World-opening/World-closing

“Allegiant” (3rd part of the “Divergent” series) has a world-opening problem. The first part read almost allegorical and the world seemed fairly tight. The second part is usually where I start to lose interest in trilogies – same again here. My losing interest often also correlates with when the fighting action becomes prevalent. The story stops being about a world and begins being about shooting, and I often lose track of who is loyal to whom and why.

I have read reviews of the film version of “Divergent” that mentioned a certain anti-intellectualism of the series. Blatant, maybe, if you consider that the “intellectuals” in this world turn out to be the baddies (I have not yet finished the third part; maybe there is a plot twist coming up that rehabilitates them, but I’m not counting on it). I could still sort of bear it in volumes one and two, maybe because they felt so allegorical. “Allegiant”, though, is turning all out Fox News on me. Statements that read a lot like the polemical “You know, those scientists with all their geneticky stuff that they keep from us normal people, trying to tell me stuff about me… ugh! Jesus is the only one who knows me.”

Once the closed narrated world of volumes one and two opens up into a wider world the protagonists had been unaware of, plot holes and also technical narrative holes begin to show up more. Especially blatant is the avoidance of science when in this new, wider world the “novum” (Suvin), i.e., the cataclysmic change that has made the world as it is, has to do with genes and genetic “purity”. In the narrower world from the beginning, it seemed acceptable to have some pseudo-science and science fiction (truth serums, fear simulations, collective hallucinations) and it could have just stood as a given in that world, but once the characters encounter the wider world and scientists within it, I would expect the scientific event that has created both the wider and the narrower narrated worlds to be explained more in terms of hard science fiction than in the voice of Fox News anti-intellectualism: “You wouldn’t get it. Those scientisty types– they don’t want you to get it!”

Again, have not yet finished reading, the novel has another 150 pages or so to redeem itself.

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