Thursday, April 05, 2012

Blast Radius (The Story So Far)

If you missed Advance Man, part one of Mac Rogers' "Honeycomb Trilogy," I'm sorry you did! But it's no reason to miss Blast Radius, part two, currently playing at the Secret Theatre (and reviewed here on Show Showdown by Aaron Riccio and here in the New York Times; I'm seeing it tonight and will be adding my review tomorrow).

Here's a brief recap of Advance Man, written by me based on Mac Rogers' summary:

The spaceship Celeste Farrow is sent to Mars to begin a colony for rich and powerful people to escape the tapped-out planet earth. Mars, however, is already inhabited, by an insect-like race with a hive mind. One of the aliens takes over the mind of astronaut Conor. Astronaut Bill is seduced by the aliens' way of life and decides that better than humans' colonizing Mars would be aliens' colonizing earth. The astronauts bring alien honeycombs to earth and nurture them. Bill's family finds out what is going on; his son Abbie supports the idea; his daughter Ronnie is horrified. She almost manages to stop the plan, but when Abbie stands in her way, she cannot kill him to meet her goal.

And here's the longer summary itself:
Ronnie and Abbie Cooke were growing up in Coral Gables, Florida when their father, Bill, led the first manned mission to Mars on a ship called the Celeste Farrow. In the secret briefings he and his team receive leading up to their mission, it becomes clear that the Celeste's mission is intended as the first step toward colonizing Mars, because the remaining years of Earth’s habitability are dwindling and only a the Earth’s wealthiest and most powerful people will be transferred to Mars to survive. Bill and the other astronauts are horrified, but go on the mission anyway.

When they arrive on Mars, they encounter the dying remnants of a powerful, insect-like alien race that communicatea telepathically, sharing a sort of hive mind. In an attempt to communicate with the astronauts, one of the aliens telepathically enters the mind of one of the astronauts, Conor. This results in the death of the alien’s body and of Conor’s mind—leaving the alien’s consciousness trapped in Conor’s body.

The aliens’ bio-technology and communal mode of living strikes Bill as Earth’s best hope, so he and his team make a secret compact with the aliens for their mutual survival by means of the alien race’s takeover of Earth. The astronauts smuggle several larval Honeycombs back to Earth. Under the guise of the ecologically-minded Chinampas Swamp-Farming Initiative, they create several fertile areas around the world in which the Honeycombs can thrive and, when triggered, swiftly grow the aliens to maturity so that they may begin the war against humanity.

Bill’s wife Amelia has been focused on caring for their teenage children, Ronnie and Abbie, and for Conor, who has come to live with them. As Conor is unable to walk or speak—which Bill attributes to trauma he experienced on Mars—Amelia painstakingly and lovingly teaches him how to be human, not knowing who he truly is. Meanwhile, Amelia notices Bill’s increasing secrecy aand slowly pieces together what’s really happening, but she doesn't fully understand or act until it’s too late. Amelia discovers Bill's plan, but is unable to stop him. Ronnie pulls a gun on the astronauts, but Abbie decides he agrees with his father and triggers the hatching. Ronnie is unable to shoot to the brother she loves.

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