T Commentary: Apotheosis

In Chapter T: Wings we see Beatrice’s soul combined with the Galaxy Zephyr. She’s a giant ball of wings; now the Galaxy Zephyr has sixteen wings with jet-turbines for feathers, like a sci-fi seraph.

We can see why Dan was obsessed with Beatrice. She’s the first principal component of Earth’s life, a pure, shining example of undiluted sentience. Akayama says she’s not even just a component of humanity, but mostly of bacteria, arthropods, and reptiles. (Birds are adjacent to reptiles, right? That’s my reasoning for the feathers.) Akayama isn’t recreating humanity; she’s set her sights higher than that, endeavoring to restore Earth’s total population all the way down to single-celled organisms. Her god-like perspective has transcended anthropocentrism.

But the Galaxy Zephyr lets its guard down, and Faith gets lightning-bolted. Bummer.

I don’t have anything in particular to comment on for this section, so I’ll just talk about how everything’s wrapping up. In fancy-talk, “apotheosis” refers to a culmination or climax. Coincidentally, it can also mean elevation to the status of deity, which is sort of what happened to Beatrice.

I’ve heard that a video-game’s final boss shouldn’t just be the game’s most exciting moment. It should also test the player by confronting them with every challenge the game has to offer. At the end of each kingdom in the original Mario, the player confronts Bowser. The Bowser-fight combines platforming challenges with an enemy encounter. At the end of a Pokemon game the player fights the Elite Four, who are supposed to push the hero’s team to the limit while demanding understanding of the mechanics the player has learned throughout the game.

I think a book’s climax should do the same. The final confrontation should demand the main characters apply every lesson they’ve learned.

In Akayama DanJay‘s case this is a little difficult, since the weirdo narrative structure means there’s not really a main character. Lucille hardly learns a lesson, thriving because of her appropriately-directed lust for vengeance; Akayama and DanJay learn more, and are more deserving of the title ‘main character,’ but neither of them have much agency in piloting the giant robot.

Still, Akayama couldn’t preside over the afterlife if she hadn’t made Sheridan. That was her training-ground for godhood. DanJay failed to defeat Anihilato as Dan, but as Jay, he’ll have another shot. Lucille’s discovery of her parents’ fate pushes her to be merciless in battle.

Really, the ‘main character’ who’s learned the most lessons is the reader. Throughout Akayama DanJay the reader has come to understand (a fictional) reality as a temporary projection. They’ve learned the secrets behind the afterlife, and therefore they’ve conquered life and death. They know centipedes aren’t just a hallucinogenic drug, nor just transport to the afterlife, but a connection to the Hurricane, the presiding mind of the universe.

So the climax should wrap all these lessons in a nice package. Pulling Beatrice from the mortal plane to the afterlife and into the Galaxy Zephyr ties everything together.

If I reorganize Akayama DanJay like I’ve considered, I’d lose some of the surprise. Soon after the reader sees Beatrice hit by a bus, they’d watch chapter T as an episode of anime. This wouldn’t delay all the apotheosis to the end, but it would clarify to the reader exactly how the Galaxy Zephyr works. I think that would be for the best. Besides, there’s more to come.

The character DanJay is sort of a stand-in for the reader. As I’ve written it, DanJay’s stream of conscious is totally unbroken from beginning to end. So when DanJay finally joins the Galaxy Zephyr, all the lessons the reader has learned from his perspective will pay off at once.

There’s still a ways to go, and I have all the time in the world to rearrange sections as I see fit. We’ll see how everything turns out.

Keep eating your worms!

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