Am I seriously the only person on the planet that has no idea what the Hunger Games is about?
This post is in: Get off my grass you damned kids
This post is in: Get off my grass you damned kids
Am I seriously the only person on the planet that has no idea what the Hunger Games is about?
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No, I too am as clueless as anything. Hunger Games?
It’s “The Running Man,” but with kids.
You would if you had a 13 year old.
It’s actually a good series worth reading.
ETA: Even for grownups. I read them and I really liked them.
Yeah, well written from what I’ve seen, and a pretty strong plot. Worth your time. Significantly less goofy than Ahnold’s “Running Man” flick, and less hopeless that Richard Bachmann’s novella.
Mr Stagger Lee
I am more disturbed that there will be a Three Stooges Movie! Really Hollywood!!!???!!!!
On a positive note, there is not a single vampire or werewolf in the entire series.
I don’t know either.
The book is selling a lot of copies.
The preview looked horawful, though.
@Mr Stagger Lee: When I was in college, I saw a 3 Stooges movie in 3D.
Nope, I’m with you. Someone told me once and it sounded so f$cking depressing I promptly forgot about it.
I only found out about it in January
My wife just read the first book, which she borrowed from a friend. She liked it so much she bought the whole trilogy for herself. My daughter’s reading the first one now and I will after her.
“Am I seriously the only person on the planet that has no idea what the Hunger Games is about?”
In case you care, it is a movie based on a wonderful book trilogy. Its set in post WW3 America; the country has been divided up into sections based on how damaged by the nukes they were, and by the basic “industry” they have/had, ie farming, mining, etc. The government is run by the people who have the most (no change there). The Hunger Games of the title are the equivalent of the “circus” of bread & circus fame; each district sends 2 tributes to compete to the death, whichever one wins, their district gets more food & goodies for the next year. The overall plot arc of the three books has a hero arise, spark an uprising against the status quo & the population begin to unite & fight back. It is well written & a fun read, especially with Occupy & all the cries of “soci*list” all around. Great to spark conversations with teens or other youngs who love it.
Edit to add: I’ve no idea how good/bad the movie will be, but they seem to have taken some time & care at least with the characters. Also, Jennifer Lawrence was incredible in Winter’s Bone, so that speaks well for it.
You get to a point where you stop paying attention to popular culture. It’s okay.
In other film news, I can’t decide if the preview for Dark Shadows is horrifyingly bad or really funny.
Mr Stagger Lee
Way to go OHIO!!! (Ohio U, that is) Nice to see an Ohio team beat a Florida team at last.
Actually it’s a pretty good series of books that I read after Charli Carpenter over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money suggested it. It’s as much about post-apocalyptic America as it is about reality TV, bread & circuses, as well as a populace that views violence such as war at a good safe distance and as a sport to bet upon. The author admitted as much that the books came out of American’s enjoying things such as shock & awe when other it’s other people dying and inflicting the damage.
In many way, it’s this generations Lord of the Flies.
It also dark and cynical, but in a good way.
@cathyx: +1 to this. I really enjoyed the series. I think, as a whole, it does a better job of contemplating the psychological consequences of violence than any other genre work I’ve ever read. Good stuff, and a good, strong heroine to boot.
The plot, btw, sounds like something very apropos for our current political climate. The 1% getting the 99% to kill each other over some table scraps for their amusement.
Me neither. It’s apparently some form of popular “youth” entertainment. I will go and listen to grunge on the oldies station now.
I loved it. Read it in one sitting.
I just learned the details of The Hunger Games. It depresses me that a subject that dire and awful is the basis of a popular book series. What’s the world coming to, and more to the point, why?
Dude, Wikipedia explains the whole plot in two minutes. Perfect if you want to know Just enough to sound cool without caring enough to engage.
@Mr Stagger Lee: Do you actually mean the OU Bobcats? That’s my alma mater.
I’m listening to Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express on vinyl at the moment.
There better not be anybody stepping on my lawn…
@Mr Stagger Lee:
If they going to CGI Moe, Larry and Curly back into existence it might be fun.
If not, just watch reruns.
Mr Stagger Lee
@cathyx: It was a great game now watching Xavier, and hoping Cincinnati wins against Florida State. Though I like the Buckeyes, I like to see the Bobcats go far.
Farrelly brothers, which means everything that was too violent or ‘dirty’ for TV will be included. It does have Sean Hayes, but that’s not enough to get my attention for 2 hours.
I don’t either, and it’s making me grumpy.
@RossInDetroit: The author conceived of the trilogy when she was flipping back and forth between a reality show and coverage of the war in Iraq. This is the world our children and even we live in. It’s a worthwhile subject.
BTW, the impending divorce between my sister-in-law and my brother that I was upset about a couple of nights ago was a prank. By my sister-in-law. OK, whatev.
It’s got the same premise as Battle Royale.
I never understood the appeal of Battle Royale either.
If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app, you can usually download the first two books for about $5 on Amazon.
@Mr Stagger Lee: Wow. They never won anything when I went there. But I did do a fair amount of partying back then, so I don’t remember too much.
May I put in a plug for that otter movie, starring Bill Travers and an otter or two?
Turner Classic Movies tonight, 10 p Eastern. Ring of Bright Water.
Turner’s doing a Bill Travers evening. Elsa (Born Free) lioness is trotting up with her cubs now.
Unless you’re watching bball or something …
@Mr Stagger Lee: With Kendall Marshall fracturing his wrist in today’s game(and likely done for the season), Ohio has a very good chance of beating UNC.
I had only heard of the premise, which sounds not only hella depressing, but calculatedly so. I’m kind of sick of post-apoc stuff in general, honestly.
I get that there are people who can handle this as entertainment but it’s above my squick factor level. So are the Mad Max movies. Jonathan Lethem and Charles Stross cross the line from time to time. I just don’t want my leisure pursuits to bum me out.
Long subject, but I think popular entertainment has gotten more violent and dark. Look at Spiderman and the recent Batman films. Really frikkin’ grim, and very popular.
Don’t feel bad John, if I hadn’t been surrounded by 150 high school students daily, I wouldn’t have a clue either. My students really loved those books. The last 8 years or so of my teaching career I saw that kids really were reading a lot more. They were part of the Harry Potter generation.
I had no idea until last night when my (brilliant if I say so myself) 11 year old grandson told me about it. I’m going to get the books – sounds really good!
I’m under the impression it’s a cross between An Inconvenient Truth and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in a society that most closely resembles North Korea.
But I could be way off base.
This may have already come up in another thread, but bears repeating:
Toxic Dog Treats from China
@TaMara (BHF): Yeah, me too. My daughter told me about it and I promptly and purposely forgot about it. Then one day I picked up her copy and I read straight through all three, stopping only to sleep once in a while.
It ropes you in and holds your attention and at the end you think, “That was like a video game!”
That sounds really encouraging, actually.
45 comments and no one has made a fat joke yet?
@TBogg: This was far too serious a response for the real TBogg. Who hijacked this account? I’m betting it’s O’Keefe.
Please just tell me it’s NOT a YA romance ala Twilight? I’m a sucker for good sci-fi action. One thing I can’t stand is a theatre full of teenage girls sighing and yawning and fawning over the latest Teen Beat superstar.
There is a bad way to be dark and cynical?
@lamh35: I just read Twilight and hated it. I won’t be reading the rest of that series. It’s way better than that, although there is a bit of romance in it.
While the Hunger Games has been at the top of the Kindle sharing ‘most wanted list’ for weeks, I am embarrassed to admit that I had conflated Suzanne Collins with Jackie Collins and never gave it a second look. It was only this evening when my wife mentioned that many of her younger patients were obsessed with the books that I realized my mistake.
I got a quick crash course on it last night. Friend said to me “Hey, Battle Royale is playing on the big screen tonight, you should come.” All I knew of it was that it was supposed to be like The Hunger Games.
Helluva movie to see knowing nothing going into it. Jesus.
Who loves you, and who do you love?!
Mr Stagger Lee
@RossInDetroit: I wonder if Mel Gibson still owns the rights to the Three Stooges, which is ironic, since the original Stooges as well as Shemp were Jewish.
@TaMara (BHF): Same here re: Dark Shadows. i generally love Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, so I’ll probably go see it. I’ll just be careful to think of it as something totally different from the Dark Shadows of my youth.
I am heartened by the kids who are excited about The Hunger Games. The series is political and smart. I hope that when they are all able to vote in a few years, they remember what they learned from interacting with these characters. I would think that these kids will be a little different from the Twilight kids. And after being tormented by the bland regressive character that was Bella, it is very good to see girls loving Katniss, who has principles and agency.
No it’s not. I mentioned this in another thread, but one of the things I really did like about the books was the way it dealt with teenage romance. The heroine has two suitors. They love her for all the right reasons, and essentially both are worthy of her. Her affection for them is also based on her understanding of their character. The author deals with young adult love and sexuality in a wonderful way. This isn’t what most people would focus on, but as someone who watched the angst of young romance for 35 years, I appreciated the author’s respect for the subject.
I do not consume this media just like I never consumed any Harry Potter media. It simply isn’t for me- and YA fiction derived stuff just makes me roll my eyes. Heard it was a lot like Battle Royale, and I’ve already got the DVD special edition of that.
Still, it seems a lot smarter than Twilight®.
@andy: I don’t know how old you are, but YA fiction isn’t what it used to be. There are some exceptional books out there that appeal to YA and adults. You shouldn’t dismiss Harry Potter so quickly.
I was going to say that Jonathan Frid is turning over in his grave, but then I saw that he’s in it. It looks kind of funny but probably too violent for me.
And I wouldn’t go near “Hunger Games.” I can’t even read the articles about it in the Times. I’m with RossInDetroit.
Best get used to it. Apparently, dystopia/post-apocalypse is the new vampire/black:
@Mr Stagger Lee:
The Horwitz brothers and Larry Fine. Good Jewish boys all. We inhaled a lot of combusted substances in the ’80s and watched all of them, including the cruder Ted Healy stuff.
It’s good-I just finished the second book, true that it’s YA [young adult] lit, but I say it lives up to the hype. Fuck Bella Swan-Katniss is the real deal!
Cf. Dick Cheney, Robert Novak, Republicans in general, et. al.
The books were entertaining and fun reads.
@TaMara (BHF): I am going with really funny. Plus (and a major plus it is for me) it has both Helena Bonham Carter and Eva Green.
It promises to be one of the great conservative films of this century. Which is to say, there are no Muppets in it.
@gnomedad: No moppets? Why, it’s full of children.
Given the current state of the world economically, ecologically, politically, etc., this doesn’t seem surprising.
I’ve never read the Twilight books, but I’m assuming it is. I had plenty of female students who loved those books, but none of them ever suggested I read them. However, they really wanted me to read the Hunger Games, so of course, I did. Lots of stuff I’ve read on the internet seems to suggest that the books are geared toward young women. My anecdotal experience was that young men were just as enamored with the series.
@TaMara (BHF): saw that preview at the theater tonight when I saw 21 Jump Street. I’m too young to remember the original Dark Shadows, I have of course since glimpses of the series on syndication and thanks to my mom, I know what the show was about, so I don’t have a point of reference to compare the new version to. So I just son’t think it looks good at all.?
Mr Stagger Lee
@RossInDetroit: I will always have a spot for the Stooges, and I feel this new movie will be a sacrilege.
Raising hand… I’ve no idea what it is — book, video, game — and I’ve no idea what it is about.
The first Battle Royale was pretty good. It was much more about the characters with splatter thrown in. The rest of the books seemed to leave out everything that made the first book great and heaped on more gore.
Never saw the movie, so no idea what that was like.
Yeah, yeah. Probably took an old article about how wizards and vampires are the next big thing and did a word swap. Trends change all the time. A lot of folks around here hate smug, x-is-the-new-y, what-does-this-mean-for-Our-Culture opinion writers in politics, and I have the same feeling for people who do that with pop culture.
Thing is, I don’t have anything against post-apocalyptic stuff on its own, but hell, there’s sure a lot of it out there. And just from what I’ve heard this one doesn’t bring much to the table concept-wise. The USA being fragmented into smaller, more backwards countries, you say? A futuristic game show/sport built of violence and bloodlust as the main form of entertainment? Never heard that before!
I’m probably just being grumpy and reflexively antisocial, though. I’ve heard a lot of people whose opinions I know are sound give ’em the thumbs up, so I’ll probably see the movie at least. It’s running at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes right now, and one critic used the phrase “best American science-fiction film since the first Matrix.” Yeepers.
@dogwood: I have nothing against YA romance, I actually prefer the more trashy romance novel geared to adults, but YA romance just does not do anything for me. I think it’s because even when I was a YA, I was an old soul and I thought YA romances were just juvenille.
@Mr Stagger Lee:
I’ll give the Three Stooges film a chance to not suck, but giving the Farrelly Brothers an opportinity for 120 minutes of crude physical humor, humiliation, casual violence and low comedy is asking for trouble. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people find the result unwatchable.
Is this the place that I request that open threads be open threads? A couple of your front pagers will attach “open thread” to their posts despite the fact that these posts clearly have a topic.
Post a topic or post an open thread, don’t do both.
The “Hollywood buzz” type blogs are gushing that it’s the next Harry Potter-type movie series. But they say that about everything now. It beats having an original thought.
They said the same over-blown crap in all the pre-hype about Golden Compass – just before it fell off the face of the earth and no one ever heard about it again.
J R in WVa
I don’t know, and I don’t care. I like real science fiction, but this doesn’t smell like it has any science in it, and maybe no fiction either.
Really, really bad.
Nuke Hollywood from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
My wife read it for book club, so I picked it up. It’s not Faulkner, but it’s a fun read. Enough so that I’ve read the other two books in the series. Definitely entertaining, even thought provoking.
Hand to God, I am right now in my old law school auditorium doing a dramatic reading of an adapted script of the first novel with friends from the school Gilbert and Sullivan Society. (I’m Haymitch)
Marcellus Shale, Public Dick
lehigh almost had a chance.
@Libby’s person: Dark shadows was responsible for one of the most terrifying memories of my childhood, so I’ll take funny.
@lamh35:And how was 21 Jump Street, speaking of totally going in another direction with a film.
@Elizabelle: Ring of Bright Water was a wonderful (albeit sad) book I remember from years ago. Not sure I’m up for the movie tonight, but it’s good to know it’s out there.
I take it you’ve never read The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Very funny, but when you stop to think about what just went boom…should be kind of sad…but it isn’t…
@lamh35: I wasn’t suggesting you should read the books or that you would even like them. I was simply stating that the romance angle in the novels was a cut above the standard YA teenage love crap. In fact, “old soul” would be a pretty good description of the heroine.
@MikeJ My biggest problem is that to produce a scenario where kids are systematically rounded up and forced to murder one another for entertainment you have to throw your world through some pretty convoluted turns, especially if your universe is secular. I could never get passed that: I don’t find either world believable and that kills the whole venture right from the getgo for me.
@Mr Stagger Lee:
Considering Shemp Howard is the older brother of Mo and Curly Howard, the real outlier would be Larry Fine, who wouldn’t necessarily have to be the same religion as the Howard brothers.
Just more “white trash” TV, dude.
I took Hitch Hiker’s as a bitter but light hearted satire. Resignation to the absurd and inevitable is very British.
But, yeah. Earth gets totaled in the first chapter.
If you have Amazon Prime, the first two books are free in the lending library.
@Peter: Again, I thought the first book actually tried to explain the world a little more than the subsequent books did. When the book were trying to tell a story I thought it was pretty good. When it was just splatter it was less good.
@Joseph Nobles: I agree it’s a very worthwhile subject for our young adults – it’s really friggin’ depressing though…
And if I believed in using gendered insults I’d have some choice words for you SIL. Wow! Why would anyone want to do that to a family member?
What intrigues me about the Three Stooges movie is it’s rated PG.
You don’t see a lot of live action PG movies anymore.
For whatever it’s worth, I think they may keep things silly enough to be entertaining.
IIRC the guy who runs the “Yo, is this Racist?” tumblr has the Hunger Games on the list of nerd shit he doesn’t care about.
Skipping right to the end of comments, John, but there are at least two of us.
@existential fish: Well, if Willy Wonka’s contest was an invitation to almost certain death, then yeah.
@lamh35: Well, there is a love triangle – ’cause YA ficton, duh! – but it is much much more interesting and well-handled than Twilight. But I realize that is a low bar. Heh.
I haven’t read the series, but man, everyone who has seems to love it. All you “I haven’t read it but have decided to preemptively dislike it” posters might want to hedge your bets.
I just finished reading the first book yesterday, and I thought it was really very good, surprisingly so. I definitely plan on reading the two sequels. As YA phenomena go, it’s light years ahead of Twilight, of which I only managed to get through a few chapters before giving up in disgust at the combination of shitty writing and anti-feminist messaging. Plus, in spite of the apocalyptic premise, the book actually managed to be kind of heartwarming. And I mean genuinely heartwarming, not the fake kind.
All that said, I’m not sure if I’ll see the movie, even though I loved Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone (and X-Men, for that matter). The book alone was gruesome enough. I’m pretty sure the movie will be seriously gory. I’m kind of amazed they can make it without an R rating.
Also, some of the marketing for the movie suggests the marketing gurus haven’t actually READ the book. There’s a Hunger Games-themed line of nail polish out, for Pete’s sake. It’s a dystopian novel about a girl growing up as part of the starving underclass in a post-apocalyptic totalitarian state, and then being forced to turn into a gladiator for the filmed entertainment of the overclass. Nail polish colours are not exactly at the top of her list of her priorities. I realize marketing gurus have to make money somehow, but that’s just plain absurd.
Haven’t read Hunger Games, though I hear the books are very good – not “good for a YA novel” but “good,” period. But “dispossessed people struggling under a rapacious sociopathic government that regards murder as a blood sport” is too damn plausible for me to enjoy reading about it.
I will say that many of the books’ most fervent fans, who were skeptical about the movie – and furious when the two leads were “whitewashed” – have now moved towards being enthusiastic about it after seeing production stills and trailers. I will also say the one trailer I saw is… startlingly good.
Still likely won’t see it, for the reason noted above.
I have also seen the trailer for “Dark Shadows,” and may be in line on opening night for that one. It looks like a wonderfully campy take on the old soap opera, and quite a few of my favorite actors are in it.
Now, here’s a question: Has anyone here been watching “Shameless” on SHO? Just came back from a (late) St. Patrick’s Day dinner with friends, who bought the first season on DVD. I watched 4 episodes, and am pretty well hooked. The premiere cut a little too close – I knew people like that in high school; hell, I dated people like that in high school! – but starting with the second episode the show goes Over The Top in hilarious fashion.
The acting is amazing (William Macy and Joan Cusack are in it, and one of the kids is played by the actor who played Young Spock in the Trek reboot; let’s just say he was not typecast, m’kay?). I practically begged my friends to loan me the rest of the disks – which they will do, only they want to see them all first.
@Mayken: I’m not trying to guess on the prank. I figured it had been my brother doing it if it had been a prank, and was going to tell her that I would fly down to San Antonio and hold him down while she beat on him, but now? That doesn’t play the other way.
If it had just been April 1, I probably would have been freaking for a second and then realized the date and chilled out. And that would still be one hell of a head turner of a prank. She’s a roller derby girl, though, and if my brother is cool with it, I’ll just take the shot an.d keep on rolling.
Besides, they’ve moved on to a real crisis — their oldest girl got bitten by a dog today. She’s just in first grade, so it was pretty traumatic.
The Harry Potter books came out over a period of time when I was ages 6 to 17, or so (forget the exact dates). Right in the sweet spot, in other words. One of my first literary loves. Maybe I’ll read THG as a pre-emptive strike against becoming a grumpy old man who thinks that no new fantasy book could ever compare to the stuff I liked in grade school.
@CaseyL: Loving Shameless here in the US. The British version has 11 seasons, I think, and the first 5 are streaming on Netflix. I like all the characters, but I like the American Lip better. And I know this is going to be heresy, but I like the British Frank better. Love William H. Macy in the role, but David Threlfall is just unbelievably good as the Gallagher patriarch.
The UK Steve was James McAvoy, btw. They had him for a season and a half before his career went kablam.
It’s great because she’s got these two boys in love with her, but she never wants to get married and have children because they might have to be in the games. So she really only wants to be friends. A very positive role model. I enjoyed the books very much.
I finally read the trilogy a couple months ago. I had put it off because I was told it’s a YA book and I’m not a big YA fiction reader (absolutely hated Twilight), but I absolutely LOVED Justin Cronin’s The Passage, which bizarrely has been labeled YA as well. So what the hell.
Also, I really wanted to read the book before I saw the movie, because movies always ruin books for me — I can never imagine any characters or settings once I’ve seen an image on film. So if I’m going to read a book it has to be before I the movie comes out.
And I thought The Hunger Games was really well done, especially the first book. A really good observation of our reality TV pop culture/permanent war economy, set in a dystopian future.
So, that is tonight’s book review.
@Joseph Nobles: Well, I like your attitude about it. Good on you.
My best to your niece for a speedy and whole recovery including no phobia of dogs from the experience. That’s sux and no two ways about it.
I wish I remember where I heard this (might have been here for all I know) but I remember reading about Margaret Atwood saying that about The Handmaid’s Tale. i.e., European women would say “Wow, what an interesting sci-fi story!” and American women would say “How long we got before this actually happens?”
The best thing about decent YA lit., like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games is that it can turn a kid into a lifelong reader. The thing some teachers and parents forget is that reading is developmental. If a 17 year old kid has never read a book, handing him The Sound and the Fury is probably not going to turn on the light bulb. You just try to move them up incrementally. Kids who liked the HG series were easy to move to something like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It was also a no-brainer to move the kids who were reading The Notebook to something like The Poisonwood Bible or The Kite Runner. However, the one great piece of literature that I could give to any student regardless of reading level or reading interest and be almost guaranteed to get a great response, was Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.
I thought it was a TV show based on “A Hunger Artist” by Kafka, and thought it would make for fun TV.
@Mr Stagger Lee:
I just saw the movie poster and wanted to slit my wrists. I told my husband the only way I could be dragged to see that movie is if it were the zombie apocalypse and the movie theater was the last safe place on earth.
I got dropped out of the dystopian post-Apocalyptical fiction fanclub after reading The Road. That book put me in a funk for a long time.
I agree with this, too.
@Spaghetti Lee: David Hartwell did say the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12. It doesn’t mean one can’t go on to read SF in later years with more sophistication and appreciation, but a lot of people find that sense of wonder and challenge then. Fortunately, some of us keep it, or a bit of it.
re 3 Stooges, though. I loathed them, & never thought they were funny. Talking to friends, a not-that-strange pattern emerged. Men liked them. Women didn’t. YMMV.
I haven’t read The Hunger Games, but pretty well figured out the premise from the ads on TV. I’ll probably read it because I’m a huge fan of dystopian fiction – it fits with my worldview.
Those of you who think it’s a bit too dark for teens & etc…consider the value it has: it presents authority as not always benign, it introduces kids, teens & young adults to social injustices that have parallels in contemporary society, and so forth. Think of some of the other great works of dystopian fiction: 1984, Brazil, The Handmaid’s Tale, V for Vendetta, hell even Idiocracy which probably doesn’t fit in the “great” category but…the value in all of these is people who are familiar with them can look at things in contemporary news and find parallels. The concept of “newspeak” and the administration of George W. Bush. The all-out assault on the notion that women are people, and Gilead. The Republican nomination race and Idiocracy.
I personally think dystopian works are very valuable in instilling a healthy suspicion for authority in young people which will serve them well in adulthood.
Don’t tell that to anyone who read Doris Lessing’s Canopus In Argos series. I read it in college. Pretty dense stuff.
My the 13 year old niece lent me her copy about a year ago and convinced me to read it. It was much better than expected, and held my interest. I have yet to read the rest of the trilogy, though. May buy her the set for her birthday (she doesn’t own all of them) and borrow the rest……
YA is much better than back in my day (when, IIRC, it was Nancy Drew and bad teen angst novels), and YA Sci Fi can actually be quite good. I read Ember a few years back, and it was well written and interesting.
Oh man, after I read The Road I wanted to crawl under my bed and hide for 3 weeks. Didn’t help that John McCain was singing “bomb bomb bomb Iran” on my TeeVee at the time.
Could not see the movie, even with Viggo Mortensen.
Funny thing though: a super conservative Tea Party type acquaintance of mine — we were in a writer’s group together — read it before I did and said he thought it was a very “hopeful” book. I was like, SERIOUSLY? He said it was the father-son relationship that he really liked in it.
And that says it all right there.
The last YA speculative fiction I read was Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother. It’s about a near future surveillance state and kids who find ways to resist. The inevitable teen romance is secondary and tolerable.
I thought enough of it to buy a copy for my nephew’s high school library. I hope this small act of subversion passed under the librarians’ noses.
The Fat Kate Middleton
Just read the book, at the urging of my daughter-in-law (elementary literacy coach and teacher). People – it’s YA fiction. I taught and encouraged reading of YA fiction for years and years, to get kids reading. But it’s not what I want after a lifetime of reading and teaching what I can only refer to as “great fiction.” Think Crime and Punishment, Pride and Prejudice, A Farewell to Arms, etc, etc., etc. I can only say it again : It’s YOUNG ADULT FICTION!
BTW -just read “Dark Rose” today. Now that’s good reading.
BTW – just read “Dark Rose” today. Now that’s gooding reading.
Well, I do generally like sci-fi/fantasy as a genre, and as the above chronology could tell you, I’m not that far removed from 12 (age-wise or mentally!), so maybe I’m just hype-averse, either worried about succumbing to it or being disappointed. As others here have said, the last teen-book ‘cultural phenomenon’ to get this much ink was freakin’ Twilight.
Of course, I didn’t know people were lining up to name their pet “Bella” due to the Twilight series either. So I might not be the best reference point.
The Fat Kate Middleton
I give up trying to edit. Sorry.
@Joseph Nobles: About half an hour into the first episode, I said something like, “How was it possible for an American production studio to even come up with something like this?” because US television producers don’t even notice people like the Gallaghers exist (except as perps in Law & Order episodes), much less the rest of the folks in their milieu. Then I read the liner notes on the DVD, that “Shameless” was a UK series first. And I said, “Well, yes; of course. That explains it.” Seems we get some of our best TV ideas from the Brits.
(In fact, there will be an American version of the BBC’s new Sherlock – most emphatically NOT being made with the blessings of the BBC series’ team, which in fact has said it will be watching closely, ready to file suit for infringement.)
I’ll take your word about the British Frank being better. He may have been a very quintessentially British Frank. Macy as the US version is a revelation: he is an actor entirely without vanity, unafraid to be repellent, pathetic, and unintentionally hilarious, over and over again.
I read an interview with Suzanne Collins who wrote The Hunger Games. She spent years and years as a writer for TV shows. She said she got the idea for the books at the time of the Iraq invasion, all of that “shock and awe” stuff juxtaposed against reality TV shows like The Bachelor. She said she saw the media’s selling of the Iraq War as just another piece of reality TV entertainment.
Probably a dirty fucking hippie.
Heinlein wrote some very good YA Sci Fi. Have Space Suit Will Travel blew my young mind. I sincerely believe that stories about resourceful teen inventors and tinkerers are the reason I own 3 times my weight in tools and know more about semiconductors than about cooking.
I bet she uses birth control!
For me the father-son relationship seems to be the bright spot, where the father teaches the son through all these horrible circumstances what it means to keep your humanity and your sense of decency as a survivor.
The problem is that it seems so inconsequential in this world McCarthy has created. It is drowning in doom. Finding hope in that seems rather pointless.
In addition to all the other amazing comments, as a feminist reader of much sci fi and much YA lit, I found the suborning of gender roles and the reader’s expectations of gender to be particularly edifying. Also, one of the better – and most graphic – descriptions of PTSD I’ve read in YA lit.
I don’t think the 2nd and 3rd books are filmable (or MPAA-able) without serious bowdlerising.
The first book is quite good. The next two are like sequels to a great movie . . . not so good. They take forever and never live up to the standard set by the first one.
The culture demands its due, though. If there’s a way to capitalize on a thing, every last dime must be squeezed to a nub.
Villago Delenda Est
Until this thread, I had never heard of Hunger Games.
Now I’m thinking about looking into it.
Holding out for Prometheus.
It’s a blatant attempt to create a literary/cinematic behemoth now that Harry Potter is done and Lemony Snicket never took off.
Speaking of books, I’m getting ready to leave the country pretty soon. I need some suggestions for flight reading. When I’m in an airport or on a plane, I want something that is that’s pretty compelling, but not necessarily high brow. I’m also not a sci-fi fan so that’s out. Any suggestions? I’ve got about 20 hours to kill.
@dogwood: If you like historical fiction: Q by the Luther Blisset collective or The INstance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. If you want to read the (IMHO) best fiction writer of the current era get David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and the 1000 autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
The teenage girl has serious PTSD and racks up a horrific body count in a series of “games” and a ghastly civil war.
Katniss is not Bella Swan by a long shot.
@Dave: I *think* that’s going to be a mind-blowing movie. The trailer gives me hope. While I haven’t been obsessed with going back to that universe, I have kinda wondered what the backstory to Alien/Aliens was, and now it looks like we may find out.
Also: Ridley Scott, baby! I love me some Ridley Scott visuals.
Skippy the Wondermule
The Running Man with teenagers, that’s about right
I never heard of it till a month ago, being 47 with no kids
Lily would love it, if she could read (if?)
Reminds of a Western version of Battle Royal.
Katniss tends to be contemptuous of fashion (having to go out and kill your dinner with bow and arrow on a daily basis does change priorities…) so I am a bit astonished that somebody would actually market that with a straight face.
Tom Izzo: “That is a very well-coached team and a very difficult team to play against. I think they’re great.”
NYT: “St. Louis gave Michigan State fits”. Every other sentence in story concerned Draymond Green.
By all indications, SLU never gave up. I am extremely proud and I wish I could have heard the nice things the announcers said about them. I still remember “fundamentally sound” from the Wake Forest tournament game an eon ago.
I guess I want Cincinnati to win now because the Big East hasn’t been having a very good day.
I know what The Hunger Games is about because if I get to the NYTBR, I read the children’s bestseller list.
Thanks, I have Cloud Atlas on my Kindle. I’ll save it for the trip.
@TaMara (BHF): *Thank you* for posting about the dog treats, I had not seen it before. I just checked 2 bags I had here, one was chicken and one duck, the store brand from Hannaford supermarket. Both from China. I had picked it up thinking it is just meat, not a bunch of gods know what. I have not seen ill effects, but I chucked them anyway.
I have been making his dog food, looks like I will need to find a good recipe for biscuits/treats. Does anyone have one?
@celticdragonchick: I’m not. Non-gender-conforming characters, but esp. young women, do not exist in “marketing” world.
General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero)
We are about to get hit with a winter storm, with 5 to 10 inches of snow and winds at 45 mph. Lovely.
Steve in DC
Saw it at a pre screening in DC, don’t waste your time, it sucks. John Carter is better, and the obvious blue-ray purchase here.
@dogwood: If you like mystery, anything by Thomas Perry. He writes intelligently, with intelligent characters, but not a lot of dense exposition, and no authorial lecturing at all.
He has one continuing-character series, the Jane Whitefield novels, that might be confusing to someone new who doesn’t start with one of the earlier books.
He has another continuing-series (though I think the third book was the last one) about a surprisingly likeable hit man – surprising because he doesn’t make the guy an endearing eccentric in any way, a la Bloch’s “Hitman” series – and the FBI agent who has spent some two decades trying to catch him. The titles of those are: “The Butcher’s Boy,” “Sleeping Dogs,” and “The Informant.” Those would be a fun way to pass a long flight.
He also has many, many stand-alone novels which are wonderful.
@TaMara (BHF): That looks so camp you could pack your kids away to it for the summer.
I can’t wait for Prometheus… :)
I still want to see what Ridley Scott has planned for next Blade Runner entry. (he gave the go-ahead last year)
Also, all you people who love these books, let’s see how you feel when David Brooks and NRO claim the movie as a great conservative work of art celebrating good ol’ fashioned American ingenuity and perseverance!
Same here. It’s the first SF I remember reading.
@CaseyL: The American Sherlock isn’t being made with their blessing? Sue away, I’d say. The basic set-up of brilliant sociopath/worldly sidekick solving crimes is so ingrained in formula procedurals, the only reason to say it’s the American Sherlock is to trade off the UK series buzz.
And Macy is phenomenal in the role. Threlfall is just incarnate. Maybe it’s just that I’ve seen much more of his screentime in the UK version. Frank Gallagher is really one of the greatest comedic characters ever.
Point taken. :(
I never actually read that, and I have an awful lot of Heinlein books sitting about 8 feet from me. I am reading I Will Fear No Evil right now.
I have read Starship Troopers at least a dozen times.
over 160 comments and no one mentions the only interesting thing about HG? it was inspired by the minotaur myth.
Theseus offered himself in place of one of the lot-chosen victims, just like Katniss.
Thats where the author took the idea of “tribute” from.
it is appealing to teen girl angst, and a healthier read i suppose than the truly execrable Twilight which apparently glorifies necrophilia and the subjugation of women as far as i can tell.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
No dystopia, none, is going to get me down tonight.
Yes, which is where the comparison to Battle Royale falls apart.
Collins ties our modern obsession with theatrical violence as entertainment to older, classical themes in mythology and Roman history.
The fact that it has neither Wizards nor Vampires already gives it 2 points in its favor.
@Southern Beale: What I said was, and what Hartwell means in his essay is “It doesn’t mean one can’t go on to read SF in later years with more sophistication and appreciation, but a lot of people find that sense of wonder and challenge then.”
People of any age can discover other worlds and ways of looking at things, but we do seem to be more open when we’re younger.
And, um, you don’t need to defend the genre. David Hartwell is one of the best editors in the field.
@celticdragonchick: yeah Potter also is stuffed with mythical and literary tags.
OTOH, Twilight sucks all the magick and power out of vamphyres and werewolves and replaces it with tweenie soft porn.
the glamour of evil is entirely missing from those dreadful books. of course they were written by a mormon woman.
Also, no pod races, nor prolonged speeches in the Senate of The Republic.
However, there aren’t any Klingons either, which is a pity. Klingons always add fun.
I take back every mean thing I have said about you in the last two years. Brilliant.
HOLY HELL! We just had the biggest bolt of lightning and loudest clap of thunder I have EVER heard, here in Seattle, during a hailstorm. It looked and sounded like a transformer exploding, only like 5x as bright and loud.
ETA: I Iived in South Florida for years, so I know from major electrical storms. This was bigger and badder even than that. But just the one, so far; knock wood.
This might be a good time to turn off your computer.
The author has been dead a good long time. Americans have as much right to rape his corpse as Auntie Beeb does. I’d tell ’em to go piss up a rope.
@CaseyL: Was that huge boom outside thunder? Scared the shit outta me and my cat!
@CaseyL: I’m not hearing sirens, at least not yet, so it has to have been thunder. I’m curious where it struck now.
EDIT: hearing sirens now, but a ways off. Too bad I don’t have time to hunt for the damage tomorrow!
One of the best YA series I’ve read is the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman. Wholly different genre but more literary than you’d think, and more than they need to be. These are fine stories in their own right. They’re also often very dark and depressing. The shorter Death series is similar.
@Southern Beale: Leesing was also a big proponent of Idries Shah’s works regarding Sufism. Shah’s first book ‘The Sufis’ is well worth a read.
Shah’s book ‘seeker After Truth’ has perhaps the best riposte to today’s though processes: ‘Yes, people really are stupid-it’s that we’re all not stupid at the same time.’
Shah’s base premise was that the Sufism transcends all religious doctrines (“Before time, we were”) and showed that Sufism was also present in Christianity and Judaism long before Islam surfaced-and is home to the redoutbale joke-figure Mullah Nasruddin.
Speaking of dystopian stories with youthful protagonists…
Stephen King’s most unappreciated novel is probably “The Long Walk”.
I preferred it to The Running Man.
@Spaghetti Lee: Well, I did respond to your mentioning your age bracket. ;-> Which, quite honestly I wouldn’t have guessed from your comments I’ve read in other threads.
I’ve been a life-long SF reader, so no qualms on that score. I don’t do Dystopian any more, because one or another of those seem to be staring us in the eyeballs these days.
John M. Burt
I know this isn’t a Plug-Yourself thread, nor a Job-Seeker thread, but I am very pleased with how my first novel, an anti-war YA titled The Christmas Mutiny, has come out, and I invite anyone who is interested to drop by my site and check it out.
@muddy: I think if you click on my name and then search my blog, Mrs. J made dog treats once and Jeffrey posted the recipe.
@CaseyL: And it’s not even 12 o’clock!
/semi-obscure Hunger Games joke
I don’t know if nonfiction is your thing, but I would recommend “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and Alison Weir’s “The Lady in the Tower.”
@CaseyL: My condo faces north. It lit up my whole bedroom window. What was really scary was the QUIET afterwards. Like the world just stopped.
@Yutsano: Did you see the flash? One of my kitties was outside, but they’re both in now. Neither of them are particularly freaked out.
@MikeJ: Well, yes and no. The new BBC series has set Sherlock in the present day, and adapted 6 of the original stories to happen “now.” And the US series is rumored to be doing the same thing.
First of all, there’s nothing new under the sun, including people who are (I am assuming) from an earlier generation forgetting their own generation’s dips into the dire and awful art pool. Lord of the Flies is actually FAR more depressing than any book in the Hunger Games.
Second of all, and then again: Why? For the same reason that Bob Dylan was well-received in the 60s. For the same reason that Blues arose out of the early 20th century. For the same reason that Dante wrote his shit in the 1300s. For the same reason that, yes, Lord of the Flies as well as Z for Zachariah and hundreds of other YA-or-thereabouts books got written about nuclear annihilation during the cold war: Because the world is fucked up, and kind of always has been, and art takes on the tone of the current brand of fucked-up-ness, and from that standpoint (as others have mentioned) it, IMO, takes its place as a piece of criticism-of-zeitgeist that belies its “YA label.”
Got a little ranty/rambly at the end there, but I think I got my point across.
@Yutsano: “…a great disturbance in the Force; as if a million voices cried out ‘WTF was that?’ and then were silent…wondering if they were about to lose power.”
@TaMara (BHF): I just saw the preview for the ‘Dark Shadows’ movie. If Depp can make it a comedic rompt it may be worth something-otherwise, it shows just how horrible Hollywood has become in making movies-perhaps that explains why I’ve become an amine junkie…
It’s probably the same Big Nasty that’s passing through Phoenix today. We got caught in a hailstorm with my elderly father driving. That was a little hairy.
Priceless. I know most people here really love Charles Pierce, but a while back he wrote this awful piece about how the West Wing was horrible because President Bartlett didn’t go for single payer or some such nonsense. I swear, if liberals or Democrats or whatever the hell we’re calling ourselves now start losing their perspective, I’ll lose my mind.
People have fucked with Sherlock forever. The movies in the late 30s/early 40s also set Sherlock in the (then) present and had him going up against Nazis.
I lurve the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock, but there’s nothing particularly new about what they did.
@TheMightyTrowel: That’s “AN Instance of the Fingerpost”, and anything else by Iain Pears is also good, although this may be the best. Another book of somewhat the same nature is “Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey.
KU is amazing in the clutch. Also, too, fuck you Mizzou.
That is all.
@CaseyL: Heck, yes. Felt like it was right over me (three seconds from flash to bang). And it was definitely unnerving, even knowing what it was.
Frickin’ strange weather.
@CaseyL: Usually though the trucks can still be heard on I-5. For like five minutes…nothing. All I heard was the gentle precipitation falling. I have no idea what it’s doing right now.
The FSM is definitely fucking with us. I blame Algore.
Thanks. A fun way to pass a long flight is exactly what I’m looking for.
Yes. Very, very much.
late again. But I never heard of it until yesterday, and I have a 17 y/o AND a 13 y/o.
Also too, Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events beats the hell out of anything in the modern YA genre.
John, if you want to remain hip to whatever will be the bomb in 5 or 10 years, just watch Japanese and BBC shows.
@Mnemosyne (iTouch): I actually read more nonfiction than fiction. I’ve already read The Immortal Life, but I’ll check out the Weir piece. A novel I did pick up recently and really enjoy was the Korean bestseller, Please Look After Mom.
Tiny thing about the US Sherlock is, yes, there have always been adaptations so, that’s not a real surprise but it is looking a bit me-tooish in that uniquely American adapt all foreign successes way. Real thing I want to know is why did Jonny Lee Miller agree to it? He’s already a bit inevitably linked to Benedict Cumberbatch after the Frankenstein shared roles trick so does he really want to play into the whole dueling actors thing they practically built into the series? Doesn’t strike me as a smart move for him.
@scav: But what a bonanza for the fans! I saw Frankenstein with Miller as the Doctor and Cumberbatch as the Monster, and wish I had seen it the other way around as well. So, although I’m ambivalent about the US series, I am looking forward to seeing Miller’s take on a modern-day Holmes.
That’s why I don’t like putting political tests on my entertainment. I mean, I wouldn’t watch something like The Undefeated except under pain of death, and I probably prefer stuff that basically lines up with what I think, but saying that you’re not going to partake in anything that shows conservatives in a good light, or liberals in a bad light, or seeking out stuff not because you actually enjoy it but because you think it’s important politically that it’s successful, well, you’re in a bad place. Look at John Hawkins if you want to see how dark that particular abyss gets.
Maybe it’s just my environment, but I get the sense that a lot of people especially in my generation have no problem at all seeing authority as “not benign.”
The downside of it is that people who believe that seem just as likely to fall into the generic libertarian, or non-voting, or South Park Republican kind of nihilism (“everything sucks, maaaaann”) as they are to lean towards what we’d consider progress. Getting people to see authority as “not benign” is one thing – what’s much harder is getting them to see that it doesn’t have to be that way.
@CaseyL: ooouf, from a technical perspective it was fascinating to watch both versions of Frankenstein, and I did see it both ways (In fact, they blew my second round so I had to go back repeatedly). Cumberbatch’s Doctor was more arrogant/driven and cerebral than Miller’s, which are exactly the points I desire in a Sherlock. But technically, it could be interesting to see what he makes of it. But that still leaves Banquo’s (aka Benedict’s) ghost hanging around JLM’s roles which I don’t quite get as a career choice. Technically not typecasting but . . . . still a bit of a been there done that. Works from an advertising perspective, certainly. Just struck me as odd.
(… in the Sherlock Holmes category, I’ve been waiting years for someone in Hollywood to discover and make a legit adaptation of Arsene Lupin – the French counterpart to Holmes, same era, same kind of mind, but made much more fun by the fact that he’s on the other side of the law. But it’s probably never to be. Ah, well. I’ll file that along with all the good Belgian comics I read in my youth that I wish could be adapted with a Hollywood budget behind them but never will be).
I don’t have much to add to HG because I can’t manage to tear book 3 away from my 11 year old long enough to finish it. From what I can see so far, the moral and ethical failures of the district 13 government seem to be critical in making this a worthwhile exercise in world building. The books focus on the effects of war on the individual, which a heavy topic to bring to pre-teens, and Collins deserves credit for doing it well.
Collins is no anthropologist, though. Panem does not make sense as a cultural heir of even a shattered north america, and the economic system of Panem just does not make sense. At a social level it reads like a libertarian’s idea of what a leftist criticism of America would be.
The only way Twilight could be dumber is if it took on corporeal form and declared its candidacy for the GOP nomination.
I say that makes you sane. I’ve got really eclectic taste when it comes to books, film and tv. I like some fairly low brow stuff, and am a sucker for cooking shows. Also have a penchant for spy novels and movies, so I got a kick out of 24. Watching the right wing spin that into conservative must watch tv always cracked me up.
Your reaction is shared by this reader. W to the FUCK?!
This is damning with faint praise. Great analysis and pithy to boot.
The best post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve ever read was the 50’s novel Earth Abides by George Stewart. Absolutely brilliant, amazingly prescient, and an all around literary masterpiece.
Stand on Zanzibar.
@MikeJ: ETA, really more dystopia than post apoc, but there’s a lot of crossover in the categories.
@dogwood: Long ago I gave up trying to read seriously on long hauls. Mostly I pretend to sleep, and usually get a new muscle to hate me for months or years. Souvenirs of whichever flight it was.
What actually works for me to relax and maybe sleep is music in a language I don’t understand. I usually do Polynesian, but Gaelic works too.
Some Bubbly never hurts, until after the second bottle anyway.
@GG: You’re lucky. I just can’t sleep on an airplane. Part of my itinerary is a redeye from Seattle to Miami, and that’s when some good ole thriller type reading that requires little from me will be just the ticket.
Agreed. I haven’t read Zanzibar, but I’ll put it on the list.
Okay, nevermind. Just downloaded a mobi file of the novel to put on my
computerKindle. For free. After 3 minutes of searching. The internet is unfathomably amazing.
@freelancer: If you’ve never read Brunner and you enjoy SoZ, check out The Sheep Look Up and the first cyberpunk novel, Shockwave Rider.
I was introduced to it this morning in Parade magazine. From the preview, it just sounds like more apocalyptic shenanigans from writers who like to write fiction about apocalyptic shenanigans.
@dogwood: If I hadn’t learned to sleep in a car/onna plane/wherever I’d not be here now.
Sorry about the redeye. Redeyes suck hugely, and they’re damn hard to sleep on because they’re so short. SEA-MIA might be just long enough for a decent nap.
My husband always insisted he couldn’t sleep on a plane. I think a few Transpacs finally cured him of that notion. But like you (if I guess right) he was always the guy with the light on.
Good flying. Oh, and you DO know about Flyertalk, right?
@GG: ditto. I live and work on one continent and do research on another. Airplane sleeping is a skill I have had to master.
@GG: No I don’t know about flyertalk and I fly alot.
I actually like redeyes. They’re quiet and people don’t move around so much.
I was there when it came out, but I passed on reading it. I’m just happy it’s a girl with strength, will and intellect. Mind you, I wonder why they passed on the Uglies as property?
@dogwood: http://www.flyertalk.com/ Trust me, you will learn things which will make your flying happier. Flyertalk is the best site ever for anyone who thinks they fly a lot. I only have a million or so BIS miles, and I still learn.
@TheMightyTrowel: Sleep is still hit or miss for me sometimes. There’s this muscle in my shoulder that hasn’t been right since a SYD-LAX flight in 2010… Delta’s B/E pods are strange, and I’d be happy to go back to the NW 330 WBC seats. Which makes no sense if you fly a different airline, of course.
@dogwood and The MIghtyTrowel: I’m also GG on Flyertalk. And have been since 2000.
Im late to this thread but I hought I’d clear a couple of things up re Hunger Games. It is nothing like Twight OR Battle Royale.
People get it so wrong when hey make this comparison. In Battle Royale it is the adults who sighn the bill to enable these gaves to curtail what they find to be increasingly disrespectful youth. Its very Japanese.
@GG: all my money goes towards my research so i’m stuck in Y class until I’m a professor. Sigh. At least I get lounge access these days.
@TheMightyTrowel: Lounge access is not to be sneezed at, but GO TO FT. The worst that will happen is you will be told you’re doing it right. But I’m almost sure you’ll learn useful stuff.
And no, I’m not a shill. In fact, I shouldn’t have mentioned FT at all. Every time more ppl get turned on to FT it just creates competition for decent seats. But my mom was an underpaid professor, so…
Another vote here for “never heard of this stuff until the marketing campaign started”.
I have Battle Royale on DVD, so the whole concept as I understand it seems like an Americanized version of the original Japanese. Adaptations of this sort of stuff are hit and miss. We’ll see if the series is still “the next Harry Potter” after the movie is out for two weeks or so.
I confess to being a bit behind on most of these sorts of trends. I just watched Jaws this morning for the first time ever, so that should give you an idea. On the other hand, I don’t have a problem reading a “young adult” novel if it’s any good.
I was hungry earlier this morning…then I had a bowl of raisan bran and soy milk (and 2 cups of black coffee….yum)
Started reading the series a few weeks ago and am already 70% into the final book. #hooked
I read part of the book about a year ago. The way it was described to me (by someone who loved Twilight, so I should have known better) made it sound awesome — dystopian post-war future where kids kill each other in gladiator battles. Yes!!
But it was clear early on that the book wasn’t meant for me, or really anyone over the age of 21. And I stopped after the bit where the heroine showcases her archery talents to a panel of judges. I didn’t know there was already a film in the works, but I remember thinking it didn’t read like a book so much as a screenplay for a cheesy movie.
@Mr Stagger Lee:
If you can’t see the film crew milling around in the background or any of the characters try to stop the scene because they forgot their lines, it ain’t worth seeing, IMHO.
Was that Curly Joe?
The father becomes just as bad as the other survivors they meet.