Category Archives: Novel

That Dirty Word

Even on tongues used to scatological and libidinous exclamations, the word politics still leaves a particular acrid taste. A few others claim the same distinction, but hardly any other word remains as persistent and indispensable. In conversation, politics provokes a mostly limited range of sentiments—anger, frustration, suspicion, apathy. In art, reactions waver between two extremes: respect or ridicule. Underlying ideologies either catapult the work into prominence or push it down to the level of propaganda. In any case, with controversy all around, irrelevance is seldom an option.

Ambitious and polemical, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty teeters on the thin lines: terrorism, torture, risk, revenge, war. The film packs the ten-year hunt for Osama bin Laden into 160 gripping minutes, rendered taut by an impressive interplay of information and suspense. Jessica Chastain holds her character well as Maya, the CIA officer whose relentless pursuit of the case leads to the assassination. Her tight portrayal suits the film’s minimalist aesthetic, which it sustains from start to finish despite recurrent gunfire and explosions.

Zero Dark Thirty possesses many admirable qualities, but the one that stands out most is audacity. Its depiction of the ugly side of America has critics shouting from various corners, complaining about its alleged misinterpretation of “fact” and its supposed pro-torture stance. The movie claims to unveil “the greatest manhunt in history,” but the victory it shows is ugly indeed, one borne out of physical and psychological torture, involving innocent casualties and traumatized children. It is a difficult film to watch, dark and heavy and emotionally exhausting. But as we all likely suspect, the truth can get darker than this.

Mark Boal’s script contains many ironic statements, but the one I remember most is “You don’t know Pakistan!”—a charge that Maya lays on her boss. It’s an accusation that rings true on many levels. What do we know about the Middle East? About its people and their struggles, the circumstances that push ordinary men to become “radicals”? What do Americans?

Zero Dark Thirty makes only a passing comment on this issue, but Mohsin Hamid’s 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist mines it more deeply. As literature, the thin narrative does not hold up to much: it attempts to mask a clear objective, with barely-there characters and a linear trajectory. But its value lies in its capacity to make us think, to make us look over to the other side. Here is main character Changez judging America post-9/11:

As a society, you were unwilling to reflect upon the shared pain that united you with those who attacked you. You retreated into myths of your own difference, assumptions of your own superiority. And you acted out these beliefs on the stage of the world, so that the entire planet was rocked by the repercussions of your tantrums, not least my family, now facing war thousands of miles away.

No doubt all terrorist attacks are tragedies. But if we ever hope to untangle these threads of hate, it is not enough to simply see the attacks as catastrophes to which we must assign blame, but as indicators of a larger problem. It is not enough to understand how without understanding why—George Orwell’s words, from his landmark novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

First published in 1949, the book also abounds with political commentary. But while it suffers from the same weaknesses of character and plot, the original concepts it puts forward (Big Brother, memory hole, Room 101) make up for it. In the novel, citizens live under the rule of a totalitarian Party, which regulates everything from thought to action to memory, effectively erasing the individual. Our protagonist, naturally, seeks to rebel. During his initiation into what he deems to be The Brotherhood, Winston Smith agrees “to throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face” and “to commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people” in the name of the revolution. He agrees that life is not about the individual, that it must be laid down for a greater cause, that victory is in the future.

Why does this sound so familiar? And why does it send a chill up our spines to read it in light of Changez, of the many detainees in Zero Dark Thirty?

There are no good and bad guys, only points of view. This is an easy and perhaps unfair generalization, but it is ultimately useful. If the “radicals” had a Kathryn Bigelow and a Hollywood budget, what kind of film would they make? How much would the narrative differ?

Despite all the allegations, Zero Dark Thirty is clearly skewed on the US side. We after all follow the CIA, and most of the violence we see is shown as the work of terrorist groups. But the most contested scenes show agents torturing detainees to extract information from them. We can never find out whether this actually occurred; what we can do is argue about how the film depicts it. Here is Orwell on the topic:

On the battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralysed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.

I’ve been sitting here for some minutes flexing my brain muscles for the tough work ahead, but my fingers did some Googling and found this on the Huffington Post. Here, Michael Moore presents an excellent and engaging case on why Zero Dark Thirty is, in fact, anti-torture. Essentially he says that not only is torture morally wrong, it also leads to inaccurate confessions. But even without that detail, just looking at those scenes—where a CIA officer uses waterboarding on a detainee—it is easy to see where our sympathies lie. It is not difficult to realize the inhumanity of torture, and that this is exactly what the director intended for the audience to feel when she shot those scenes.

Zero Dark Thirty explores very real problems posed not only by counterterrorist methods but also about the natures of war, ideology, vengeance, means and ends. It’s a powerful movie, with a soul-searching effect that lasts long after its runtime. If there is one thing common to Maya, Changez, and Winston Smith, it’s that they all become broken in one way or another. Zero Dark Thirty also leaves us broken in a small way. As viewers we are left to ponder moral issues and evaluate them for ourselves. The script ends with a question directed at Maya, something we also ask ourselves as we leave the theater: “Where do you want to go?” Where indeed.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.

‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.’

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

‘It seems an obvious thing to say, but you should not imagine that we Pakistanis are all potential terrorists, just as we should not imagine that you Americans are all undercover assassins.’

Zero Dark Thirty

‘In the end, bro, everybody breaks. It’s biology.’

Blindness, Seeing

It begins with fear. Without warning, an epidemic of white blindness strikes a city, turning its inhabitants into hapless creatures without sight or hope. The Government (with Saramago’s capital G) imposes a strict quarantine, but the system bends under the weight of the uncontainable plague, finally collapsing on the day the entire city turns blind. Thus begins Jose Saramago’s popular novel, a modern parable on the illusory value we place on civilization and the tenuous threads that hold humankind together. It is shocking how quickly the unnamed city in Blindness disintegrates into chaos, how the simple loss of one sense undoes centuries of “moral progress.” Suddenly it is every man for himself, and there is “no other solution…but to feed on each other if they [hope] to survive.” This brutal atmosphere, along with the loss of authority, creates living conditions so appalling that the only sighted person left actually wishes that she turn blind instead, to avoid confronting “all the weight of a horror without a name.” But as we soon discover, one does not need to see horror in order to live it.

“In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Also, the man with the gun. It does not take him long to assume control of the quarantine facility, to amass a small army and take over the food supply, demanding gold and women in exchange for a meager share. Blindness chronicles the breakdown of moral values that ensues, when right and wrong no longer occupy opposite ends of the spectrum, when rigidly moralistic stands are understood as “opinions belonging to another world, not to this one.” In discussing their predicament, the first blind man opposes the women’s collective decision, “for dignity has no price, that when someone starts making small concessions, in the end life loses all meaning.” To which the doctor asks “what meaning he saw in the situation in which all of them there found themselves, starving, covered in filth up to their ears, ridden with lice, eaten by bedbugs, bitten by fleas.” It is not difficult to be moralistic in an ordered society, where the only sins that go unpunished are those sanctioned by law or otherwise swept under the rug of history. But in a world ruled by fear, moral standards shift from person to person, from one moment to the next. In presenting his characters with choices that no one wants to make, Saramago explores how far humanity can go. “Blindness is also this, to live in a world where all hope is gone.”

Despite all this, the most enduring image I take from the novel is that of a woman guiding six strangers across the city, moving from one dwelling to the next, hand in hand. Hope continues to exist in the smallest spaces, in a blind writer striving to record his family’s struggles, in a woman’s promise to give a child her lamp when he regains sight, in the redemptive power of a bath in the rain. Outside, people gather in squares to listen to blind preachers lecturing about the wonders of religion, about the efficacy of human organization—all of which mean nothing in the end, and which pale in comparison to what we witness in the lives of these seven strangers. Saramago renders their stories vividly, in trenchant prose, with the wisdom of someone who has spent years observing humankind—“a true elder of our people, a man of tears, a man of wisdom” (Ursula Le Guin). His characteristic long sentences and shifting perspectives produce images of horror alongside those of tenderness: “there are gestures for which we cannot always find an easy explanation.”

As sequels mostly are, Seeing doesn’t quite live up to the original, but what it lacks in emotional depth it makes up for in wit and humor. Set four years after the blindness plague, it centers on a group of politicians grappling to control a defiant population that keeps on submitting blank votes. It abounds with hilarious political caricatures, self-aware bastards who openly admit, “we’re all up to the same tricks.” We read about the feckless power games they play and the impotent word diarrhea they expel in the face of calamity, which for them is anything unfamiliar, anything beyond the systemic grasp of tradition, never mind if the change turns out to be good for the people. This Government cannot admit the vainness of its existence, “it’s not only when we have no eyes that we don’t know where we’re going.” Saramago’s prose bursts with so much irony that otherwise depressing passages become amusing to read, but we know his words ring true today, so true that they become comical in fiction.

Although definitely more political, Seeing is not without its poignant moments. Here we see the brief return of characters we have known and learned to love since Blindness. We are also introduced to some new ones, notably the superintendent and his two subordinates, who allow us to believe in trust amid a network of suspicion and who show us the significance of small kindnesses. Through them we learn to believe in goodness, in human decency, right until the novel’s painful, painful conclusion. It is nothing short of wounding.

Blindness

He pursed his lips as if in sudden pain, and felt deeply grateful that there were no neighbours around at that moment, for there and then, were anyone to have spoken to him, he would have burst into tears.

This is the stuff we’re made of, half indifference and half malice.

It is foolish for anyone to ask what someone died from, in time the cause will be forgotten, only two words remain, She died.

Never has there been so much silence in the world.

Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are.

Seeing

I should, yes, I should, I should what. The word was like a dead body he had stumbled upon, he had to find out what the word wanted, he had to remove the body.

One can show no greater respect than to weep for a stranger.

Impossibilities never come singly.

The Running Man

When I packed my bags for Puerto Galera last week, a book was one thing that didn’t cross my mind. Years of experience have taught me that I will never find the time to read while traveling. Plus, lounging by the beach with a book in hand seemed too perfect a possibility to seem real. So when we got there and I found out that we were to do nothing besides swim and eat and drink, I scrambled to the nearest library—which, thankfully, was only meters away. A rummage through Sunset at Aninuan’s small collection yielded this early Stephen King novel, which—despite my earlier disbelief—I read cover to cover right on the beach.

Scene: Co-op City, squalid, polluted district. Time: 2025, dystopian future. In this setting we meet Ben Richards, an out-of-work citizen who joins the Games Network’s biggest show, The Running Man, out of desperation. The rules are simple: in this televised chase, the contestants serve as bait for the Hunters, and are considered fair game for anyone, civilians included. Survive thirty days, and you bag the billion-dollar jackpot. Get caught, and you die. Faced with such a high-stakes premise, I expected to devour the book quickly; instead my actual progress was reluctant and forced. The first fifty pages comprise a tedious account of Richards’ application process within the Network bureaucracy. The pacing picks up during the actual Hunt, but after that, everything plummets. Ten pages left in the book, and I would still stop reading just to eat breakfast. By then it felt clear that the story was pulling the character forward instead of the other way around: Richards’ thought processes became difficult to follow; motivations disappeared. With each closing chapter, the story felt more and more like it’s backing itself into a corner where no ending could redeem it.

Stephen King says he wrote this novel in one week—I’m not surprised. The opening scene, Richards’ sob story, is only one of a million others, and not even a compelling one at that. A cop actually tells him “you types are all the same,” “a story for every day of the year.” But a setup like this isn’t impossible to work with. The premise has great potential, and deserves a much lengthier exploration than what The Running Man offers. It’s a pity; Stephen King could have done way, way better.

When the entire group was wearing them, Ben Richards felt as if he had lost his face.

‘You bastards! If you want to see somebody die so bad, why don’t you kill each other?’

There was something suspicious and alien in his features, yet familiar also. After a moment Richards placed it. It was innocence.

Jane Eyre

It would be idiotic to say that Jane Eyre follows in the tradition of the soap opera, but that it makes such an impression cannot be denied. This is apparent from the first few chapters, which presents a familiar scene: an orphan (unloved and called “a little toad”) forced to live with an unsympathetic stepmother and spoiled, hostile stepsiblings. Except for the uncanny feistiness of the protagonist—who remains charming, if a little impudent—virtually nothing in this segment forebodes a noteworthy plot. But I harbored high hopes for Jane Eyre, and felt all too ready to forgive a bland beginning if it promised an excellent main narrative. However, long after little Jane grows up, the soap opera streak continues, with the story regularly dealing out such noontime drama staples as a hidden letter, a mysterious past, a secret fortune… By the time I finished two-thirds of the book, my hopes had already waned, and it was with laborious effort that I finally reached the end.

Despite the novel’s unimpressive plot, I initially appreciated the narrator’s sharp eye for observation and extraordinary faculty with words. But as I read on, this quality instead grew into an irksome verbosity, which worked against the story by rendering superficial what is emotional, and making it seem affected where it sought to appear earnest. I appreciated Stevens’ roundabout manner in The Remains of the Day, but here I only grew irritated with Jane Eyre: with her choices, her convictions, her manner of speaking. After the Thornfield fiasco, I stopped sympathizing with her altogether—although I did share in her happiness at the ending (mostly because I dreaded the horrid alternative).

I understand why Jane Eyre was deemed groundbreaking in 1847, but read at a later time, from a different perspective, the novel appears to possess few merits. The only scenes I truly cherished were those between Jane and Mr. Rochester, whose love for each other—although it blossomed quickly and rather arbitrarily—I do not doubt for a second. The rest seem artificial: characters like Helen Burns and St. John seem to exist only to provide differing opinions, and conversations involving them verge more on the expedient than the literary. All in all, Jane Eyre is not without charm, but nonetheless falls short of its reputation as a classic, and—save perhaps for the Rochester scenes—is terribly, terribly disappointing.

To this crib I always took my doll; human beings must love something, and in the dearth of worthier objects of affection, I contrived to find a pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded graven image, shabby as a miniature scarecrow.

Even for me life had its gleams of sunshine.

‘…you are good to those who are good to you. It is all I ever desire to be.’

‘I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you—especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.’

‘I tell you I must go! Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? … Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you,—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.’

‘My principles were never trained, Jane: they may have grown a little awry for want of attention.’

Baltasar and Blimunda

I used to hate Saramago with a blinding vehemence. A regular grammar Nazi, I was outraged at the uncontrolled profusion of his prose, at his lack of respect for natural limits. Never mind that he is a Nobel awardee, and I a mere undergraduate. But about three-quarters into The Double—after I grumpily gave up my grammar issues—my eyes were opened. Saramago went from loathed offender to favorite author. I used to say that, outside the obvious range, only two deaths would sadden me: Jose Saramago’s and Hayao Miyazaki’s. After the novelist died, I regulated my intake of his now-limited literature. Baltasar and Blimunda, another gift from Kai, is the first Saramago book I’ve read in years.

“God clearly did not know what He was doing when He created Adam and Eve.” Most anywhere else, this statement would seem like thoughtless sacrilege, but in Saramago’s hands even blasphemy becomes witty, perceptive, truthful. Although his trademark humor allows readers to take everything in stride, one cannot escape without at least a nagging feeling of unease. A romance, a fantasy, and an adventure story, Baltasar and Blimunda is most of all a dark social commentary. In highlighting the excesses of royalty and religion, the novel paints a dismal portrait of 18th century Portuguese society. Monarchs are constrained by expectations, priests tread a path of eternal conflict, and peasants are condemned to a life of sacrifice and subservience. Like unwilling nuns trapped in a convent, everyone is confined to his proper place, denied even an inch more.

Doubtless, Saramago’s storytelling is superb and his visionary ambition inspiring, but I find it strange that the blurb trumpets this as his “best-loved” work. Although his criticisms remain incisive and relevant, I felt shortchanged by the actual story. The book’s titled Baltasar and Blimunda but its focus is elsewhere: uneven power relations and religious hypocrisy—as revealed in chapter-long descriptions of processions and festivities. This excessive detailing underscores shallowness but does not make for an absorbing narrative. Still, if pure enjoyment is what one expects in a novel then one is better off reading other books instead. Why read Saramago unless you want to be disturbed, unsettled? Compared to his other works, Baltasar and Blimunda seems uncharacteristically bland, but it does tease the mind out of torpor, prompting us to consider former horrors and ponder how much—if at all—the world has changed since.

Sete-sóis could feel his mouth watering, it seemed as if all the hunger accumulated during the four years of war now bursting the dykes of resignation and self-control.

…laughter is so close to tears, reassurance so close to anxiety, relief so close to panic, and the lives of individuals and nations hover between these extremes…

…once she has finished she opens her eyes, turns toward Baltasar, and rests her head on his shoulder while placing her left hand where his is missing, arm touches arm, wrist touches wrist, life is amending death as best it can.

It ought to be sufficient to state what someone is called and then wait for the rest of your life to find out who he or she is, if you can ever know, but the custom is otherwise, Who were your parents, where were you born, what is your trade, and once you know these facts, you think you have learnt everything about the person.

It is a well-known fact that Baltasar likes a drink, though without getting drunk… But when he drinks there always comes a point when he feels Blimunda’s hand rest on his shoulder, and that is all he needs, Blimunda’s tranquil presence in the house is enough to restrain him, Baltasar reaches out for the tankard filled with wine, which he intends to drink as he also drank all the others, but a hand touches his shoulder, a voice says, Baltasar, and the tankard is returned to the table untouched and his friends know that he will drink no more that day.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

This book has gone through so much with me. I borrowed it from Maki early last year, returned it before I had a chance to read it, then borrowed it again in the last quarter of 2011. I started it during a very busy month, and had to stop after two chapters because I felt my intermittent reading didn’t do it justice. This second time around, I made sure I had time.

Early in the novel we are asked, “What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?” Just as Sabina’s paintings “featured the confluence of two themes, two worlds…all double exposures,” this book highlights various oppositions: soul and body, public and private, truth and farce. But the foremost burden that confronts us is the unbearable lightness of being, which echoes Rilke’s Duino Elegies: “One time and no more. And we, too, / once. Never again, But to have existed / this once, even if only one time: / to have existed here on earth, appears irrevocable.”

In this book Kundera offers keen insights into the human condition, startlingly precise observations flung across the pages in abundance, creating “an investigation of human life in the trap the world has become.” If this is an investigation, it is a mathematical one: there are five meanings attached to Sabina’s bowler hat, exactly six fortuities that bind Tereza to Tomas. Despite this narrative precision, the novel does not content itself with mere dimensions, goes beyond the measurable. It plumbs irreparable gulfs between people, examines the seemingly insurmountable distance between one person and his beloved. Kundera dramatizes this solitude through Sabina and Franz: How is it possible to love when you can never completely know the other, when one word for you means another for him? In Rilke’s words, “Lovers, you who are each fulfilled by the other, / you I ask about us. You clasp each other. Do you have any proof?”

Occasionally the narrative treads into the realms of philosophy or politics, but the gems of the novel are really Tomas and Tereza. Despite his incurable womanizing, despite her persistent dreams, love still stretches itself between them. It is a beautiful, enviable thing. At times I had to stop reading just to ponder, and wonder at this unearthly love. For the longest time I didn’t know what to reply when asked which books have changed my life. Now I can finally say something.

This…reveals the profound moral perversity of a world that rests essentially on the nonexistence of return, for in this world everything is pardoned in advance and therefore everything cynically permitted.

What happens but once…might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all.

Tomas did not realize at the time that metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.

Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).

For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.

If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi’s shoulders.

No, vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.

She was amazed at the number of years she had spent pursuing one lost moment.

‘Culture is perishing in overproduction, in an avalanche of words, in the madness of quantity. That’s why one banned book in your former country means infinitely more than the billions of words spewed out by our universities.’

It was completely illogical. How could someone who had so little respect for people be so dependent on what they thought of him?

And now she was with him again. He saw her pressing the crow wrapped in red to her breast. The image of her brought him peace. It seemed to tell him that Tereza was alive, that she was with him in the same city, and that nothing else counted.

He tried to picture himself living in an ideal world with the young woman from the dream. He sees Tereza walking past the open windows of their ideal house. She is alone and stops to look in at him with an infinitely sad expression in her eyes. He cannot withstand her glance. Again, he feels pain in his own heart. Again, he falls prey to compassion and sinks deep into her soul. He leaps out of the window, but she tells him bitterly to stay where he feels happy, making those abrupt, angular movements that so annoyed and displeased him. He grabs her nervous hands and presses them between his own to calm them. And he knows that time and again he will abandon the house of his happiness, time and again abandon his paradise and the woman from his dream and betray the “Es muss sein!” of his love to go off with Tereza, the woman born of six laughable fortuities.

We can never establish with certainty what part of our relations with others is the result of our emotions—love, antipathy, charity, or malice—and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals.

On they danced to the strains of the piano and violin. Tereza leaned her head on Tomas’s shoulder… She was experiencing the same odd happiness and odd sadness as then. The sadness meant: we are at the last station. The happiness meant: we are together.

A Clockwork Orange

The airport is not the best place to read philosophy theses. But in my junior year, while waiting for the plane that would jumpstart my spring/summer adventure in Seoul, I did just that. Titled “A Horrorshow Raskazz in Kantian Morality: The Conflation of Ethik and Recht in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange,” Mike’s thesis gave me my first glimpse of this novel—not to mention Kantian philosophy. Danica gave me the book for my birthday.

With words like chelloveck and skolliwoll, this novel is half English and half invented language. The vocabulary bumps seemed too frequent at first, but fascinatingly enough, the strange words eventually registered in my mind just like any other. Still, more than its linguistic aspect, what is really striking about the book is the moral dilemma it poses. Young Alex is a repeat offender who undergoes an experimental procedure that renders him incapable of evil. He is then ejected back into society to build a “good” life—one in which evil is not only physically impossible, but no longer even conceivable.

After being promised freedom in a fortnight, Alex enters into the deal expecting it to be real horrorshow, but instead finds it a real horror show. “Am I like just some animal or dog?” The prison chaplain expresses the problem plainly: “He ceases to be a wrongdoer. [But] he ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice.” What is the point of good if it is a person’s only reality? Where is the meaning in that? But: In a world of scarcity, should we give the same value to criminals as well as to innocents? When we cannot fund both the penal and social system, which do we choose? Also: Is completely removing evil from the horizon of another person’s existence not evil in itself? As Anthony Burgess himself states, “It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil.”

In the introduction, Burgess deplores his publisher’s omission of the last chapter, which he insists is integral to the novel. I agree, although I think it should have been toned down: Alex’s rapid maturation seems out of place, too glaringly didactic. Overall, A Clockwork Orange struck me as powerful—but underwhelming. Still, that’s probably only because I already knew the premise beforehand. First-time readers are certain to get more of a kick out of it than I did.

‘Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.’

‘You are to be made into a good boy, 6655321.’

It’s funny how the colours of the like real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.