Monument 14 (Monument 14, #1) Monument 14 discussion

Exploding Buses, Cracked Televisions, Candy Bars (mild spoilers)

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message 1: by TC (new) - rated it 3 stars

TC Alright, a tiny nitpick, but: aren't most school buses diesel, and thus would not explode on impact? The author lost me a bit in the opening pages of what was otherwise riveting action--unless there's some rationale I missed, like the idea that in the near future, school buses will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells or something else that is more volatile.

There was a strange mix of today and tomorrow in all this, really; the weirdest being that the store was apparently entirely off the grid, and this was pretty normal for commercial buildings. (Yet the brands of junk food were identical to today.)

And while I'm picking at little things: why did they stop watching the TV? While it was damaged in the earthquake, they were still able to use it to find out about the nature of the gas cloud. So, why did they need "information" from an outsider? I think I'd have been glued to that thing non-stop no matter how bad the reception. Did I miss a passage about it conking out completely?

Gabriel Laurent I was wondering about the TV as well. I remember there was no image but you could still hear it. Why not leave it on and listen to the news? I ultimately assumed they were trying to reduce power consumption.

As for the bus, it probably didn't run on diesel. I recall reading once that all the buses in the Los Angeles MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) run on alternative fuel technologies. Some run on gasoline and most on natural gas...

message 3: by TC (new) - rated it 3 stars

TC I almost wish she'd have just left the TV out entirely. She used it early on to clue us (and her characters) into what was going on, but it would have been even more chilling if we really didn't understand what was going on until the arrival of the strangers towards the end. Imagine the tension if we had no idea for most of the book why there was a hailstorm, earthquake, and a black cloud that made different people act differently...

In essence she had to create a world more advanced than ours but that somehow also failed worse than ours, with a complete lack of basic electronic communication. She succeeded, but then felt I guess that that was too little information, so she added this thing with the TV (which didn't really make sense anyway--if there was still over-the-air TV, surely there would still be over-the-air radio, too?) Then when she'd delivered enough clues and wanted to plunge us back into not knowing, she just forgets about the TV, without even a cheap plot device like having it completely fry out (that Alex could have probably fixed anyway).

It did occur to me that the bus might run on natgas or something similar, but when she says "school bus," I instantly have in my mind the picture of a big diesel beltcher. So one sentence explaining it would have gone a long way to establishing verisimilitude in that particular scene.

message 4: by Cat (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cat Wait a minute at one point weren't they listening to the tv and it was just like an emergency broadcast that kept repeating. If the news stopped and all they had was the one broadcast then it kinda makes sense that they just left it...

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