The Host Chapter 1

So now we switch over to Goa’uld Sue’s perspective, which is a lot less entertaining than it sounds.


Now imagine that with fairy wings, a unicorn horn and rainbow hair!

I knew it would begin with the end, and the end would look like death to these eyes. I had been warned.

One of many faux-poetic moments that ultimately means nothing, because unfortunately it doesn’t make a lot of sense. You find a lot of this in Smeyers’ works.

 
Not these eyes. My eyes. Mine. This was me now.

Okay, this moment worked well up to the end. Think about it – we’ve got a selfish invading parasite that basically snatches bodies for its own use, and it stands to reason that it would think of everything having to do with the body as belonging to it. But then there’s “This was me now,” which seems more like it’s got some confusion over its identity.

 
The language I found myself using was odd, but it made sense.

… what language? It hasn’t said anything. And by definition, languages make sense – they have to, or they wouldn’t work as languages.

 
Choppy, boxy, blind, and linear. Impossibly crippled in comparison to many I’d used, yet still it managed to find fluidity and expression. Sometimes beauty.

Make up your mind. Either it’s expressive and fluid, or it’s choppy and boxy and “blind.” You don’t get to have it both ways.

Hoo boy, I suspect this is going to be another “rah rah humans are awesome!” example of science fiction, where incredibly advanced and intelligent aliens are knocked sideways by how wonderful human beings are for…. well, for being human.

And while that attitude is nauseating from most science fiction, it’s teeth-grindingly annoying when Smeyer does it. Not just because she has the subtlety of a brick, but because she spends the whole Twilight series telling us how stupid and apish and unworthy mere humans are compared to her sparkly vampires. And this isn’t just the attitude of the vampires (including the “good” ones) but of the saintly heroine who is superior to them all.

This attitude is also backed up by Smeyer declaring that she’s “anti-human,” which she apparently feels will defuse accusations of misogyny.

So yeah, either I’m supposed to buy that Smeyer suddenly gives a fuck about human beings… or I’m expected to side with the body-stealing aliens who don’t give a fuck about anyone but themselves, feel no guilt over stealing people’s entire lives, and obliterate entire species just so they can have a fun vacation.

 
My language now. My native tongue.

WRONG. If Goa’uld Sue doesn’t have a native tongue of her own, she doesn’t have one. Merely bodysnatching somebody who speaks a language doesn’t automatically make anything about them YOU. It’s like saying that if you steal the identity of someone who is from Mexico, it makes Spanish YOUR native tongue.

And really, you’d expect an alien race who is arrogant and callous enough to steal other people’s bodies on a regular basis to not really care about their native cultures. If they don’t matter at all, why would you emulate them?

Apparently Goa’uld Sues are the Bella Swans of this series – they have no distinguishing characteristics of their own.

With the truest instinct of my kind, I’d bound myself securely into the body’s center of thought,

It’s called a brain. And no, I’m not going to make the obvious jokes because they’re just too easy.

Anyway, Goa’uld Sue muses about how this is HER body now, which just makes me dislike her even more. She doesn’t view said body as having ever belonged to anybody worth considering, because it’s convenient for her to not be burdened by guilt.

Now, see, this is the viewpoint of a villain. Again with the Goa’uld comparisons – they view humans as slaves on the level of livestock, who exist to serve the Goa’uld. This is what makes them VILLAINS. It’s what makes them EVIL. Same with the creatures from “Puppet Masters.” The GOOD bodysnatchers are creatures like the Tok’ra, who view the hosts as being equals in a symbiotic relationship, not a walking slab of meat.

So we’re only a chapter in, and our Alien Sue is a sociopathic bodysnatcher who, in a good book, would be a villain.

 
I braced myself for the onslaught of the first memory, which would really be the last memory—the last moments this body had experienced, the memory of the end.

Awwwww, poor Goa’uld Sue, having to suffer the nasty memories of somebody whose body she’s stolen. My heart bleeds for her.

These human emotions would be stronger, more vital than the feelings of any other species I had been.

… cuz humans are soooooo wonderful. In a supposedly well-populated universe, they’re super-speshul and unique! Gah, she’s making us sound like a Sue species. I hated it when Star Trek did that, and I hate it here.

 
It seared with sharp color and ringing sound. Cold on her skin, pain gripping her limbs, burning them. The taste was fiercely metallic in her mouth.

…. okay, are we talking about the emotions or the things that happened to cause the memories? Because it’s not very clear here, especially with that crap about “pain gripping her limbs.”

This is also a clumsy way often used in books – the Flashback. Uh, never mind that memories don’t work like that – when you remember something you didn’t remember before, you don’t immediately find yourself reliving it. Instead, it’s like having a file suddenly pop up on your desktop.

It would make more sense if her heart was pounding and she felt trapped, not if she randomly had a ten-minute long flashback.

 
And there was the new sense, the fifth sense I’d never had, that took the particles from the air and transformed them into strange messages and pleasures and warnings in her brain—scents.

…. so she’s been “almost everything” that Meyers’ limited imagination could conjure up, yet she’s never been a creature with a NOSE?

Hmm… what were those animals she was possessing before? Oh right. Bats and bears. They don’t have noses. They can’t smell!

Then we get a weird stream-of-consciousness part where Meyers swings wildly between her awkwardly clinical usual style and a weird rambling boohooathon from the perspective of the nameless girl whose body she’s stolen.

 
Fear locked her in a vise, goading the blunt, clumsy limbs forward but hampering them at the same time.

… okay, when you lock something in a vise it’s to prevent it from moving. At all. Yet locking it in a vise also goads it onward and hampers it… I… um… yep… you get it. FAIL.

Anyway, the girl thinks that she’s failed, and Goa’uld Sue gets pulled into EPIC FLASHBACK. Evidently the girl really sucked at avoiding pursuers, because she basically went stumbling around in the dark, blubbering and doing random stuff. Oh, and the Seekers were apparently chasing her. I presume this is more of Meyers’ Subtle Name Fail, but it just makes me imagine Craig Horner chasing after some chick in the dark, with his glowy magic sword.

I’m lost, we’re lost. It’s over.

Oooh, epic hint. Presumably there’s a plucky small-scale human resistance on this planet like there is on almost every other “alien invasion” series, which will manage to drive off the Goa’uld Sues despite having no resources, technology or numbers. But you’d think that with access to the girl’s memories, Goa’uld Sue would be able to destroy them pretty fast.

So the Seekers start trying to reassure her, and unsurprisingly the girl didn’t believe them. Imagine that! Not just avidly listening to what the alien invaders tell you, merely because they are alien Sues.

So she starts screaming except she doesn’t recognize the sound. Again, I’m not sure why, if she’s been “almost everything,” she doesn’t recognize a distressed sound. In the hands of a better author (like Timothy Zahn) I MIGHT be able to believe that alien creatures across the galaxy might have a different way of transmitting distress. But since she describes other alien creatures as “a See Weed” and “a Dragon,” I sincerely doubt that that is the case here.

And then OH SHOCKITY-BOO!

 
Screaming, my body explained. You’re screaming.

Oh shocks! Apparently the “body” (ie the host) is aware and “thinking” at Goa’uld Sue! What a twist! Yeah, I wasn’t surprised either. “Nothing of the host survives” my ass.

It also raises the question: if the “body” is still aware and able to communicate, why the hell would she react to an alien parasite by just instructing her on what screaming is? Wouldn’t the body’s original occupant be more interested in screaming obscenities at it?

So she continues having the flashback, because obviously being implanted in a human’s brain would IMMEDIATELY cause a big revealing flashback. It reminds me of that really bad Star Trek episode where murderers are forced to relive the victim’s experience every few hours as a punishment. I could see the person having disorienting flashes and sensations left over, but NOT a big video-game/movie-style visual.

Then the Goa’uld Sues yell that she should stop because “there is choppy awkward dialogue ahead!” No wait, they say there’s DANGER ahead.

 
A feeble stream of light, coming from who knows where, shines on the end of the hall. It is not the flat wall or the locked door, the dead end I feared and expected. It is a black hole.

Yes… it’s a black hole…. with light shining from it. Because that’s what black holes do.

At least we now know what she’s in. And that our heroine is… kinda stupid, since she’s apparently running into a building she can’t get out of, and isn’t taking advantage of obvious stuff like… say… an air shaft.

And here’s a question: Why couldn’t this useless flashback have appeared in DREAMS, or maybe in an introductory chapter meant to create suspense? Either one would have made much more sense than “Wow! I is having the random flashbackz naoh!”

 
An elevator shaft. Abandoned, empty, and condemned, like this building. Once a hiding place, now a tomb.

The sentence fragments, so stupid. They burn!

And seriously, teh drahamaz! “Now a tomb”? She should just cut to the chase and write life-is-pain crap poetry on Livejournal.

Anyway, Goa’uld Sue thinks about how there is NO WAY to survive, but there is a way she can WIN. It sounds a lot like your average Drama Queen teenager’s fanfiction, honestly. So then we get the usual “live free or die” suicide attempt, with this dumb chick leaping into the empty elevator shaft.

 
And we sprinted for the edge of death.

Seriously, this stuff sounds like it was written by a gawthe teenybopper who has a lot of black roses and writes bad poetry about suicide. So she jumps into the shaft and of course, we get more purple prose about how it feels to fall down an elevator shaft: The emptiness swallows me. My legs flail, useless. My hands grip the air, claw through it, searching for anything solid. Cold blows past me like tornado winds.

And then there’s more wangsting about TEH PAINZ TEH PAINZ when she finally bellyflops on the floor. And finally pooooooor bodysnatching parasite don’t have to suffer TEH PAINZ anymore…

… except then we get another flashback, which thankfully doesn’t take about fifteen minutes.

 
The face was as alien to me as the faceless serpentine tentacles of my last host body would be to this new body.

This sounds a lot more interesting than it is, considering that most of her previous host bodies seem to be… plants.

So Smeyers provides a rather dull description of how the human face looks, skin color and hair and location of various sensory organs. This is all quite convincing, except…

 
Noses centered in the middle of the sphere, eyes above and mouths below, ears around the sides.

Okay, we’re talking about someone who claims the human face and body are totally alien to her, and that she has never smelled anything before… yet she knows what noses, eyes, mouths and ears are? Wouldn’t it make more sense to talk about visual organs, nutritional orifices, and so on?

This face I would have known among millions.

Bet it’s a love interest. Couldn’t possibly be their mommy or their granny or something mundane like that.

Anyway, said love interest has “light golden brown” skin, which just makes me imagine someone with skin like fresh bread. Apparently he’s got brown hair with streaks; I’m not quite sure how he manages to keep highlighting his hair after an alien invasion that has driven all “free” humans underground. And he’s got smile lines. Thank God, he hasn’t got sparkly skin or a brooding Adonis face, or I might have actually thrown up.

 
I knew nothing of what passed for beauty among these strangers, and yet I knew that this face was beautiful.

…. of course, because a little silver squid Goa’uld parasite would magically know that a human face is not only different from all the others, but is BEE-YEW-TIFUL.

 
Mine, spoke the alien thought that should not have existed.
Again, I was frozen, stunned. There should have been no one here but me. And yet this thought was so strong and so aware!

Nothing of the host survives, huh? Seriously, this is like the evil love-child of Stargate SG-1 and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except with more Sues. I suppose the host is a Sue as well, since she alone is so awesome and strong-willed that she alone can magically remain self-aware.

So Goa’uld Sue reasserts “MY body! MINEMINEMINE!”, which just makes her sound like a whiny toddler who wants all the cookies.

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