Remade episode 13 season 1: Memories of Arcadia

Memories of Arcadia Book Cover Memories of Arcadia
ReMade #1.13
Andrea Phillips
YA, Science fiction
Serialbox
November 7 2016
e-book
32

Arcadia knows what it means to be lonely; she’s had no visitors for an awfully long time. So when a group of haggard teens tumble unto her streets, she welcomes then with open arms and plays host the best she can remember. Of course, they have no idea she’s there watching, listening, helping. But she doesn’t mind – after all, hers is half lost anyway.

So this episode has a brand new point of view - that of the mystery city, whose name turns out to be Arcadia. We get to see how carefully it chose that name, a very long time ago, and how its circumstances have changed, over a terribly long span of time.  Of course, we're not told the whole story. There are two episodes left, after all...

But, um, a city run by a master AI? Squee! Remade already had awesome robots, but... AI! I'm so pleased by this.

Through Arcadia's eyes, we also get to see the teenagers as they settle in, and, of course, argue about whether or not they should settle in, or just keep moving. There's no way to know if danger is following them, or if help might be waiting somewhere else, or if the entire planet is as empty as the city is. 

That doesn't mean life grinds to a stop.  Not for Gabe and May,  and not for Hyrum, who is painfully aware that it would be Christmas now, if things were as they should have been.  (And who else is awfully curious about Hyrum and how he died before being remade?)  There's Cole, still keeping secrets, and there's chocolate chip cookies.

This is the first time we get to view the group at a bit of a distance, which feels... ominous, perhaps. Or it just feels like the climax-buildup it clearly is, according to the episode schedule. (Like I said, two episodes left!)  I really hope for a massive infodump to come, though... I should probably start preparing for the possibility of having to wait for the next season to get all the answers.  Not that I know if there'll be a next season, but it seems like a reasonable assumption!

ReMade episode 12 season 1: Modern history

Modern history Book Cover Modern history
ReMade #1.12
Carrie Harris
YA, Science fiction
Serialbox
November 30 2016
e-book
30

Cole is what you’d call a “salt of the earth” type. He works hard, loves his girl, and feels best when he’s being useful – which makes being injured particularly frustrating. When the others go off exploring and leave him behind again, he’s finally had enough. With Naveah as his accomplice he sets off to find answers of his own, and ends up learning more than he wanted.

We really haven't seen a lot of Cole yet, have we? He set himself distinctly apart from the rest of the teens with a remark or two several episodes ago, but then got injured and became sort of background as crazy things happened to the others.  Here he is, though.

...And he's still somewhat immobilized, but getting better. Of course, Nevaeh is helping out, possibly oblivious to how demeaning he finds it to depend on a lady's help.

Yeah, Cole is not quite like the other ReMade kids. In some ways, he seems even farther removed than Umta. Because at least with Umta it's quite obvious she doesn't match the template, but Cole - well, it takes at least a few sentences in conversation to realise what kind of world he's from.

In this episode he gets to stretch his legs, at last, and a museum is discovered in the mystery town. Well, probably a museum.  Cole might be the only one able to confirm that's exactly what it is.

May studies everything on display, of course, and a few questions about their situation receive definite answers - though there isn't quite enough information yet to be genuinely helpful.

I feel like they're actually closing in on a big "aha!", though, which is thrilling. Three episodes left, now...!

ReMade episode 11 season 1: We’re dead in this ghost town

We're dead in this ghost town Book Cover We're dead in this ghost town
ReMade #1.11
E. C. Myers
YA, Science fiction
Serialbox
November 23 2016
e-book
35

In hopes of finding civilization, people, answers, the group journeys to the city whose lights they’ve been able to see from miles away. But group dynamics can be just as hard to navigate as a new city – especially when death and dragons are involved.

Oh, that might be the vaguest episode blurb so far! So I'll be more explicit - this ReMade episode brings us back to Loki's story, which is about as crushing as we were led to expect. In the present, Loki explores the strange city, giving appropriate names to things that look a lot like dragons. 

Accompanying him is Holden, who actually becomes a more interesting character when we get to see him interacting with anyone who isn't Seyah, about things that aren't Seyah. It's refreshing.

This is one of my favourite episodes so far! Probably because I just really like creepy, abandoned cities.  This one doesn't immediately feel like a set (like where Inez and Teddy came from), but there's definitely a sense that we can't take anything for granted, just yet.  My brain keeps coming up with wacky explanations for the whole situation, but none that matches all of the known facts. 

Like, when Inez thought she figured out that everyone died at the same time, did anyone take Umta into account? Or are there more secrets regarding her background too, perhaps?

We're getting close to the end now, and I'm definitely feeling the tension!

ReMade episode 10 season 1: Mirror of fate

Mirror of fate Book Cover Mirror of fate
Remade #1.10
Gwenda Bond
YA, Science fiction
Serialbox
November 16 2016
e-book
29

Seyah makes a discovery to the delight of the whole group and gains some time to reflect. With her dreams of Broadway dashed with her untimely death, she can only wonder what the future holds…and if a special someone has already been cast as her co-star.

This week's episode of ReMade has Seyah's POV! Finally - I've been waiting for this since the first episode.  Once a character is tagged as the pretty girl they run a severe risk of becoming plain spoiled brat with no other traits - it happens so often - but of course ReMade didn't go that way. Seyah is an actual person, yay! We get to see some of her family and dreams for what she thought would be her future.

...And she's not a person who could have predicted precicely how she'd react to Inez.

The whole episode definitely has an air of calm before the storm. There are only five episodes left - exactly what kind of storm is brewing?

-

Oh, remember how Seyah and Holden were performing in A Midsummer Night's Dream? Since ReMade began, I've read the play. See, reading leads to more reading!

ReMade episode 9 season 1: Whiteout

Whiteout Book Cover Whiteout
ReMade #1.9
Andrea Phillips
Science fiction, YA
Serialbox
November 9 2016
e-book
31

All May wants is some alone time – being stuck with a ragtag team of the previously-dead could drive anyone a little crazy (especially when no one has showered for a week). But in this strange and unfamiliar world, danger lurks behind every tree…and sometimes in every cloud.

Oh, man. As if the stranded-in-somewhere-somewhen teens didn't have enough antagonists already, they can now add weather to the list. 

May, never much of a social butterfly, direly needs some alone time - but that's not safe, so her running off on her own is not a bright idea. She still tries.  She wouldn't really know how to deal with Gabe's attempts to get to know her better, anyway. 

But of course, Gabe isn't a quitter, either. He's hurt from earlier misadventures and can't exactly keep up with her as she runs off to investigate a new area, but, oh yes, he tries. 

Until he can't. 

Oops.

This episode of ReMade might be a little lower on action, but I enjoy the pause - especially because I get to spend it with May. 

ReMade episode 8 season 1: End of the line

End of the line Book Cover End of the line
ReMade #1.8
E. C. Myers
Science fiction, YA
Serialbox
November 2 2016
e-book
34

After a twitchy trigger finger leaves the train without a driver, the group scrambles to find a way off their runaway getaway. With food running out and still no idea where they are headed, it’s hard to imagine things could get worse…

New week, new ReMade.  And it's Inez-centric! I'd say the background and personality of Inez was heavily telegraphed from the moment she appeared, so there aren't any big surprises here if you drew the same conclusions I did.  Is it weird that someone really quite awesome almost comes out a bit bland, given the rest of the ReMade kids? Rough deal - poor Inez. 

(But I did notice a bunch of hate for her in the Goodreads comments, which baffles me. She takes Teddy in stride, that's impressive enough on its own...!)

Actually, what I liked best in this episode was not just Inez, but Inez drawing Seyah into conversation. We've hardly seen any of Seyah except through Holden's rose-coloured lenses - what we do know is that she's sort of unique among the kids, because she knows exactly what happened to her before she came here, and that it is, um, Holden's fault. And he's here too.  So that's awkward.

Oh, and they have to get off this train.

This isn't my favourite episode so far, despite some undeniable lifethreatening action. It's a little too much of a lull in the bigger story, and I'm getting so impatient now to learn more about, um, everything. The space station! The caretakers! The why?!

ReMade episode 7 season 1: Mourning train

Mourning train Book Cover Mourning train
ReMade #1.7
Carrie Harris
Science fiction, YA
Serialbox
October 26 2016
e-book
35

Converging on the mysterious train, the survivors make their hasty getaway after the horrific caretaker attack and greet new faces while counting those lost. But with a wild landscape streaming past and no idea where they are headed, the question quickly becomes: who is driving?

So this week's episode is sort of the second half to last week's, which introduced us to new characters Teddy and Inez, and their setting, making everything even weirder than it was, which is pretty remarkable, given how ReMade has been going so far!

So here we are on the mystery train, revisiting Nevaeh's past life. At first glance it looks like a rehash of her previous episode, but this time some things are clearer - and uglier.  I think we're being told that Nevaeh has already had a chance to grow a lot as a person, which makes sense, because she spent so long in what was pretty much social and practical stasis.  I enjoy the effect, though some probably find this episode a little redundant.

Everyone is exhausted and terrified and mourning, falling asleep or lashing out, and maybe it simply requires someone like Nevaeh to even attempt to pull them back together, because everybody else just... knows better.   Loki responds to her like a cornered housecat, and we're powerfully reminded that we don't know the end of his story yet.

And hey! This is episode 7 out of 15, which means we're halfway through the season. Does that mean things get even busier, now?

ReMade episode 6 season 1: Reality no-show

Reality no-show Book Cover Reality no-show
ReMade #1.6
Kiersten White
Science fiction, YA
Serialbox
October 19 2016
e-book
46

New week, new ReMade!  Here's the blurb for this one:

New faces appear in a not-so-fun house in the sixth episode of ReMade, the 15-part serial that combines contemporary YA with classic Science Fiction to fling you headfirst into adventure.

Teddy, a teenage heart-throb and reality TV star, is used to being followed by cameras and waking up in strange beds with strange girls. But robot cameras with no operators, beds made of plastic, and girls that have no desire to be in bed with him? That he very unused to. Suddenly trapped in a weird alt-version of his own life – with a rare girl who wouldn’t even have wanted a part in his old one – the teen star seeks questions, and a way out.

So we're definitely not picking up where the previous episode left off - instead, we meet Teddy Young.  He's a reality TV star by virtue of being a teen football player with, evidently, a handsome face.  Everywhere he goes, there are cameras. Every interaction is scripted.   Still, Teddy is an interesting celebrity jock. Because  of those things that never make it onto the screen, of course.

There's a reason Teddy doesn't actually freak out when circumstances dramatically change and the world just stops making any sense. It's not a good or pleasant reason, but one he's been preparing for and accepting for many years already. In a way, he's relieved, because he always thought it'd be worse.

Of course, once he meets certain other teenagers in dirty orange jumpsuits, they might be inclined to disagree - things are bad.

Anyway, this is sort of the first part of a double episode, so the next one will continue directly from this.  Meaning Teddy is here to stay... at least for now, right? Not to forget Inez, who inexplicably finds herself in the same place as Teddy, though she is certainly not an adoring fan.  Inez seems to be wielding some serious leadership skills, and those could certainly come in handy.  May is great, but at this point, I vote Inez.

-

Dear Serialbox Santa:

I want a Serialbox app on my new pink android phone, pretty ple-eeease!

ReMade episode 5 season 1: Umta

Umta Book Cover Umta
ReMade #1.5
Matthew Cody
Science fiction, YA
Serialbox
October 12 2016
e-book
34

Blurb first:

Even in a group of misfits, Umta sticks out. An adult with more history than any of the youths around her can possibly imagine, she knows about survival – and suffering. Brought back and remade seemingly to take care of the helpless children around her, she plays the mysterious guide and hunter with skill…but despite her knowledge, she is just as vulnerable as all the rest when the caretakers make their long-dreaded return.

Umta's story turns out to be more or less what we were led to expect, but it also summons a big whammy of why.  Really, it's only an echo of the big, glaring why of the whole premise - why is any of this stuff happening?  But, yeah, Umta is a special case, and as such, she adds to the mystery.

Now, I was looking forward to this episode for the backstory part of it, but what this episode does is turn attention back to the present.

Oh boy.

"Gruesome" is a fine word, y'know? Here, have some grue, there's plenty of it.  Because the caretakers are back. To them, the word of the day is, perhaps, havoc.

ReMade is a current serial over at Serialbox, and it is my favourite addiction this season.

ReMade episode 4 season 1: The most dangerous game

The most dangerous game Book Cover The most dangerous game
Remade #1.4
E. C. Myers
Science fiction, young adult
Serialbox
October 5 2016
e-book
44

Wah! ReMade episodes are too short when they get this immersive - I want to know mooore. 

This episode introduces Loki - actually, Serialbox offers character portraits now, and this is their idea of him:

"

...I read the episode before I ever saw this, so of course, this is not the Loki in my head. But yay, cool portraits!

As you could likely guess from that image, Loki was a gamer. Specifically, he spent his time in a game that sounds a little bit like World of warcraft, though it might be an even clearer reference to something else I've never played, because whatever Loki is playing has a few quirks that are unfamiliar to me - fortunately, because those quirks allow a lot of misery to come Loki's way.  As if his parents weren't bad enough.  He can't even talk to his sister, who's been busy at all hours since she moved out. 

Loki's alone.  Except that wouldn't have been so bad, to be truly alone. Then there'd be no one around to point out the mismatch between him an the name Loki.

...

This episode was even more heart-wrenching than the previous Neveah one, which I did not expect. There's some action going on in the present tense - a lot of action, actually - but even a hungry tiger-thing is less scary than Loki's life immediately before coming to this place, whatever this place is.

(And just as I'd caught my breath, I learned that the next episode is about Umta, which I CANNOT WAIT FOR.)

Here's the blurb:

Respawning in an unfamiliar place with no resources, weapons, or fuel sounds like a gamer’s nightmare – and Loki knows a thing or two about those. As the group tries to navigate finding food, creating shelter, and staying calm in a jungle with killer robots, he can’t help but wish for a reset button that takes him back – though he knows more than anyone that his life hasn’t been great for the last several checkpoints. When a new predator begins to stalk the survivors he sees his chance to prove himself in the real world, but he’s pretty sure he’s already used his one life in this game.