The one with the (mid-90s) Internet.
So much of the technology in this book is weird and dated–primarily since it comes on the tale end of the AOL-style internet, with chat rooms and email clients baked into your connection itself and before the more free-for-all (glorious) mess of the early 2000s.
Still, bragging about 38400 baud modems. Talking about ‘code words’ instead of passwords. Associating cookies with your ‘screen name’. A search result (even for a weird ‘made up’ term) returning exactly one hit. It’s such a weird mix of now dated technology of the time–some done slightly wrong. And it’s
It’s also the one (of many) where they start to touch on the moral complexities of (teenagers fighting a) war.
“It was the best you could do,” I said. “It was all you could do. I guess it’s hard to fight evil without doing some along the way.”
We saw a bit of this in The Escape, but it’s really coming home now:
“I just want to get back to a life someday where I don’t have to make decisions that might get people killed.”
“Do you?” Now Marco’s smile was definitely of the mocking variety. “You really think someday we can all go back to being regular kids? You think after being the leader of the Animorphs you can go back to being Joe Average Student?”
“Yes, I do.” I said it forcefully. I meant it.
And it’s not going to get any easier over the remaining dozens of books.
Oy for them.
Web Access America was not in our town. The headquarters of Web Access America was a couple of hundred miles away.
So this is a fun one so far as figuring out where they are. If we continue with the guess that they’re somewhere in Southern California, a couple hundred miles / a 90 minute flight would put them right in the San Francisco Bay Area. Which totally fits.
I originally thought it was a thin re-write of AOL, but turns out they were (originally and at the time) actually a New York City company, so I’m not entirely sure who they’d be. But tech at the time? SF still works.
Also, AOL grew from very roughly ~5 million to ~25 million subscribers from 1996 to 1997, with this book set in 1998. So a smaller competitor?
One fun bit about that though:
“And this is our founder, Joe Bob Fenestre. Later we’ll show a short, entertaining film about the fascinating life of Mr. Fenestre.”
An archaic French word for ‘window’. He’s literally Mr. Windows. Bill Gates yo?
Except from that one off line about ‘my friend’s Bill … and Steve’ in The Andalite Chronicles, Bill Gates exists in universe. So… someone new? Still a funny name.
Also, to lighten up a bit, I enjoyed this scene:
We stopped on the way at a Taco Bell. It was cheap enough for us to afford. And it kind of lightened my mood a little when Ax went nuts and started sucking up packets of hot sauce.
The manager kicked us out.
You know, I get it. Taco Bell sauce is weirdly tasty!