, go off running to the house, but to be disappointed when the bell Gran’ma Ben had rung was for them to make the dinner, not eat it. Once they realize they’ve got to kill some chickens and prepare them for cooking though, they begin to look quite shocked and dizzy at the task.

After, Lucius wakes up the boys to do some work for him since it’s his turn to make use of their manual labor, to all of their, especially Phoney Bone’s loud bemoaning. Fone soon determines he can either choose to stay with Gran’ma Ben and Thorn or go with his cousins, he of course opting to stick around with Thorn; and Gran’ma Ben, of course. So whilst the boys and Lucius get on their way to Barrelhaven, Thorn and Fone start on some chores and a project Thorn wanted to begin. Meanwhile on the road, Smiley tries to get Lucius to open up on his personal life, finally getting him to speak about an almost fiancée which didn’t become anything more. Then Lucius realizes someone is following them so they make precautions by lightning the cart and making Smiley ride the cow in case they had to make a quick escape. As Lucius and the boys are wary of the mysterious follower, Thorn is scaring bone with the back story behind ghost circles before the storm hits, they retreating to the barn. When they get comfortable in the barn, Thorn instigates conversation about the dreams they’ve been having. As this is happening Lucius and the Bones path is blocked by a falling tree and Smiley makes them realize the rat creatures are following and getting closer. Lucius asks them what they’ve come for and they ask for the star-chested Bone, Lucius then yelling for Smiley to go and get help from the town, but he having his own plan which gives them an action-packed diversion, ending with them going straight over a cliff.

They land safely, but quite a bit more wetly, since they’ve now been reached by the storm. We then skip back to Fone confessing to Thorn of his dream and the Dragon’s response which seemed odd, since he hadn’t told him the details of his dream involving him. They continue to figure out the meaning of both their dreams and Fone lands on how Gran’ma Ben is the one whom seems to know the most, before she interrupts them. She doesn’t say a word, though, giving the air of being straightforwardly mad. Fone then decides they should go after her to expose what she knows, Thorn shocked by the whole experience. After Fone goes out of the barn, Thorn recovers and shows him she’d headed into the woods, Fone becoming certain they’d get lost and should turn back for it being too dark, but Thorn believes she can follow and they soon see Gran’ma Ben up ahead of them. They confront her, with she not divulging any answers other than they should get back to the barn, but they both stand firm in learning more. Gran’ma Ben seemed to be going after the Dragon since he had made an oath not to invade Thorn’s dreams somehow and Gran’ma Ben is continuing to try and get the both of them to return to the barn when a loud crack brings the rat creatures coming towards them to Gran’ma Ben’s attention.

Then we follow Phoney and Co. walking in the woods, Smiley shouting cowboy phrases as they go, for some reason and Phoney promising idle threats as Smiley asks the usual question reserved for children on long road trips. Soon Smiley’s pointing the finger back at Phoney for feeling he’s so smart and reminding him his smarts didn’t do much for him at the cow race. Phoney soon has Lucius defending his business acumen, as well when Lucius notifies him of how he’ll be looking forward to working him like a horse through the summer and soon after Lucius is baiting Phoney to bet he wouldn’t be able to run his bar better than he can; the stakes being higher than before. They reach the bar after they make their bet and some customers are waiting inside when go in, some still ready to give Phoney a beating for rigging the race. Lucius steps in to remind them the bets had already been settled for them and they’re going to have to get used to the Bones being there for having to work there for a while, trying to ease the tension with a round of beers for them on the house also informing the Bone’s they’re going to have to win the customers over if he’s going to win their bet.

Then we see Thorn, Gran’ma Ben and Fone making their way down a steep decline, with Gran’ma Ben motioning for quiet. They climb a ways down and then Gran’ma Ben instructs Bone to have a look around behind some trees. Gran’ma Ben knows the rat creatures probably know where they are at the moment and is still mad at them for following her, but they both try to remind her they were only worried she’d pick a fight with the dragon. They continue to argue until Gran’ma Ben believes she hears the rat creature nearby and gets everyone to crouch. Gran’ma Ben sees one rat creature and warns them to stay back and hidden whilst she approaches, believing the one to be a scout. Fone then thinks he hears a noise Thorn doesn’t hear at all, thinking they should follow or do something at all, Fone only deciding to stare in the direction Gran’ma Ben had gone. They watch and agree to go after her in five seconds if she doesn’t return, but they don’t have to go anywhere since she comes back to update them of there being many rat creatures about the area and how they won’t be able to get back to the farm and they will have to run from them.

When Fone enquires what the scream was he’d heard, Gran’ma Ben says she’d disposed of the scouting rat creature and they should leave before any others noticed. They start climbing and Bone sees a rat creature chasing them, another getting closer to Thorn and Gran’ma Ben punching it in the face, grabbing all and running full tilt with Bone shouting for the dragon before Gran’ma Ben covers his mouth and they are hunkered down under a tree. When lightning strikes, we see rat creatures everywhere behind the tree in the open area. Then as a rat creature gets near them, Fone sees the dragon and the rat creatures disappearing, Fone apprising Gran’ma Ben of what happens. Gran’ma Ben then looks like she might do something about the dragon’s presence, but then warns Bone the dragon may not be there when he calls, he not coming when she’d needed at one point. As they begin their trek back, Fone mentions to Thorn they should show the map they’d discovered to Gran’ma Ben, ending the chapter; these issues only get better as I go.

Gran’ma Ben is mending the fence near their home as we watch from the rat creature’s perspective, they trying to listen to what’s being said. Fone and Thorn are about to confess to Gran’ma Ben about what’s on their minds when she interrupts by letting Fone know she owes Fone an apology for how she’d been acting towards him. After she regards her bad behavior Thorn brings up what they’d been wanting to show her. First he accidentally shows her a poem and then gets to the real thing they wanted to show her, being the map. Thorn admits she drew it after Gran’ma noticed it’s simplistic sketch-style, hushing her due to the forest’s many ears. We then see two rat creatures looking out from a dark area of the forest, one sending the other away. Meanwhile Gran’ma gets them back to the farmhouse and indoors. Once inside Gran’ma Ben asks Bone where he’d found the map and after mentioning how they were chased away by locusts, Gran’ma talks to herself which makes Thorn protest her not divulging everything to them. After sending Fone to get her water, Gran’ma Ben considers where to begin, Thorn suggesting they start with her dreams. Gran’ma Ben proceeds to relate leaving Thorn with the dragons to detect a safe place where no one knew them and the latter gets upset for being deceived as the former tries to justify what she’d done.

Gran’ma Ben goes on to explain why they had been at war with the rat creatures the first time and how there had been disagreement to those who had taken over the valley, ending with the rat creatures retreat, Fone then asking why it was necessary to hide Thorn, then revealing her ancestry. Thorn is then spurred by Fone to mention the dream she’d had of being handed over to the dragons. Gran’ma Ben fills in the blanks which young Thorn couldn’t remember even in her dream, like who was among the hooded figures and what had happened after they’d been attacked. After sharing the tale, Gran’ma Ben reveals if the locusts are back, then war will soon follow and she hadn’t done her duty which was to protect Thorn. We then follow the rat creatures as they gather their ranks, one huge one, Kingdok speaking to the Hooded One of Thorn’s true station in life, the Hooded One expressing of already being privy to this information and how Kingdok isn’t doing his job as leader of the rat creatures as well as he believed, the Hooded One leaving him there to enter the swarm of locusts which appear in the sky and dropping him onto a bridge then entering a cave tunnel to speak with another creature of unknown appearance, but turning out to be the Lord of Locust. The Hooded One asks what he should do about the “star-chested one”, he now being told to wait their instruction, the Hooded One believing they should prepare against the Red Dragon, but the Lord of Locust ends their conversation, also ending the chapter.

Next we see Lucius is getting the attention of the patrons in the bar, stating of a contest and knowing everyone had a grudge against the Bones, but needing everyone to stay civil since they still had to work off what they owed Lucius, who also kept them in check as to how much blame they should take on themselves as well as the Bones. Lucius then gets into the details of the contest which involves Phoney up against Lucius in who can run the bar better, making a red line to divide the bar and letting the patrons decide who wins. When the contest starts, Lucius is obviously favored, which gets Smiley questioning how they’ll win, coming up with some wild ideas, making Phoney realize their terrible fate. Meanwhile, Thorn is still coming to terms with the truth of her dreams. Fone tries to get Thorn to remember what happens once she’s with the dragons which she still can’t see clearly. Fone asks if Gran’ma Ben has anyone to help protect them, she thinking not since the Lord of the Locust is back. Soon after Thorn leaves them to lie down in the barn, Fone making sure she’s alright and leaving her to rest. Then we see what kind of plan the Bones have come up with at the bar. Phoney realizes the futility of the plan and goes over to Lucius to see if he can figure out why they’re all over there, other than for the obvious reason, when he gets over there though, he begins to see everyone going over to their side of the bar, Lucius now wondering what’s going on. When Phoney figures out what Smiley had done and stops him, it angers the patrons again and they’re ready to beat Phoney up again. Smiley then wishes loudly for Fone’s dragon to help them, getting one of the patron’s to confirm his words.

We then see the patron insisting on knowing what Smiley had meant, he repeating himself and everyone surprised Fone would have a dragon in his power. They start to ask too many questions after and Lucius puts a stop to it. The townsfolk don’t give up easily though, so Phoney has to stick up for his cousins by spouting their “dragon problems” are theirs alone and nothing to do with he and his cousins. Then Jonathan, a young man is told to convey what he’d seen in the forest since Lucius was unwilling to let any of them off the hook for even believing dragons existed. Phoney then fans the flame of their fears by considering if there’s one dragon about, there must be more. After the townspeople work themselves up to take action, they ask Phoney what they should do, he figuring they need to hire a dragon exterminator and they in luck since he was exactly what they needed. Then to rub in what Phoney had cooking up, he imparts to Lucius after he asked him what he had up his sleeve and how this would be how he’d win their bet, Phoney hints to everyone they needed something to whet their whistles before getting down to business, the first round would be on the house and after everyone would have to get their own tabs, all the patrons going along with Phoney’s clever ruse.

Lucius is about to put a stop to it when a hooded figure walks through the door, he noticing a medallion around his neck. Lucius approaches the man and asks him if he required lodgings for the night, the man confiding in him he had news from the south and Lucius replying for him to wait outside. Then we see how Fone is doing, Ted asking how he was and then sharing with him how he’d been to see Lucius and his cousins and how they were up to the usual mischief then asking what was going on with Thorn and Gran’ma Ben, Fone letting him in on some vague details, but Ted surprising him by filling in the blanks, he then going on to inquire where Gran’ma Ben was for having an important message to deliver, then going off to the house to speak with her. Fone is next called on by Gran’ma Ben herself to get his knapsack and meet her in the barn. We see Gran’ma Ben relating to Thorn to get up for receiving news the action had changed in the south and they’d have to leave because a large number of rat creatures would be heading their way. Gran’ma Ben goes back into the house to get their food supply and a cloak for Thorn, revealing to them how to uncover a secret door under the straw Thorn was lying on and to get the trunk within. When Gran’ma Ben asks for Bone’s knapsack after opening the trunk and puts in a concealed object, advising him to keep good care of it. She then straps on her old sword, handing the shield to Fone, then making sure everyone was ready to go before heading out the door, ending the book. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

The Time Machine

We begin with the Time Traveler sharing with an unknown number of people about a difficult subject to understand, but being quite excited. Those who listened thought he was being imaginative with an idea. Soon though, he begins with explaining the four dimensions one needs to know of and poses the question of whether a cube exists for only a moment actually exists at all. He goes on to explain how scientists have tried to come up with a geometry which would support a fourth dimension’s existence. We have a Narrator who isn’t identified in any way, but only this person is among those listening to the Time Traveler’s talk of his experiment and how he’d thought of making a machine to carry one through time and space. Then we learn there are six men in the room and the Time Traveler has brought to them a small metallic object; he explains it’s his model of what his time machine will look like, but then we realize this little model can travel through time and blows everyone’s mind upon being demonstrated. Then the Time Traveler lets on his actual machine was almost done and shows them all his progress. I like the style of writing so far, it gets to the point fairly quickly and the fact it’s not such a long story makes me wonder what kind of adventures he’ll get into.

The next bit begins with the Narrator going back to the Time Traveler’s home for another get-together with notables of the town, but the Time Traveler being late, the Doctor plays host and rings for dinner to be served, since the Time Traveler said to do as much if he hadn’t returned by then in a note he’d left. The Narrator is the first to see the Time Traveler arrive in great disorderliness, when others noticed him they wondered what had happened to him. After a couple glasses of wine, he was becoming himself again and promised to explain once he cleaned up and changed. Meanwhile the new guests began to become beleaguered the possibility the Time Traveler had actually gone anywhere out of the ordinary from his appearance. Upon his return, the Editor immediately badgers the Time Traveler for a story, but he doesn’t get it quite yet due to the man wanting some meat in his system before saying another word. When he’d had his fill, he adjourns them all to the smoking-room and begins by informing them he’s seen eight days already and he plans on confessing the whole story uninterrupted before passing out for the night.

When the Time Traveler begins his story of how he noticed he’d traveled at all, it was by the clock in the room, then by how quickly a Mrs. Watchett had walked into the room without seeing him, whilst he was still traveling through time. Soon he saw the construction of the house and the sun going through its motions, all the while not enjoying the ride of his travel, as he explains. After going back in time for a bit, he moves forward and upon stopping finally, he discovers himself in a garden with a humongous statue and soon realizes he’s been spotted by the locals, dreading before noticing them, if they’d believe him barbaric in comparison to themselves. He then gets an idea of their stature and appearance, losing his fear. The Time Traveler soon realized the men from the future were speaking with a foreign tongue and was wondering if they were intelligent, which he found disappointment upon the learning of. They were friendly though, and soon brought him indoors noting the structure and flooring, he also goes into more detail as to what the men looked like.

Soon they were hand motioning to him questions and he answers to how and where the Time Traveler came from. He also saw some fruits which seemed strange and some he recognized but were of proportions not seen in his time. His innocent-looking hosts motion for him to sit with them as they gratified their appetites. As the crowd of futuristic people got larger at their group snack-out, the Time Traveler tried to learn some of their language, but only after a short time did the people get weary of translating to him what words for what objects were, so the Time Traveler had to be patient in rounding off his language lesson. The we are given the year he traveled to, which was a bit difficult to discern in how it was written. He then goes on to describe the disposition of the small men, which is child-like in nature and attention span, being jabbered at and then left to pass their time idly, letting him do what he would. He goes back outside to notice the Thames had shifted only a small bit and then noted most of the English architecture had been replaced with structures similar in style to palaces. The Time Traveler then came to a realization about the people of the future, which had to do with the similarity of looks between the sexes, mentioning his theory was only a small part of the whole, which he relates coming back to later. We then are given his theory of what happened to humanity by this time, which he also notes, is a minor part of the whole truth.

After touring the area, he sees as he’s coming back, the Time Machine is not where he’d left it. He’s stricken with panic and rushes so quickly, he bloodies his face, then when he does get to where the machine was, feels mocked by the smiling statue, due to the machine not only being moved out of eyesight, as he’d hoped, but nowhere to be found, as dreaded. He wrongly, as night fell, burst into the sleeping area of the small people, realizing they didn’t comprehend his feelings. After blind terror of where the machine could be, he realizes by morning, once remembering his predicament, he would have to look on the hopeful and brighter side, being the possibility of constructing another machine and the fact he’s on a strange and enchanting time on Earth. Then he began to examine the statue, once exhausting his efforts on the little people, who seemed to know nothing. He hears a suspicious noise from within the statue and when he tries to convey he’d like to know how it is opened, he’s met with disdain and no one considering his idea seriously or with empathy.

He leaves them be for awhile so as not to alienate himself anymore than he has and in the meantime, tries to learn more of their language, during this time he also notices some curious wells as he experiments and gets a closer look at them, sees them not to be filled with water, but have a steady stream of air going down them and a rhythmic beating, sounding like an engine. He then notices towers could be connected to the wells and may have to do with the sanitation of the people, but this wasn’t the actual reason. He then skips to the lifestyles of the little people, wondering where they got their clothing, also noticing there to be no elderly among them so where cemeteries or the like could be. Then he acknowledges the Time Machine again and how he was stumped as to how the machine could have gotten within the statue. We then are given a description of an experience with one of the people needing help in the river and not expecting gratefulness for his help, but being surprised later of receiving thanks.

The young lady, Weena, developed a friendship with him and tried to stick close, but because the Time Traveler was set on learning as much as possible, would tire her and leave her to wait for him until he was finished. Their relationship gets closer, but he digresses, getting back to the main point, being why the people seemed to be fearful of night, having an experience where the Time Traveler is woken by something moving past him, but not being sure, trying to reclaim sleep again and failing, so decides to go out and see the sun rise. Before the rising sun, he sees white figures in the distance, not clearly seeing them, so as to think they could be apparitions and upon the sun rising, no longer seeing them. On his fourth day, it was quite hot and he sought shelter in a giant ruin, where he believes he sees someone staring at him, he tries to communicate to the ape-like figure like the ones he saw before, but he ran off into another corner. This time he lights a match and watches the creature going down the well by hand holds he hadn’t seen before. His opinion of what the wells were for changed then, realizing the little people living above weren’t the only ones left on the world. He theorized how their society worked, not quite landing on the truth. He tries to ask Weena, but at first not understanding and then becoming visibly upset when not wanting to answer, he stops pressing her.

We learn the Time Traveler feels closer to the Eloi than the Morlocks, the latter being the underground dwellers. He then contemplates how he’ll get the machine back, feeling paranoid and exposed with no one to back him up. He soon resolved to go through with his idea of descending one of the wells, to Weena’s dismay, which may have helped him decide to do so. During his climb down, he became quite cramped for the body type it was made for and once reaching a space he could rest in, was soon greeted strangely by the people who lived there, the Morlocks, who retreated on sight of his lighting a match. He then also sees these creatures are carnivores, but not being able to detect what animal they were eating. Soon though, the Morlocks became more persistent in trying to keep the Time Traveler with them, pulling at his clothes and feet, etc., but making good his escape with the help of his last few matches. Now the Time Traveler felt he had reason to detest the Morlocks, due to how they’d treated him. When the Time Traveler mentions of being reminded of the meat the Morlocks were eating and trying to figure out why he felt they seemed familiar, he takes Weena with him on his next outing and interrupts his story to show the flowers he’d kept from his futuristic jaunt.

He then wonders why the Morlocks had wanted to hide his machine from him as he takes Weena to their destination, a Palace of Green Porcelain, to spend the start of the longer nights, but he loses his way and decides to spend the night out in the open, then fleetingly thinking of what the meat could’ve been once more, not dwelling on the thought for how horrible it was. When morning came though, he thought again of what he didn’t want to believe and realized it was most likely the case and feels sorry for the Eloi, even though they’ve become dumb with time and complacency of being taken care of by the Morlocks, who the Time Traveler also tries to see scientifically, as serving a purpose by tending to the Eloi. Then he settles on his most likely of plans could be executed and heads for the Palace with Weena to set up as home-base, I presume.

When he reaches the palace, he didn’t consider there would be a creek, and it made him wonder what could’ve become of the sea creatures. He also found on the inside not only all the interior was made of porcelain, but also an inscription, of which he had no means of translating because Ween didn’t seem to understand the concept of the written word. Now the Time Traveler believed Weena may not even be Human, but only has certain similar emotions and characteristics to us. He soon realizes he’s in a museum, which he discovers mummies, minerals, of which he couldn’t detect all the ingredients to make gunpowder, so was useless, plant-life had decayed, which he’d hoped he could trace the evolution from, but in the condition found, wasn’t possible and machinery, which he found great interest in; unfortunately, his studying was cut short by Weena’s anxiousness and he realized how late in the day it had gotten and he still without weapons, also he was hearing noises familiar to his time in the well and so began his search in haste. Soon after discovering a suitable enough weapon to at least knock some skulls of Morlocks with (which he was looking forward to); explained more clearly as to why in the explaining, they move to another gallery where he observes remnants of books, showing the decline of upkeep through the centuries humanity had suffered through. After passing through the area, they walk through to another gallery where he locates what he’s looking for and celebrates with Weena in the way she is accustomed: dance; hilarious, in how it’s described. He then perceives some other flammable substances, but still nothing he could use to blow up the statue to acquire his Time Machine, only once tricking himself with dummy dynamite sticks, which he tests for it’s authentic look, with disappointment, but reasonable acceptance. He and Weena then retreat, he deciding to spend the night outdoors among fire.

The Time Traveler tries to get them as close to the woods as possible, he already tiring for his lack of two nights and a day’s sleeplessness and Weena tiring because she’s tiny. He also sensed the Morlocks would be after them soon, so he wanted to get as far from the palace as possible, but since he’d loaded himself down with sticks and whatnot for fire making, he decided he needed to make a distraction for the Morlocks who seemed to be getting closer, so he lit a bonfire in the wood and continued on, trying to get to the other side where he believed was a safer place to rest, unfortunately the idea didn’t seem possible since the Morlocks had taken the opportunity to close in and the Time Traveler, caught up with lighting a match to keep them at bay, lost his sense of direction and decided to camp there until daylight. The Time Traveler passes out for a time and the Morlocks make their move on him when the fire goes out, taking his matchbox as well, but the Time Traveler defends himself with his mace and the Morlocks fall back. Then he began noticing he was able to see the Morlocks dimly and realized soon after his first fire had followed him, the Morlocks becoming blinded by the light. Weena had disappeared in the fighting and the Time Traveler followed the retreating Morlocks to see some were killing themselves by walking into the fire and he, killing one and injuring some others, didn’t realize they couldn’t see him, but once he figured this out, he stopped and watched to be sure they didn’t get too close. When daylight came, he looked again for Weena, but realized she must have died in the blaze in the wood, but at least wasn’t cannibalized. The only other bright-side besides the literal one, was he found some stray matches in his pocket before it was swiped.

The Time Traveler then sums up his estimation of what the Eloi and Morlocks had evolved into due to the decline in certain animals dying. After realizing his theory, he dozed among the Eloi until almost sunset, when he decided to try and open up the White Sphinx, which he didn’t need to do since it lay open waiting for him; what a waste of trauma those nights ended up being. He spots his Time Machine on a pedestal inside and regrets his not being able to use his crowbar, for all the trouble he’d gone through to get it, then realizing the Morlocks had oiled the machine, also possibly taking it apart to see what it’s use was. During this realization, the entrance to the Sphinx closes up, which was expected by the Time Traveler and didn’t sweat in the least since he had his escape awaiting him, but he didn’t make it out as smoothly as he’d thought he would, since he thought he could use the matches to distract and blind them with, but they happened to be the kind which needed to be struck on the matchbox, he then decided to try to make a hasty escape, which was a close call since the Morlocks almost wrested one of the levers out of his hands before he finally did make it out. He jumps even further forward in time, arriving in a twi-lit environment, and the sun being much redder with some green vegetation on some rocks nearby, which he soon learned, to his horror it was a crab-like creature, after seeing a screaming butterfly pass by him (reminding me of something I once saw in a cartoon, I believe).

He jumps a month forward in time when he feels the antennae of another crab behind him, but only identifies more crabs when he stops again. Soon though, he’s jumped about 30 million more years into the future, looking to see the end of the world it seems, and observes the ocean is still there, but colder, and the crabs have gone. He fancied he saw something, but it stopped moving and believed he’d imagined it, but it started up again and he realized it had tentacles and looked like a soccer ball; this beginning to sound like what I believe The Island of Dr. Moreau will be like, he then gets strapped back into the Time Machine to come back to his own time.When he gets closer to his time, Hillyer, the Narrator of the story, is seen walking past the Time Traveler as he’s coming back to his own time, but what he’s actually seeing is Hillyer after leaving for his second journey through time. After arriving back at the hour we see him enter the room, his retelling ends and he asks if they believe him, not thinking they would; most satisfy his prophecy, asking where he actually obtained the flowers and describing to them the same as before, soon questioning the reality of his experience himself. When he goes to confirm the Time Machine is where he left it and it exists, the group begins to disperse to go home and Hillyer is debating as to whether he believes the story, having trouble sleeping.

He goes to the Time Traveler’s home the next day and asks him if he truly had gone through time, the Time Traveler confirming this, and asking him if he’s willing to wait, he can show him proof, but was busy at the moment and if he’d care to have lunch, Hillyer accepting, but then remembering he had to make an appointment and follows the Time Traveler down to his lab to inform him of his plans. He hears the noises of motion and glimpses the Time Traveler fading from reality, which Hillyer couldn’t make sense of at the time and deciding to miss his appointment, waits for the Time Traveler to return, which if he’d continued to wait as long as he’d been gone, would have been over three years, after which we realize he vanishes, not returning at all, Hillyer wondering which direction he’d decided to travel in this time. Not a bad story, I’m looking forward to The Invisible Man.