Chapter Nine – Yesterday and Today
Dave and Sarah start talking to Zuriel, the historian, who tells them about Fedor’s history. He mentions that his father was the historian before him, and his father before him. Zuriel is also described as being fifty or sixty. Unfortunately Nuworld has only been around for about fifty years, which means that Zuriel would have to have been born right at the time of the nuclear war, at which time this tribe of Amazons would not have even existed. Personally, a lot of this could be explained away by Nuworld just being some weird parallel universe, but unfortunately Morris wasn’t smart enough to do that in the first book (although it won’t stop him from trying to retcon).
Sarah asks Zuriel if he doesn’t understand how strange this place is. Because everywhere else, at least, women understand their place. Barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. Zuriel says that it wasn’t always like this. He lowers his voice and begins to narrate:
Way back when, men were in charge and everything was “normal” like God intended. Then there was a war, and nearly all the men were killed. The women took over. One woman was tough so she made herself queen and taught the other women how to fight and hunt, and what few men remained were forced to live like servants. And she made everyone else do the same thing for a few generations and now nobody can remember when it was any different.
When Zuriel finished, Dave said “Zuriel, we need to turn this village around. It’s based on the wrong kind of relationships” (page 93).
What? Wrong kind of relationships? You mean with women in charge? Well…yes and no.
Zuriel says that change is hard. Dave brings up Maug. Zuriel says that he would like to see Maug defeated, and see the end of Mita, the witch doctor, but they wouldn’t be able to win in a fight. Sarah says that they’ll have to accomplish it by love. I ask, accomplish what, exactly? Morris doesn’t bother making this very clear.
We cut over to Josh. He’s scrubbing the floor while Ettore watches him. Afterward, she yells at him and tries to get him to yell at her, but Josh refuses. Finally Josh asks why she singles him out for harsh treatment. He says that people who treat their servants nicely are rewarded with loyalty, but all she gets is hatred. Ettore punches him, and then tells him that one day she may have him as her mate. Josh says that he’d rather have a snake. This unfortunate remark makes Ettore get out her cane and started beating the crap out of him until Sarah jumps in the way and picks up a broom and tells Ettore that if she doesn’t stop, she’ll kick her ass. Ettore laughs and swaggers off.
Sarah puts dressing on Josh’s welts and they talk. They discuss escaping, which doesn’t sound like it’ll work, and then discuss rallying the men together and taking over from the Amazons. And then Sarah has this gem:
“Well, that’s the culture here, and that’s what’s got to be broken before they can understand anything about love” (page 98).
Right. So, basically, this is what’s going on here:
- A) the women don’t understand anything about love
- B) because of this the Dark Lord’s power is flourishing
- C) the reason the women don’t understand anything about love is because they’re in charge, which
- C prime) is against everything that’s natural, therefore
- D) the only way to solve this problem is to overthrow the women and put the men back in charge because only with men in charge and women in their natural, subservient roles can people live positive, happy lives under Goel, and
- F) if the women remained in charge, there would never be any sort of positive change for the better no matter what the Sociopaths did.
Yes. This is what this entire book is based around.
Sarah goes off to find Rolf. He’s hoeing in the garden with his shirt off and Sarah watches his muscles work. No, really. She strikes up a conversation and then tells Rolf that he’d make a good hunter. Rolf doesn’t think he would, because he has a low self-image that’s been beaten into him for his entire life. Sarah thinks about this, and then, if she actually does anything to help Rolf’s self-image, it takes place offscreen. Which is the perfect way to show character development, I’ve found.
So occasionally (very occasionally) Morris does come upon with a reasonably good idea that actually works well and makes for a moderately enjoyable chapter or scene. Admittedly, this idea usually backfires to some extent or another, or could be made better with the application of a bit of logic, but when you’re used to reading utter shit, finding something that’s only half-bad is like finding brilliance.
The Sociopaths are bored. Their life sucks. So one day Dave suggests that they play some touch football. Jake, whose name has not even been mentioned in thirty-three pages, makes a football out of some leather and they start playing on one of their afternoons off. I wasn’t aware that slaves had afternoons off, but okay. They invite Gaelan and Rolf to play. Rolf is excellent. They play for a few days, and Ettore walks out and starts making rude comments. Josh suggests that she put a team together and they’ll have a little game. Ettore laughs and says that the women will kick their asses. Rolf tells her to prove it. So Ettore and Merle get a bunch of the warrior maids together and Dave explains the rules and they run a few plays so everyone gets an idea of how to play. Finally Dave tosses over the football and says that the women get the ball first.
Ettore calls a huddle, tells Merle to run right and says if anyone gets in their way, to knock them down. Then, I assume, they call break and smack each other on the ass. Dave reminds everyone that this is touch football – you just touch the person holding the ball and it’s dead there, but who really thinks the Amazons are going to play ball, so to speak? And wow….I just realized that this chapter features a bunch of muscular chicks in gold Princess Leia bikinis playing tackle football. I don’t even want to think about what Morris was doing while he wrote this chapter.
The Amazons take off. Jake gets an elbow to the throat, Token has his legs kicked out from under him, Rolf gets punched in the face, and Dave gets punched in the stomach and knocked down. The women score and then do an end zone celebration.
Dave gets up and says that he takes it they don’t want to play touch football anymore. Merle smirks. So Dave goes back and calls a huddle and says that he’s going to get the ball and run and everyone else needs to take out everyone in his way. So they get ready, snap the ball, and take off. Josh puts his shoulder into a maiden’s gut, knocking her down, Reb bodyslams Ettore to the ground, and finally it’s down to Dave and Merle. Unfortunately for Merle, Dave outweighs her by about thirty pounds, and so when they collide, Merle hits the ground and Dave keeps on going to score a goal. Ahehhehehehe.
The game continues for awhile. Josh, Dave, and Reb all played high school football, so they wipe the floor with the girls. (at least, it says so here. I didn’t even remember this at the time, but I was glancing over the sporking of the first book and in it, Josh very specifically says that he didn’t even make the football team. What do we call this? We call this an inconsistency). Overall, it’s a thrilling success: they showed the women they could compete, they uplifted Rolf…and oh yes, now all the woman are furious with them and go out of their way to make their life a living hell from now on.
Merle is pissed. She yells at Rolf and shoves him out of the way. Chava says that’s no way to treat her brother. Merle tells him to shut up. This makes her feel bad because she was always respectful to her father. Queen Faya asks she has her knickers in a twist because she lost the game. Merle says no and then stomps off, close to tears.
That night there’s a meeting of women. The Sociopaths go. Mita, the witch doctor, gets up and starts shrieking about how they bring bad luck and how Maug doesn’t like them and Maug needs a sacrifice and the Sociopaths would be perfect. I agree. Queen Faya thinks about it and almost gives in, and finally looks over at her husband. Chava gives a small head shake no.
Later, Chava and Faya talk. Faya asks him to read her some poems. Chava obliges. Later, after she falls asleep, he goes to talk to Dave and Abbey. He tells them about Mita being the power of darkness and being utterly evil. Abbey asks him if the queen will listen to her. Chava says not unless something terrible happens. I’m guessing something terrible will happen within one chapter. Let’s see if I’m right.