Monday, September 24, 2012
Magic Fire (Christopher Pike)
I originally started this blog to recap the horror stuff that I loved when I was younger, but I recently realized that I haven’t done any Christopher Pike stuff in years. This is one of those that came out after I stopped reading his stuff. In fact, this one came out when I was in college, which suddenly makes me feel old.
Anyway, this book takes place in the not too distant future. The only difference is that fewer people drive non-electric cars, which is fine because it means that our main guy Mark can still buy gasoline. That’s good because he’s a huge pyromaniac. Basically whenever he gets upset, he sets something on fire. Since his mom is in the hospital dying of cancer, he always wants to set stuff on fire.
He goes to the high school play, but only because he wants to watch this girl Jessa. He goes to her dressing room afterwards and she talks to him while half-dressed. He doesn’t think that she’ll even remember him, but she comes up to him in school the next day, smoking and drinking a beer.
They skip school, go swimming, and he tells her that a friend of his got paralyzed after a rogue wave hit him while body surfing. She makes a rude comment about his friend being a vegetable, but she’s hot so he ignores it. She convinces him to try this new drug MAZE once they’re alone. He thinks he doesn’t feel anything, but he notices that time seems to slow down, like he thinks a short commercial is a movie.
After stopping by the hospital and discovering that his mother died, Mark goes back to see Jessa. They go for a drive, and she confesses that she knows all about his pyromania side. She convinces him to set a fire with her there and he briefly wonders if he’s still under the influence of the drug. The fire goes wrong and he just barely manages to drag her into a rain tunnel, but not before she suffers severe damage to her leg.
He passes out, and wakes up in a hotel room. Both of them are bandanged up and Jessa is asleep, so he makes himself a sandwich. This guy Mr. Grimes walks in and basically tells him that aliens are attacking and that his dad could start fires with his mind. Grimes smears some cream on one of his burns and it almost instantly disappears. Mark begs him to give some cream to Jessa, but he refuses to offer any help unless Mark agrees to help them by starting fires with his mind.
Mark finally agrees and Grimes introduces him to Dr. Brain. They take him into a room and he manages to set a newspaper on fire. He keeps saying that he feels like he’s still on MAZE, but the veil lifts and he realizes what’s going on. Jessa is working with them and has been the whole time. They put the cream on her leg to heal her, and she claims that she really does love him.
Jessa reveals that aliens invaded a decade ago, but she keeps contradicting herself. Mark goes to another room with a bunch of remote viewers, which is what Jessa is, and he gets to see the alien ship himself. He suddenly realizes that the ship is full of human brains in big jars. Jessa finally tells him more of the story, which is that the aliens started life on earth, but came back to harvest our brains.
Here’s what I don’t get--> the aliens waited until humans reached a certain point and them came for us. But, it took them over 400 years to get here. So they came for us in the 1600s? What exactly were we doing back then that was so great they wanted to come get us?
Anyway, Dr. Brain gets him alone. Grimes wants him to blow up the aliens’ machines by setting fire to them with his mind. Brain realizes that this will actually kill everyone. I’m starting to get a Matrix vibe from this book! Brain wants him to convince/blackmail the aliens into letting them go. Brain thinks that they can make new bodies for some people, and he wants to be one of the people to repopulate the earth. When he turns him down, Brain attacks and Mark kills him by setting fire to his mind.
This leads to Mark and Jessa projecting themselves into the aliens’ home. They manage to kill two of the aliens and take over their bodies. Mark doesn’t want to do it, but he lets Jessa convince him, just like she convinces him to set massive fires and burn down their ship, killing a ton of aliens and all the human brains.
After getting away, they find themselves in the home belonging to the two aliens they took over. Jessa is so relieved about escaping that all she wants to do is have sex. Mark is more concerned about the little girl living with them who was the daughter of the aliens. Jessa devises a plan to get away from the alien planet, but she wants to live the little girl behind. Mark finally agrees to her plan, but only if they take the girl too.
They basically take one ship and then send out an SOS signal. The ship that stops to help them is full of aliens that Mark kills. They transfer to the other ship and set its course for earth. They all climb into these little pods that let them sleep for 400+ years until they get home. It’s now the 30th century and pretty much everything is gone.
Part of California is now an island, only animals are left behind, most houses are in ruins, and the only canned food they can find is completely rotten. Mark has fun wandering around with their daughter, while Jessa just goes off on her own. She also starts smoking again, telling him that she found a few good cartons.
Jessa and the little girl head off on an adventure one day, and she comes back holding the girl’s body. She tells him that the girl fell off a pier and a rogue wave slammed her head into the concrete support. After burning her body, Mark finally snaps and tells her that he knows exactly what is going on.
Everything that happened was in Jessa’s mind. She made up everything and added a few elements from his life. He begs her to come back with him, but she just shakes her head and tells him no. When he wakes up, he’s in a Mexican hospital hooked up to a machine next to Jessa.
His sister is there, and she asks him what happened. He explains that Jessa was a rich girl who he actually met after she acted in a high school show. She introduced him to cigarettes, and she became completely obsessed with MAZE. She paid her entire inheritance to get hooked up to a machine that lets her stay in a drug state 24/7. The doctors hooked Mark’s brain up to hers in a last bid effort to get her out of the state.
Mark and his sister get in the car to go home and he mentions their mom who is very much alive. He realizes that his sister looks like the little girl in Jessa’s mind, and that he brought some of his memories with him. His mom is alive, which makes him realize that Jessa killed off everything he cared about to keep him for herself. At the end, he goes to light a cigarette and suddenly remembers that something Jessa told him about the aliens altering anything they wanted. And then the book ends, leaving it open as to whether it all happened in their minds or if it really was aliens.