Okay guys: confession time. I read Angelopolis years ago. But I re-read Angelology and went through this book at least a dozen times over before preparing this spork. And you know what?

I cannot remember Chapter 24 at all.

I feel really weird about this. I must have crossed it at some point; it’s not like I skipped chapters. And yet it’s so unfamiliar to me, as if it came right out of nowhere. I didn’t recall that Angela Valko has her flashback chapters (and well they have to be flashbacks, because she’s dead) in the slightest. It’s strange and alienating. I feel as if I failed as a sporker or something. Regardless, we’re going to talk about it now.

This chapter is, like I said, a flashback—it’s a surveillance report from 1984 written by Angela Valko about how sketchy Godwin is. I imagine this is supposed to be that classified file on the angelologists’ database that got deleted and Yana started looking for in Chapter 22.

And I should clarify, because I went back through this sporking and realized I made an error/typo in my sporking of Chapter 9.

We have Evangeline. Her mother is Angela Valko (a scientist) and her father Luca Cacciatore (who founded the angel hunters branch of the angelologists). Her mother’s mother is Gabriella, another angelologist researcher. Gabriella had an affair with Percival Grigori III (Nephilim bad guy from last book) making Angela the daughter of a Nephil and Percy Grigiori Evangeline’s grandfather, which is where she’s supposed to get her angelic genes from. But because they didn’t want other angelologists knowing she’d slept with a Grigori, Angela married Raphael Valko, who is the crazy botanist that’s totally high all the time.

Good? I hope so. If not, I’ll happily take questions in the comments.

…the extent of Dr. Merlin Godwin’s involvement in activities detrimental to our security require that I report what I have witnessed.

So not only was it in the video, Angela Valko sends in a report about the fact that Godwin’s dirty and working for their enemies. This means that all the higher-ups should have read it, or at least known about his corruption. But apparently they didn’t because Godwin has high security clearance and is running an angelologist facility in Siberia without supervision. I’m telling you, if these guys are humanity’s only hope… we’re dead. Deader than dead.

And speaking of incompetence, this report contains random details that no one in their right mind would put in an official report about their protégé being a traitor. Like,

He wore a three-piece suit

and,

He was deferential, bowing in a gentlemanly fashion.

and

The layout was identical to mine

NONE OF THESE DETAILS MATTER. If I was running a secret society and found out that one of my scientists was selling secrets to the enemy, and I read this report, I’d whack Angela with it because I wouldn’t care about the layout of his lab compared to hers, what he was wearing, or how the traitor bowed when he was sucking up. None of that is as important as the other bits—who he was meeting, where, when, and what you found in the lab and how to find it again. It’s not that details are bad in and of themselves, it’s just that these are useless and have no place in this report.

Right, so Angela Valko says that on April 13 she was going to dinner with her husband in Paris when she saw Godwin meet up with Eno (it doesn’t say Eno quite yet, but it’s her). Right in the middle of the street. In public.

I suppose this is in character for Eno, as we saw in Chapter 2. But really Godwin, you’re a member of a secret society, and you’re going to betray them to another secret society, and you just meet with your contact in the middle of the street in one of the most populated cities in the world? And it wasn’t like they swept the area for possible hostiles; Luca and Angela find Godwin by just happening to run into him on the street on the way to dinner!

They follow them and have them spied on, finding out that Godwin gives his briefcase to Eno, and ID her as Eno later on. At first they hold off from calling him traitor, thinking that maybe he’s going undercover or something. But that makes no freaking sense, because if he really was undercover, couldn’t you talk to some sort of angelologist supervisor or commanding officer type and ask them if Godwin has authorization for what he’s doing?

Honestly, I’ve got to ask at this point: are there angelologist authorities? I got the impression there was some kind of ruling council or something (a council is mentioned later in this chapter), but given the way everyone acts, it doesn’t seem the case. There’s not anyone asking for authorization for flying to different countries, no one checks with a supervisor about certain goings on, no one checks in with a higher-up when they get somewhere.

The only angelologist with a specifically defined rank? Is Bruno. As being in charge of the Paris branch.

Do you remember how stupid Bruno is? No? Well let me assure you, it’s terrifying that he’s the only one with rank.

Anyhow, Angela goes on to try to convince us that she’s smooth enough to pickpocket Godwin’s keys, and uses them to check out his lab while he’s away. She finds files stacked everywhere. And what’s in these files, you may ask? Insider information? Mad science? Assassination targets?

Nope.

It’s porn.

No really.

What I discovered shocked me to the core. The folders were stuffed with photographs of angelic creatures in erotic positions, pornographic shots of female and male Nephilim, sadomasochistic couplings between humans and angels, every kind of sexual perversity imaginable.

But WAIT! There’s MOAR!!

As I moved through the stacks, the photographs became increasingly violent, and soon there were stills of people being tortured and raped and killed by Nephilim. The pleasure the creatures took in human suffering was evident in these photographs, and even now, with some of these images before me, I cannot believe that they exist. Even more unbelievable, however, was a thick book featuring images of the victims after they had been used for pleasure and discarded—the bodies were bruised, bloodied, dismembered, and photographed like trophies.

Let’s… talk about this for a minute.

Trussoni, can we make this not about sex for maybe three chapters? No? Okay, but can we at least stop with the rapey stuff?1

Do you remember what I said about rape in fiction back in my Son of Batman review? Well that still applies here. It boils down to this: if you’re going to include rape in fiction, it has to be done very carefully, because that’s not an easy thing to talk about. And I can tell you guys, here it’s not done carefully at all.

It’s covered better than Son of Batman, a movie in which it’s brushed over, but that’s not saying much. The fact is, rape is used in Angelopolis as a plot device to say, “These guys are evil.” It isn’t enough that the Nephilim are violent and are trying to take over the world, no—Trussoni want to make sure you hate these guys, so she makes them violent rapists. It’s not a plot point that explores the horrors of the situation or has any long-lasting effects on the characters. It’s just there as another bad thing for the villains to do.

So basically, it’s how Mark Millar deals with it.

It’s there because it’s something bad guys do, basically. Instead of even trying to write complicated villains with realistic motivations, Trussoni takes this bit here to show you they’re rapists and hope that you’ll like the angelologists better now (despite that apparently some of them are rapists, as Eno’s chapters told us).

So… yeah.

Also Angela’s an idiot.

As a fellow scientist, I would like to give Godwin the benefit of believing, if possible, that these images are part of his work. If Godwin were exploring the nature of angelic sexuality, he might bring an academic reserve to his participation in the underworld of angelic sex and violence, a coldness in relation to the events that he has photographed. However, I truly do not believe this to be the case, for reasons that will soon be evident.

Angela, honey…. Let’s go through this:

ONE: You have seen Godwin meeting with an enemy agent, Eno, who is an angelic assassin. Eno’s not some Nephil’s accountant or something, she’s a mercenary killer. You have this on file. She’s killed plenty of people for money. Even if you didn’t have her on record, she’s an Emim, which are usually employed as hitmen. That does not look good on Godwin.

TWO: As far as you know, this doesn’t check out with his authorization. You could probably just ask the higher-ups (you know, the people you presumably would be submitting this report to) if he has any basis for what he’s doing, but if you insist on looking it up on your own, it still doesn’t look good. At this point, you have enough information to report him.

THREE: You find his personal lab is filled with torture porn. It’s not in a cabinet or something, it’s just sitting there. That’s massively unprofessional even if it was normal pornography. That’s enough to get him fired right there. If he was studying angelic sexuality… why would he have these pictures in a laboratory? Why not in his office in a file cabinet? The only reason he’d have this all over the place is…oh God.

Angela, you should probably wash your hands after going through that place. And also burn it to the ground. This is the man who does check-ups on your daughter for God’s sake!

Going forward, Angela Valko finds some other things, including a bunch of notes from her mother that mysteriously went missing and a Fabergé Egg. Not the one from earlier in the book, a different one (another one of the missing ones from real life, the Hen Egg). She opens it and finds three vials of blood samples: from someone named ‘Alexei,’ someone named ‘Lucien,’ and her daughter Evangeline (the prologue bit was Evangeline getting checked by Godwin, remember?).

SPOILER ALERT: Alexei is Alexei Romanov. Not that we care that much by this point. We’ll get to Lucien later.

No, not that one! Though that would make things considerably more interesting…

Also this random piece of crap:

Nadia explained that the egg in Godwin’s possession—with its golden bird hatching from the center—symbolized the hunt for the savior, the new creature that would arrive to liberate our planet.

I wish this was some throwaway comment and that it had no relevance to the Plot, so I could ignore it and go back to ranting about blood or something. But I have to include this quote, because (and you’re not going to believe me when I say this) this is the Plot of the novel. You’ll see what I mean by the time we reach the end.

When Angela studies the blood, she notices that Alexei Romanov’s is pretty much mostly dry and crusty. But Lucien’s blood is much bluer than the usual Nephilim, and has less signs of human DNA. She wanted to run more tests, but decides that she needs to go through her daughter’s sample.

Angela Valko studies her daughter’s blood, and finds that it has a ton of Nephilistic traits, despite Godwin always saying it came up completely human when he did his check-ups on her. But he’s not reporting everything, he’s been lying to her, and keeping samples of blood for God knows what purpose.

Why was he not fired? Angela Valko is a highly-respected member of the society; there’s no way Godwin kept his standing with the angelologists after this.

Godwin has been taking samples of my daughter’s blood covertly and using the blood for his own perverse purposes.

…ew. Given that this is the guy who keeps a bunch of torture porn in his lab, I don’t want to guess what that’s supposed to mean.

So yes—this report was submitted in 1984, and in 2010 not only is Godwin still a member of the angelologist society, he’s a high-ranking member with top clearance that has been running the Siberia project “for decades.” Apparently, the angelologists didn’t immediately expel his ass on the spot for reasons that I don’t understand. And several of them whisper rumors that he’s doing mad science projects for their enemies and no one’s doing anything about it. Maybe they wanted to be betrayed?

And that’s the end of this chapter, which started the section labeled “HERESY.” And now for some housekeeping:

As you may have noticed, I quit altogether with any semblance of a storyline for this sporking. I liked the idea, but it wasn’t particularly popular I noticed. Furthermore, even if I wanted to, the fact is I have enough writing projects and stuff going on in my life that it would just be too much work. So if you hated that, celebrate now.

I’m also considering writing a lengthy review of Arrow’s abysmal/baffling third season, but I don’t know if the ImpishIdea crowd is familiar enough with the show/would care enough for me to put that much work into it. So thoughts on that welcome.

Join me next time, for chapter twenty-five, where we go back to Raphael Valko’s house and MOAR info-dumps!

I hate this book.

1 I imagine these photos are supposed to reveal what precisely Armigus was doing in Chapter 10.

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Comment

  1. Akkakieron on 29 June 2015, 15:55 said:

    If you can’t remember this chapter, it’s either because it was so horribly bad that you blocked it out, or it was so boring that it wasn’t worth remembering. Given the sickening implications of Godwin’s…activities, I’m thinking it’s the former.

    Also, Godwin, hide your snuff porn at your home where nobody would think, or want, to look. And the fact that he wasn’t fired and/or arrested after all of this shows how inept the angelologists are. Really, the angelologists are like more incompetent versions of the Assassins from Assassin’s Creed; in fact, even the dumbest Assassin in that series could accomplish more than these guys.

  2. Juracan on 1 July 2015, 11:14 said:

    If you can’t remember this chapter, it’s either because it was so horribly bad that you blocked it out, or it was so boring that it wasn’t worth remembering. Given the sickening implications of Godwin’s…activities, I’m thinking it’s the former.

    Probably. There’s another chapter that’s something by Angela Valko, and I can’t remember it either. I guess that she just happens to write about things that I block out.

    Though truth be told, I think when I first finished reading the book, the stupid ending left more of an impression on me than anything else.

    Really, the angelologists are like more incompetent versions of the Assassins from Assassin’s Creed; in fact, even the dumbest Assassin in that series could accomplish more than these guys.

    Pretty much. I love the concept of secret societies, which is part of why I love Assassin’s Creed so much, and I suspect it’s what led me to the first Angelology book. But this one is just so badly done, as if Trussoni didn’t think about how the organization runs at all. And it’s gotten so bad it’s ripping the Plot to shreds. If there had been any competent authorities in the society, none of this would be happening.

  3. The Smith of Lie on 1 July 2015, 14:43 said:

    Pretty much. I love the concept of secret societies, which is part of why I love Assassin’s Creed so much, and I suspect it’s what led me to the first Angelology book. But this one is just so badly done, as if Trussoni didn’t think about how the organization runs at all. And it’s gotten so bad it’s ripping the Plot to shreds. If there had been any competent authorities in the society, none of this would be happening.

    I suppose this is partially problem with “write what you know”. I assume that Trussoni was never a member of a (worthwhile) secret society, thus she has little idea about how those are run. And that is understandable.

    But one has to think about such things in advance and at least try to capture the most important points. For example I have never been a member of an ancient conspiracy bent on world domination, nor have I ever run one (as far as you are concerned at least). But I am nontheless aware of some factors one has to keep in mind.

    Funding. Equipment and safehouses don’t grow on trees, informants are not Red Cross volunteers (well, some of them are, but you still need to pay them, they volunteer for Red Cross, not for helping you), politicians need to be bribed and so on. So organization needs to have some source of revenue. Personally I am partial to drug trade, law enforcment makes it troublesome but money is good. I mean, it would work from a writing standpoint.

    Then there’s question of chain of command. It is a pain to design one where each cell has multiple cutoffs but still can be directed. It wall takes quite a bit of math and lots of charts to keep track of (need to know basis only, the personnel with access to charts should only be people whose capture means end of organization anyway). There needs to at least be some chain of command and some oversight. Even in decentralized, cell baased groups. Otherwise you are just a mob of loosely connected idiots with delusions like in this book.

    And of course even shadow government has its limits. Seriously, file on every nephil in the world? The manpower to manage something like that would be ridiculous. Not to mention that compiling a dossier on someone – an in depth one, not a one you can gain through sifting facebook and about individuals who try to keep secrets, low profile – is much bigger than manpower needed to kill him. Seriously, if you want a good dossier about anyone with something to hide it is at least 1000 manhours.

    What I want to say, this book is capital S Stupid.

  4. Juracan on 1 July 2015, 15:41 said:

    Funding. Equipment and safehouses don’t grow on trees, informants are not Red Cross volunteers (well, some of them are, but you still need to pay them, they volunteer for Red Cross, not for helping you), politicians need to be bribed and so on. So organization needs to have some source of revenue. Personally I am partial to drug trade, law enforcment makes it troublesome but money is good. I mean, it would work from a writing standpoint.

    I… actually hadn’t thought about the funding bit. The Nephilim supposedly just have oodles of money from being aristocracy, but I don’t know how that’d last into the modern day. Then again it does say that some of them run corrupt corporations (because we can’t have a modern story without a corrupt corporation, can we?) and others are models and movie stars, so there’s that.

    The angelologists, on the other hand? [throws up hands and shrugs] I don’t know where their funding comes from. To my knowledge, it’s not hinted at. Yeah, they have some friends in high places (we find out that they were close to the Rockefellers, for instance), but there’s nothing to indicate they have enough money to fund and staff this global operation, especially after they cut their ties to the Roman Catholic Church.

    Then there’s question of chain of command. It is a pain to design one where each cell has multiple cutoffs but still can be directed. It wall takes quite a bit of math and lots of charts to keep track of (need to know basis only, the personnel with access to charts should only be people whose capture means end of organization anyway). There needs to at least be some chain of command and some oversight. Even in decentralized, cell baased groups. Otherwise you are just a mob of loosely connected idiots with delusions like in this book.

    There’s a ‘council’ that runs the angelologists, but we don’t see them do anything in this book. They make a brief appearance in the epilogue, and that’s it. Even then, they kind of politely ask people to do things, instead of hand out orders, which would make sense. There is no strong central authority—angelologists make major decisions without passing by their superiors. Or their co-workers for that matter.

    Seriously, if you want a good dossier about anyone with something to hide it is at least 1000 manhours.

    To be fair, it never says that all the files are complete/detailed. All we know is that they’re supposed to exist. But yeah, as we’ve discussed, that’s bullshit that they believe they have every single individual on record. They didn’t even know Evangeline was alive before this book, remember? And they thought that dead body in the first chapter was her. If they really had every single Nephil on file, they should know that it wasn’t her.

  5. The Smith of Lie on 3 July 2015, 02:25 said:

    I also considered one more thing that is incredibly wrong with Angelologit organization. Juracan harped on it a lot, but there is one more angle to the fact that they are terrible human beings.

    Dubious moral standing is generally not a problem when running conspiracy. I mean, you need to disappear or suicided inconenient people, invade privacy, blackmail, commmit large scale tax frauds, bribe governments, fund warlords and so on. But it requires a certain attitude about the whole thing.

    For example I’d never allow a person who’d consider raping their target to remain in organization. Actually that person would probably commit suicide. Even disregarding moral compunctions against rape, it is just unprofessional and creates unncessary risk.

    Same with the torturers. In certain circumstance torture might be marginally useful, even if the information gathered that way is rather unreliable sometimes the circumstances require using such unsure methods. But enjoying torturing your enemies and jumping straight to it, without even considering other methods of coercion? Now that is just unprofessional and disturbing.

    I actually think that sadistic streak Angelologists are showing hinders their ability as secret organization. Sadists make for bad agents since they like to indulge themselves and act erraticaly (as seen in the book). You want to work with Connsumate Proffesionals.

  6. Juracan on 3 July 2015, 22:24 said:

    Dubious moral standing is generally not a problem when running conspiracy. I mean, you need to disappear or suicided inconenient people, invade privacy, blackmail, commmit large scale tax frauds, bribe governments, fund warlords and so on. But it requires a certain attitude about the whole thing.

    I agree. I wouldn’t necessarily mind their dubious morality if it weren’t for the fact that it’s never called into question. Aside from a couple of instances with Verlaine, no one, not even the Nephilim, act as if there is anything wrong with what they’re doing. It’s just strange.

    I would probably say that it has to do with a complete lack of discipline. Because the “council” I mentioned doesn’t do anything and doesn’t require anyone to run things by them, no one has any rules that they go by, and because of that the angelologists don’t have any reason to actual organize themselves into a cohesive unit that runs efficiently.

    That’s my thought, anyhow.