Review: The Message

Series: Animorphs: #4

“How about my dream of living long enough to get a driver’s license?”

And so we have upper bound on their current ages. They’re so young…

On re-reading this, I’d forgotten how early Ax was introduced. It’s such a neat story. The young alien left behind. Another child, just like them. And then you have the ocean morphs–dolphins!–and talking(ish) whales.

A lot to like about this one.

Random thoughts

I’ve been trying to track down roughly where this mystery town (that I’m sure isn’t based on only one place) they all live is. We get a decent couple of hints in this one:

“I know this is crazy,” I said, “but the ocean scares me a little. I understand the land. I understand soil and things that grow out of it.” I laughed. “I guess I’m just an old farm girl. You know this farm has been in my family since the Civil War?”

Jake winked. “Do I know that? Puh-leeze. I had Thanksgiving with your family last year, you may remember. Your great-grandmother gave me the complete history.”

Does that imply not the South, since Cassie is black? Does imply US at least. And we know it’s coastal from the beach and dunes.

And later, we know at least that it’s somewhere with at least some winter:

“Plus, they aren’t exactly fashionable. All I’m saying is - uniforms. Something cool-looking. And warm. Warm would be nice. When winter comes, we are going to be some sad little Animorphs.”

Also also, from [[The Encounter]] we know there are mountains with native wolves. Which all really (to me) implies somewhere in the Northwest. (There is also a boat to Singapore).

Unrelated to that, there’s some touches on interesting philosophy:

“It will be strange morphing something so intelligent,” Rachel said.

“Yes,” I agreed. Strange, and wrong, somehow. I felt a twisting in my stomach. “How is doing this any different than what the Yeerks do?”

Rachel looked surprised. “Yeerks take over humans,” she said. “Besides, they don’t morph, they infest. We don’t take over the actual animal, we just copy his DNA pattern, create a totally new animal, and then - "

“And then control the new animal,” I said.

“It’s not the same,” Rachel insisted. But she looked troubled.

It’s a bit more complicated, since they say over and over that you get at least some of a ‘mind’ (or at least instincts) from the animal you are morphing.

I don’t recall this being a huge point in the books, but it’s interesting to see nevertheless.

Speaking of intelligence though:

The whale called me to him.

Listen, little one, he commanded, in a silent voice that seemed to fill the universe.

Humpback whales yo. That… can talk?

Also, we have very vague references to other alien species!

<There are only three races left in all the known galaxy that still fight the Yeerks,> Ax said proudly.

But… what are the other two? (I don’t remember if this ever really comes up again).

Dated references

“Well, as you know, we have six dolphins here. Joey, whom you’ve met, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Rachel. Hey, you guys want to feed them a little? You start throwing fish in the water and they’ll all come over.”

It’s amusing, since when this one came out (1996), Friends was only in its second season (it ran 1994-2004). And now… it’s been off the air for two decades. Oh how time goes along.

“Not a movie,” Jake said. “I guess no one else watched the late news last night?”

“I was busy watching my taped reruns of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Marco said, giving Rachel a sly look. “Last night it was the one where it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Jake rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, the way he’d done a million times before when Marco said something irrelevant or annoying. “Rachel, can we go downstairs and use your VCR?”

I wonder how many kids now would know what Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was, even as re-runs.

But really, the references to taping/VCR. Been a year or two.