“Torch” — Part VI, Page 19

Posted on September 22, 2010 at 12:00 am in Uncategorized as part of Torch - Part Six « Torch - Part Six. Follow responses to this post with the comments feed. You can leave a comment or trackback from your own site.

58 Responses

  1. Brendan says:

    “Got to splash a little cold water on this inconveniently-timed boner.”

    -Wait, whaaat?

    Rachel’s got block and tackle now? When did this occur? I dig that the Llaveracs are all androgyne/femme, but I thought it was established way back in Sin-Eater that half the reason Lynne got all the grief with Brigham as a kid was because he was a boy dressing like a girl. Which (to me, at least) strongly implied that Rachel and Molly(?) had female plumbing. Or am I confused? I haven’t got the first few books anymore, or I’d check.

  2. matthew brandi says:

    The cynic in me wants to say, “Welcome to the world of retrospective continuity,” but I won’t let him, as I have to wonder out loud about the use of scare quotes around “period”.

  3. Liza says:

    I think Rachel’s joking, what with all the talk about gender norms, masculinity and perversion. (This also emphasises her transgressive nature, since no self-respecting bio-male Llaverac would dare make a public reference to their boner.)

  4. Jessy says:

    perhaps she’s covering for her goddess hangover and dosent like people to assume she’s hungover, it did seem to be the double meaning for hangover a few pages back when her painter was referring to it. and perhaps she likes Psyche a little too much and is leading her on to think she’s male.

  5. Wow! A woman having stomach pains in literature is _never_ a good thing. Pretty sure the penis thing is a joke to cover the seriousness of whatever alcohol-related medical emergency the nursebot just showed up (it must have put sensors in Rachel or something) to address. So the book likely includes a partial (let’s pray not a complete) resolution of Rachel’s journey of death-by-booze. It’s hard to imagine that Rachel completes that path in this book, whether or not the book is part of a “Ghost Quartet” (and I wouldn’t put it past Speed to kill Rachel at this moment, every writer deserves one narrative- and heart- breaking protagonist death like that, but they never follow through, obviously) so I’m hoping this is just her hitting bottom. Or maybe it’ll be smoothed over and now Rachel will be even more tragically hiding a liver problem from herself and others. OOOOR maybe Rachel’s about to tie up the unwanted pregnancy themes from earlier in the book? What if what Emma meant by “you have the kid” is some very literal description of a science fiction medicine thing, and one specifically that doesn’t go well with those dark circles under Rachel’s eyes? Rachel agreed to have Emma’s kid right before the nurse showed up – what if (creepily, oh so creepily) she’s carrying it? Because if she is she doesn’t know or she wouldn’t be hitting the booze.

  6. matthew brandi says:

    Yeah, ‘cos pregnant women never drink, and they never smoke either.

    As for the boner “joke”, it could be just that, but how could it be a cover in that skirt, honey?

  7. Danielle Faye says:

    I’m sure that Rachel is joking, since they were just talking about going drag, expectations, and perversion. I am pretty sure that she also will survive until Brigham dies which hasn’t happened yet, but happens in Five Crazy Women, unless that is her widow with the family.

  8. Your hypothetical penis may lighten the mood with Psykhe, Rachel, but it can’t do so with us – we know foreshadowing* when we see it! Comics foreshadowing is solely visible to those beyond the “third wall” of the comics page, just as hypercomics foreshadowing is only visible to people beyond the “fourth wall” of reality (Hi!)

    Of course a penis does cause some foreshadowing, and even rearshadowing with the exceptionally agile and endowed; if not aimed at a light source. But alas, nothing so heavy as the shadow now falling on the life of Rachel!


  9. Liza says:

    /applause for despicablemusic

    Oh, and Uatu says “Hi!” back.

  10. lethe says:

    In our world, women who are so thin and ‘athletic’ rarely have proper periods. I can’t recall whether we’ve learned about the Llaverac’s cycle, but if they were in general as thin and cut as a lot we’ve seen, I would doubt that they have proper periods to begin with. I don’t really think it’s anything more serious than Rachel needing to barf up her prior night’s toxic wastes, and she’s doing so in character based on the whole drag conversation. That’s my guess anyway.

  11. Liza, if you applaud for depsicablemusic, please check out the actual music on despicablemusic.org (yes, I know that’s wrong wrong wrong, but I’m currently drunk. Ha!). Speed wouldn’t like any of it because, as the last book so eloquently insisted, one only becomes a voice for the voiceless by shutting up and accumulating power oneself (and then one naturally turns one’s power to good uses rather than just seeking more – mm hmmm, okay, maybe sometimes, maybe even enough to make the point valid (Speed, are you deriving this at all from the Genealogy of Values? I read that once and it had that.)) We haven’t had much speculation on why this book is “A Torch” – I think the last title was hard to analyze until the very end, but we’re near the end and I’d like to hear people’s thoughts. Is it because Rachel and Jack are both being burned horribly out to enlighten Coward’s people? Has it something to do with Rachel’s torch for Jaeger and will these two ideas be connected? See, I’m not that drunk, which probably means I shouldn’t include the above plug. Better hit “send” before I sober up even more than I have. – Des.

  12. Oneiros says:

    Rachel’s energy is already stretched thin. Looking in the “mirror” with adoration is like getting lost in infinity. Can make one dizzy. That adoration can be called a “boner”. I guess we’ll see if that’s literal or just a joke. Or maybe we won’t.

  13. Oneiros says:

    And nice to have met you, Liza. :)

  14. reptangle says:

    Rachel has gotta be joking with the boner comment. No way.
    But it sure seems as if Psykhe thinks Rae is a male, because of the quotes when she said “period”… the portrait painter seemed to think she was male too. Odd.
    Rachel could well be pregnant on her own (with a half Ascian baby) though that sort of plot line seems way too predictable for this story!
    I like the possibility that she is carrying Emmas kid! Ha!

  15. Liza says:

    reptangle, I think the “period” air-quotes are an acknowledgement that “having my period” is Rachel-speak for “eyeball-shrivellingly hungover” (cf. her earlier excuse to the portrait-painter.)

    Oneiros, nice to have met you too!

    Despicable, I like your music a lot! It says needful things. If you’ve time and inclination, do let me know what you think of mine… (website linked to my name above.)

  16. reptangle says:

    Yeah, I guess “period” is llaverec speak for hung over, or whatever…
    But there is something wrong with Rachel that she is hiding from Psykhe.

    I’m no expert, but I don’t think you can get sudden attacks of “hung over”. You pretty much HAVE a hangover until your body gets rid of it, one way or another.
    And what is Rosie the doc-bot gonna tell or do to Psykhe??? I can’t WAIT till next wed!!

  17. reptangle says:

    I keep thinking about hams.

  18. @Liza – delightful!

  19. reptangle says:

    AARGH! So now Speed takes a week off?!?

  20. reptangle says:

    Ok. Lets all start analyzing camera angles…

  21. matthew brandi says:

    Once bitten, …

  22. Liza says:

    I’m bored.

    LET’S DANCE!!!!!!!

  23. Dave Van Domelen says:

    Maybe we’re in for a Cynicalman crossover? Ert!

  24. Oneiros says:

    Cynicalman! :D

    When will the next page be posted? Let’s ask a farmer!

  25. reptangle says:

    So, while we are waiting around…
    Can someone explain the ending of the “Dream sequence” series to me?

  26. Oneiros says:

    “Dream Sequence” was one of my favorites, as I related to Magri a lot. Unfortunately, I gave it as a gift to a friend, and forgot I was without a copy, when I went to the SPXPO, so I neglected to refresh my stock. So I am without a copy.

    What did you find confusing about the ending? That WAS Jaeger that they blamed the “monster” on, though he looked different with his beard. I asked Carla at the SPXPO how Magri is doing these days. Maybe some of what she said would help explain for you.

  27. Jessy says:

    The way i understood it was that Magri’s subconsious had created a monster to defend Magri against all the vistiors he had in his world. Initially magri didnt recognise the monster as a part of his psyche as it was Jaeger shaped (because the subconsious is a funny thing it gave the monster that shape, I’m quite sure we could dissect that one later). At first Magri and his enterauge assumed the threat was external and attack the real, unconnected Jaeger, which was completley silly because as I think Magri points out Jaeger dosent have any jacks so cant connect with Elsehere. As Magri ignors the problems his Jaeger monster is a symptom of he eventually goes into some sort of “healing crisis” which is kill or cure I think, because if he dosent sort out the stuff going on in his head he could very well stay there (in his head, sort of a coma). Once he figures out what the problem is he needs to sort of shut down Elsewhere in his head a bit, which upsets the Elsewhere cronies status quo.
    I think at the very end after they release Jaeger, Jaeger forgives Magri and Magri gets to hang out and daydream at his house,
    Im sure Ive missed out a tonne of other stuff but I hope that helps a bit.

  28. Oneiros says:

    OH. That was Jaeger’s house? Somehow I thought it was a bar, though that might’ve been strange to have a bunch of kids playing in a bar…

  29. Oneiros says:

    One thing Carla clarified for me was that Ayo needed to come up with something original to get out of Elsewhere. She also clarified Magri’s inner Jaeger/monster as Magri’s active energy. Magri passively allowed his parents and the corporation they created to invade his privacy. Likewise, Ayo needed to do something active to get out of Elsewhere, rather than just be a passive spectator.

  30. Jessy says:

    I guess I just always assumed it was Jaeger’s or one of his childrens houses and that they always just kept a sort of open house policy, providing Magri with a clean space to start fresh. Thinking about it, it could have been Grazie,s house in five crazy women house she seemed to have an open house policy and was quite used to Jaeger’s `tom cat` tendancies. Or it could have been the bar that Marcie seems to own earlier in the book.

  31. reptangle says:

    Dang, can’t find my copies of “Dream Sequence- I need to read them again, but I was pretty confused about how Jaeger and Magri are related to each other.
    Why is Jaeger in Magri’s subconscious? There was a part where an unborn child is bullying Magri -Magris’ sibling? Was that Jaeger?
    I’m so confused.

  32. Liza says:

    Magri thought of the “unborn child” voice as his stillborn twin Elster, but right at the end of the work his internalised Jaeger-monster revealed that Elster was Magri’s own middle name. So “Elster”, like the Jaeger-monster, was really part of Magri: his inner demons were of his own making.

  33. Jessy says:

    I thought that the still born twin was a real sibling that Magri had come to blame himself for, leading to his misanthropy and internalisation later on and that either his parents had given him his twins name as a second name or he had named the twin with his second name as part of his fantasy/selfblame spiral.

  34. Oneiros says:

    I’m with Liza on this one. I think Magri had so disassociated himself from part of himself that he came to believe that Elster was a separate human individual.

  35. Jessy says:

    Yes I agree there, I just wasn’t sure if the child Magris mother said she lost was Magri himself as his schizophrenia manifested, or if she had actually had twins or another miscarried child. Though having read Dream sequence again last night I’m more inclined towards Magri being the lost child.

  36. reptangle says:

    Do you think there is a connection between the ram’s horn tattoos on Jaeger’s neck in this story, and the Jaeger monster in Dream Sequence? The mental leap I made is that the monster is close to the surface again.

  37. reptangle says:

    And Jaeger in the banner ad has goggles…aagh -now a steam punk influenced monster?

  38. Oneiros says:

    Jessy, your original view is interesting and plausible. I’d have to read the story again to see if it holds water. But I guess as it stands, we currently incline in the same direction.

    reptangle, I do think there’s a connection between the ram’s horn tattoo on the back of Jaeger’s neck and the Jaeger monster in Dream Sequence. My interpretation, though, is the monster has receded away from the surface. I don’t know that we’ve seen Jaeger’s tattoo between Dream Sequence and Voice. The horn tattoo was on Jaeger monster’s head in Magri’s subconscious, in Dream Sequence, so I see that as a very conscious manifestation of monster-ness. Hm. But Jaeger himself did not have such a tattoo in Dream Sequence. Ok, maybe my interpretation doesn’t work.

    So if one were to compare the Magri subconscious Jaeger to the current Jaeger, the monster is receding. But if one were to compare the tattoos of the physical Jaeger in Dream Sequence to the current Jaeger, then the monster is rising. Dunno what to tell you, now.

    And perhaps “monster” is just another word for “active energy that hasn’t yet found a harmonious way of expression”.

    Interestingly, Chief Coward’s tattoo is a full circle on his back.

  39. Oneiros says:

    Speaking of lost children, today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

  40. Seems to me the reason he had specifically Jaeger in his head is because in this point in the finderverse timeline (thanks to CGI technology and no doubt in part to footage sold by Munkyland and Lynne), Jaeger is enjoying unwanted notoriety as a gay or at least bi porn star. Jaeger’s only wearing that ridiculous hair so the (absolutely wonderful) guys on that bench won’t recognize him. But we see Magri passing by Jaeger posters on the street outside video stores, while the narration agonizes over artistic influence – that’s clearly how he knows Jaeger. If Magri sees Jaeger as his symbol of owning what’s in his own head (WHATEVER his relatives insist on seeing there) it’s probably because having a young gay porn flavor-of-the-month running through one’s mind is the first thing that people in our society ask you to shut down when they start requiring you to custom-design your head to keep your family happy and the society from collapsing etc. When all your relatives’ lives depend on your mind remaining a certain way, you’re probably gay and in the closet, like Magri is or else his embracing and quite steamily kissing Jaeger at the end wouldn’t be his moment of acceptance – this Jaeger monster Elston would be the first part of him he killed on behalf of his parents, and I’d imagine it’s the glaringly mising sexual part of Magri’s life – leading to this whole business of rezoning himself into garbage-strewn public space. And maybe Ayo’s like that because just letting _any_ culture wash uncritically through you, whether internet-jacked or not, is just turning the involable inside of you into part of a world created by others – a recurring McNeil concern which jaeger freaks out about way back in Sin Eater when Emma gets her medusa tentacles, and all through that and subsequent books. The act of creation (remember Magri never really creates anything until his “hidden body” dream) pushes back.

    “Do I like the way I feel … when the world crashes in into my living room?” – Talking Heads, Television Man

  41. Jessy says:

    Its funny because I hadn’t sexaulised Magri one way or the other, because he had maintained that he was a place not a person and to me became neutral. I had always interpreted the kiss as being acceptance of the violent, angry aspects of his personality, aspect he had repressed since childhood. If I was getting really into it I would theorise that as a child Magri’s rage so frightened him he gave it its own personality, Elster. Magri created Elsewhere as a place where he could get away from triggers to his rage only to find that eventually the triggers followed him. Elsewhere is his ‘safe’ place where he can create as he pleases without worrying about explaining the whys and wheres of what he created, as place he can retreat to when the ‘real’ world threatens his outer composure. When more and more people are visiting Elsewhere it becomes a burden rather than a haven and Magri’s rage resurfaces in the form of Jaeger shaped Elster. At the end, after he has accepted Elster as his own, he is able to control Elsewhere much better, he can straddle the real world and Elsewhere at the same time without zoning out and instead of running away from his frustrations he is now trying to deal with them.

  42. reptangle says:

    I thought the living room and bar at the end of Dream Sequence was one of those settings that you have in dreams…you know, where it is your house, but everything is different;maybe this means that this is still a dream.
    So, to get out, we have to come up with our own story?

  43. Jessy says:

    Or to put it another way be active contributors to our lives rather than passivly spectating

  44. Oneiros says:

    I like the way you put that, Jessy.

    I did find that I still have a copy of Dream Sequence. In the panel of Magri sleeping in the armchair in a bar, I think that’s Jaeger standing to the right, with his back to us. It looks like his Ascian cummerbund. And those look like his kids playing around Magri.

  45. Oneiros says:

    I also found a story in Gretchen Rubin’s _The Happiness Project_ written by one of her blog readers in response to Gretchen’s writing about the importance of sometimes “spending out” meaning occasionally engaging in a modest splurge for something that’s meaningful. That story reminded me of Talisman, so I’ll post that here, as we wait for further pages while Carla does her stuff:

    I learned this lesson painfully. When I was a child, my grandparents gave me a very elaborate box of art supplies for Hanukkah – really beautiful paints, brushes, chalks, paper, etc. I kept “saving it,” planning to use it only once I was a better artist, because I didn’t want to waste any of these treasures. (As a kid, you really do see yourself getting more skillful, so this wasn’t totally crazy.) One day, I happened to look for the box, and couldn’t find it. My mother said, “Oh, you never touched that art set, so I figured you weren’t interested.” She’d taken it to the thrift shop! I was crushed. But I’ve never forgotten it. Sometimes “later” becomes “never”.


    Which does remind me of that saying from Lynne, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”

  46. Jate says:

    soo.. where can I get all the books?
    I have never read any of them and am fascinated.

  47. Jason says:


    If you’re still looking for the books, Dark Horse is putting out new collections.

    Finder Library vol. 1 collects Sin Eater, King of Cats and Talisman.

    Finder: Voice is the story arc centered around Rachel working on getting accepted into the Llaverac clan.

    Finder Library vol. 2 is still being put together and will contain Dream Sequence, Mystery Date, The Rescuers, and Five Crazy Women. It should be available by September.

    There are also some Finder stories being published in the new run of Dark Horse Presents comics.

  48. Royce Grey says:

    So, she’s a boy, too? But then, why’d gender come between her and Lynn? Was it because Lynn wasn’t developing girly enough and Rachel was? This is so weird!

  49. otatma says:

    Dear Speed:

    Hope all is well and that life permits you to come back to Torch sometime this year. ^_^

  50. Desdemona says:

    Oh god! No what?! Don’t KILL Rachel. Oh ugh…these feels are not good feels…

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