Thursday 30 August 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Vitality

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Genre - Science Fiction 
Rating - PG 
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I’ve never really thought about what happens on page 99 of Vitality before. So I was interested to find out as I picked the paperback of my shelf and opened it to that page.
It begins with the line “Emulla started to panic.” Emulla is a girl with a particularly beautiful voice. She is having a relationship with Stylo, the main protagonist in the story. They both work at Vitality – a company that is making a purple soft drink they say will change the lives of those that drink it. Stylo designs the packaging and Emulla does the voiceovers for the television advertising. Since moving to the nameless city, Emulla is the first person that Stylo can relax and be himself with.

In this scene Stylo has persuaded Emulla to come out for a drink with some friends from work. They are in a trendy bar and, even though it hasn’t been released yet, their colleagues are drinking Vitality as they have put their own supply behind the bar. Neither Emulla or Stylo drink any though, as she previously made him promise not to drink any. Stylo went along with this without question, assuming it was just paranoia caused by her herb-stick habit.

Emulla was reluctant to come as she feels uncomfortable with these people as they are too concerned with image. She wanted to go to The Earth Club which is a secret place where different kinds of people go to eat illegal fruit and vegetables. Stylo also feels uncomfortable with these people, and he had a really good time when Emulla took him to the Earth Club previously, but he had promised his friend Dack that they would come. Dack was the first friend that Stylo made after coming to the city, so, even though they are very different, Stylo feels a certain loyalty towards him.

Shortly after they arrived, Emulla realizes she was only too right. She can’t stand these people who are obsessed with fashion, and she has to get out of there as soon as possible. She tells Stylo this and he becomes angry with her for being so impatient. They then have an argument before she leaves. Stylo is shocked for a moment, but then Dack persuades him to come for a line of Mooseball powder to help him forget about his problems.

This scene is seemingly quite domestic, but it is actually quite a crucial moment in the story. The argument causes Stylo and Emulla to be separated which is something that Stylo later regrets greatly. Also when he goes back to work he notices a change in his colleagues who were drinking Vitality in the bar. So page ninety-nine is a catalyst which changes things for several characters and paves the way for the ominous direction the plot is heading in.  

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