25: Psychodrome 2: The Shapechanger Scenario Simon Hawke

#2 Psychodrome

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It's not who wins or loses - it's who wins or dies...

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gellaho

Arkady O'Toole is back! Now that the telepathic ambimorphs have escaped the Fire Islands, how will our psychos O'Toole and Rudy Breck (the Special Service Hybreed) deal with the situation? By playing in Psychodrome, of course! Simon Hawke will deliver his latest masterpiece this Friday, 5pm eastern, in Psychodrome 2: The Shapechanger Scenario

Illithid Can Suck My Nuts Javo

there have been many fine covers

this may be the finest

gellaho

@Brockway Prove to me that you aren't a shapeshifting snake by pinning this please

gellaho

It's a wild one

The back is pretty good too

Illithid Can Suck My Nuts Javo

AMBIMORPHS

Brockway

pinned

a message

to this channel. See all

pinned messages

.

FancyShark

It was literally one guy. And this is all happening because he sucked at diplomacy.

Brockway

I have done thissss

Illithid Can Suck My Nuts Javo

Brockway do you ever get inspired by these books to stop trying so hard to write good and just do a tone of coke and write about laser tag love triangles

gellaho

It would probably be a sound business strategy thirty years ago

Brockway

Yeah this is key - this was a sound business model until like 2002

gellaho

There's a reason Simon Hawke's output severe diminished in that time

Illithid Can Suck My Nuts Javo

I am not even looking at it necessarily as a business thing at this point... more like... a muse

FancyShark

I still think Peter David was trying to get fired from writing Photon but just had the misfortune of writing in a time where there was no way to make something too batshit

Greg

We both know enough about Ambimorphs to say this proves nothing

gellaho

You can catch up on Psychodrome here: https://www.gellaho.com/books/87-psychodrome

gellaho

One hour until Psychodrome 2: The Shapechanger Scenario. Your preview involves SNAKESSSSS

FancyShark

How do fangs become hydraulic?

gellaho

no idea

Thank you, Neal McPheeters

gellaho

Time to begin

gellaho

Watch out for those paranoids

Greg

Kill! That! Snake!

FancyShark

I wonder if Hawke has been getting therapy

gellaho

I love Hawke's summaries

Yeah, I wrote that and it all fits together perfectly

gellaho

Considering what happens in his later work, I doubt it

FancyShark

I bet Stone loves that the first thing the MC remembers about her is her porn career

Greg

Nice to get all the summaries out of the way early at least!

Now we can get right into the plot

gellaho

He'll write a paragraph like this that just goes in 8 different directions

FancyShark

ADHD didn't really start getting diagnosed until the 90s

gellaho

This is a lot

gellaho
FancyShark

"You don't underthtand me, Dad. I'm a thnake and a badath"

gellaho

You really feel the tension when he describes one as a pussycat

FancyShark

Pussycat's all have lion's manes, right?

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

You know, like those housecats with manes. We've all seen them. I'm not crazy, you are.

Damn, sniped by the shark.

FancyShark

Yours was more descriptive

gellaho

O'Toole ducks into a club

FancyShark

They stopped sleeping on their stomachs because it sounded like someone left something heavy on a piano key

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

This is primo Hawke here. Compelling world-building that will be ignored for awkward fucking and lip-moistening.

Greg

And sooooooo much Nysteel

gellaho

O'Toole: tactical genius

FancyShark

It's tougher to riff than most Hawke, though. He seems to put more care into this

"That'th right, O'Toole. We thuckered you."

Greg

The first rule of urban combat is be cornered and outnumbered and ambushed

gellaho

I wonder why people don't have snake teeth

FancyShark

"Attack and attack hard" as he starts furiously masturbating

Greg

Keep in mind they Matrix learned everything about war and stuff into his head, I think?

gellaho

I love how much of a fuck up this dude is

Greg

We are 5 pages in and he's spent two of them getting bashed against a wall

FancyShark

This is what makes it tougher to riff. This guy is a doofus just enough to be likable

gellaho

Mmmm, salsa

Greg

This book reminds me more of The Mandalorian. Awesome but also really dumb and ridiculous

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Yes, but I do like your impression of snakeguy ending up with a lisp instead of the intended trailing -ss on every word.

gellaho

SNAKE ATTACK

FancyShark

This guy must lose his shit whenever he watches The Jungle Book

gellaho

I love that this super secret government guy expects this lottery winner to be a navy seal

FancyShark

"We're training for snakes?!"

"Look at the cover!"

gellaho

"Goddammit son, you won the lottery to be on a gameshow! WHY AREN'T YOU BETTER AT THIS??"

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Did he freeze or was he completely wrapped up by a snake? That seems like an important distinction. He did beat three other guys first.

FancyShark

He does say he froze with horror, but you make a good point

gellaho

High hybrid cat-man commando, at your service

FancyShark

"Dude, I smoked a bang, got kitty eyes, tripped on a blinky light"

gellaho

Gold, pure gold

Greg

Grade A Hawke right here

@icy spicy jakesy is missing out on his nature quest

FancyShark

No notes, Mr. Hawke. Only mace

gellaho

It's a bold move to fantasize about a woman when you know your thoughts are being broadcast to everyone

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

I feel very uncomfortable right now.

gellaho

Classic flirtation

FancyShark

"Says here she prescribes castration"

Greg

Breck this happens with every woman O'Toole meets. This is a Hawke book

FancyShark

She'll be a corpse by the epilogue

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

"completely humorless" broad doesn't even like it when she gets sexually harassed

FancyShark

pssh. Women, amirite?

Gettin' to where you can't sexually harass anybody

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

They had this exact same character in Steele and they ended up blackmailing her with a secret sex tape

FancyShark

jesus

gellaho

She was a forty year old version, who eventually sold everyone out to an evil senator

FancyShark

Oh, well if she's forty then go ahead

gellaho

If I remember correctly, she ended up surviving which is a minor miracle

Skipping over several pages of summary

FancyShark

Or make them hot

gellaho

Sounds like they need to work on making leggy robots

gellaho
FancyShark

If people are demolishing your wait staff, you may want to work on your service standards

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Umm...Does Hawke have a new gig as a daily comic artist?

And a new pen name?

FancyShark

Keep an eye open for glorifications of Bach

gellaho

I don't think that's going to happen

FancyShark

Harley Davidson? Hawke knows Jackson!

gellaho

This section is marvelous

gellaho

Liiiiiiiiiiiipppppppssss

FancyShark

Champagne is best when brought from a bedroom and presumably warm

Greg

Appropriate lip action in another room

I've bookmarked all the lip action in this book to keep @gellaho honest

He's hit them all so far

FancyShark

I assume she's now going to turn into a snake

gellaho

"Waaaaaaiiittt, she said she was fatter than this"

It must be an imposter!

FancyShark

No love handles?! Succubus!

gellaho

How'd you guess

Greg

Fuckin' Ambiimmoorrphhhhh!!!!

FancyShark

"Do you thtill find me thekthy?"

Greg

Hold on I need to do a text search for "hydraulic fang" in this book

FancyShark

Seriously, talking with giant artificial fangs has got to be like talking right after getting braces

gellaho

I wish you hadn't killed it

FancyShark

"Yeah, I have been doing a great job."

gellaho

Nysteel, baby!

FancyShark

The finger-claws are still awesome

gellaho

Oh, you thought you were brave and insightful? Psych!

gellaho
FancyShark

Is that a joke or does 'contact' have a different meaning in the future?

Some Kind of Wizard

No, no sssnakes here.

I don't know what it is, but seeing that in light mode makes the statement look so much more cursed.

gellaho

The real her sent him a feeling of paranoia through his psychocybernetic biochip

You know, that classic move

FancyShark

"Make him feel uneasy. It's just like a phone call."

gellaho

I'm weak willed and simple minded, a perfect test subject

FancyShark

Hawke is trying so hard not to have Breck be the MC

gellaho

A dark black void, womb, same diff

gellaho
FancyShark

Hawke and his mother do not get along

gellaho

Seems like this would make things nearly impossible

FancyShark

"So even one piece gets lost and the whole thing dies, or we have to kill every piece?"

gellaho

"Shapeshifters? Bo-ring!"

gellaho
FancyShark

Wait, can we go back to "wrestle with the devil"?

gellaho

don't worry about it

people are doing that all the time

challenging the devil to fiddle duels, etc

I'm not sure he ever actually comes to a great conclusion on how they die

FancyShark

Hives of creatures that can reproduce via fission. And we were eating them?

gellaho

"Hey, I just discovered this planet, what should I call it?"

FancyShark

Maybe it's a Greenland/Iceland naming thing and it's actually really nice

gellaho

"I was thinking Satan's Asshole, but that might be too crude?"

FancyShark

"I like it, but let's save it for the planet of exploding metal hooks"

gellaho

Great place

FancyShark

The cacti bleed? Metal but also what the hell?

gellaho

What do you expect to happen after you shoot them?

GDC

Wait, so the hivemind shapeshifters have hydraulics in their faces? Did I miss something?

gellaho

The shapeshifter was pretending to be a cyberpunk. Cyberpunks are apparently cyborg furries

I forgot he actually tied this planet back to the previous book

Greg

Did they ever mention how space travel works? What this book's warp speed or whatever is?

gellaho

Yeah, in the last book

GDC

I guess this is a different combine. https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Draconis_Combine

gellaho

And yes, I did find that by looking at my archive and searching for "boring"

Seems like an ambimorph is about

gellaho

The future is bleak

FancyShark

How much use are you going to get out of people sitting and watching TV?

icy spicy jakesy

Unfortunately Shaq is in another castle. I did run into a wise goat who told me that everything is cool though

GDC

Wouldn't 'use or be used' be more fitting in the context of those other statements?

gellaho

"This planet is a real shit hole, and humans are destroying the shit hole with our pollution"

GDC

So far I'm on Team Ambimorph.

gellaho

New Jersey burn!

GDC

That joke landed better on Futurama.

gellaho

Higgins Alert! @icy spicy jakesy we have a hippie Higgins

FancyShark

He began explaining "near" and "far"

gellaho

as opposed to a CIA beaurocrat

Meet Higgins's waifu

FancyShark

Wait, horse mane hair but mountain lion grace? Hawke's making a chimera

GDC

Or possibly a hippogriff.

gellaho

Simon Hawke muses on the nature of man and humanoid aliens

FancyShark

"In other words: nevermind. Thanks for your time."

GDC

If Higgins was living in the present day he'd be really into having an Asian wife.

gellaho

O'Toole's already been there

FancyShark

He'd make sure everyone knew it too

gellaho

Simon Hawke muses on the nature of God

FancyShark

You're not insecure?! You spent half of the first book saying you had Russian priests telling you the world was horror!

Greg

So much of this book is O'Toole musing to himself, or O'Toole and Breck musing together

gellaho

These are honestly about a good explanation for the proliferation of humanoid aliens as Star Trek ever gave

FancyShark

True

gellaho

Hot aliens, baby

GDC

Higgins has Tawny Fever.

FancyShark

I don't think I blame him.

gellaho

FancyShark

ThunderCats!

GDC

I wonder how much Hawke making O'Toole a unusual combination of ethnicities is taken from Manuel Garcia O'Kelly Davis from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

gellaho

"Imagine Japanese but with a lot of hch sounds"

gellaho

I love Breck

GDC

Hawke doing his damnedest to not use the phrase 'space elf'.

Adrienne, the Joe Magadatz story

In this universe, the only action available to women is eye-widening

FancyShark

Don't forget being ogled!

gellaho

Higgins is very much like the person you've described

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

It's a Hawke trademark that deep into book 2 of a series he goes on a long sidebar telling the reader something they already know (i.e. Breck rules)

Adrienne, the Joe Magadatz story

That’s not an action

FancyShark

True, but it happens enough that it seems like it could be a hobby

Greg

Women also have throwing themselves at O'Toole

gellaho

They have a lot more going on

gellaho

I'm not sure I'm going to get to it, but it gets fucking wild

This wife thing really isn't working out for Higgins

Greg

Seriously this isn't a bit I almost died

Adrienne, the Joe Magadatz story

I love that this writer is like “the same prejudices exist in the opposite direction on my fictional planet” and feels like that justifies it

FancyShark

Is anyone else thinking Higgins made all this up to explain why he can't satisfy his wife?

Greg

This totally makes up for O'Toole's child bride in book 1!

GDC

One of my favorite things to do is identify a sci fi author's weird sexual hangups by the reproductive habits of the aliens they invent.

gellaho

You know how you marry orphans?

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

This would only be written before the internet. Today we know this scene gave away way more than Hawke intended.

gellaho

Well, we'll see

FancyShark

CPS has Hawke on a list

icy spicy jakesy

Hell yeah

gellaho

"I , Higgins, see nothing weird about this"

FancyShark

I know guests appreciate it when the first thing I talk about after welcoming them in is a heavily detailed explanation of my sex practices and history

icy spicy jakesy

I’m still in a spotty service area or I’d be following along more

gellaho

Oh, it's endless

Well, not the sex part. He only did that once

FancyShark

"Um, Higgins? Can we maybe get a glass of water or sit down?"

GDC

Simon Hawke makes me understand why @Illithid Can Suck My Nuts Javo hates worldbuilding so much.

Greg

Malone's ride has wifi I think

gellaho

This is important, but don't make any assumptions about where this is going

Adrienne, the Joe Magadatz story

It’s not necessarily weird…it actually makes more sense in terms of family continuation if the line is traced by mothers. Parentage disputes are a lot more clear if you can say “no, I remember this kid bursting free”

gellaho

I was talking more about the "acting as wife and mother" part

Greg

Hahaha please don't summon a Javo world building argument into our nice Hawke night

gellaho

"Copyright Simon Hawke 1998. This in no way resembles any human religion"

Adrienne, the Joe Magadatz story

Oh yeah, I think everyone (except for the most sober and exceptional among us) eventually confronts that. Acting as a “parental” when your partner is wildin out

GDC

It is, however, another Moon is a Harsh Mistress similarity.

FancyShark

Hot damn, he managed to steer it back to the main plot

Sort of

Greg

Hawke is kind of a lunatic but is not a terrible author

He somehow keeps the pacing halfway on track even with the random essays on human nature, God, alien sexuality, etc.

GDC

Wait is this the shapeshifter planet? Are there two races on this planet, one of which we decided were okay to eat?

FancyShark

It's legit impressive

Greg

(Not counting the 40 pages of recap that Gellaho skipped)

Greg

The nomads are native

FancyShark

But he still found his way back!

Greg

And I think the only native sentient race

gellaho

I can't see why an angry man would try to sabotage a plant

gellaho

That was Draconis from the other book. But the shapeshifters escaped from that planet, and they are on Purgatory to investigate if shapeshifters have made it there

GDC

And they've already infiltrated the local religion. That's impressive.

FancyShark

Teach them their gods are delicious and the problem solves itself

gellaho

This guy really has his head on straight

GDC

Worked for Christianity.

FancyShark

The sad thing is this is one of Cavanaugh's good moods

gellaho

They get Cavanaugh all riled up and then just leave

GDC

I do appreciate the pro-labor sentiment, though.

FancyShark

There's a running bet on how high they can get his blood pressure

GDC

If Cavanaugh gets off on proving things, he should have majored in math.

gellaho

They go to a bar and things go about as well as can be expected

FancyShark

Better back off, guys. Otherwise Higgins will start telling you about his wife's sex life

gellaho

In case you hadn't figured it out, this is Simon Hawke's western

gellaho

I'll tell you one thing though, this is a great joke

gellaho

Liiiips... and ambimorph attack

FancyShark

I appreciate that every woman that's thrown herself at O'Toole so far is doing so to murder him

gellaho

It doesn't last long

gellaho

Make sure to turn into tiny insects before attacking

FancyShark

Which would actually be a much better strategy up close than 'cat'

gellaho

Simon Hawke continues to have a bizarre understanding of what a sled is

FancyShark

Maybe he means 'skiff'?

GDC

Demonstrated by the ineffectiveness of our protagonist's attack.

gellaho

Higgins decides extreme sports are a great idea at this point

FancyShark

"I have sex with lions! I fear nothing!"

gellaho

Then they crash

But it couldn't possibly have anything to do with that stunt, no sir

FancyShark

"Worth it!"

Cut to a cactus looking down the smoking barrel of a rifle. "Damn. So close"

gellaho

Time to walk in the desert

FancyShark

I wonder if Higgins told his wife what happened to the humans her race is a clear allegory of?

gellaho

Simon Hawke really wants you to know how pathetic his protagonist is

icy spicy jakesy

Hell yeah lip action

FancyShark

It's amazing this is the same guy that wrote Steele

gellaho

"They're not a disease, they're a disease"

FancyShark

"But we ate them..."

gellaho

In Jagged Steele (his masterpiece) there is a character very similar to O'Toole named Tracy

GDC

Kind of weird the guy on the not Ambimorph planet would be so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Ambimorphs.

Greg

I think he is a scientist that studies aliens

GDC

I thought he was a manager?

icy spicy jakesy

Maybe O’Toole eats some stripper pussy soon too

gellaho

Simon Hawke muses on urban life

gellaho

Luckily there's a lot less of the Irish/Russian thing

FancyShark

And gets weirdly horny about it

gellaho

that's his move

Greg

He kept up with that bit so hard for like half of the first book and then just totally dropped it

gellaho

kinda

FancyShark

Maybe he talked to an Irish person

gellaho

As a reminder, this is all being broadcast to billions of people

FancyShark

Which means billions of people now know Higgins' wife's sex life

gellaho

An ambimorph comes to investigate and O'Toole bumbles some more

FancyShark

"Try selling your sandwiches now, asshole"

gellaho

Tyla wanders off. Higgins seems to believe he knows everything about the woman he doesn't live with

and who has 15 other husbands

FancyShark

"You only knew her the one time, you said"

gellaho

Mandago appears in O'Toole's dream to tell us that the ambimorph from the first book can send out psychic signals now

gellaho

And the other teams suck

Considering this team is basically just Breck, that's pretty bad

FancyShark

Yeah, they're doomed

Greg

The only thing those other teams did better than us is suck and die

Greg

Breck is a monster though

Greg

So much of this book is people getting cranky with O'Toole for exploding Ambimorphs

gellaho

Don't tell me I never taught you anything

Greg

Hahahaha

"Paid in the coin of loneliness"

gellaho

That's panis

Greg

I love you Hawke

gellaho

O'Toole is blacking out

FancyShark

He's not wrong. That is the right translation

gellaho

I know, but it looks like penis

FancyShark

This is true

gellaho

Better use that mouth instead of the claws to hunt

The humanoid form is known for it's bite strength rather than dexterous hands

wait

FancyShark

That or the animal got a lucky punch

gellaho

You have been in a school of sharks, bud

FancyShark

There were ninjas. It was rad

gellaho

That is the only way you've felt

I think even when you slept with Stone you felt insecure

icy spicy jakesy

The Irish part of him is intimidated by busty redheads

FancyShark

The relatable everyman feeling is starting to get replaced with the sense O'Toole is a puss

Greg

Fuck! We need to get another $1000 together to get a painting of the zero-G ninja shark battle commissioned

gellaho

Simon Hawke is somehow more self aware than he will be in two years

gellaho

Explorations on masculinity

gellaho

The nomads have arrived

FancyShark

Subtle. They emasculate O'Toole just by the weapons they carry

gellaho

Indeed

Simon Hawke is incredibly comfortable describing a muscular masculine form

As evidenced previously by Ice

FancyShark

I mean, props to Hawke

gellaho

He's literally describing these men as descending from heaven

It's why I can't get too mad about his description of women

it's just him, man

Even so, this is fucking weird

FancyShark

GARR?! Oh shit, this is a Photon book!

Also, yeah. That's weird

gellaho

Lol

FancyShark

hahaha

gellaho

Legally distinct snicked

FancyShark

Get it, O'Toole? You suck

gellaho

One more chapter

And this one

This is where it really gets going

But first: what of civilization?

Greg

Oh shit I hope this is the chapter

gellaho

when you see where this goes, think back to this and ask: why?

FancyShark

uh...

Okay, this feels sarcastic so I'm with you so far, Hawke

gellaho

that paragraph is sacrastic, yes

That does not mean it doesn't get weird

Hope you like irrelevant nonsense

gellaho
gellaho

Hope you like irrelevant nonsense

Greg

I love it

gellaho

It really makes you feel the moment, until he mentions farting

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

What church does he go to that there's "always" someone who rips an earth-shattering fart?

FancyShark

That sounds like a widespread medical issue

There may be cryptosporidium in the water

gellaho

O'Toole has a panic attack, until he gets a sexy dance performance

gellaho

SEXY DANCING FOR ALL

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Ha, bone flutes

FancyShark

If this girl doesn't shapeshift and try to kill him, I'll have lost the thread

gellaho

I said it would accelerate

gellaho

How dare you try to foresee Simon Hawke

FancyShark

Not quite killing, but I'm okay with this

Greg

This could be a curveball and just a normal sexy lady throwing herself at the MC

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

I'm becoming more convinced Hawke wrote this for himself because it was before fanfiction websites existed.

FancyShark

It does have a fanfic air with how much effort is being made to describe sex rituals that don't advance the plot

gellaho

Nah, that's TimeWars

gellaho

Joke's on you

FancyShark

HAHAHAHA

He did it again!

Greg

YES!!!!

gellaho

Just absolutely destroyed by boning

FancyShark

"Gross, Breck. Gross"

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Eww

gellaho

Haha, you were fucked without your consent

FancyShark

hahaha, he...oh god, he was

gellaho

You might not believe this, but there is a plot reason for all of this. Still pretty gross though

FancyShark

Tali also needs to leave on the Normandy

Greg

I love when Hawke takes insane loop-de-loops to get to where he wants in his narrative

And it always involves O'Toole waking up married

FancyShark

Now O'Toole has to work for another mobster to pay for this wife's family to survive

icy spicy jakesy

I can’t wait to read this and catch up for round 2

gellaho

Turns out the nomads are telepathic

FancyShark

So it's still really stupid to think you have any privacy

gellaho

O'Toole getting that sweet husband #15 spot

FancyShark

Emasculated in a new culture!

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Why go the extra step of making the telepath learn English telepathically? Just do the Star Trek thing and say it transcends language. So weird.

FancyShark

I don't get how O'Toole can be so insecure yet be unshaken by how often he gets dunked on

It's kind of impressive

gellaho

So we end Part 1 of our reading with the knowledge that these psychic cat people can detect shapeshifters and completely stop Psychodrome's communications

I wasn't able to get to it this reading, but there is a reason they had to have sex

That's a teaser for next time

FancyShark

lol

right on

Thanks again @gellaho !

gellaho

Another Book Cage adventure complete

Greg

Great night @gellaho

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Thanks @gellaho

gellaho

This week, we once again put on our psy-fi headsets and enter Simon Hawke's PSYCHODROME 2: The Shapechanger Scenario, Part 2. How will Arkady O'Toole deal with his consensual marriage to an alien princess? Will he meet her 15 other husbands? How does any of this help with the galaxy's ambimorph problem? Find out, this Friday, 5pm eastern.

gellaho

@Brockway I need a fix for my pinning addiction, please

icy spicy jakesy

This is also the second time he’s accidentally gotten married in the last two books

He has a problem

gellaho

This one was a little more forced upon him

FancyShark

I'm convinced every illustrator in that time was just moonlighting from their regular job as a courtroom sketch artist

Brockway

How is that the BACK cover?

gellaho

It's too beautiful

FancyShark

If that's Breck on the front cover, that explains why it's the front cover

Hawke is trying so hard not to ditch O'Toole and have Breck be the star

Greg

That arm does look like Nysteel

gellaho

One hour until Psychodrome 2, Part 2

Old Man Brendan, Dancing Fool

I will be checking into my hotel but I may make time for hawke

icy spicy jakesy

We all have time for Hawke in our hearts

FancyShark

Notice O'Toole said Higgins took his job seriously but didn't mention the whole "married one of the natives" thing

gellaho

I imagine he doesn't want to remind himself of his own forced marriage

FancyShark

He can't buy her whole family an apartment this time

gellaho

These alien gals done got two brains

FancyShark

Just like a cat

wait

I don't think Hawke knows how brains work

gellaho

He can really say anything about them alien minds

icy spicy jakesy

Hawke doesn’t know how organic brains work

Cybernetic brains however

gellaho

Meanwhile, the hunks get nothing

gellaho

Gotta be fun for your wife to be able to read your mind

icy spicy jakesy

Lol oh man arkady is going to make her fall in love for reals

FancyShark

"Husband mate" has a certain ring to it

gellaho

"Hey, don't read my mind please"

FancyShark

He had no problem with several billion people being able to hear his thoughts via Internet, but one alien chick

gellaho

Yes, Higgins that is what happened

FancyShark

"You might feel that way. It's perfectly normal and not prosecutable."

gellaho

These alien men can't get erections unless the females let them. Through exotic dancing

FancyShark

I've used that excuse. It doesn't go over well.

icy spicy jakesy

I mean isn’t that how uhhhh regular arousal works

I guess not the telepathic part

gellaho

O'Toole with his famous self confidence

icy spicy jakesy

“It’s very complicated, if she smells good and looks hot, the male gets aroused”

FancyShark

"Fascinating. How alien."

gellaho

Higgins here telling O'Toole that he can't say no because that would be culturally rude

FancyShark

This is why Higgins isn't a grief counselor

GDC

consent is apparently a very anthropocentric concept.

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

"God are you still upset about that whole rape thing? It was almost 12 hours ago, get over yourself."

FancyShark

"My wife fucked me the same way. Don't hear me crying about it."

GDC

"Thanks to the drugs."

icy spicy jakesy

Besides, O’Toole was asking for it, wearing that tight Psychodrome suit

gellaho

"Anyway, she had to rape you in order to stop a mental attack from the shapeshifter from across the galaxy"

icy spicy jakesy

You don’t wear those kind of clothes out unless you want something

gellaho

It is pretty hot

Especially with the giant McPheeters signature

FancyShark

"Oh, and the shapeshifters can now kill with their minds. The whole 'physically attacking you' thing was just a handicap they gave themselves."

gellaho

And the billions of people watching him on Psychodrome

gellaho

It's because Chameleon took control of the biochip it stole from Stone

icy spicy jakesy

I’m glad you pointed this out so I know who to contact for my cover art needs

FancyShark

ohhh

Still a terrible design for a technology sold en masse

gellaho

Neal McPheeters, no idea if he's still alive

Tyla had decided to see if Breck would die, as a fun experiment

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

He is not. I found his obituary.

Apparently he was a very well-respected artist.

FancyShark

Again, Hawke makes it clear he and we want Breck as the star

gellaho

Oh, thousands died anyway. Oops

FancyShark

Probably should have led with that

GDC

This psychodrome thing has more bugs and security flaws than a right wing social media platform

FancyShark

heyooo

GDC

But I guess future technology that doesn't work is kind of a Simon Hawke staple.

FancyShark

I'd love to see the patch notes on it

gellaho

Breck was strong enough to fight. The only thing that could save O'Toole was intense horniness

FancyShark

This reads like the greatest "she meant nothing to me" of all time

Greg

This explanation of what happened last night is like 20% of the book

gellaho

Once you do the sexy dance you have to fuck

What other choice do you have?

icy spicy jakesy

Hahaha

Once she’s wet there’s just nothing you can do

She’s going until she’s done

FancyShark

At a certain point, you're just flying on automatic

gellaho

"To be fair to us, we thought psychic powers were fake."

FancyShark

"Acceptable losses"

gellaho

Lol, O'Toole's willpower is so low he killed way more people

FancyShark

"We're finding whole new ways to tell you you suck, O'Toole"

gellaho

Apparently the entire human race is addicted to Psychodrome

FancyShark

"Still never bothered to patch that genocide-enabling bug"

GDC

But they could still use those satellites for communication without having to play the game, right? That's how satellites work now.

FancyShark

Communication is trojaned to a game

gellaho

Society would completely collapse without Psychodrome, according to Psychodrome

GDC

This would be like if NASA used voice chat in Call Of Duty to communicate with astronauts.

gellaho

Not the book, but the organization in the book

This is a very confusing relationship

which would happen if you were forcibly married to someone to save your life

FancyShark

Is O'Toole mansplaining Tali's culture back to her?

gellaho

I think he's assuming she doesn't know how she'd be treated on Earth, even though she has read his brain

FancyShark

And still can

gellaho

She's refusing to stop the humans through mind control against their will. Even though she has done that

FancyShark

Marriage is complicated

gellaho

He's all in

icy spicy jakesy

The false one haha

gellaho

"I'll fuck you like the weakling you are"

GDC

"It's what they call the ambimorphs. That would have been obvious from the context, if you had been paying attention."

FancyShark

I'm certain Kami doesn't remember it that way

icy spicy jakesy

PREPARE FOR A checks notes OVER THE PANTS HAND-JOB

gellaho

I don't know about that, she was all up in your brain 10 minutes ago

FancyShark

I laughed a little too hard at this

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

She was very polite about invading my mind. Meaning she covered her tracks well.

GDC

"okay, just remember that 'what, already?' is an expression of extreme satisfaction on earth"

FancyShark

They have a high regard for mental privacy, unless they've got the thirst

gellaho

O'Toole's self image is so bad, he thinks he's the problem

"I should really be more understanding after this unwanted sex and marriage to a psychic alien"

icy spicy jakesy

I also can’t stop thinking of Higgins as a military guy in a dress uniform trying to be a hardass

gellaho

as opposed to a space hippie

FancyShark

James T. Kirk vomits in shame at being the same race as O'Toole

icy spicy jakesy

There’s only one solution: Arkady must boldly go down on her, where no man has gone before

gellaho

Hawke revealing a lot about himself here, I think

gellaho

I'm guessing she's unfamiliar with the concept

Old Man Brendan, Dancing Fool

Hawke's characters may follow a certain '80s machismo but they are generally stand up guys where sex is on the line

FancyShark

Remember when this was about shapeshifters trying to murder space gladiators?

FancyShark

O'Toole certainly fits the second part of that description

gellaho

I think my favorite part is that the ambimorphs pretended to be the Nomads' gods and they saw through them immediately

But then ignored them and let them twist in the wind

FancyShark

Again, just like cats

GDC

I might have said this last week, but this is one of those books where you can figure out the author's sexual hangups by the habits of the aliens they invent.

gellaho

I forgot Hawke pulled a Hardy Boys

FancyShark

It's a good, punchy way to end the chapter

gellaho

Total Hardy Boys

FancyShark

Dammit, Hawke. Don't go full Dixon

gellaho

Cliffhanger -> immediately resolve

Greg

And there was never really any threat or action by the MC

gellaho

O'Toole doesn't do anything except get pulled around

FancyShark

It's his lack of agency the ladies love

gellaho

Just sleeping during the fight

FancyShark

So Breck is where all the machismo is stored and O'Toole is where the decent-guy-ness is stored

gellaho

O'Toole rightly wonders why nobody warned them about the aliens with a vendetta against humans. He is reprimanded for caring and apologizes

I've rarely seen a protagonist with this little agency who is willing to concede any point

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

I'm so glad he dropped the leprechauns and priests bit, at least.

FancyShark

O'Toole, they let the shapeshifters think they were being worshipped as gods. Ignoring the shifters is their go-to move

gellaho

Hell yeah, nysteel darts

Gimme those Steele bits

FancyShark

I'm still convinced it's Breck, not O'Toole, on the front cover

gellaho

"They respect your mind's privacy. But also, they invade your mind to teach you their language while you sleep"

FancyShark

Hawke saw The 13th Warrior and thought "Fucking amateurs"

gellaho

Just the last person to get any information

Ole "Behind the Eight Ball" O'Toole

FancyShark

At some point, having an audience surrogate gets weird if they're constantly baffled

gellaho

And a total coward

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

We're kidnapping one of their children as a prisoner of war. No, I can't believe we're the good guys either.

FancyShark

For all of O'Toole's claims about being a coward, he doesn't really do anything to show it besides when he shat himself

Old Man Brendan, Dancing Fool

Canonical this is the same Higgins.

gellaho

They probably had to deal with it. No, I won't explain how

FancyShark

Anyway, kidnapping

gellaho

"But, they can do that to me"

gellaho

Enjoy this long description of the shapeshifters missing the glaringly obvious

FancyShark

I'm starting to see why humans were able to eat these things for years without knowing they were shapeshifters

gellaho

O'Toole must be a small man

FancyShark

We should be keeping a tally of all the ways O'Toole gets emasculated

GDC

Breck's fit perfectly.

FancyShark

Although "you were such a colossal puss you made several thousand people die as a result" is hard to top

GDC

"the garment also had way more space in the groin than O'Toole had any use for."

gellaho

He's having his 'Nam flashbacks

FancyShark

O'Toole shamefully suppresses a boner

gellaho

Breck was fascinated by me because all I had was fear

FancyShark

I'm just glad O'Toole isn't constantly pining for Breck's approval

gellaho

Plasteel, baby!

There's no word Simon Hawke won't merge with steel

GDC

Plastic steel is a polymer while nylon steel is....not?

FancyShark

Just poke some holes in the lid, O'Toole

gellaho

Time to enter the hivemind

FancyShark

Oh God. They're entering a brookemouth!

gellaho

"Higgins, I want you to understand exactly how scared I am. Exactly how much of a wimp I am"

FancyShark

"Because I'm in love with Breck."

gellaho

I like that O'Toole told Higgins that Higgins would give him the "we aren't so different, you and I speech"

And then he did

FancyShark

Bad move, O'Toole. That's a villain speech

gellaho

Higgins said that. I knew I'd have a hard time articulating that

FancyShark

No, I got that. I just read it as O'Toole was trying to draw this out of him

GDC

Higgins if that is how you think science works I think I figured out why you're exiled to a backwater.

gellaho

A real bromance

FancyShark

Called it

gellaho

MOISTEN

THEM

LIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPSSSSS

FancyShark

"Someday, I will moisten Breck's lips."

gellaho

Just a barrage of ideas

FancyShark

So they didn't shut down the network after several thousand people died? Chameleon isn't spamming them with broadcast signals?

gellaho

they have it "under control" now

FancyShark

ahh

gellaho

I'm not really sure how, but they figured it out after the first attack I guess

FancyShark

Proxy server

GDC

I wish my IT department had that kind of turn around time on ticket closure.

gellaho

"Did you already forget?"

FancyShark

I guess we found a spot where Hawke took a break

gellaho

"God, Breck is so cool"

GDC

The entire group is like "Jesus, O'Toole, does your internal monologue always sound like this?"

FancyShark

"I hope Breck likes me."

GDC

"I'd hate to be someone who reads a transcript of your thoughts."

FancyShark

I would just be replaying the ninja/shark fight over and over

gellaho

"Could you please stop being such a wimp?"

FancyShark

Unfortunately, O'Toole doomed them all when he got the Pina Colata song stuck in his head

gellaho

Turns out, ambimorphs are naturally Nickelodeon Gak

FancyShark

Yep. Aliens on stalagmites. Only possible read of glistening, phallic objects.

GDC

Wait I thought the Ambimorphs started out as herd animals.

gellaho

A very comical death

gellaho

They were mimicking animals that were naturally on Draconis 9

FancyShark

Either way, still delicious

gellaho

O'Toole instantly forgets about how they can shapeshift

gellaho
FancyShark

Even the nerd is out-badassing our hero

GDC

It's baffling that O'Toole has lived as long as he has.

gellaho

Meanwhile, Breck has already accomplished the mission

FancyShark

"Why won't Breck carry me?"

gellaho

RIP

Goodbye, Higgins' wife. We hardly knew ye

FancyShark

Higgins is already looking forward to bachelor life

gellaho

O'Toole requires so much help

FancyShark

So much for the "surplus of males"

gellaho

Breck has accomplished his life long dream, and it only took a woman's horrific death!

FancyShark

Yay...?

gellaho

Our hero passes out, having accomplished very little

GDC

Breck was saying "you're dead weight, O'Toole."

FancyShark

"Not as much as Tyla, but still"

gellaho

And now introducing: a doctor

gellaho

A Greedy Doctor

GDC

Jay Shulman is played by Jon Lovitz.

FancyShark

"You're much worse off than the guy who just watched his wife eaten alive in front of him."

gellaho

I don't care if you murdered anybody, as a doctor, I'm in it for myself

FancyShark

Weird time to introduce another subplot

gellaho

Jane Carmody, very similar to Susan Carmody the Steele's lady doctor friend who died at the end of the first Steele book

FancyShark

Names are hard, okay?!

gellaho

Doc Psychopath, at your service

FancyShark

"This doctor...needs borders."

gellaho

O'Toole has completely forgotten how this started

FancyShark

This must be how his Irish/Russian guilt manifests

gellaho

"I suck, how are you not getting this?"

FancyShark

I've read this guy's opinion on medicare-for-all on so many forums

gellaho

"I also can't feel human empathy"

FancyShark

I like his style. His bedside manner must be hilarious.

GDC

Jokes on them. O'Toole is afraid of everything.

gellaho

All aboard the murder train

FancyShark

Shulman rules

gellaho

MURDER

gellaho

God, these two suck

FancyShark

Oh thank god, you included the part about her picking up a gun. I was worried this was gonna get weird

Like, weird weird

gellaho

No, she gets really into the murder

FancyShark

sweet

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Fuckin' hell yeah

GDC

"Stop. Fucking. Monologuing."

gellaho

Still time to pass out one more time

FancyShark

O'Toole might have an undiagnosed medical condition

Or narcolepsy

gellaho

Cut to: living together

John, Servant of Yag-Kosha

Trademark Hawke soliloquy about nothing. Strong ending.

gellaho

Tali decides to move to mental rape

GDC

Didn't she said she respected boundaries at some point?

FancyShark

His colleagues just thought he really liked his crossword puzzle

GDC

Tali really isn't getting a good handle on this thing we humans called 'consent'.

gellaho

O'Toole is always on the precipice of selling out the entire human race

gellaho

Meanwhile, let's brainwash all the humans on Purgatory

FancyShark

"I can't remember my children."

"Whatever. Back to work."

gellaho

Simon Hawke muses on violence in media

FancyShark

I think that old argument is a bit more valid when the entertainment is murdering people just by them watching it

gellaho

I forgot about this, I love this nightmare

FancyShark

Badass

gellaho

Freddy Krueger over here

FancyShark

"I will hire so many ninjas to kill you, O'Toole..."

gellaho

And Psychodrome 2 ends on a 32 year long cliffhanger

I guess more of a sequel setup

FancyShark

Chameleon still sucks at diplomacy

Greg

The word ninja is not in this book once

FancyShark

That is a crime against literature

Greg

Nysteel only 11

Lips 13

If someone has an electronic copy of the first book I'd love to see how many times "ninja" comes up

gellaho

Psychodrome 2: The Shapechanger Scenario has been defeated!

gellaho

So concludes another another edition of The Book Cage

FancyShark

Thanks @gellaho !

Ferroday, Priestess of Evillak

entertaining as always gellaho

you crazy bastard

gellaho

Psychodrome will eventually continue with a sequel 32 years in the making, Psychodrome III: The Invasion

Which is a hefty 300 pages long

FancyShark

daaang

gellaho

But that's a ways off

gellaho

Gracias

gellaho

Thank you

GDC

Thank you for doing this, @gellaho