Chapter Fourty – The Secret of Livius

Yes. That is Chapter Fourty. Not Chapter Forty. And this isn’t a one-time typo, either – chapters forty through forty-nine are all spelled this way. This book parodies itself.

AstroJesus keeps expositing about how Maya and Joey are going to be huge targets of Abbadon because he doesn’t want them encouraging the Maradonians. Honestly, I’m not certain why Abbadon is so worried. Haven’t we heard about how they are horribly outnumbered? Why doesn’t Abbadon just swoop in and slaughter everyone anyway?

Joey mentions that ever since he and Maya were almost barbecued, neither of them are afraid of death. So, that traumatic near-death experience actually had some effect on them? I’m shocked. They seemed to get over it so quickly.

AstroJesus, however, points out that every time they’ve been in trouble, someone came to help them out. This instantly makes AstroJesus my favorite character in the book. FINALLY someone is pointing out that Maya and Joey haven’t actually accomplished jack shit so far, they’ve just been lucky enough to have people around to bail them out.

Unfortunately, AstroJesus doesn’t point this out in as many words, he just keeps talking about how they need to protect Maya and Joey. I want to keep liking AstroJesus, as characters who call the MC’s on their bullshit are rare, so I came up with an explanation for this: Let’s assume AstroJesus knows Maya and Joey are worthless, however, he does know that everyone thinks they’re the cat’s pajamas because of the prophecy. Therefore, he has a vested interest in keeping them alive, if only to ruthlessly exploit them to keep the ignorant masses happy and boost military recruitment.

AstroJesus explains that blood is going to keep them safe. Drink for another Christian reference. He launches into a story about how King Roach threw Apollyon’s palace into an ocean, and the ocean turned red like blood. Apparently, if you bathe in this pool it will give you protection from the powers of darkness.

AstroJesus rambles for a bit and shares a couple Important Life Lessons with them, and mentions that he meditates and connects with the supernatural world and that’s how he knows all sorts of things. Eventually he gets back on topic and orders all of his servants out except for just the two of them. AstroJesus then explains that he took a dip in the pool of blood and came out and stood around to let it dry. But afterwards he realized there was a leaf stuck to his shoulder and it hadn’t been covered with the blood – and you can’t take a dip twice. So now he has this small patch on his shoulder that is unprotected and vulnerable to attack.

First – how much of a moron do you have to be to not notice something like that?

Second – maybe I should change his name to AchillesJesus. No….doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Joey wants to take all their men with them so everyone can be protected. AstroJesus agrees but says that everyone will have to be blindfolded so the location remains a secret. I’m having a hard time buying this. You’re talking about an ocean of water that is big enough to have an entire palace thrown into it. Just for good measure, it’s also blood red. It’s difficult to hide something like that. And for that matter, shouldn’t AstroJesus have been taking small groups of blindfolded soldiers up there to take a dip for the past few years? After all, he needs every advantage he can get, right? Doesn’t he care about his men’s lives? What an asshole!

AstroJesus calls in all his men, including “Lieutenant Commander General Genarius”. I’m not an expert on the exact rules of military titles, but something about that one seems off. Maybe it’s the fact that Google tells me the name Genarius is stolen from Star Wars. Anyway, he gives orders for the Maya and Joey story to be created and tells them that Genarius is his Number One and can be trusted completely in all things.

Drinks: 23

Chapter Fourty-One – Vibrations

Maya and Joey walk past the unicorns, who are nervous because they feel vibrations in the air? Why? It’s not explained.

Everyone talks about nothing for awhile, and speaking of nothing, this reminds me of Hoppy. Where the hell did he go? He hasn’t been mentioned in some time. Tesch needs to stop forgetting about characters she’s created.

Eventually Joey gets up and explains that they’re going to go bathe in the special pool. Some of their men are unbelieving. Joey explains that nobody is obligated to follow them and take a dip, every man can make his own choice as to whether he wants to come. Everyone except for thirteen men decide to come. They’re morons, of course. What harm is there in going, as long as you let someone else go first to make sure it’s not acid? If it doesn’t work, you’re no worse off than you were before. But thirteen of them decide to stay behind and trust in their own strength.

“Okay than, it’s your funeral.” said Maya as she rode off with Joey in the state carriage (page 310).

They really need to lose the snarkiness. And Tesch really needs to learn the difference between ‘than’ and ‘then’. Or at least hire an editor.

Drinks: 11

Chapter Fourty-Two – Judge Kingston

Maya and Joey meet up with Judge Kingston, who is…a judge. Anyway, the judge has been tapped to write the Maya and Joey story. Why him? No idea. He calls in a couple of scribes and Maya and Joey recount the story – fortunately, Tesch doesn’t tell it again. Naturally, the scribes are rather astonished and don’t really believe most of it. So Kingston gives them his opinion, in the king of all run-on sentences:

“Of course the whole story has also another aspect of truth because the King had sent the seven doves, which are the seven good spirits of the ‘Land of Maradonia’ to lead Maya and Joey from their world into our world and they helped them on their way to come to us and to encourage our people who live in fear even though King Astrodoulos is teaching twice a week in City Hall and is telling everyone to believe in his own future and that the people in this country need a new vision because without a vision the people will be lost” (page 313).

I feel like emailing Gloria Tesch a bunch of periods and telling her to use them.

The clerks finish up and then ask Maya and Joey to add a special note and signature of their own. So Maya and Joey think for a bit and then write. This annoys me. Two separate people cannot think and write the same thing simultaneously. They would have to discuss what they wanted to write and then one of them would write it down. It’s small but it’s irritating. Although not as irritating as what they write:

‘A great man is always willing to serve and to be little’ (page 314).

Not sure what this means. Maybe they mean ‘belittle’. Probably not, though. Unfortunately people can’t change their size. I kinda get what they’re trying to say, but there are about 117 ways they could better phrase this.

Drinks: 9

Chapter Fourty-Three – Blood Warrior Bond

I think our Apollyon’s Club of Evil t-shirt needs to have this on the sleeve or something.

AstroJesus meets up with everyone before they head off to the Magic Pool and gives them a pep talk. He mentions a few times that Lieutenant Commander General Genarius is going to be his successor, which seems to be on shaky legal grounds, but who knows, maybe in ‘Maradonia’ the king gets to appoint his successor if he doesn’t have any children?

AstroJesus shares several pages of fortune-cookie wisdom and eventually gets back to the Magic Pool. They’re going to have everyone strip naked, leap in, sink down to the bottom, get out, and then stand around and not move until the liquid dries onto their bodies. Why? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mean that they have to leave the liquid crusted on their bodies for the rest of their lives, so why doesn’t the magic liquid just…protect you? Why do you need it to dry on you? Also, wouldn’t this method mean that the soles of their feet would be unprotected? If you have to let it dry on you, it wouldn’t take more than a few seconds of standing on dry land before the water drains off the bottom of your feet.

Clearly, I’m thinking about this far too logically.

AstroJesus explains that as soon as Genarius blows the trumpet, it’s safe to get dressed again:

“From that moment on you are a ‘BBM’!”

“King Astrodoulos! What is a ‘BBM’?” Maya asked.

“Maya and Joey and all you people listen to your king. If you are once sealed with the liquid of that pond you are a real ‘BBM’, a sealed ‘BLOOD BOND MEMBER’ under the direct protection of the Kingdom of Light. [snip] As a ‘Blood Warrior Bond Member’ under the direct protection of the ‘Kingdom of Light’ you are untouchable and invincible by the powers of darkness.” (page 320).

So…what is it? BBM, BWB, or BWBM? These are important questions. You can’t just random give out absolutely retarded acronyms like that. Well….I guess Jesus can.

Drinks: 25

Chapter Fourty-Four – A Vision in Mid Air

This is supposed to be a man.

So a man who looks like a girl appears in midair, which means that some people were looking right up her his dress robe.

The flying thing holds out his swords over everyone and AstroJesus explains that this means they’ve found favor in the eyes of King Roach. Hooray!

We then cut to omniscient narrator. The story of Maya and Joey goes out and people are ecstatic. Men are signing up for the military left and right, without even saying goodbye to their families. They are that inspired.

A ‘hysteria’ broke out, especially under the young children and women who ran out of their houses to the streets and to the market places and screamed for hours, “Long live Maya and Joey, ‘The Encouragers’!” The boys yelled “Maya!” The girls screamed “Joey!” (page 323).

This is remarkably creepy, considering that they are fifteen and fourteen, respectively. Then again, considering how many girls go moist for Justin Bieber, I guess it’s not terribly surprising. Still, I can’t help feeling like I’m reading about Gloria Tesch’s personal fantasy of being wildly famous and beloved by everyone.

Anyway. Bottom line is they have more recruits then they know what to do with.

Drinks: 15

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  1. Licht on 26 September 2010, 04:55 said:

    “AstroJesus then explains that he took a dip in the pool of blood and came out and stood around to let it dry. But afterwards he realized there was a leaf stuck to his shoulder and it hadn’t been covered with the blood – and you can’t take a dip twice. So now he has this small patch on his shoulder that is unprotected and vulnerable to attack.”

    This is stolen from the Nibelungen Lied. It’s the reason Siegfried died! He bathed in the blood of the dragon he had slain and so became invaluable, but a linden leaf on his shoulder left one spot without protection. He noticed, but too late. So he only told his woman about it and she, in the belief of allowing his friends to better protect him (or maybe she knew he had betrayed her with Brünhild and just wanted to get rid of him, but that’s just be), stitched a mark on his clothes where the missed spot was. And this was the spot Hagen of Tronje pierced with his spear to kill Siegfried.

  2. Licht on 26 September 2010, 04:59 said:

    Invaluable? Wut?! xD Fuck. I hate you auto-correct. It should be “invulnerable”.
    And it should have been “that’s just me”.
    Gnar. This morning is cursed.

    But well, so I can at least add that I love your spork. Great work! I can’t believe you made it that far through this shitty “book”.

  3. TakuGifian on 26 September 2010, 08:36 said:

    Is Tesch going back to the three-page “chapters” now, or have they all been this short but just packed full of fail?

    At any rate, five chapters for what amounts to a single scene. Nice. eyetwitch

  4. Rorschach on 26 September 2010, 13:15 said:

    Tesch’s chapter-lengths vary wildly. For example, chapter 33 was THIRTY pages long. In this update:

    Ch. 40 – 10 pages
    Ch. 41 – 6 pages
    Ch. 42 – 3 pages
    Ch. 43 – 6 pages
    Ch. 44 – 4 pages

    I think Tesch suffers from Paolinitis, which is not having any idea how to end her chapters. But whereas Paolini just ends and begins chapters with people going to sleep and waking up, Tesch just has no idea what to do. Some of her chapters end when the scene ends (the 3-pager, for example) and some chapters end write in the middle of a main characters’ sentence. Not kidding on that one.

    The length of the chapter loosely corresponds to how much time I spend sporking it, but it really just depends on what is actually in the chapter. If the characters just spend pages and pages talking about information that we already know, I’ll usually just note that “Nothing happens”, and move on to something that is interesting to read.

    Some short chapters, though, are so densely packed with fail that I can spend pages writing about them.

  5. Danielle on 26 September 2010, 22:26 said:

    I just love how Tesch is obviously trying to write the next Narnia, but her story ends up being…kind of blasphemous. I applaud your fortitude—and your liver’s—for slogging through this crap.

  6. swenson on 26 September 2010, 22:32 said:

    On the Lieutenant Commander General thing—after a quick Google, it looks like the title possibly exists, but not in the US. The far more common titles would be Lieutenant Commander or Lieutenant General.

    Oh! And did you take a drink for the “seven doves are the seven spirits” thing? I’m willing to bet that it’s a rip-off of the “seven angels of the seven churches” thing in Revelation (which is probably a misinterpretation of the passage anyway; “angel” can be literally translated as “messenger”, and some interpretations of the passage suggest the seven “angels” were physical, human messengers sent to the seven churches). And then “without a vision the people will be lost” is a rip-off of Proverbs 29:18, which says (KJV): “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish”. Again, though, that’s out of context; Tesch used it to mean that the people needed to keep hope, while the original passage meant that people need to follow God’s will.

  7. falconempress on 27 September 2010, 01:13 said:

    Why am I getting a sudden vibe that the Lieutenant General Commander is going to betray AstroJesus?

    Anyway, he gives orders for the Maya and Joey story to be created and tells them that Genarius is his Number One and can be trusted completely in all things.

    Yup, definitely going to betray him.

    Also, the first thing I thought of when I read that line in your sporks was:

    “You…are my number one…guyyyy”

  8. swenson on 27 September 2010, 04:09 said:

    All I kept thinking of… was Commander Riker.

    waits for chorus of NEEEEEEEEEEERD, then remembers what site this is

    Come on, you all were thinking it too…

  9. What The on 27 September 2010, 05:13 said:

    So everyone is invulnerable now?

    She just killed all the suspense for the rest of the book?

  10. Sweguy on 27 September 2010, 12:18 said:

    Second – maybe I should change his name to AchillesJesus.

    Or you could name him SigurdJesus. Sigurd was a hero who bathed in the blood of a dragon, but a branch fell down between his shoulders and left him vulnerable. He’s like a Scandinavian version of Achilles :)

  11. Licht on 27 September 2010, 12:37 said:

    It’s not quite Achilles. Rather not that comparable.

    There are many versions, like the Nibelungenlied I mentioned above.
    But I’m absolutely certain she took it from one of them.
    She didn’t make that up on her own. Never.

    Are ANY of Tesch’s ideas actually Tesch’s ideas or did she just steal absolutely everything she could get?

  12. swenson on 27 September 2010, 14:39 said:

    I’m trying to think of ANYTHING original…

    The doves, perhaps? Doves are a common symbol and their symbolic meaning (indicating a connection to God/peace/helpers) was obviously ripped off, but I can’t think of anything directly that had doves like that. (Possibly the old version of Cinderella? The awesome one where the stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to make the slippers fit, and little birds sang “Look back, look back, there’s blood on the track”? The fact that I was allowed to read that story as a young child probably explains a lot.)

    The bird with all the eyes? Although no, not necessarily… I think that might be ripped off of something in Revelation too, as well as some myths.

    Wow, this is harder than I thought. The names Maya and Joey, perhaps?

  13. dragonarya on 27 September 2010, 15:40 said:

    Or maybe “Apollyon’s Club of Evil” is original?
    (Dang, now because of this book, I can’t stop looking at quotation marks weird.)

  14. Rorschach on 27 September 2010, 15:52 said:

    The most original thing about this book is the blatant overuse of quotation marks and “italics”.

    I have never seen another book abuse them so rigorously.

  15. Licht on 28 September 2010, 06:40 said:

    Oh, I’ve seen it. Someone did it in an rpg I’m writing.
    But NEVER in a book.
    So this must indeed be something original to her.

    I know how you feel, I’m almost afraid of using quotation marks and italics now.

    I want the flying Man Who Is Not a Man on my “Club of Evil” T-shirt. ;D

  16. Renegade0 on 28 September 2010, 12:45 said:

    @swenson: I admit it, I thought of Riker too :P. I also had them same vibes as falconempress. When trust is explicitly stated, it often means something is about to go down heh.

  17. dairyproduct on 28 September 2010, 22:07 said:

    Are you absolutely sure that picture is supposed to be a guy? Just look at the shading, it has boobs.

  18. Lilan Jaku on 29 September 2010, 10:08 said:

    And those boobs are rather visible to everyone if I may point out.
    Usually I would completely agree with Renegadeo and falconempress about that betrayal thing, but this is Tesch we are talking about. I am not 100 per cent sure she would amuse us with such an ‘unexpected’ twist. I mean, usually when there is somebody who is perfect in every aspect, it is revealed later that they are just normal human beings just like everybody else. But obviously, Joey and Maya are perfect in the eyes of all the Moronians. I mean, Maradonians angelface. Although…no, I meant Moronians…what was I saying? uh, nevermind…

  19. Brontozaurus on 30 September 2010, 21:51 said:

    Note how the kids are all screaming for the encourager who is the opposite gender to them. It is an oddly specific thing for Tesch to point out.

    I’d say something about Maradonia being devoid of homosexuality if it weren’t for the flying transvestite in the same chapter.

  20. Puppet on 4 October 2010, 21:33 said:

    I knew this book was bad, but I didn’t know it was this bad. Why would anybody publish this? I just don’t understand…

  21. DarrylWolf on 1 April 2013, 01:19 said:

    So Maya and Joey are “now BBMs”. But I think this book is a BM.

  22. Evil Imperialist on 25 October 2013, 21:59 said:

    “I knew this book was bad, but I didn’t know it was this bad. Why would anybody publish this? I just don’t understand…”

    A lot of people seem to like the “Left Behind” series, which is a sort of Harry Potter for Fundamentalists. It has been sporked at least as mercilessly as Tesch’s series:

    Not all horrible stuff is self-published as Tesch’s was.

  23. Pie on 12 June 2015, 04:58 said:

    Not quite 5 years later and I find myself finally reading these sporkings.

    Something I’ve been thinking about:
    Was Tesch raised bilingual or with German as her first language? Some of the mistakes she made in the first version of her book are often the sort I see people make who have German as their native language. This usually happens because they translate things word-by-word in their head which doesn’t work very often. Plus, all the commas! You put a lot of commas in German. (So many that I often put them in English too, simply because they seem to fit.)

    Also, Nibelungenlied … quite a good hint since it’s something you learn about in German classes (probably not in language learning classes, I wouldn’t know).

  24. Lone Wolf on 14 June 2015, 15:40 said:

    Her father is German. It’s possible that she takes some mannerisms from him, especially when she wants to sound sophisticated. The alternative version, that the father is more involved in writing this stuff than we think, has been proposed but has few supporters.

  25. Raynbow on 16 June 2022, 23:07 said:

    Re: Brontozaurus
    this is narnia ripoff land wouldn’t want teh gayz ruining our childhoods…