Welcome friends, it's almost midnight, and you found your way to the podcast. Come along as we can read through the catalogue of the most formative horror writer of our young adult days. Christopher Pike from adult perspectives will revisit these YA books our parents probably would never have let us read had they known what lie inside. we tackle one book per episode in a free wheeling and unbiased chat. So grab your battered paperback, pull the flashlight from the kitchen drawer, climb under your bed covers and devour a good book with us.
Greetings, fellow Pikers and welcome to the podcast. I'm Cooper Beckett, and I'm thrilled to be joined by my lovely co hosts.
I'm Becca, hi.
I'm Cassie. Hello!
And today we are digging into Christopher Pike's 1994 book, The Midnight Club. And we're going to be dissecting it in great detail spoiling each and every plot twist. So consider yourself warned. If you're enjoying the podcast, please leave us a review on the podcast service of your choice. It greatly benefits us. And let's all give a welcome to our guest Piker. This week, Jessica Guest, author of the wonderful novel Cirque Berserk. Delighted to have you join us, Jessica.
Hi, I'm delighted to be here. This is really, really awesome that we're getting to talk about Christopher Pike today. Well about his book, at least.
I mean, if you have insight on the mysterious man named Christopher Pike, you are welcome to talk about him as well. He is elusive at best.
So I have a few questions for you. Jessica, before we get really into the book tonight. How did you discover Christopher Pike?
I discovered Christopher Pike through there's this book that I read when I was really preteen to teenager, early teens called THIRTEEN. Oh, yes. Yeah. So it's 13 tales of horror by 13 masters of horror.
They've got RL Stine in there and Richie Tankersly Cusick in there. And I mean, just like everyone who wrote for the Point Horror series, pretty much.
Exactly. They basically wrangled them all up and made them I guess, donate these these stories to this collection. And Christopher Pike's was the first and last story in there, it was called “The Collect Call”. And there was part one that was like the opener and part two, that was like the last story in the book. And I remember I remember getting the book one because it had an awesome cover. But then also, I was a big RL Stine fan. And I was like, super excited to read RL Stein's story, but then I read Christopher Pike story. And I mean, I loved a lot of the stories in there. But Christopher Pike stood out to me so much like especially stacked up against the other ones because it was just, it was so haunting. It was a really haunting, disturbing story, both parts of them, but especially the first part. So after I read that, I started to try and get everything I could buy him in the library. So that's kind of how I was introduced to to Christopher Pike.
And how long ago was that now do you think?
Oh, man, I was 11 12 13 around that age, and I'm 30 now so… 2003, 2002?
Yeah, so what in all that time? What is the thing that keeps him on your mind?
I guess, especially lately, I've been trying to return to the things that like got me into reading horror, right? I mean, I've always watched it ever since I was too young to watch it. But I've been I've been thinking more lately about like, cuz I'm a writer. I mean, I don't I mean, I write scripts, but but not professionally. But I am more so right, you know, short stories and novels and things like that. And I'm thinking, you know, what, what made me want to write like this. And I wasn't seeing the king because I didn't start reading Stephen King until I was in college and I had already been writing or for a long time. But it was RL Stine, Christopher Pike, Caroline B. Cooney. You know, all these all these writers that I read in my teen years, and I hadn't wanted to just see what was it? That got me into it? What was it that got me into reading these novels? And these these books and stuff like that?
Well, that's awesome. Okay, last last big question here. If you if you had one Pike book that you could point to and say that's my book, what would that be?
And probably Remember Me because that was the first one that I read from him after I read 13 and that's the one that sticks out in my head the most when I think about his books is Remember Me.
I love that one.
Well, let's talk about The Midnight Club, which is his 1994 book. Dive us in!
Okay. A Ghostly Vow. Spence sat up. But that's why these discussions are a waste of time. We don't always like to die until we die. Maybe the bright light that people who've had near death experiences see will turn out to be nothing more than the brain's last attempt to stave off the horror of non existence. He paused. It's a pity that the first one of us to go can't come back and tell the others what it's like. Sandra made a face. That's an awful thought. Since we're a strange expression as if even though it was his own idea. It shocked him. What's awful about it? Yes, I think it's the best idea this club has ever had. A lot go laughs uneasily. I don't want any ghosts knocking on my door in the middle of the night. But what if it were a ghost? You knew Spence asked, he adjusts the whole group. I'm serious about this. Why don't we take the first one of us dies to make every effort to contact the rest of us? What do you think, Kevin? You're suggesting that the one in question gives us a sign?, Kevin asked. Yes, Spence said.
That's a good teaser. And I do want to mention before we move on, that this was a Houdini thing. Houdini and his friends made a pact that whoever died first would attempt to contact the rest. I don't believe that they did.
I was really hoping for that tidbit.
Not a there's not a better end to that story. But Houdini was a famous debunker of the the mystical and he would go to seances and that kind of grifter and basically, show how they did what they did and run them out of town if he could.
That's really interesting. Because like, I found myself thinking about Houdini when one of the stories was told about the magician. But yeah, that's really interesting.
Yeah, Houdini was a very interesting character. And I think a lot of his a lot of his nuance gets lost because he's known as just Houdini, you know, almost almost a just a descriptor rather than a person. But okay, I don't take us too far afield. Little, little drops of knowledge. Somebody's gonna tell me I'm completely wrong about this, I'm sure you know, but
The Houdini experts are gonna chime in.
it, it's massive and constant. Let's go to the back of the book.
They were all going to die. Rotterham home was a hospice for young people, a place for teenagers with terminal illnesses went to die. Nobody who checked in ever checked out. It was a place of pain and sorrow, but also remarkably a place of humor and adventure. At the hospice was a group of five young men and women called themselves The Midnight Club. Every night at 12, they met and told each other stories, tales of intrigue and horror of life and death. True stories, made up stories, and stories that fell somewhere in between. But one night in the middle of a particularly scary story, these five people make a pact with each other that says the first one of them who dies is to make every effort to contact the others from beyond the grave. Then one of them does die. And the story begins the most wonderful story, the most horrible. Dun dun dun!
Okay, so our first question is, did the teaser and back of the book accurately capture what is inside this book?
No! I'm mad about it.
Yeah, can I just say that, like when I first read this when I was a teenager, this actually was my least favorite book. Because I felt tricked. I think I was too young to really get some of the deeper things that were going on here. I was expecting like, especially the cover, like I used to pick up books by cover. So I was
Especially Christopher Pike covers.
Exactly! So I saw this this hooded figure and I was Oh, yeah, it's gonna be a demon. And then no. But yeah, sorry, go ahead!
No, it's, it's funny, like halfway through this, I'm saying, well, this is just the dullest book of his that I read. And then, you know, I really enjoyed how it picked up in the back half. But it it's really interesting to me because it feels like he didn't want to write a horror book and wanted instead to write a real book about, I guess the horror of the death of youth. And that is really interesting when you look at it that way. It doesn't belong with the rest of his catalogue, but maybe he didn't want it to. And maybe he was pressured to.
Yeah, I get the feeling that might have been what happened. I read this thing online this morning, because I just I googled, because I was trying to figure out if he, if there was anything, any clue, right to talk about this. And I found this thing on Facebook that supposedly from him, where he said that he got contacted by a girl in the Midwest who was in a hospice center. And they she said that her and a few other people there had a group called the midnight club, and they would get together at night and read and talk about his books. I mean, I don't know if this is real, I found it on Facebook!
In fairness, Facebook is the one place that Christopher Pike seems to actually be.
Okay. Like, is this really is because I'm not usually on Facebook. I wasn't sure but yeah, but he said, Yeah, so she contacted him. And he he decided to write about it. But he finished he didn't finish before they all died. Yeah. And
That explains the inscription then though, because it says for Ilonka.
Yeah, maybe that was. Yeah.
And that that maybe also explains why it's maybe a little bit less horror and more of a tribute maybe almost or like a sweet sort of, I don't know, love story, maybe? I don't know. I don't know if that's exactly right. But it's more love story than I think most of his other books are.
Yeah, I think is loud is also really talking about spirituality. You know? Yeah,
Yeah. This one has a lot of that in it.
Well and you see little tendrils to his later works, where you know, the mysticism, some sci fi, too. So you know, you're getting all these very internal Pike feels that just take away from I don't want to say take away because if we go with the presumption that the book he wanted to tell was this, you know, moving story of dying teenagers who are not able to fight against that what's killing them, unlike, you know, the slasher genre or really any other Pike book, then it gives you a different perspective on the book in general, I think.
Yeah, I think so. And I think like the thing that the problem that I had with it the problem, probably the problem that most people had with it was, it wasn't him. It's more so like, who like the marketing of the book, like, yeah, this is a great book, just not it's not horror, though. So the thing to try and shrink his his fans into reading and earn his followers into reading it by kind of like setting it up to make it feel like it. That's where, like, the betrayal, I guess, comes from?
Yeah. And along those lines, I would say that has got to be a publisher thing. Yeah. Because it's, it's early enough in his career still, that he probably couldn't say, I want to write something completely different. You know, like, like eyes of the dragon from Stephen King. You, you have to have significant clout to be able to completely change lanes. And if they wanted to market this as part of the Christopher pike horror series, you know, that's his way of getting this into the world. So there's that. Shall we move to the midnight club and talk about our characters? Yeah. Let's start with ilonka Pollock, and yeah, I struggled with that name. I wondered if it was a misprint when I first read it. But no ilonka Pollock, so she's a she's an interesting main character. Did we like her? Did we not like her? Does anyone like her?
I liked her. I thought she was a bit too daydreaming for me like, a little bit, a little bit too floofy, mentally, like just she had a lot of thoughts that were very pretty and frilly.And I don't I don't relate to that. My thoughts are not like that. There were definite moments for me where I was just like, wow, like, I don't know if this is like how teenage girls think really, but I mean, also, I've never been a teenage girl who's like on the edge of death with a terrible, you know, disease/. So maybe that makes you a little more romantic and pretty sounding.
Yeah. I enjoyed the fact that like, I thought she was a nice girl. Like, at the end when she's kind of helping everyone's last wishes she spreads Kevin's ashes like he wanted and then she even talks to Bill for Anya, like, I thought that was I don't know, like I thought she was she was a good girl. She was nice.
Yeah, I thought I thought so. She thought it was, um, I think one thing that the book does well is I talk about, like, the different ways that people can go about dealing with something like this, especially teenagers. And her her like, holding on to any ounce of hope, I think was like, she was kind of like in this denial for for a very long time in the book, you know, like, she's getting better, you know, she like, I mean, I don't know how good her wig was, but her like thinking that probably nobody noticed and things like that, like she kind of just wanted to, in her head, in her mind just remain as healthy as possible and think that everything was getting better when it's like, Girl you're in a hospice? Or is like, I feel like Kevin and Anya. They've already accepted what's what's happening to them. Whereas like, she seems like she really wants to fight. And like, look for any sliver of hope, you know, and pretend that everything's fine. So I thought that I thought at least that was a realistic way to show like the different ways people react to something like that.
Let's move on. I mean, I also really liked Ilonka, just as a character, I have to say her past life stories bored the shit out of me. I mean, I tried so hard, but it's like, nothing really was happening. And they just felt so long. Yeah.
Does it seem to you though Cooper after like, maybe having the possibility that he was writing this for those kids there? Does that make it? Like, does that make you see it any differently?
I don't know. I think it's great. You know, and if these kids had those feelings and those beliefs and that's, that's wonderful. It just was not compelling storytelling. To me.
Yeah. Like, I agree, especially if, like, we were talking to teenage Jessica, you know, I? She'd be like, Yeah, no, like, it was, it really wasn't. But this time around, I think, because I kind of knew what I was getting into. I think I think because I knew what I was getting into. I was trying to look for anything else, right to make sense of this. And I, for some reason, thought about what's that? 1001 nights, you know? Yeah. Yeah. So like, I thought about that. And like, the just the setup of like, these, these teenagers telling me stories every night, right? The frame the frame of it to to, like, lead us into these different stories and how like, hers especially seemed to link to one another, in a way because they are like her past lives. Yeah. And I don't know, I guess I was thinking about that. And I was like, trying to draw some kind of connections. Maybe that's the grad school and me trying to like see some kind of connection or anything like that. They but I agree with you. Even the way that they were told they were all summarized, right. Yeah, we were all told in summary of her just like this happened. That happened. It's like, that's the most boring way to tell any kind of story. Very true. was at least Anya's, I think Anya's was probably my favorite. And hers was not told like that. It was like action happened there. Not so much summary, but I don't know. I didn't really know what to make of that. With with aloka.
It was you know, I I mean, I feel like I was partially outsize outside influenced in my feelings of these stories. Because I watched a horror movie called The World Is Full of Secrets last week. And it is a story it is a movie about young girls telling each other stories. But unfortunately, one of the stories is a single, unbroken 20 minutes shot of a girl telling a story mediocre. So like, the whole time you're just waiting for the story to get better or for them to cut to a reality. shop or just give us something as an audience, give me give me something that shows you care about the audience. And so when I was reading this, it's just like, Oh, this is just the same ship. It's just, I mean, come on. What? Who is her audience here? What is she telling? Yeah, it was just frustrating to me. And you know, what's interesting about it is her her dreams were far more compelling. Because they seemed like philosophical discussions. Were her stories which are supposedly the same thing I guess. We're just these endless summaries it's like they would they were reading a back of the book that never ends.
I did like the first I think it was the first one she told right with the story. Yeah, I think so. That was the one where the child got killed by cannibals, right?
Yeah, that one I was into cuz I was like, This is sad. And I could see this being like a novella for like, for like this could work if they especially if they, like Spencer said a little bit more into the gore for the cannibals. And I liked that story a lot. And I remembered so it was weird as I didn't remember a lot of this book from when I was a kid cuz I didn't, like Jessica didn't like it too much. But I remembered that story. And I didn't know what it was from. I just thought that it was its own thing. And so when I was reading it here, I was like, Oh, this is where the cannibals and the girl are from, like, I know this! Yeah, I agree with some of them that they were like a lot slower. And also like just really peaceful seeming. So it was just very, which again, like, for my other thing, I can understand that if you're writing it for the audience of people who are dying, maybe having some sort of other life and other you know, history and just more than you is helpful. But as a reader who's looking for like a little bit of thrill like there was there. More cannibals. You know, like more cannibals for me, I think.
Hashtag more cannibals.
Yeah. Always for me.
Let's move on to Anya Zimmerman.
I loved Anya.
Yeah, Mm hmm.
She was a little badass.
Yeah. So she only has has, I mean, like, all these characters are tragic. Like the and and maybe that's a little bit of a two it's a little much when all the characters in a book are tragic. And that's, you know, it's it's good. It's just a lot to take.
Yeah. reader. Oh, no, I was gonna say the one she told was like Dana one and Dana too. But then the other one is?
The Devil & Dana, yeah.
So her story was very interesting, I thought, Mm hmm. But again, all these stories almost felt like they should have been their own books. And whenever a writer does this kind of thing. I do wonder, did he just go through his story? ideas folder? And say, I'm probably never going to write this one. And put that Yeah, because it feels like that occasionally,
I feel like Anya, cuz like in her story, the Dana story. Um, that's where the cocaine comes in on this book. And that's true. And I feel like maybe she should have been a Sugar Sister in Die Softly!
Well, you know, she can be a spiritual sugar sister. I think.
I think she is, truly, Dana the Cheerleader. Love it.
I like that with their stories, especially they seem so I know, that we talked about in whisper of death, that they had those stories that sort of had like double meanings or symbolism for the characters. And they really liked that, that that this is the book that we're following that one with because this one kind of does a similar thing where you know, the stories do kind of have to do with them like with the Devil and Dana she's she's struggling with herself because she's internally conflicted. And she has been even since before she got sick. Like, there's something that she's been struggling with, like feeling not worth good things feeling like she doesn't deserve good stuff. And so having like the story be about this girl who basically ruins her own life and like, not only just for life, but duplicates herself and ruins it for herself. Over like, that was so I thought that was really good. And I thought it was I mean, I will wait for Spencer to go into his as well. But I just I liked that the stories really had to do with the characters. And they were more horrific than the thing that was tying them all together. Which I did not like. But I think the horror of death and of these kids being sick is kind of it's sad too. So I don't know. I'm conflicted. I liked it but I didn't like it.
Yeah, yeah, I think for Anya mom thing is that like I really, I thought she was the only character with with Well, up until the end, she was the only one with like some more depth. Then, because like ilonka is pretty much the same person. Throughout the entire story, um, she does that one thing with Kathy. Um, that's supposed to be all big and bad, but I'm like, I, I, I gave you grace for that. And I was like,
Right and like, and like, I mean, we're I know we're going through the characters was like, Kevin, I didn't really see him as anything but what he was like what he presented himself to be. But like Anya, she, she she's prickly. She's prickly all the way through. But there's some depth to her when she does tell the story about what happened with her and Bill like, you can kind of see the the conflict within her and how like, she's, she's fighting with this girl she's fighting with this pain that she has. She's fighting with this, this knowledge that she's going to die. And, and yeah, she Yeah, but also she's reading the Bible in the beginning, like, it's like so I don't know, her character it was seemed a little bit more well rounded than the rest of them to.
The theology is kind of weird in this book, like it seems to be. And you know, this is this is a perspective from perhaps a well rounded writer who's not just writing from his own theology. because it brings in the Bible, it brings in the Eastern mysticism, it brings in ancient ritual and pagan feeling in it, it has a lot of notion in it. And I think that's one of the reasons I enjoyed the second half of the book a lot more than the first half is it finally felt like it was cohesive around these ideas, rather than them just being so scattershot in in the beginning, like, oh, and here's, here's the Bible, and oh, and here's this, it's like, oh, okay, and ilonka has that weird paragraph about Judas? And it's, whoa, that's, that's out of nowhere and major theology there.
I wanted to discuss Anya is like, broken clay leg, um, and how at the end, like, the sign of like, when the leg is not broken anymore, like, do you guys think that maybe like when she died, but she was giving that sign and like, kind of showing like, Hey, I'm holding a gun, because I did what I had to do. Like I told you the story about bill. I don't know, I'm just kind of rambling offer. But I feel like there was like, deeper meaning besides the fact that that like was a sign. Like, I feel like she was trying to say something from the other side about, Hey, I'm holy. I'm, like, I'm completely
Oh I agree that that's probably the intent.
That's what i was thinking!
Can I just mention – I feel like I obviously, I can't speak from personal experience, but just reading this now, as an adult, I feel like that's maybe a little bit problematic, like a little angel list, kind of, I don't know, if I'm the only one that came across. Like, I feel like she could have been whole with only one leg. Like, that's not really not anything that you're saying, Becca, but just how it came across to me in the book itself. Like, I was like, how, like, how was she any less whole before? Like, I guess she was sick. And so I understand that and that she had bone cancer. And that that was, you know, maybe that it was a symbol that she no longer was sick. And she was, you know, holding that sense, but I don't know that. Just I just wanted to mention that. So that was one thing that I was like, Huh, when I was reading that now that I did not that never would have occurred to me as a child.
Okay, let's talk about Spencer.
I liked Spencer.
He had the most interesting stories.
I don't think his character was as developed as it could have been, or maybe as he deserved. Like, for example, there was a lot of talking about Kevin and I was like, dude, I don't care about you. Let me talk with more interesting to me and I, I don't know I wish there was more of him. Like I love his stories and I love that they kind of they were about killing people, you know, which he felt like he had done because he had he spoiler but he had AIDS.
This is all spoilers. We can talk about he AIDS thing!
Yeah, he definitely had AIDS and he was hiding that.
He definitely had AIDS.
Yeah. Well, you don't find that out until the end to the whole time you're thinking he has what was it brain cancer, right.
Yeah. Yeah. Which is
Which is such a, like such a leap to it. When you think back on it. They're like, Oh, here's all these little things like that don't line up and that don't make sense for brain cancer. But bam. You don't know that till the end.
That was a twist for sure.
And the 94 young people are not thinking about that. Unless, unless you are closeted gay and are really worried. Really. I mean, it's, it was really interesting to me when they got into the AIDS thing. I mean, part of it felt like a little bit of that moralizing thing But then the discussion with Spencer was really positive because when they brought up aids It was about the, the woman from the angel story. And there it felt moralistic there, it felt like see, she was bad for this long time. And look what happened. You know, she got AIDS. But then when Spencer has it, we actually have a legitimate discussion about why being gay isn't something to be, you know, ashamed of a regretful of and how even if you were the cause of RLS death, which you probably weren't, but even if you were, it's not your fault. And that that's a mature discussion about HIV and AIDS for 94.
Yeah, I think so. She The only thing I would have said about this is that like the kind of going back to maybe things being a little problematic, the whole thing of, I don't know about the whole thing of holding that off to be the big surprise at the end, if you know what I mean. Like, just because, like, I understand why someone would hide that, especially back then. But I'm just saying like today if like it was written today, and and I mean, maybe someone would still feel the need to hide it. But like in terms of a story, today's audience would they have like, reacted the same way? You know, yeah, I can just see that being like, we wait, like, this is not something like spoiler fodder, you know? I mean, right?
Yeah. If it was written today, like it would have seamlessly been put into it, like maybe it would be a surprise to another character in the book, but I don't think it would have been like, hey, reader, guess what he's gay. Like, it wouldn't have been like that at all would have been like, there would have been hence at least or out it, I think. So it is, like kind of neat to look at it from like, the 90s. To now. I think it's really
I think it's really sad too, like, just in the context of the story that he's like, he's literally dying. And he's surrounded by other people who he, he cares about and he trusts to an extent who are also dying and even then, like he doesn't feel fully comfortable being himself and not there's a Caroline writing to him. And it's so sad like he was he such a sad character to me, like not in like a sad, pathetic way. But just like my heart, like, poor Spencer, like he's had a rough time. I will say also just in back onto the problematic, but a little bit. I don't want to gloss over or ignore the fact that he knew he was sick and did not tell the person he was having sex with, because that's very irresponsible. I yeah, that's, that's a problem. But at the same time, he acknowledges that it wasn't the right thing to do, and that he was young and scared. I'm not saying it excuses it, but it makes it more understandable for his character. And then all the characters make mistakes, mostly like Anya does some shitty thing to and you know, so it didn't make me hate him. But also, I just wanted to mention that, like, that's not okay, boy.
And that was a very common thing in that time. Because there still wasn't a lot of knowledge. And there was so much aggressive discrimination against people who are positive, that it just became something that people didn't talk about, even if they were because they were so afraid of never feeling love again.
And so it is it is definitely a problematic character trait, but it is one that I feel like is especially understandable. From the perspective of time.
Yeah. I think it's true to character.
And, and I and I completely agree. I completely agree with what you're saying. I but I'd rather him I'd rather his character be like that then. Like, like I was saying before, like Kevin, who is just perfect the entire time. No.
I can't stand it.
Like I okay, she loves you sure – why?
You know, like him, the longer they should be like the two lovers and the main characters, they just are so like,
It's like they wanted Romeo and Juliet, but could not do it.
Well, let's move on to Kevin.
We just started roasting him preemptively.
I actually have something nice to say about. Like, I agree that he is very basic. Um, I wanted to add on. Something that like, was cute to me was like, every single time somebody would tell a story, you'd be like, Oh, that's really good. And then point out what he liked about it. And I don't know I like encourage. So like, I was, I was Here for that part of him, like, I thought that was a sweet thing. And every time it happened, I was like, Whoa, how cute. He's being nice, because that's all I have to say about Kevin.
He was just a limp noodle of sweetness like, like you're dying. And this is how you're like, yeah, like stand up for yourself, grow a backbone, you know, like, do something! Like, you don't even like that girl that's coming to visit you!
I want to talk about that. With Kevin, Ilonka, Kathy. Like I thought, Okay, this is what this book is going to be. It's going to be about spirituality. It's going to be about like these. These these kids in this horrible, you know, situation, at least go with some drama with what's happening with this little love triangle, right to spice something up. And yet it literally just was there. And then it wasn't one place where there could have been some kind of like realistic drama. He would have had every right to be upset with Ilonka.
Yeah, you saved me from doing it.
He could have had Kevin there?
She's standing there watching her walk away. And then it's like a little bit of time passes. And then Kevin walks up, and I'm like, why didn't you just have him walk in at like, right before the girl ran out? That would have been so good.
Yeah, exactly. Something!
We love some drama.
If we're expected to believe that Kevin and ilonka are these eternal lovers, throughout all these past lives, and future lives, according to the epilogue. They are just so bland. Yeah, it's like, Come on, give us something like the past lives. As little as I fell out of those past life stories. The characters were at least more interesting.
Yeah, it really were. Yeah. Like I there was just no conflict in between them. And that's the thing, which I talked about all the time in, like, when you're writing, looking for any source of tension, any source of conflict, and it was like, every time there was hinting that there was gonna be some other story. I feel like okay, his stories had a little bit of conflicts, but even in stories like kermie, is that how we're pronouncing? Yeah, I know, he used to be an angel, but God, like he was so easygoing about everything. I was just, like, get mad, like be angry. or something. And same thing with Kevin like, I really thought he either should have been upset with her either that she did or that he wanted to be the one to tell Kathy like, either way, you know, there was she didn't really have a right to do that. Or whatever. I don't know. But there was just there was nothing there was nothing I don't know.
When Kevin got that send off that Stephen King likes to give to people were just the end of the chapter. I've forgot what the line was, but and then he never woke up again. Yeah, right. Okay. Boom. Yeah.
And we didn't even get sex from it. They just cuddled without clothes on. More cannibals, more drama, and more sex. PLEASE!
Even John Green had had this the sex thing in the Fault of our Stars.
And he's like we can make love without having sex.
It is sweet that they can lay together and love each other but come on, like sex doesn't need to take a lot of energy.
Right? You could do other things that are – I'm just not gonna go into it but I'm just saying they could have had some kind of situation.
You're both storytellers use your imagination! Good God!
Cassie I feel like I'm calling you out a little bit but I feel like you were looking for some mutual masturbation in there.
I was looking, there could have been anything like they could have just done like it could have even like a hint of something but like when they just hard line it, even if there was no hard line, they just we're going to cuddle naked and I'm like you come on like WHAT?
Just move a little bit more, just wiggle – Come on.
I mean, I know they're both weak or whatever, but a little fondling, I don't know, something!
Yes! I mean if you can do things like eat food and tell stories you can, you can, you can, you don't – Look. I'm just, I'm just saying, I wanted I wanted a little bit more and I think they deserved a little bit more as oatmeal bland as they were, the guy's about to die like give them a little something.
Yeah. And she, she wanted something too!
This is just this that this sad
That was part of the saddest thing to me of the whole thing I think was that most of them died either either as virgins or as just like not being happy and like not having a good time in that respect. Like…
I would have even accepted if they had fallen asleep and dreamed sex!
Yes! That would have been a nice little dream sequence they could have put it in like in a different country if they wanted they could have added like mystical stuff put it in the past it
They could have had Egyptian sex, man.
Yeah, before the cannibalism.
Yes, pre-cannibalism sex.
Clearly our little midnight club was really horny for something to go down. Extra disappointed when death cock blocked us.
Okay, if they are a group, like if he wrote this for a group of actual kids who are dying, I understand it and I understand why this one is a little different than the rest. So if on the off chance Pike is listening, look, dude, I get it. It's fine. It's okay. I like it. It's fine.
I know. I know. We sound – I'll speak for myself. I know that I sound like I hate this book. And I don't like after rereading it I actually found an appreciation for it that I did not have time around. And I think it was because I was looking at it as Okay, I know now that this is not a horror horror book. I know that it is not what I was expecting. So I found Like I said, I really did like the spiritual stuff. I don't know exactly what I was supposed to take from it, but I like that it was there. I like that this master person was like a blending of Jesus Buddha like Siddhartha, like everyone rolled into one. Like, just just an I, I don't know, I found some things even even our stories as boring as they were, at least the imagery of like being in these different countries in these different times. I found that to be interesting. Yeah, so I did I did get a lot from it. It's just that as I think all of us here we all love You know, like a thrill some horror, some Bloods and this and like, that part was disappointing. So like the fact that there was little to no drama the entire time. And the only drama we did get was already it already happened. It was in the past, like Anya and Spencer and all that. I think that like the fact that there wasn't a lot of drama going on, besides the fact that these these teenagers were were, you know, dying. I think that kind of like led to a little bit of disappointment.
Yeah, I agree. Well, you brought him up. Let's talk a little bit about the master. I I've been watching I've been I've been learning a little bit too much about NXIVM the cult. I've been watching the vow. And if you don't know what this is, you should look it up NXIVM. And the master. You mentioned Jesus, Buddha, all those. I was also getting Keith Ranieri vibes they're very uncomfortable, and it's not Christopher Pike's fault. But I was I was uncomfortable.
He's got so this isn't the only but so he has a lot of books that have a lot of spirituality stuff like this in it. And so the master is like a reoccurring? I don't know not character so much. Because obviously, yeah, exactly, concept. That's a really good way to put it. And so I liked that. There was a little bit of that here. Because the other some of the other books deal with it a lot more like it's more of a it's more important to the story itself being told, whereas this one was kind of like, here's a little sub story in the story, you know? So I liked that about it. I didn't. I'm not familiar with the thing. I just wrote it down so I can look into it, but I'm not
You have a journey to go on. I'll send you some links, too.
Yeah, it's on HBO or something? Yeah, I'm I have it in my queue. I'm gonna watch it. A friend told me that it is. It's a ride. It's shocking.
Yeah, it happened like two years ago. So it's still in so it's like, you know, we're so far removed from things like the Manson family. But this is a cult that's there. Like we we the one of the people just got convicted last week, so yeah, no, yeah, but I don't I don't want to turn this into a NXVIM podcast. Let's talk about Sandra who is the token fat unpleasant character?
No. So I don't know if she's fat so much is that she's just healthy weight when they're all emaciated.
Yeah, cuz I read it the first time. When I was reading that I was like, did they just call her chunky chunky one, but then I think they are I don't remember exactly how they word it, but they say like she's not big. She's just healthy weight compared to the rest of them.
Yeah. And that's a hint to about like the thing that's that's happening because like, I didn't remember from like my my long time ago, I didn't remember that one of them gets better. Or it was misdiagnosed. So when they said that there was someone there that was misdiagnosed, I knew I wasn't Oh, it's her. It's definitely her. She's, she's healthy looking. She kind of doesn't even fit in anyway. So I kind of knew right off the bat that it was gonna be her.
I didn't. I forgot she existed.
She isn't she isn't a very substantial character. Because she doesn't fit in so she doesn't tell a story. So she makes very little impact at all.
I thought I thought on rereading again, like once again, because I didn't remember I thought, because they kind of hinted that she was more religious right. Oh, is she gonna be like that lady and what's the CV in the midst? Yeah. Just like there with her Bible. You're talking about Satan! My head always goes to extremes.
This is Mrs. Carmandy right?
I think so?
She is the most extreme religious character I think in King.
Oh, man, she knows she's a regular Christian.
Not not going to not going to try to kill anyone for God. Let's move on to Dr. White the John Hammond of the ward.
Who's John Hammond?
I'm sorry. That's Jurassic Park reference.
OH! When you said it I thought that there was like an actual like a famous, like a figure in history and so I was like, wait, I don't know this one. Hang on. I can I can get into some Jurassic Park.
I thought it wasJon Hamm so yeah.
I think that's who I was picturing, and I was like, wait.
But which Jon Hamm did you think it was? Is it 30 rock goofy John ham? Or is it intense Don Draper Jon Hamm
I thought of those memes I've seen him like coming out of like Whole Foods or something. Like really happy.
Okay, well, so. So my segue was terrible. We all know.
It's fine. So Dr. White, had a daughter that was young who died of cancer
And that is why he started this. So it's a really nice benevolent character. And he tries so hard not to not to let ilonka get her hopes up.
Can I say that? Like when we started? Well, when I started reading this book, and they were talking about how like, um, they had to like keep replacing, like, who's in each room because people obviously die and why people come in. I was thinking this was a totally different book. And I was thinking what was gonna happen was like the doctor was gonna like be murdering people or something to make more room and it's definitely not what happened.
Or uh experimental surgery? Yeah, maybe Nurse Racthed, I don't know.
Yeah. I thought he was gonna be a lot more butal. But like, but no,
He was just a nice guy.
I mean, that's, that's maybe what a lot of these characters have in common that makes them a little bit more mellow is they are nice. And that's kind of it. We do have now now that you've pointed out that Sandra is not the fat character. I do have a fat character for us. It's in your shredder was hidden nurse of the day shift she had a backside as broad as the moon and hands that shook like the California coast on a bad day. I mean, fat but also just delightful noir writing right there. And she's not actually a real character because that's her only mentioned I believe so. We don't even have to go into that unless you all have strong opinions. Okay,
I honestly, I almost forgot about her.
I know I saw the name and I was just like who is this?
Yeah, it's the character that that Cooper remembered.
Okay, we're gonna take a quick break and when we come back we're going to get into remember me are over Plot discussion. I know we've talked a lot about the plot, but we'll be right back with more on the PikeCast.
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Hello Pikers! Are you enjoying the podcast? Good? Do you have Pike books at home? If so, show us on social media using #SHowUsYourPike.
And welcome back to the PikeCast. Now we're moving into our section called remember me where we talk about the overall plot and really get into the nitty gritty here. The if you remove the stories, let's say that we remove all the the midnight clubs stories, because they are diversions from the plot. This is a very sad story about kids coming to die. And marks three for three books where the main protagonist is dead by the end. And not only the main protagonist, all of them. So Wow, that that's I mean, I'm, I'm not sure what that our next book brings. But I wonder if this is just a thing now. Cassie, can you speak to that?
I mean, I don't remember so many of the protagonists dying and which To be fair, the one that I remember the most the most was Whisper of Death. So maybe it's just that I blinked that out for some reason? Like but the one thing like I like a lot I do remember important people dying but I just didn't remember it being like this and so now every single one we read every person like the important people dying it's just like,Oh damn, did I miss this is a kid like everybody died. Is that why I'm like this?
So now now it's it's part of the foundational character building in you, Cassie.
Yes! If nobody dies, I am not satisfied. I need important people to die.
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with that one. I okay, two things I want to say about that one. As a writer just hearing that stat three for three everyone dead or like every main character dead. I'm like, now that's something to aspire to for me. I like that. I want that stat on my record.
So listeners, you have a little peek into what future Jessica Guess books may end like.
But then I was also thinking about how like, I don't know, I think this really did set up some of my expectations for future books. Like I don't like when nobody when only like the red shirts die in a story. Um, you know, Bly Manor is out right now. And like everyone loves the haunting of Hill House the first season. But spoiler for just a tiny spoiler, I was not satisfied, because I don't think enough main characters died. And that was my main problem with not enough of your dead by the end of this, like too many needed credits, and I was not satisfied. So I'm saying it's Christopher Pike's fault.
And you know, just to segue on that. I watched all of the haunting of Bly Manor in the last two days. And
You're not going to spoil it for me, right, Cooper?
One thing. It turned into a beautiful queer love story. I didn't expect that going in.
I do not expect that either. That's cool.
Iif it would, there's, you know, as as a queer writer, there's a moment where you see like, oh, are they gonna go that way? Oh, oh, and then then you hope for it and then you hope, Okay, this is not going to be a barrier gays story, where we're going to have to kill someone because they're gay. And no, it wasn't, it was just part of the story. And I love that made me so happy.
Yeah, that makes me really excited then.
I really I think I enjoyed it more than the the original season I really enjoyed the original season. It's not as scary. It's more melodrama. But the melodrama is rich. And and that's, I really like that.
I do love my spooks but I'm excited for it.
Oh, there's still no creepy ghosts aplenty.
I do want to read a quote from the book about the midnight club. It's the toast to the midnight club, made the wonder of its creative genius, inspire many to take up the dark and dangerous and always erotic path of late night storytelling. And I really like that. So the stories in the book, let's talk about the individual stories. At knowing that the plot of monster, from being told and reading this Eddy steps out story about a man going up on the Eiffel Tower, to gunned down people at random. It really just reinforces that you don't write these things anymore. Yeah, because we live in a time where where mass gun murder is so common. And it's it was it was more of a fantasy. It was more bizarre happening back then, you know, there was there was one or two there were the famous ones. And it's interesting to me, what did you all think of the Eiffel Tower story?
It was pretty extreme, honestly, like, if I was reading a book today, without any warning that that was going to be in a book. Like sometimes I mean, writers will be like, hey, this book will have this like particular thing. Like going into it blind. Like today, I would be shocked. Honestly, just with everything already going on.
I thought it was kind of I mean, I liked the story, from the perspective that there was a lot going on, and there was action or stuff happening. And it wasn't just people talking somewhere slowly, quietly with magic, you know, like, I liked that of it.
Really just the first half of the stories in the first the first book part of the book, which is just people talking somewhere with magic.
Yeah, and I think it I think this one is good too, because it um, you don't know it at the time. But like I said before, it kind of speaks to Spencer's own personal mindset and how he feels like he has caused somebody else's death and like he his body has been like, weaponized somehow. And so I really liked that sort of, it's obviously very different being on top of an Eiffel Tower and shooting people because you're mad at your salty like sad life. But I also I the one thing I didn't like about it was that weird little twist at the end where they're like, PS I had your baby and she is old now and she was asleep in the next room. That's why I went so quietly. I'm like, Yeah, I was that part was a little too much for me, but I mean, yeah, again, considering the character He's like, very explodey action. Like I love this. Like here's this I was like, okay, he wants a big twist. Let them have it. Go ahead spend with your bad self.
Also for that twist, I felt like he definitely shoehorn it in there because Anya kept interrupting him. Yes. You think you think is gonna end?
I agree with that. That was another thing about Anya too. I forgot she kept interrupting him and he did not he was not rude to her. And I was like, aw, like that's really nice of him to like not be interrupting and being a jerk to her when she's being such an asshole. Like, I like Anya, but she's a bit of an asshole.
Why don't we talk about Spencer's other story then Sidney burns down his school?
That was the magic one, right?
Yes. The magician and and the the setting the school on fire. Yeah.
Carrie vibes. Just the gymnasium, and destroying.
There is a there's a passage in this story that I really liked because of how visceral it is. And this really made me think of the the pike stories that I I connect with the most like the whole skater takes a walk story from the last book. It's part of the magician story. One evening at the club. He had Mary in that special box that magicians use when they supposedly saw people in half. Only this time, he had fixed the box so Mary's body was trapped lengthwise. As the blade cut into her she began to scream. But of course the audience thought it was part of the show. Even when the blood began to drip onto the floor. The crowd didn't know there was a problem. Simply pulled the box apart and the two sides of Mary were exposed to bloody sides. By that time Mary had stopped screaming.
Yes! The gore! I love it. We love to see this bloody mess! I was so excited when we got to that story. I was like, Yes, yes, they're going there, they're cutting her in half, this is great!
I do have an issue with this story as their uses of semis and normal people can't just get behind a semis wheel and just drive it like any other vehicle is it's a little bit more involved in that so going and getting a gas truck or or the character that just drove a semi because if she was driving drunk at least she wouldn't get hurt that was literally the father's rationale was at least she won't get hurt if she's driving a semi truck, that's weird feeling.
Yeah, that I thought the same thing especially about the gas the gas shocker. Wait so are you just went and found that? Where?
Just went and stole a tanker.
Cuz that's easy, Yeah.
I think that Mary had kind of okay, so two things about Mary so one thing is I'm not gonna spoil it because it's a different episode but when we get to Monster there I think one of the character I think her name is also Mary and this story reminded me of Monster and so it almost makes me wonder if maybe I don't know if Monster had already been out by this point. Or I just feel like he had the idea for this and went in a different direction to make Monster and if he had flushed it out, it could have instead been this story because there's so many similarities. And then I also feel like Mary has a very distinct like Alexa close vibe from die softly for sure where she's like, yeah, like kind of like a black widow. He almost like she's not trying to kill like one specific person. She's definitely trying to get revenge but she's so manipulative and cunning that she's making other people do it for her.
Well, I did just look monster was actually published in 92.
Okay, so yeah, okay, so yeah, two years before this. I'm excited for us to read that one because I think I don't want to say why but I think that you guys will see some of the similarities in this story in that one.
Yeah! Let's talk about the devil and Dana the clone story. First of all, I really like how the devil plays this and how it's like you know people give their souls to me for no reason I don't need your soul. I love that and I think that's very cool. It's it's a nice twist on the philosophy and legend.
Yeah, I I really liked this this iteration of the devil just because like there's two things I really love in stories and that's when you show some version of the Devil Devil or some version of hell. And this one being like looking like was it James Dean? James Dean smoking a cigarette coming to like this. This really like you know? Was it like churchy? churchy, but you know innocent I guess girl in the middle of the night while she's praying. I thought that was that was an interesting take on that. And like like you were saying what he what he said to her like I really don't need to make any kind of deal with you Like there's enough people who are just coming to me willy nilly. And I was like ooh, that Make sense? So I like the way that he still was able to make her get her to make this like really shitty deal that sounded good in the beginning, you know, like, I was like, I can see this going going terribly. And it did. I really liked that.
And it is it is the the story that has the cocaine. It is the story that has the most sex I believe it has a great It has two great lines here and they're both from the same paragraph. One of them's great for one reason both her mom and dad were so right wing they were like one winged birds forever flapping in circles. And that just feels really good to read right now in this particular political climate. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.
I yeah, I that line stuck out to me. For the same reason, and this this like I don't know if it was Cassie or bamboo said it but like, someone said that there was like a line that they didn't remember was from this this book. And there was also something that I knew I had read it But I didn't notice from this and it's what she because we suvir she loses her virginity like right in the same room. Yes. Where her parents are and where that's something like that. Yeah.
It's such an uncomfortable saying, Oh, it's like, yeah, can we not. Yeah.
Like what kind of sounds Could she be making during not that they're like, Oh, we've got hospitalize this girl.
It said she let out a real whopper, so… yeah.
this is really the most mature way to represent the female orgasm, I love it.
Right wing, they probably didn't know what that sounded like, anyway. Oh my god, she's dying.
She's really just having the time of her life smiling.
So what's great is that paragraph continues immediately after that sentence with. But Dana had a nasty mind, which tormented her constantly. She wanted to go out with boys. She wanted Sex, drugs and rock and roll. She prayed to God to free her of these base desires. And at the same time, she prayed for her desires to be fulfilled. What's God to do with that kind of prayer? The devil came to her instead.
I really like that.
She needed to get some pike books so she could read them at home and kind of live vicariously.
Through her problems, no devil muted friends.
A little peek into Kathy's early life right.
Oh, everybody's having fun. Me too. No. Okay.
Oh, yeah, there is there is a line about the cocaine that I absolutely adored in here. Then Chuck turn Dana to onto Hollywood's favorite low calorie sweetener. cocaine. Because that's got that's got Pike's Hollywood obsession. And cocaine. Sugar sisters. Yep. Yeah, sugar, sugar sisters for life.
I want to be a sugar sister for Halloween.
Well, you can you can pick up the sugar sister t shirt in our store.
Or really, you know, I'm making all these t shirts, mainly just because I would wear them. That's that's really why I make t shirts. It's like, what would I want to buy? Yeah,
So don't feel overwhelmed if you're our listeners and you see all these t shirts coming out.
But you should definitely want to represent the sugar sisters. Okay.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And while you're there, also the PikeCast, and also you read Christopher Pike, and also The Midnight Club, and also…
Let's talk about the magic mirror.
I liked this story. No, it's about this. I like this story. I don't think it needed three parts telling like come on. This guy is so basic. And how dare you? You're so presumptuous. These people who are dying don't have better things to listen to than the same story three nights in a row. That's what you have planned for them. How dare!
I think he was like doing it to be nice. So cuz then he was like, I did this for you. I feel like he was like, telling
Tell it to her privately! Instead of your huddling without clothes on.
That's true. It kept on going I think, wasn't it? Because I'm like, if you had a cliffhanger then hey, we'll be alive tomorrow to talk about it. Like I feel like that was him like, prologue like making her think, Hey, I can't die until I hear the endless. That's how I was like,
Yeah, but Anya, um, she wanted to hear the end.
Yeah! Poor Anya.
In fairness, was the resolution that great?
No, but at least it made the title make sense.
Yeah, that's true. That's true. It was one of those things where the title was basically the end of the book, and it's just like, okay, okay. I kept waiting for return here. Like, when when the angel was mad at God, I thought about the other angel who was mad at God, some call him Lucifer. And I thought, Oh, are we going in that direction? Because that would be interesting. No, instead, he becomes the most generous human being ever. So it's just like, okay, so you're a boring Angel. And now you're a boring human.
It was like a retelling of The Giving Tree with angels and I was not here for it. And I like The Giving Tree but I'm like, dude, I've read this Come on.
All I could think about was was Nicolas Cage playing the angel in that weird Meg Ryan movie?
I don't even remember what it's called. I remember it was –
City of Angels?
City of Angels! Yes. Yeah.
I've actually never seen that. But I'm really good at remembering titles for some reason.
It was one of many movies in the late 90s, early 2000s that produce better soundtracks than movies.
One thing I would I would say about this story. I mean, I agree with, with basically what everyone's saying here. He was basically just like, like Kevin like Kevin diet, Kevin. Yes. Like, even more of a good soul than him. And I thought, I don't know why. But I have like a false memory. While I was reading it, I was like, Oh, yeah, when he comes off of the bridge, she's like, gonna get hooked on heroin or something. I don't know why I thought that but I really wasn't wandering through New York.
That would have made it a better story honestly.
And also also, the the comparison between this story and him and Blanca, it still doesn't make sense to me, because Teresa is not a good person for most of this story. So what does this say about how he feels about Ilonka?
Yeah. Yeah, I don't really I really was like, Okay, here's my thing. I, I was kind of wondering if both of them because, you know, all of her stories are supposed to be like, past lives of theirs. And I was like, Is this also a pathway from theirs? Because that would make sense about why he's such like a dull person. It used to be. But then, but then it was just like, Okay, if this is just like, supposed to be an analogy, or like a metaphor for for them and not like an actual past life? Yeah. I mean, one of the things that ullamco that was her big problem was that in all her past life, she kept making mistakes. Right? And it's like, okay, Teresa makes mistakes. That makes sense. But I still don't see besides that really nothing thing that happened with Kathy, what is her big mistake here? Right, you know, like, so? I don't know. I don't know if she deserved that?
I don't think so at all, I think.
So they mentioned a little bit after too. Like when she asks him, then they're talking about his story. And she's like, does this pull from everybody? And he's like, he doesn't really he gives her kind of a vague answer, if I recall. And I think there are influences not just about him and her at that point, because like that, about the cheating, like there are influencers, Anya and from Spencer and from like, there, there are other people in there at that point. So I think maybe that story is more so not like her because she seems so focused on just him. He doesn't seem so focused on just her he seems like in like stories, like how the mother of the child had other worries, like they were close friends, but she had her own shit going on. Right. And I think that's kind of what was happening here, where he's like, Yeah, he cares about her and maybe loves her, whatever, for whatever reason, but, you know, there are these other people too. And he's also got this other life. And there's Kathy, which I think kind of keeps pointing back to the direction that there is something more, whereas ilonka doesn't really have that, like, we don't get too much of anything that she's missing. Or, you know, like, it's not too much that. Kevin, Kevin, Kevin and dying.
We don't, I'm gonna make a really. I mean, forgive me, but I'm gonna make a really terrible comparison right now. But she's a little bit like Bella from Twilight in a way and that we don't know anything about her. Besides, she really likes the sky. Yeah, and that is one of my biggest problems with Twilight is that we don't know what the hell wanted to be like, we don't know what her favorite color is. We don't know nothing. And like, besides the fact that a lot, like a lot of there's a story there, because a lot of got found in a state hospital. That's where you found your doctor, white founder and a state hospital dying, because her mom was already dead. I'm like, Okay, so what happened to the rest of her family? Why was she in the same hospital? Who was like she's a teenager who was taking care of her. Like, what? I'm like, Why is she all alone? Like, I kind of wanted more from her actual this life than her past lives? Yeah.
I do want to speak to that because that is a common trope. In Teen literature especially where they don't give the protagonist deep character traits, because without them, your general 12 year old can sit there and just completely project themselves into the character. Yeah, and it's, it's, I'm not going to come down and whether it's a good or a bad writing technique, because it does create easily devour bubble fiction as the Twilight books have proven, you know, it's it's, it's more addictive fiction because you can believe you are them.
So it's it's a thing that happens and I really do feel like ilonka is one of those characters where we get so little that you know, if you're reading this as I can speak to any of you ladies reading this as a young girl, but I can assume you would identify very quickly with the young girl who might be dying, you know?
Yeah, I remember liking her and relating to her a lot more as it as a teen that I didn't know where now I'm angry and prickly so I was like yeah go girl.
Cassie I gotta say we love angry and prickly.
Good, I'm glad to be here.
Okay, let's move on to the eternal enemy. Where we talk about the antagonist. There isn't one.
Yeah, it's kind of a sickness. Right, right.
Yeah, I mean, there is the global eternal enemy, which is death. You're right. We are all going to die. perience.
So there's that.
Let's move on to thirst, which is one of my favorites. When we talk about titillation, and sexuality in Pike's world, I would like to talk about the sex in in story really, here.
One of my favorite, like sexual quotes. Oh, really had me cracking it off. Like, hey, you're alone with Kevin, and she goes the way you look at him, like you would pull his pants down and take him to heaven if it wouldn't kill you both. And I was like, Wait, what?
hold on. ilonka shrugged and said there are worse Ways to Die.
Now, that is my hope that I was gonna bring out their worst ways to die.
I am so angry because they are all talk. She said that. And then later on, they let me down.
They cuddled naked and that was it.
Like there are worse Ways to Die. He died in the morning. You could have done it and died during that. Like you said, yeah.
She could've taken him to heaven!
She could've! I thought that would have been such a good bit of foreshadowing. Can you imagine? And can you just imagine the scene like, I'm just gonna set this up for you? She under the blanket. He's laying down. She's taking him to heaven. He dies in her mouth. Can you imagine that? Like? And then that's it.
Not safe for work at all.
I'm sorry. But it is the sex section!
I love it though.
That would have written great. I don't believe there has ever been a discussion of oral sex in Pike's work. Have you noticed it?
No, actually. I mean, not do they just not do that?
It's it's there's a lot of sex in his work. But it's sort of an abstract.
Yeah, I guess they don't go into full detail when they're doing the dirty, do they? that.
Yeah. And in Not that I've not that I think that would have been inappropriate, because I'm totally here for that, Cassie But I find that interesting, because yes, if he died in her mouth, as you put it,-
That's my favorite line.
Nobody quote me on this, god, I'm sorry to our listeners!
That would have been, that would have been – They signed up for this. They know what we're about by three episodes. Okay, so I know a lot of sex lines. Does anyone else have any? They want to hit us with
Ah, I do not.
I have one more. which is let me what areas Anya is talking about something okay, this is when she cheats on bill with Charlie. Um, okay. So he pinned me up against the wall and started kissing me like I was a piece of plastic board. He was trying to drill a hole in.
10 minutes tops, and we were naked in bed.
This is the only thing had any like sexual experience whatsoever.
Well, the one guy has AIDS.
Well, yeah, actually. Yeah. But we don't talk a lot about his sex. We just we just talk about his AIDS.
So I've got a Got a bunch. There's there's Kathy's description. her sweater was green thick over her large breasts. She was blond and blue eyed and had breasts that could have been – no, that's different one.
I was like dang, back to back breasts?
not that's not Kathy. That's a different I think that's from a story. She was blond and blue eyed and had breasts that could have been implants if they hadn't had such bounce to them. So not only are we talking about huge breasts, but we're also shaming implants. But in here, here's the sadena lost her virginity in the same room as her mom and dad in a manner of speaking, I'd like to be able to say that she was able to keep from crying out when she had an orgasm for the first time. But I'd be lying.
Poor mom and dad. That is not something you want at the dinner table.
Just watching TV weren't getting
so I don't know. I mean, I have family gathering.
They thought she was dying anyway.
How can you confuse that with dying though? Like what could – I'm not even gonna I I just, I just I don't know what I'm imagining I just, her poor parents.
Well, at least they it wasn't a different assumption where she was like, possessed by the devil, you know, because there's also that possibility that they would have thought that is very religious people. Yeah. True.
I would have been interesting. Yeah.
I assure you that a tumor in the big head has not affected the little head in the slightest.
And then this one, their relationship was fine. As far as the sex went, Mary could have had sex six times a day, and still felt deprived.
Is she not getting raw? Like what's happening?
Six times is a lot.
Yeah, every single day?
Yeah. I mean, you know, I knew high schoolers who did that six times in one day once thing but
I mean, I'm exhausted thinking about this is what
How many hours of the day could that be taking up like of your life, just think about the chunk of time you sleep? Like, now think about that. Like, that's crazy. There's so many other things you could be doing. Think about the books you could be reading!
Audiobooks, that's a really good idea.
Okay, so this is this is great, because we again, get some lovely insight into Cassie. And also a suggestion for listening to audiobooks during sex, which I feel like would be a distraction, but I don't know.
Depends on what kind of audiobook.
it depends on the quality of the book.
The quality of everything. I think.
that's the tip of the day listen to audiobooks while having sex and you can get laid and read at the same time.
We'll have a little “Just the Tip” in every episode.
Well done. Oh My. I do want to I do want to point out one little sex thing in in Anya story. No. Wait, who did the devil of the Yeah. Anya. Okay. And on your story, she comes home and finds Chuck in bed with another guy and is asked to join them. So that is legitimate, happy bisexuality in this story. Yeah, even if it's in a story of a story. It's still there.
Yeah, I noticed that and I saw that too. They didn't. She didn't even get like super. It was just like she was raised in a different way that that was a bit too much for her. Yeah, it wasn't like a super like, Oh, this is awful. Or this is terrible or anything like that. So I liked that about it, too. Yeah.
Well, shall we move on from the third section?
Let's go into die softly moralizing and problematic elements in the writing and plot. We already talked about some of them. But yeah, Cassie, it sounds like you have another one.
So it's just it's a it's a smaller thing. It's the one thing that I have highlighted in here. So his hair was a weird orange color. And he wore an earring that looked like or looked as if it had been swiped from an African native. That part I read and was like, What the fuck? Yeah. Like, that's not okay. What is that? Like?
It was weird. It was really weird.
Yeah. I wasn't what does that mean? What does that even look like?
And it wasn't like they went into any like, he's a worldly person. So he travels or you know, so it wasn't anything like that. It Just like this is a weird like random thing that we're going to put in here for For what? For who? Why even
The next chapter they slam him for being a ginger in the next paragraph is Latin for being a ginger. It's like despite his hair, like, what was that a thing back then? I know the ginger thing is popular on the internet, but it was 94
Yeah, I don't know. Yeah, it makes me wonder because obviously I was what, five or six at this at the time, you know, when this book was?
Yes, I get it, you're young.
I'm sorry. No, I don't really know. Like, obviously, I wasn't aware of you know, any stigmas or anything at that time. But so now like reading that, I'm just like, wait, like, what.
We should ask our redheaded listeners to tell us if they grew up with the stigma of being red haired?
Yes, let us know. Because that's I that's interesting. And that I mean, as somebody who does not have red hair, that's not something I would have ever known. And it's just
You guys do have a co host who has freckles and red hair.
Oh, yes. We do not discriminate against redheads. I am fond of red hair. So don't don't don't worry. I am not. I am not a ginger basher, which is the weirdest possible discriminate.
No, I'm just saying ginger basher sounds like an appliance you'd use in the kitchen like
it does. It's what you make gingersnap cookies.
Like something from cannibalism?
Like wait can you kill somebody with this?
Okay. I have a just a weird comment about race and problematic things is the black market in Paris, where as you might guess, Arab and Israeli arms dealers practically work out of malls. Yeah, I have never heard this about Paris before. Then it is a place of Arab and Israeli arms dealers. But again, I was not paying attention in 1994 of the big picture. That is the world.
I feel like at the time, or like now to this is another one of those things that wouldn't super fly in a book.
No, not at all. No. He wandered into sections of New York, He had never been to before parts where it was easy to buy a knife in the back as it was to buy a handful of drugs. That's very new are it's not really problematic. I just thought it was interesting. Yeah. Then let's move on to the season of passage where we again, talk about the writing of the book, but here it's about pike isms and the best and worst writing. And I have a pike to pike isms right off the bat that we haven't already talked about. Maybe we can go to McDonald's afterwards. Yes. Mr. White, Dr. White promises to ilonka after her tests, because McDonald's is apparently the height of food.
I wonder if Pike was paid for ad placement?
He's not always positive about they just go there.
She was like, Oh, no, I didn't want to tell them I wasn't eating junk.
And then I have I mean, compared to miss suntan Barbie out in the real world that feels very akin to the California worship. And the pretty dumb girls who go to California
in history thing because I that you said that I never noticed that until now reading these that he mentioned California and like blonde girls and and suntans and like shining bones and teeth and just you know so many weird things. Like, why?
Here's a part of a description of of Kathy, I believe her long hair was so blonde. her ancestors must have migrated from the beaches of California.
Is that the most like I don't? Like hasn't gotten around maybe much by this time. And I may have been like the epitome of like,
well, we did talk about how he was told by his publishers, that the books with the pretty blonde protagonist are the best sellers and he was actively rebelling against that. So it's possible that all these references to the pretty blonde californium are specifically to rebel.
But it is really interesting how it keeps coming up. Okay, so let's talk about best and worst writing. Believe it or not, with all my complaints. I don't have Anything in the worst writing category? He definitely doesn't have any of his ridiculous cringe ship in this one.
It was just that the longer stories I didn't dig so you know, there's that. Is anyone have anything in the worst writing category? Or shall we move on to the best writing?
I only got the goods.
Okay, well, you bring us some goods…
love to. Okay, so this is like such a positive little parsha. This is Kevin talking to olanka I believe after they did not have sucks, I think. So he's talking he says it's amazing, isn't it the power of nature. You know, I sometimes feel sorry for myself that my life should be cut short, that I look out over the sea and think this world is over 4 billion years old. The life of a man or a woman who lives to 100 is just a flash of lightning compared to that timescale that I don't feel so bad. I feel honored that I got to come here at all. And I mean, like in a book that's all about death, like I really enjoy that like he has I personally like a lot of people I would assume are like afraid of dying like you don't you don't know what's happening. So I thought this was like a nice little nice little positivity for, for us, for the reader for you. For me.
There is a lot of that, especially in the second half of the book, a lot of philosophical insight that that is almost surprising when you you stumble upon it in there. Um, there's there's a line where she says she knew the seeds of the moment were capable of becoming the fruit of tomorrow. And that That's lovely. I do I did find not not necessarily a bad writing but a questionable comment. And worst of all, she was reading a copy of People Magazine, slam on people right out of nowhere. Issue ilonka equated with the Satanic Bible for its depth of insight.
I'm not gonna come out here and defend the Satanic Bible. But I will say probably deeper than People Magazine.
It felt personal. I wonder if they said something about him through.
No, he was he was probably in the crossword puzzle in a derogatory fashion. Or he was in the crossword puzzle, but it wasn't him. It was the other Christopher Pike, you know, starship captain. The one that everyone thinks we're talking about.
That's what he took the name from, so kind of.
Um, so I don't have a lot of my own things highlighted, highlighted highlit? No, we decided we got this. Okay. So I don't have my own things highlighted in here. Other than that one part but I just wanted to make a mention for this episode that this was a used book I bought off of ebay or maybe thrift books. I don't remember. But every single time somebody says bitch, breasts, virginity, orgasm, or sex, whoever owned this before decided to highlight those words.
Yeah. On page 50. breasts, virginity orgasm. On 51, sex. I guess they took something different from this book than maybe I did.
Or they were very excited by that.
Yeah, I have so many, like sexual things highlighted. And I was like, if I get rid of this book, like people are gonna be like, What the hell's wrong with them?
I'm like, I love that. I've been making Rich read the books. So for any of our listeners that don't know, rich is my boyfriend. And I've been making him read these after I finished them. But before the episode comes out, so he has like two weeks to read it just like everybody else. And he's getting all of my notes and my highlighted parts and a little tabs afterwards. And so then when he listens to the episode, he's laughing, and he's like, I didn't know what you were gonna say about this, but Oh, shit.
That's awesome. Okay, I have some good stuff. Let me let me hit you with some good stuff. There's another noir line, which you all know I did my Christopher pike noir writing. Charlie was the kind of guy who was so slimy. You felt like you had to spray your hands with disinfectant after touching him. That's also timely, I think.
That's about everyone right now when it comes to like, just disinfecting my hands.
This I really liked this was about a Kevin was the painter, correct? Yes. There was one painting of his a blue star set in a misty starfield that caught her attention. It had done so in the past as well the few times she had come to his room, and it was odd because it was the simplest of his works and get it filled her with what she wasn't even sure what the emotion was hope maybe the star shone so enchantingly blue as if he had painted it, not with oil, but with light itself. I like that a lot.
I like to whenever that I didn't, I thought it was supposed to be like shown like shone like, like past tense of shine, or shine. And then it said shown like spelled like they he's shown a movie or something. And so I was confused. I think a little bit. If that's the part I'm thinking of.
I don't know I just deleted it. Now.
We'll never know!
When I've read something, it's gone.
It's not like any of us have a book.
Okay, this you know, I assume we have a few Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans here. Yeah. So this really made me think of the episode The body it's when ilonka is down in the morgue and sees the the body bag with Anya net. And her name is Anya too. So there's that body. That's what she was now. Not a person, not a young woman with hopes and dreams, but a dead body. And that made me think of the moment in the body when when Buffy realizes her mother is the body
Wasn't ready for these feelings right now. Why?
I know it's a tough episode.
It is. But yeah, I do. I definitely see the comparison there with those two things. And it's a I think it's cool to the way that it's kind of a universal thing. Maybe when you when you see that it's kind of just wild like this is just this.
It's it's strips away humanity. Now it's an object not a person anymore. And that's interesting. And ilonka A doubles down on that in her conversation with Dr. White. I'm not longer. I'm just a corpse waiting to lie still. Leave me alone. And there's there's a little bit of our angsty drama there. But if ever teams had a reason to be angsty,
It's right here. Um, I really like this comment. That's, that's the beauty of meeting in the middle of the story. We already know each other. Oh, what did we all think of the sharing of the sins thing? Yeah, when? Well, when Spencer has told his final story to Blanca, and she talks about how we will go in judgment together. So sin, I will stand judged. Here it is. If you honestly feel you have done something so terrible that you cannot be forgiven, then I am willing to share your sins with you. When we die if we should have to stand before God and be judged that I will tell him I am as much to blame as you and that half your punishment should be portioned out to me.
Isn't that kind of like Jesus? Yeah, I think that's exactly what the whole point of Jesus is, like he's supposed to, from my understanding. He's supposed to like, basically be your lawyer when judgment day comes, you know, basically say, Well, you know, I'm supposed to take their sense for them in that way. So, I know it kind of went back to that, that, you know, the thing of this blending of all of these different religious themes and stuff like that, and, you know, just because he's, you know, he's in the Western world, probably Christianity was the one that probably he leaned into that one the most, because it's the most accessible for us.
From his writing, I really feel like there is at least some Christian history in him. Yeah, yeah. As a former Catholic, I can recognize that shit and people. In that moment, ilonka both found and lost something precious, a friend more dear than all the gems in the wide world, found because she had loved him at first sight. And last because he was obviously a patient and was presumably going to die. Their relationship is not the best but that is a good line. Okay, shall we move into last act and talk about our final thoughts and ratings. Since you are the guest, Jessica, if you would like to go first you can give this book a rating of one to five Pike's. And as we all have done in the past, you can jam something onto one of those Pike's if you want to give it a half star or a little extra.
Yes, so, man, I, once again, I did like the book, I was on second read, I liked it. Um, I think I would probably give it a two and a half, two and a half out of five. Because I mean, even though I really I liked the themes that are going on in here. And I like the I liked, I liked a lot of things in here. But for me as a reader, one, I didn't like the feeling of being being tricked by the cover and carries over from my back. Yeah, the word definitely implies there's some mysterious monster coming for them. Right, exactly. And once again, that is a thing that the publishers did, but they did him a disservice by doing that, I mean, to the story, a disservice. And then also, I just think that even even if it was supposed to be about these, these, these teenagers who are dealing with this horrible, horrible thing, I still wanted more in terms of tension and in terms of drama, and in terms of like, I want it to be more interesting, even as a love story. It was kind of like it fell flat for me. So I I think two and a half because I like the theology and stuff but but the rest of it, I think,
Yeah, two and a half. Okay, Becca, what do you got?
Um, I'm probably gonna go with either two or 2.5 Pike's because I like the idea of the book. I like the idea of a group of kids coming together having their meeting and telling stories. I just wish that their stories would have been better. That's like my main thing. I felt like the book or the stories that they told her as bland as Kevin. So I can't I can't like pinpoint what number yeah
Okay, that's fair. That's fair. A Cassie What do you got?
Um, so I'm gonna just be a bandwagon and I'm gonna go with two but also add half of a bisected magician assistant in there. So I like everybody else has basically I really wish that there had been more because like obviously I really love horror and gory stuff. But I can also read books that don't have that and still enjoy them but this one just hit it home for me in any genre. I I liked that there were so many different things I understood it I liked the story and some of the characters but overall it was just kind of lackluster to me I think and especially in comparison to some of his others which are just such heavy hitters and so like powerful and memorable this one just felt a lot softer and it's not my preference for the books that I'm reading to be soft so to two Pikes in one bisected assistant.
Every time you say bisected I hear bisexual first.
She might have been, I don't know!
I think it says more about me than anything else. See, I'm now now I'm conflicted because with all the two and a half's and maybe a to some tech, I mean, I'm so like, should I give it a slightly more or should I give it less? I don't know. I'm gonna, I'm gonna buck the trend, because I think I liked the rest of the book more than y'all. I'm gonna give it three. And it lost points for those those two initial stories, but since I got engaged by the master stuff and, and was interested in that, I feel like I'm gonna, I'm gonna stick with three. Yeah. And also it gets extra points because I feel like now having read this and knowing that Mike Flanagan is adapting this for Netflix. I feel like he's using this as a wraparound for an anthology series, which is definitely what this story should be.
Ah, okay, see now that makes a lot of sense because I, I wasn't what can he possibly do?
Because my son not imagine him literally adapting this book, but he already mentioned he wants to bring other books in. So this is the best part. Way to tell the entire Pike canon. Not all of Pike's books could translate well to a full two hour movie, but they certainly could do an hour of television.
Oh my God, that's a good idea. I think that cuz i was i was thinking that too, like, how are you? How would he have like, adapted along to stories? Like there's so much? It would have been so much, man, I hope he does the collect call from 13.
Let's move on to the wrap up then. Jessica, thank you so much for joining us. This was this has been a great discussion. And I wanted to give you an opportunity here, what would you like to tell our listeners about your work and where they can find you and your work online?
So yes, thanks for having me. You can find me on Twitter at JessIguess90 or I also have a blog called Black Girls Guide to Horror where I talk about, um, you know, just my musings on horror intersectionality and horror. You know, whatever I think is cool. What's going on. And I have a novella out from a Rewind or Die called Cirque Berserk, as available on Amazon. I believe I don't remember the actual thing but Amazon definitely.
It's awesome. And our listeners should buy it.
You should definitely buy if you love slashers and 80s nostalgia and tons of blood. It's for you.
I mean, come on. They're listening to the podcast.
You know what they want? And like I said, Pike is definitely one of my in my groundwater I like to say like definitely. Yeah, him RL Stine. They're definitely my influences. So you can you can see what's going on there. I also have a audio by the time this comes out my short story mama two will be out. For with come join us by the fire by nightfire tour books. So listen to that. It'll be free. I'm awesome. on Google. And I think that's it for now.
Yeah. Well, that's great. Yeah. Becca? Yes. Where can we find you?
I have a blog astoldbybexwordpress.com. I have Instagram, which is read with Bex. And I have a Twitter which is as told by Bex.
And Cassie, how about you? And this time, I will remind you in advance to plug your work.
Yes. So I have a blog. Let's get galactic.com and I blog about horror books mostly. But I also really love the 90s. So there's some movies and stuff too. I also am on Instagram and Twitter, Instagram I am at readinginaprism. And then my Twitter is CTRL ALT Cassie so like Ctrl Alt on your keyboard and then my name.
And if you think you're already following Cassie, follow her again because she lost all her followers. Because Instagrams being a bitch.
Yeah, Instagram deactivated my account, which had over 5000 followers. And I'd been working on it for three years over. So it's been a bit of a situation for me to have to start over. But I mean, there's a lot of silver lining, I get to reshare and re talk about all the same books I had already loved before. So there's that. So yeah, please do follow me on Instagram if you like books, because I would appreciate it. And then aside from that stuff, I do make art. And I have an art shop and it is on Etsy. It's etsy.com slash shop slash let's get galactic art. And I've actually recently released a horror authors coloring book that you can buy in the shop and I have pre orders available for my new witchy planner for 2021. So go check it out. Yay.
Well done, Cassie. You can find me at CooperSBeckett.com I'm on all this major social media @CooperSBeckett as this is coming out at the very beginning of November. If you follow me on Twitter, you will likely see endless panic tweeting about the election and very political stuff. So you know be warned. My audio book as good as gone. The first of my horror novels about a queer ghost hunter should be coming out. I have my fingers crossed by the time this episode is released. So check that out, please. Now, Cassie, tell us about the show.
I would love to. So the show is available to follow on all social media networks and it's very easy for you guys, you can follow us at The PikeCast, which is just our name, you can find us on Twitter, on Facebook on Instagram, we also have a tick tock I think we don't really use that. So maybe you want to cut this part that I mentioned out.
They can follow with there's just nothing
Follow it but there might be eventually so you never know!
We also have a Goodreads group, which we would love if you guys joined, we talked about the books there you can introduce yourselves. It's called read with the PikeCast so you can just search it in there and Goodreads groups. And then we have Patreon. So as you guys know, this is something that we do for fun, but if you'd like to support us and help pay for you know, the things that go into it and get some cool merch and special stuff, you can just check out the podcast on Patreon and all the links for everything are on our website.
One reason to ask for Patron support is because we are trying very hard to transcribe every episode and that is a an expensive and/or time consuming task. So your your, your patronage is very much appreciated as we try to make the show as accessible as possible.
Yes, and I do just want to mention to for any of our listeners who are listening, this is actually going live a couple days before Halloween. So this is our spooky Halloween episode. Happy Halloween, Everybody!
I know it's Halloween these days, but you know you're already wearing a mask. So wear another mask on top of that mask and go out and wander around the neighborhood like this is the time to bust out the Michael Myers mask right now.
You can go to like graveyard and try to get some ghosts to come hang out with you because they can't get infected with COVID.
That's right. You do not have to social distance with ghosts.
This Halloween, we're here for you.
Okay, everybody, your homework for next week is Monster. We will be reading Christopher Pike's 1992 book, Monster.
Yes! I definitely forgot that was our next book. And I'm very excited.
I am I am reasonably certain I have not read this one. Because when I heard the when I heard the synopsis, I was very surprised. So I'm looking forward to reading this and talking to you all. Thank you again, Jessica. You were awesome. And we really appreciate it. And we hope you will come back to talk about another pike book in the future with us.
Oh definitely. I'd love to do this like honestly, I like I said, like, one of my fans especially I mean, it's not a bug but if you ever do want to do the Collect Call.
Bring some of his short stuff in so yeah, we will we will talk to you about that.
Thank you for being here.
Have a have a lovely night, everybody.
You survived the night, friends. You can peek out from under your covers, and see the first blues of dawn out the window. Thanks for spending the night with the PikeCast. And we hope you'll join us again next time. Until then Pikers…pleasant dreams.