Em Shreebob is an important character appearing in Book VI of the Space Voyages series. She is Frank's love interest whom he meets in Thaddeus's imagination. Jack and Courtney meanwhile see through her guise and soon discover that she is in fact possessed by the Tick. Once the Tick is killed, however, she is freed and able to assume human form.
Involvement in Cornelius's Further DoingsEdit
Em is a resident of the imaginary world of Thaddeus's mind, as the trio discovers by following the Tick, planted by Cornelius, into his brain. They witness the murder of a figment in their hotel that night and discover an odd key in the room. Although in the original this Chekhov's gun was accidentally left out, it was meant to be the key that opened the door to 1975 Figment Street, Em's residence.
Em suspiciously lives alone with a collection of mechanical guinea pigs kept in metal cans in a side room. Jack and Courtney (and to a lesser extent Clara) notice a "strange tingling in the atmosphere" whenever Em says something unusual, and they both suspect foul play from the start. Frank is unfortunately oblivious to this and convinces them all to stay there for several days.
After the Tick is captured in the showdown at the fig newton factory, the trio is forced to leave Em, which hurts Frank especially.
- Courtney and Jack had peeped their heads around the doorframe to listen for any vibes from the tick. "Everything she's saying is true," Courtney whispered to Jack as she listened and watched.
- As Frank was leaving, he turned around and asked hopefully, "There isn't any chance that you'd want to come along, is there?"
- "Oh no," Em answered. "I'll be fine alone."
They return to the real world at which point Frank discovers a note from Em declaring her true intentions and how she has in fact been possessed by the Tick and forced to say things against her will. This spurs Frank on even more to his dangerous task of depositing the Tick in Timbukthri.
Following the crash of Flight 23 (per Courtney's dream and the Twilight Zone episode "Twenty Two"), the Tick is killed and Frank is picked up by Thaddeus and co. in a rental jet. There he awakes and discovers that Em has miraculously left Thaddeus's imagination and become a real girl a la Pinocchio. Strangely enough, she is never mentioned again after the end of Book VI, although it can be assumed that she lives in The Place or perhaps returned to Thaddeus's imagination to be with her family.
AnalysisEditEm's name came very directly from Em(ma) Watson and a rather vivid dream the author had about her supposedly coming to a party and then not showing up. Besides this, Em's character presents an interesting predicament both for the dynamics of the three main characters and the extremes of the physical laws that embody the Space Voyages universe.
A few natural laws seem to underlie the existence of Thaddeus's imaginary world:
- Everything inside Thaddeus's imagination exists purely within it and does not have any physical manifestation in the "real world."
- Thaddeus does not directly control what goes on inside his imagination; in the same way, the figments within it are sentient and operate under their own free will.
- It is possible for real, physical beings to enter into Thaddeus's imagination, and vice versa.
Perhaps the most disturbing and fascinating implication of these concepts is that the transfer from real being to figment and back again violates the law of the conservation of matter – where exactly does the matter that was the physical beings go once they become figments, and where does the matter come from if a figment leaves the imagination and becomes "real"? One answer may be in the energy field that one must pass through in order to get between the two worlds: perhaps this absorbs or provides the adequate amount of matter to whatever is coming in and out, assuming there is some fixed reservoir of it to be exchanged.
Em's character specifically is interesting because of the dynamic she develops with the characters from the real world. If Em is part of Thaddeus's imagination, are Frank, Jack, Courtney and Clara really talking to Thaddeus, or is Em her own being merely residing within a larger Thaddean framework? It seems that the latter is more likely given the aforementioned laws, and that Em does in fact become real once she leaves Thaddeus's mind. Still, it comes across as slightly odd that Em's existence depended completely upon the existence of Thaddeus and his imagination, and in that way he is a sort of creator or parent to anyone or anything that might spring out of it and take on its own indepedent form.