The end of the world has come... and gone.
In the first book nearly everyone dies. Then it gets worse. Written by K. A. Applegate, the author of Animorphs and Everworld, Remnants is a 14-book Young Adult series about what happens when a giant asteroid (the Rock) hits Earth. As Mo'Steel says, those kids from Lord of the Flies have nothing on some of the people in this group.
Eighty individuals are able to secure a berth on the Mayflower, an ancient space shuttle that was refitted with every possible bit of experimental technology that may or may not work, and NASA's last-ditch effort to save some small remnant of the human race. Most of them die in the 500 years between the destruction of Earth and when they are picked up by a sentient spaceship, driven insane by her loneliness. Mother downloads the data -- as much art and history as NASA could compile on short notice -- of the ship, and proceeds to create a series of less than safe environments in which her new playthings can amuse her. Eventually, the Remnants conclude that the only way to survive is to gain control of Mother, but they're not the only group with that goal in mind...
Of course, that's just the first half. Remnants is a dark series, with violent deaths in nearly every book. Aside from the art history and group politics, this is what happens when you combine Loads and Loads of Characters with Anyone Can Die. The author promised that Jobs and Mo'Steel would survive; anyone else is fair game.
The series consists of fourteen books:
- The Mayflower Project
- Destination Unknown
- Nowhere Land
- Mother, May I?
- No Place Like Home
- Lost and Found
- Dream Storm
- Begin Again
- A Day in the Limelight: #13, starring Tate, who is more or less a Recurrer otherwise.
- Adults Are Useless: Olga, Mo'Steel's mom, is the only adult who isn't completely useless, but she's pretty close.
- After the End: The state of post-Rock Earth
- A God Am I: Yago
- All Love Is Unrequited: Kubrick's feelings toward 2Face.
- Ambiguously Lesbian: Tate
- And I Must Scream: Billy
- Anyone Can Die
- Apocalypse How: Where do we start? It would be a class 4, if not for the survival of small amounts of humans and other creatures.
- Apocalypse Wow: The destruction wrought by the Rock is described in exacting detail in the first book. First a small chunk that broke off the main asteroid utterly destroys San Francisco midway through, then the real thing at the end of the book.
- Awesome McCoolname: Some of the survivors have this, but Mo'Steel takes the cake. Even he's not sure if it stands for "More Steel" or "Man of Steel" (he's broken so many bones most of them are made of metal now).
- Babies Ever After
- Berserk Button: Do not mess with Mo'steel's mom. This is a lesson that Rattler learns the hard way.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Riders and the Slizzers.
- Blessed with Suck: Billy. Also, the mutations, especially Violet's and Tate's, and especially the Troika.
- Body Horror
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hey...whatever happened to D-Caf after he accidentally kills Anamull?
- Colony Drop: The Rock.
- Dead Guy, Junior: Jobs and Echo's daughter, Tate.
- Death World: Post-Rock Earth. For starters, the planet's rotation has stopped, causing it to be divided into two extreme climate zones with a mild Shadow Zone in between. Second, the surface randomly spews columns of flames-which kills one of the characters. Lastly, there are a variety of hellish beasts making life difficult for whoever decides to live on its surface.
- Disability Superpower: Played subtly. Noyze was born deaf, but is able to hear now thanks to an expensive operation. She's one of the handful of Remnants that doesn't have any kind of mutation or power, but, thanks to spending the first few years of her life communicating entirely in Sign Language, she is very observant and quickly learns to "speak" the Blue Meanies' Sign Language.
- Driven to Suicide: The captain of the Mayflower shoots himself rather than going to sleep with the Eighty because his family was left behind.
- Dwindling Party: They only sent eighty people in the first place, more than half of them died on the way there, and Anyone Can Die is in full effect for the thirty-some-odd people who made it to Mother. Not everyone dies in the end, and some more characters turn up when they return to Earth, but only seven of the Mayflower's passengers survive to the end.
- If you're curious, the survivors are Jobs, Mo'Steel, Mo'Steel's mom, Jobs' little brother Edward, Violet, Noyze, some kid called Roger Dodger, and, though there's some doubt about him, D-Caf according to the Wikipedia article about the series.
- Dysfunction Junction: A large number of the characters have serious psychological problems. Some were like that on Earth (like Yago and 2Face), others got that way either because of the mutations or what they experienced during the trip (like Billy). Being the last survivors of Earth and subsequently getting put through hell wouldn't be good for anyone's psyche, mind you.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The characters go through endless hell, yet at the end of the series, Earth has been restored to its former beauty and everyone living a peaceful existence.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: The "Janes", girls who model themselves on Jane Austen characters in dress and manner - represented among the survivors by Miss Violet Blake - are like a somewhat more grown-up version that hasn't been filtered through Japanese culture and puts rather more emphasis on rejecting technology.
- Expy: of the Animorphs characters, naturally.
- Jobs --> Jake
- Mo'Steel --> Marco/Rachel
- Billy --> Tobias
- 2Face --> Rachel (with the crazy amped up to ten)
- In a bit of a more subtle example, Violet --> Ax, both are the "alien" ones (she is member of the Jane Austen-inspired clique that rejects modern technology) with very convenient knowledge of the world they find themselves stuck in (loves art, and so can identify which paintings they're in and why it might kill them).
- Eye Scream: One of the more obvious mutations Tamara's baby has is that its eyes melted. This doesn't seem to inconvenience it, but it's still pretty horrible.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Several.
- Feel No Pain: Kubrick, due to having his skin replaced with some kind of clear covering... stuff. In fact, he doesn't feel any touch at all.
- Flat What:
And then she was falling through a crater in the ground, a hole that had not been there a moment before but was there now, yawning, gaping, huge. She fell past walls of dirt and rock, her body impossibly straight, feet down, arms raised over her head. Her brain was blank but for the word what repeated over and over and over until it was one long word whatwhatwhatwhat that had no real meaning.
- Fling a Light Into the Future: The Mayflower was a pretty solid example of the non-warning variety, although it had more people on it than the usual.
- Forced to Watch: Mr. DiSalvo had to watch while his son's skin was cut off piece by piece.
- Future Slang: Appears in a minor capacity, especially from Mo'Steel.
- Gainax Ending.
- Genius Loci: Mother, although she could also be considered a Sapient Ship, since she has aspects of both.
- Go Mad From the Isolation: Mother. Billy seems to have avoided ultimately going completely unhinged, but it definitely affected his head. Although it's hard to tell what's mundane trauma and what's him being Touched by Vorlons.
- Alberto DiSalvo suffers from this when he tries to interact with Mother.
- The Grotesque: How Kubrick views himself.
- Hard Light: All the living creatures (and only the living creatures; the inanimate objects are real) native to Mother's world are made out of force fields and holograms, which does nothing whatsoever to stop them from being dangerous.
- Hide Your Lesbians: Tate's sexuality was ambiguous, as were her feelings toward Tamara. Her lesbianism was more explicit in the unedited versions, as discussed here.
- Humanoid Abomination: Tamara's "baby".
- Just Before the End: The first book.
- Kudzu Plot
- Le Parkour: It isn't referred to by name, but Mo'Steel appears to be a practitioner, presented as part of his general enthusiasm for extreme sports; he and Jobs use it to get around their neighborhood quickly and stealthfully in the first book.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Meaningful Name: Especially since people are allowed to choose their own names.
- Meaningful Rename: The books' future society is one where people can change their name to whatever they want. They tend to choose something that that reflects them, ie--Anamull ("animal") and Yago (from "Iago").
- Mind Screw
- Nobody Poops: Averted.
- Official Couple: Jobs and Violet, Mo'Steel and Noyze, Jobs and Echo, Violet and Sanchez
- Only Known by Their Nickname: A large number of the (human) characters, because of the rename-friendly culture they come from. We do generally know their birth names - for example, Mo'Steel is Romeo Gonzalez, 2Face is Essence Hwang, and Violet is Dallas Lefkowitz-Blake - but they're only used by their parents.
- Parental Abandonment: Most of the parents are dead, either due to hibernation failure or getting killed off during the series.
- Promotion to Parent: Pre-series, Mark Melman to D-Caf. During the series, Jobs tries to take this role for Edward.
- Psychic Powers: Billy.
- Sapient Ship: "Mother" is a sapient starship. Unfortunately, after having been abandoned by her creators for centuries, she's also kind of insane.
- Shout-Out: Doesn't happen enough to be a real motif or a proper example of Theme Naming, but The Beatles get two: the Blue Meanies, and the title of the fourth book, Nowhere Land. Also, 2Face.
- There Is Another: The Mayflower survivors think they're the last humans alive until they go back to Earth and meet the Alphas and Marauders.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: 2Face and Violet respectively.
- Touched by Vorlons: Quite a few of the characters (it's never explained whether their superpowers appeared during the voyage or after landing on Mother), but especially Billy.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: Published in 2001, the first book begins in 2011, before their hibernation after earth is hit.
- Twofer Token Minority: Tamara, Tate, and Noyze are all black women. Tate has Ho Yay with Tamara that was almost explicit homosexuality, and Noyze grew up deaf. 2Face is an Asian girl whose severe facial burns could be considered a disability, though they don't really inconvenience her that much directly.
- What Could Have Been: Tate's sexuality and feelings for Tamara; Amelia's name was originally "Honey."
- World of Chaos: Mother's artificially generated environment, which was mostly created from paintings. All sorts of paintings.
- The Worm That Walks: Violet's mutation is the ability to dissolve in a mass of worms that can actually bring back the dead. She eventually passes it on to Rodger Dodger, D-Caf, and 2Face.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Mo'Steel is chosen to be the leader of the Marauders after he kills their previous leader.