child soldiers v. bodysnatching aliens: ANIMORPHS

Discussion in 'Fan Town' started by itsAlana, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. itsAlana

    itsAlana let me tell you about the vorkosigan saga

    Okay so I keep finding myself muttering about Animorphs in other threads so I'm just going to make an Animorphs thread. YEAH!

    FOR THOSE NOT IN THE KNOW and not afraid of mild spoilers:
    Animorphs was a 90s/early 00s series of books targeted at about the 10-14 year old crowd, alongside books like Goosebumps or Sweet Valley Twins or Babysitter's Club. But where Goosebumps was horror and Sweet Valley/Babysitter's Club were... uh, dramas or something? idk I never actually read them, Animorphs was science fiction.

    Coming in at 52 main books and... nine or ten 'Chronicles' and 'Megamorphs' books, Animorphs followed the story of five/six/seven young teenagers (depending on the book) drafted into a war against the invading Yeerks.

    Yeerks are alien slugs who cannot not see in their natural aquatic forms, but evolved to infest the brains and control the bodies of the lopsided bipeds of their homeworld. They were uplifted by the Andalites, a race of blue centaur-like aliens, sometime in the 1940s or 1950s or so, and promptly stole Andalite technology and started scouring the stars for more host bodies besides the awkward Gedd.

    The Andalites took exception to this, and the war between Andalites and Yeerks commenced; eventually it came to Earth, where the Yeerks absolutely destroyed the Andalite ship and fighters sent to chase them. One off the fighter pilots, Elfangor, crash-landed in a construction site in California, where he gave a gift of Andalite technology (forbidden since the Yeerks took it for their own gain): he gave the 13-year-olds Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Marco, and Tobias the power to absorb DNA from animals, and thus the power to fight the already-begun infestation of humanity without exposing their families to excessive danger.

    Then he was eaten by Visser 3, the only Yeerk to infest an Andalite body and thus possess morphing technology himself.

    The next 60-ish books weave a story of war and trauma, of these children having their souls chipped away to form them into warriors, of enemies being right next to your skin and your own family being both danger and in danger; it shows a story of greys beyond black and white, subtle beyond what anyone could expect from a children's series, and how no group is completely uniform in its good or badness. There is death, there is violence, there are war crimes by the heroes and incredible sacrifice from villains, and the universe it's set in blossoms into something complex and fascinating.

    They are so good.

    While written for younger audiences, I find the series even more easily appreciated as an adult, where the more subtle themes jump out and the PTSD suffered by the main characters and the pure madness of desperation and living a double life, hiding your worst wounds from those closest to you, to be really compelling.

    If you want to try them out, here's some PDFs!

    If you have already tried them out, come talk to me about them!
    • Like x 2
  2. soulsuckingisaacnewton

    soulsuckingisaacnewton strange fuzzy creature

  3. itsAlana

    itsAlana let me tell you about the vorkosigan saga


    Who's your favorite? Tobias is my Forever Favorite and I have had a crush on him for 15 years, but I gotta say, I'm really appreciating Loren a lot nowadays.
    • Like x 1
  4. soulsuckingisaacnewton

    soulsuckingisaacnewton strange fuzzy creature

    I think Ax was my favorite back in the day. I love fish-out-of water characters. Wish there'd been more books from his POV.

    Tobias is pretty great too! And my memories of Loren are pretty vague but you gotta appreciate a civilian character who takes crazy weird stuff in stride.
    • Like x 1
  5. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    Man I wish I had read more of the books as a kid. I loved them, but never found them all or read them in order.

    I still love hearing you talk about it though. Regale me with your best animorphs meta.
    • Like x 1
  6. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

  7. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    These books were great.
    Cassie was my favorite, because she took care of animals
  8. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    I was super into Animorphs for like the first thirty books, and then there was a stretch where they felt kind of phoned-in, possibly due to the ghost-writing thing, so I stopped. Apparently the endgame is interesting, so I might pick them up again.
  9. BPD anon

    BPD anon Here I sit, broken hearted


    Also thank you for the PDFs, I was so upset when RAF took them down because I was in the middle of the Remnants series.

    I always didn't like Jake and Cassie because they didn't have huge glaring flaws like the others. Marco is my fave and has been since childhood. I quoted his lines a lot until mom got mad at me for saying "are you INSANE" to her one too many times.

    Okay like let me tell you some things about how much I loved those books
    -I read them by laser pointer at night once. My dad had caught onto how I would keep reading after bed time if I had my lamp, flashlight, or lava lamp on and my room had no overhead light, so all I had to read by was my laser pointer and god damn it I read them because Animorphs are awesome

    -I owned the first seven and I would literally just reread them over and over again. Like I must have read them all 30 times before dad bought me the first thirty (which I read and then lost a lot of them so I went back to reading the first eight, since number nine was lost)

    -My first fanfiction might have been Animorphs. I had no idea you could post it online so I just wrote it down on paper. It had no morphing people since I was always more interested in the Yeerks.

    -I read the whole series recently. Some parts held up, though others didn't. I really didn't like how it took care to make sure they never killed human controllers in combat. I think as a kid I just assumed they did because I was pretty oblivious to a lot of things -- for example, even after reading them KISS, I had no clue that Jake and Cassie were in love. ???

    -I just love that series so much you don't even know, before I lost them all my copies had ripped covers and bent pages and number three was bloated from being left in the rain once. They were so well loved.


    Edit: oh no, the file doesn't have Everworld or Remnants books! : ( : ( : (
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
    • Like x 4
  10. BPD anon

    BPD anon Here I sit, broken hearted

    Oh and can I just express appreciation for K. A. Applegate's name? I don't know how other kids found books to read, but my methods were A) looking for interesting titles and B) starting at the A section and going from there. I never would have found this amazing series if Applegate didn't have an A name. I read Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket because they were popular, but I don't remember any other series being popular enough for me to hear about it.

    (How do kids normally find books? I assume my way was unusual because popular Middle Grade books aren't just the ones with wacky titles or authors with a last name starting with A.)
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
    • Like x 1
  11. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    I just sorta grabbed random stuff, flipped to the middle, read a bit, and then started over if it seemed good.
  12. itsAlana

    itsAlana let me tell you about the vorkosigan saga

    @Void *makes eyes at the file full of pdfs, waggles eyebrows* u know what u must do (when ur computer is better)
    but man my best meta MAN LEMME THINK ABOUT IT do you want to hear about a specific character or a specific storyline or a species or...? How about my morphstuck ideas. (I feel very strongly about Tobias either being time because his very existence is all about time, or being anything BUT time because he already has ruthlessly obeying stable time loops down...)

    @Exohedron Some of the ghost-written books are pretty damn good (there's a Marco/Visser One-focused one that's SPECTACULARly sad oh god marco) but yeah some of them are really, really phoned in. I cannot stand the Atlantis one-- it's almost gratuitously horrific (she says, of a book series that has cannibalism as a casual species trait), and its message is super muddled to the point where it's almost pro-war-- and the Rachel v. David rematch one is completely incomprehensible to me. Otherwise, though, I think most of them are worth a second glance?

    The last couple books are definitely interesting, but there's a reason fans still curse the ending, so enter at your own risk, friend. XD

    @BPD anon I'm sorry that I don't have the other series by Applegate and her husband! ): I can try and track them down for you, but I never loved them as much as I loved Animorphs.

    Cassie and Jake are very flawed, but it's definitely not as obvious as a kid, yeah. I thought Cassie was SO GREAT when I was a bitty thing, but now I'm always like "cASSIE BANDAGE YOUR BLEEDING HEART EVEN THough that's the only thing that lets you have a normal life after the war bUT RIGHT NOW YOU'RE PUTTING EVERYONE IN ACTUAL DANGER FOR YOUR PHILOSOPHY"

    and ye animorphs is the greatest

    and for me, my first three Animorphs books were freebies at a scifi convention that my parents were volunteering for, I think? But the other BIG SERIES of the early 00s were basically the entire fiction section of my middle school library. My parents have a big SF/F library themselves so I read a lot of other books just from heading to the basement and picking something that looked cool.
  13. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    Tell me about the yeerks!
  14. BPD anon

    BPD anon Here I sit, broken hearted

    If it were presented that way, I would agree. But every time the narrative presents her views as the best and she ends up being correct. I absolutely agree that her philosophy puts people in actual danger and I've been thinking of writing a fic where she ends up killing people but that isn't how it was presented in the books.
  15. itsAlana

    itsAlana let me tell you about the vorkosigan saga


    are so sad. Like, so, so, so sad. They can't see, they can't hear outside the water, they're stuck in an unpleasant and (as far as we see of it in The Andalite Chronicles) undeveloped hellscape with creatures far more dangerous than their only hosts, predatory plants and those awful flying things-- even if they escape their blind existence in the pools by infesting a Gedd, the Gedd seem to be one of the weakest, most pathetic things on the planet, and every three days they have to give up their sight, their view of the world, and return to the pool. They must always return to the pool.

    And then, from out of the blurry sky, swoops down these creatures of elegance and haughtiness, these Andalites who-- from what we know of Andalites-- could not have respected these shambling-bodied slugs, except, perhaps, for Seerow, who tries to show them kindness. But the others? Andalites think so little of other species, are vainglorious to the extreme, abelist and misogynistic against even their own sick and hurt and female.

    They might have pitied the Yeerks, but they can't have respected them.

    But they have ships, and they have knowledge, and they can get the Yeerks off of the miserable rock, into a universe filled with species with clearer vision, with stronger legs, with senses beyond any the Yeerks had ever experienced. The Yeerks grab that chance and run and it just fucks everything up, because then the Andalites introduce them to war, and the Yeerks (these brilliant, intelligent slugs, forever stuck in their small slug bodies if they can't have hosts, small enough and weak enough to be crushed by any other species' hand) take to it like fire to kindling, and force their way through the galaxy, finding species to enslave while the Andalites salt the ground behind them.

    And the saddest part is, it didn't have to happen.

    Yeerks who have willing hosts-- who have partners-- exist. There are surely people who would accept a Yeerk into their life, to share their life, out of pity or curiosity or friendship or loneliness. The Taxxons mostly went with them willingly, and if they weren't sent to be used as shock troops, perhaps the desert their homeworld had become could be repaired; the Hork-Bajir were peaceful and simple and loving and accepting, and their Seers might well have been eager to gain wisdom of the universe beyond. Hell, if they hadn't waged such war on the Hork-Bajir homeworld, the Arn might well have been glad to engineer a species for the Yeerks to pilot, something with strong senses and long legs and no personality to shove aside. Even the Andalites held a solution-- one eventually offered at the end of the war-- of letting Yeerks have morphing technology, so they could choose to leave the pool at any time, or become a willing nothlit and survive in a body they loved for all time.

    But by then the Yeerks knew that theft and war were how they gained things.

    The Yeerks are so, so, sad.

    (I think all of those conclusions can easily be drawn from canon, even if not outright stated.)

    ((also yeerk doesn't look like a word anymore))
    • Like x 6
  16. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine


    oh man species meta, hold on let me drag some out of tumblr, it's not mine but it's SO GOOD -

    Yeerks and Taxxons.

    so good.
    • Like x 3
  17. itsAlana

    itsAlana let me tell you about the vorkosigan saga

    Yessssss i love those and i love that tumblr user thank u for sharing those links
  18. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    Wtf the yeerks are so sad wow
  19. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    Poor sad space slugs.
  20. itsAlana

    itsAlana let me tell you about the vorkosigan saga

    i mean the vast majority of them are p awful as people and a lot of them really enjoy being awful, and there's no shortage of violently insane yeerks, but their backstory is p terrible! And there's no doubt that a lot of the Earth yeerks are even more afraid of dying at Visser Three's hand/tail/morph than they are afraid of dying to the Animorphs.
    • Like x 2
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