2016’s Girls’ Last Tour Book 4 is yet another instalment of Tsukumizu’s post-apocalyptic wanderjahr. Amanda Hayley translated this volume.
It’s not at all clear where the automated train buried deep beneath the dying city will take Chito and Yuuri, but at least they will get there quickly.
Many hours and countless kilometres later, the two girls find … another urban wasteland, one that is even shorter on food than the ruins they fled. Food is, of course, the limiting factor on their adventures. Death is inevitable1, starvation their most likely fate.
As if to compensate for the lack of food, the ruins are even richer in abandoned weapons systems than were the girls’ previous haunts. Many of the impressive relics are still fully functional. The pair wastes little time setting a swath of the city on fire. Fortunately, not the swath in which they currently camp.
Things would be even better if they had company, but the few companions the girls have encountered have gone their own way long ago. Mysterious signals on a scavenged radio give some hope that the pair might find new friends.
The signals give no hint as to the nature of those friends.…
The people who wrecked the world were as careful with their nukes as any H. Beam Piper government2. Given that the girls have no idea what the gadgets they are playing with will do, it is just as well that it never occurred to them to play with the clearly labelled (in a language neither girl reads) nuclear weapons they find. Although I suppose that would have solved the food problem. In a way.
While Chito and Yuuri still enjoy some quiet moments of contemplation, the aura of impending doom is more obtrusive in this volume than it was in previous ones. Food is running low; food factories are few and often falling into ruins. (The helmets the girls wear are not for show; they protect the girls from falling walls and ceilings.) It is not so surprising that the conversation turns to cannibalism at one point.…
This book was more unrelentingly grim than I had expected. Even the post-biological entities that Chito and Yuuri encounter expect to die some day.
I do not know why, but I cannot stop reading the series. A sad ending seems inevitable. Perhaps I just want see my forebodings confirmed.
[Editor’s note: James, isn’t it possible that there’s a thriving human colony on Mars? Suppose the colony sends explorers, the explorers find the girls, and all ends happily? Mmm? I can hope, can’t I?]
1. All of us will die eventually (tech bros are working on this, but their quest is probably pointless; the current state of the art is “will kill you 100% dead”). The girls are likely to die much sooner than they would in our world.
2: Piper handed out nuclear weapons like candy. Perhaps the most remarkable example is The Cosmic Computer, wherein the Federation set up arsenals crammed with a myriad of planet-killing weapons. Their main security measure was to put the arsenals on isolated worlds. In a setting where space travel is common and cheap. One arsenal is located In a system with an inhabited world, A world full of desperate people looking for something to sell.