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Author Topic: Group Re-read 2.0 #28 The Experiment  (Read 1682 times)

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Offline RYTX

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Group Re-read 2.0 #28 The Experiment
« on: June 30, 2012, 08:52:41 PM »
Synopsis
Change is a good thing. A very good thing....
The Yeerks are up to something. They've taken an interest in animal testing. And meat processing. No one knows what it means when the Yeerks go after the food supply, but it can't be good. And though the Animorphs need to investigate, when your only weapon is turning into animals, animal test labs and the slaughterhouse are the last places you want to go....

Questions
   1. Undoubtedly one of the most important relations within the Animorphs is that unique bond shared by Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill, and Marco. From running to gags to their more serious moments, what do you think of the dynamic between this two in this book and throughout the series?

   2. Ax takes some time to reflect on the interactions between humans and other Earth creatures, which ranges from protection to elimination, and companionship to tools. What do you think of his assessments? How is it our interplay with other species is decided, and what do you think of the results?

   3. How is Ax's character coming along in both the serious and comedic sense? What do you think of his understanding of human activity? How valuable is a television for an outsider learning about human culture? What significant roles is Ax carrying out at in this part of the series?

   4. This is one of the few books where I'd like to address more than one morph. As usual, consider the portrayal of this animal in this book and throughout the series. Do you think the descriptions of its abilities and attitudes were accurate or exaggerated? What do you envision the experience of being the animal to be like? Also consider some specifics for each of the following.

      1. Tobias and Ax morph domestic cattle in this book. What do you think of the brief but stark contrast we see in the minds of the male and female? Where and why do you expect such behavioral dimorphisms in the animal kingdom? When facing death, Ax remarks "Cows are not highly intelligent animals. An intelligent animal, ....would have bolted, kicked, fought. But no, maybe that is not true, either. Maybe an intelligent animal would understand that it was doomed and attempt to face the inevitable calmly." What do you think the case is? Why?

      2. A far cry from cattle, the Animorphs also morph chimps, amazingly close to humans in DNA, behavior, and arguably mental ability. What do you think of the differences between man and his evolutionary kin? Cassie also shows a large hang-up about morphing it. What do you think about that here, midway through the series?

   5. Cassie shows obvious surprise when the others grab burgers after their trip to the slaughterhouse. Do you think that experience would change your eating habits? Keep in mind Ax witnessed it from the beef's perspective. Between the slaughterhouse and medical facility, the Animorphs saw several unpleasant fates for animals, implemented by humans. Do you think these personal accounts would alter you actions, or at least views, regarding products these types of procedures yield?

   6. The Yeerk plan was to eliminate human free-will, a plan that ultimately failed. What do you think of this concept? Is it possible from a physiological, psychological or philosophical approach to re-eradicate free-will? How does sentient vs. non-sentient play into it?

   7. Approximately when is the last time you read this book? What changes do you expect or would like to see in a re-release?

   8. Anything else?

Answer, ignore and submit your own questions and comments as you please; but remember to vote!

Next week: #29 The Sickness

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Offline Ember Nickel

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #28 The Experiment
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2012, 04:46:19 PM »
Lines that stood out:

"Cassie, the most knowledgeable and gentlest of the group;" Knowledgeable just in terms of how to deal with animals? Or is there some other knowledge she has that Ax respects? Morally or how?

Visser Three: "hero of the Taxxon rebellion." What?

I tend to agree with the scientists that free will is part of being sentient, given some definitions of the latter. Have to wonder whether humans would be fit for infestation without free will (think of how many more non-sentient than sentient species there are, yet the Yeerks don't infest the former!)

Also, part of my long-running notes series:

"Hold my feet and lower me over the back so I can open the door," Cassie yelled.
"I will go first," Prince Jake said.

"Chimpanzees are proof of the unpredictability of evolution. Many humans think evolution involves improvement. Of course, it does not. It merely involves survivability. Often individual capabilities are lessened in the process of moving toward a survivable species. Humans are clearly weaker than chimpanzees. But their brains are much more capable. Well, somewhat more capable." Is "toward" teleological in its own right? This is a change of pace from other things I've seen so far but it would make sense with the different narrators.

Offline RYTX

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #28 The Experiment
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 03:41:42 PM »
Hate when writers don't use contractions in spoken speech. Feels so forced

   1. I don't know if Marco could have been as funny as he was without Ax. I understand the relationship of Ax and Tobias, but by the end, I was making Ax and Marco out to be better friends. Having a hard time thinking of their serious moments since the beginning, but I think those are the times when Ax dominates the dynamic, by backing off and attributing the difference of opinion to "humanity" which he kinda does with everyone.

   2. His assessments are more or less right, though that is a bit sad. It is what it is, and sometimes has to be done, but come on, imagine if some more capable being was deciding to drug you, fry you, or pamper you. Not a position I want to be in.  In the real world I think relationships are made by a mix of utility and  "cute". Cats have some utility, and are fairly appealing to the senses: good relations overall. Oxen have utility, aren't all that cute-they get to live, but perhaps not the high life. Individuals and societies will vary "cute", and utility is ever changing, and surely there are other factors, but that's the crux of the issue I think.

   3. By my guess he's been on Earth nearly two years, he should be able to pass off better than this-that's a lapse for laughs. TV is not without it's educational benefits, but Ax having one, again, is a comedic issue more than a practical one. Ax kinda plateaus in this part of the series, they aren't in contact with other Andalites, there is little tech they face that couldn't be dealt with by the Chee. As above, he's still the best at pointing out humanities foibles, but that's not something that has really changed over time.

   4. Regarding gender differences, that's tricky to predict. Males are x, females are y, but why that is, well I see an open ended field there. Parental care comes to mind, but there must be more than that. Never been a female anything, so I do give pause to wonder, at the basal level, what those differences would be like in humans. I personally have found boys more hostile, but girls are plenty hostile, so super calm happy cow? Don't believe it. For death and intelligence, well I think that's more about personality than intellect. I don't think cows as smart, but they do react to threats. Non-acceptingly most of the time. For whatever reason it would seem that they just can't recognize this as a treat. Maybe that should be one of the indices of determining absolute intelligence
Now chimps I'm biased against, but in any event, I do like to think that the difference in most cognitive abilities, or at least potential is great. I've never been close to chimps, so that may be why, but I've never been wowed by their behavior; my expectations for them are high, but unmet. Physically however I'm strikingly envious, and maintain that somehow humans when backwards in this process. Cassie's whining is way out of place here, smart or not, this is way too much this far in.

   5. If there comes a day that I can eat my own ribs without serious physical impediment I will do it dammit. Never giving up meat. However, the experiences they faced would be on the back of my mind, for one: the scientific marvel that it is to be able to utilize the sufferings of other creatures, and two: a touch of reverence and thanks that my life is made slightly better, by catastrophic cost to something else. Well those thoughts would come up occasionally, Sunday dinner, not the buffet.

   6. From a philosophical or psychological, it can't be done, IMO, but from a physiological, yeah. If we decline the concept of an immaterial mind and soul, that we really are nothing more or less than our biology, and thus chemistry and physics, than there isn't a reason that matter and energy cannot be manipulated to a perfectly predictable outcome. Difficult probably, but not impossible. Same with sentient vs non-sentient, from that standpoint, which I think is the standpoint sci-fi must take less it be fantasy, it's completely doable to capture and dictate, if not destroy, will.
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Offline Tim Bruening

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #28 The Experiment
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2015, 12:30:10 AM »
What ever happened to that Controller-Scientist who helped the Animorphs escape the Yeerk meatpacking plant at the end?  Were any attempts made to save that Yeerk or recruit it into the Yeerk Peace Movement?  (Or just stick it in Erek's head as per Book 10!).

Offline Redtailednothlit

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #28 The Experiment
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2015, 02:14:32 AM »
It's strange that you say "undoubtedly" Ax and Marco share an important and unique bond. Besides Ax being a source for many of his jokes (such as everyone's minutes), I've never seen them as more than 2 Animorphs working together. Not at this point, anyway. Ax and Tobias share the stronger bond.