Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Peek Beneath the Duct Tape: Sleepwalkers, Chapter 8

A lot of people are reading the "Sleepwalkers" chapters on my blog and commenting on them below the posts; but just as many start over at the EMCSA and then follow the links to the "Peeks." I'm saying this up front because readers who came here from the EMCSA really should check out the comment section below the Chapter 8 post. You'll find some great notes and ideas about what happened in Chapter 8 and about what might happen next. For the sake of those commenters, I'll try not to repeat myself too much in this Peek.

First, of course everyone knew Paul and Shara would have some kind of confrontation. But anticipating that and wondering how it would play out is part of the excitement with this kind of story. Yes, of course it was painful; but you probably guessed that too, even if you didn't realize Shara would sacrifice her life. This is the chapter I was referring to when I said during a previous Peek that you still hadn't read the scene which was hardest for me to write. Toward the end, I could hardly bring myself to type those words - but what was worse, even if I didn't type them, they would still be in my head. I was literally depressed for days about Shara's death.

Does that make sense to you? If it doesn't, think about it this way. Some actors play a role on the set, then leave it behind when they go home at the end of the day. Others carry that role with them for the length of the production. Even when they're not in front of the camera, they stay in character until the director calls "cut" for the final time. Well, if I were an actor, I'd be Daniel Day-Lewis - and I don't even want to be! It's just the way my mind works.

But enough bitching and moaning, from me anyway. I have no idea what people will say in the comments section (They'll probably call me a hypocrite since I wrote the scene on purpose ;-p). Here are some other random notes.

I didn't want to keep Hawthorne offstage for so long, but the story wouldn't work if she had any doubts at all about Paul. She never even thought of checking up on him because as far as she knew, sleepwalkers couldn't Wake Up. It hadn't happened in 27 years, and the people who accomplished it died without sharing their formula. Plus, Hawthorne wanted to punish Paul because of those very people. Now her hubris has come back to bite her.

I really didn't expect people to guess that Paul would be re-imprinted (probably because I devised the Charlotte scene much later than the confrontation scene), but good on those of you who did guess. I'm always pleased when I figure out a joke or puzzle some other author has hidden in a story, and I like to give my readers that sensation. If any of you guess where chapters Nine through Eleven are headed, I hope you'll be pleased when you find out you're right. Think of the story as a rollercoaster. Seeing its overall shape isn't the same as riding it. I want to give you a good ride.

Paul has bought himself a little breathing room, but Wizard is in the shit. It's tempting (for me, at least, and maybe for you) to think she's Wonder Woman, but she isn't invincible. She sacrificed herself for Paul just as intentionally and almost as thoroughly as Shara sacrificed herself for Hawthorne. The spies are closing in on Wizard now, and they will pin her down. That's not so much a spoiler as a warning.


Anonymous said...

Sadly it was pretty clear that Wizard's time is numbered, there was too much that could go wrong with her, even without directly helping Paul. A dip in her already show to be skilled performance at surveillance, even any more than a quick glance, as one would think faking being a level 2 would be tricky.

Anonymous said...

The only problem is if she's caught and reimprinted wouldn't she give Paul away?


I think that when she is caught, she will be killed just like lefevbre was,awww.... I've really grown attached tho her resourcefulness, if there is anyone in this story who should come out of it a hero it (to me) surely should be her....but, since we know now that she will be caught? will she kill herself? (unsexy) or will she be re-imprinted again (sexy)

thrall said...

Wow, you three are really jumping to a lot of conclusions! ;-P


...You mean im wrong? I hope so, it was just a guess,this is a very intriguing novel, soo many twists and turns, (i love it all), i hope that the wizard is spared, & makes it to the end intact, i do expect her to go through some discomfort of course, as a result of her sending that transmission, but she knew the risks are right, it was just a guess, but i hope I'm wrong.....

thrall said...

Let me just invite you to study my wording further. ;-P

magic9mushroom said...

"Pinned down" doesn't necessarily mean "gotten rid of", just "neutered".

It also doesn't mean "fingered as free". Remember that the Cabs don't trust each other, and Wizard's prime was Hawthorne. If Ortiz figures that Hawthorne's Level Two in her unit is doing something she's not supposed to be doing, her first target of suspicion isn't going to be Wizard herself, it's going to be Hawthorne.

Anonymous said...

Admittedly, when I said "time is numbered" this morning, it didn't entirely mean dead. Just caught, perhaps sent back to Weisen to give them a better look at Waker, or just reimprinted.

Uzobono said...


I thought about it and I'm not at all confident about any of them (but excited/anxious to read it).

One being that she's reimprinted, but that's kind of a stretch, because they wouldn't think she'd be Awake in the first place.

The next being, her death. Which I don't think is a possibility, only because it'd be a *super* painful scene and thrall already got through her three so :P.

The last one would be...if they suspect someone else (a Cab, Hawthorne vs a Cab) of using her to spy on say, Ortiz or to do something other than what she's programmed to do.

I think the only true outside force to me is like Maria, and assumably the other imprinted spies they have in Peacekeepers working with the Resistance.

Otherwise everyone is caught in the Mount Weather bubble, so to speak, and Hawthorne *still* has that place locked down so, *something* has to happen to give Paul&co an edge, besides Hawthorne's hubris and ignorance :p.

thrall said...

I'm glad to see you broadening your speculations! Obviously, I can't comment on whether any of them are on target or not. ;-P

Sian Pearl said...

I'll leave the speculation to others.

I needed a little while to process this chapter. It was possibly one of the the most horrible things in this field I have read (the only thing that affected me more was an incident in a story on the EMCSA once where a small child unwittingly reinforces the brainwashing of her own mother by being encouraged to feed her drugged sugar lumps, which I could. not. cope with at all).

This scene, where Paul murders Shara by forcing himself to submit to his programming, and orgasms at the end, this was so very, very hard to read. But, I think you got away with it. It just skirts the edges of being a snuff scene, getting away with it partly because it avoided dwelling on the details of Shara's dying (and thank you for that), and partly because, I think, you know how awful it is. I did not find it erotic, but the fact that you are struggling with it, with the fetish (as I do), and that this is encoded in the text, makes it compelling.

It was of course beautifully written.

Please don't make it a bleak ending, though. I don't think I could cope with it.

thrall said...

Just hang in there a little longer. Chapter 9 should perk you up.