Chapter 11; In Which We Encounter the Scientists Again
So back to the LHC we go, not only to advance the plot even more – don’t forget the gateway to Hell is currently inside the LHC – but also a quick geeky one-sided discussion about why you can hear the Death Star blow up in space at the end of “Star Wars” when in fact it isn’t possible. Like I said, geeky.
And then we get to one professor playing back a sample of static to another professor, the second professor subsequently a case of the collywobbles, which sounds a bit like the heebyjeebies – neither term being very scientific but I get that Professor Stefan is not happy or excited by the noise even after it’s been cleaned up.
It was like listening to the mutterings of a madman in a foreign tongue, someone who had spent too long locked in a dark place feeling angry with all those responsible for putting him there.
Very creepy if you ask me, not that anyone is but I happen to agree with Professor Stefan.
The source of the voice is still unknown to the intrepid assortment of scientists but they’ve narrowed down the language spoken.
Although it looks like Professor Hilbert may have regretted his thirst to know.
They think that the voice of unknown origin is saying something extremely ominous. Obviously young Samuel and trusty dog Boswell could confirm this in a heartbeat.
Chapter 12; In Which We Meet, Once Again, the Unfortunate Nurd, Who Is About to Take Another Unexpected Trip
In which the unfortunate Nurd of the title, also contemplates his physical size in relation to other demons and Mrs. Johnson’s vacuum cleaner and why it’s so much easier to partake of Tea if you’re a corporeal entity rather than an ethereal puff of ectoplasm.
(Footnote number 19 contains an explanation of the word “Nefarious” and an example of one of my favourite kinds of laughter.)
Nurd then expands his rudimentary thoughts to demons and plans, why “the Great Malevolence” is so very angry at humans and how he was rather frightening to little Nurd.
Even though Nurd was a demon, the Great Malevolence frightened him a lot. If Nurd had been the Great Malevolence, he would have been afraid to look at himself in a mirror, so frightening was the Great Malevolence. The Great Malevolence probably didn’t even have a reflection, Nurd thought. Any mirror would be too scared to show it.
All of this extra thinking (something that Nurd may not be entirely used to), distracts the lesser demon from the fact that he’s about to pop off on another journey. In fact, just as he was wondering if he could prepare for the next time and how he could probably do a better, and much kinder, job of taking over the humans world than “The Great Malevolence” could manage.
And so to Professor Hilbert back at the LHC, who is wondering whether to call the anomaly inside the collider a “black hole” or a “wormhole”. The author also makes some notes concerning scientists with an unsettling gleam in their eyes and how it would be best to avoid such scientists when approached with a chance in a lifetime opportunity to explore a black hole in the interests of science and discovery.
The author, Mr. Connelly, also provides a lovely little stick figure drawing on what is most likely to happen to you should you ever accept the gleeful scientists offer of exploration, alongside his words of wisdom.
It all depends upon the sacrifices one is willing to make for the sake of science, really. It’s your choice. Frankly, I’d find a less risky job, if I were you, like being an accountant, or cleaning the teeth of great white sharks with a toothpick and some floss.
All of which boils down to this – DON’T DO IT!!! – basically.
Poor Nurd, being a demon and not privy to such scientific information regarding black holes or wormholes, finds himself doing the very thing that the author recommends not doing. And if anybody is still following my peculiar train of thought, well done to you, ’cause I think I’m starting to write in circles and can a person get giddy from doing that?
So – Nurd, the Scourge of Five Deities, is now plunging through a not-quite black hole. Still with me? Good.
I promise that Mr. John Connolly (author) makes a better job at writing than I do, which is why he has best selling novels and I’m posting minor acts of literary dribble on this blog. So don’t let me discourage anyone from reading this book just because I’m inept, okay? 😉 If you need further proof of the authors skill, read footnote #20.
I imagine Nurd travelling inside the not-quite black hole is very much akin to Alice falling down the rabbit hole early on in the book. Impossible and completely illogical but only because the mind refuses to make any sense while in such a situation. I expect panic might play a large part too.
The awareness that, even though he was trying to move away from whatever he was falling toward, he was still approaching it with increasing rapidity, gave Nurd a headache.
He finds himself, eventually, in what humans call a road and after clapping eyes (all three of them) on a red, sleek metal object (a car), he immediately wants one. An understandable reaction. I can’t help but wonder what his reaction to the Aston Martin at Samuel’s house would be.
It’s a pity he’s distracted by the pretty red car, but then Nurd has already survived having a rather large and heavy vacuum cleaner dropped on his head (very Acme) so he should be all right I guess.
Plus, if Nurd wants to file a claim damages at an accident lawyers specialist (of which there are so many to choose from), he can cite Samuel as a witness to the incident.
Samuel considered telling his mum, but decided that it was probably better just to add it to the list of Things Nobody Was Likely to Believe.
At least, not until it was too late.
Judging from the end of the chapter I’d say that Samuel would be more than happy to help Nurd out with an accident claim. When they finally meet, Nurd abruptly pooping into Samuel’s bedroom, they discover that they actually quite like each other and even have more than a little empathy for each others predicament.
For Samuel to not only share his jelly beans but to eventually give the rest of the bag to Nurd (and subsequently his pal Wormwood) speaks volumes of a friendship in the making. So it seems Samuel and Boswell may have an ally in the making. An interesting turn of events.
Nurd reappeared on his throne. He opened his eyes to find Wormwood staring anxiously at him.
“What’s wrong with your face?” asked Wormwood.
Nurd tested his mouth with his fingers.
“Wormwood,” he said, “I appear to be smiling. Here, have a jelly bean…”
I’m certain Nurd will tell his dogsbody Wormwood all about his recent adventures, and with the sharing of jelly beans I’m almost sure that Nurd will have finally made a real friend in the demon realm. Wormwood will certainly prefer jelly beans to bashes to his poor skull, as any sensible person (human or demon) should. Unless of course they are somewhat masochistic, in which case Wormwood wouldn’t have been complaining about his punishment the last time he got thumped.