Circles in the Stream, Chapter 2: No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

I need to get this out of my system now.  The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is, hands-down, one of my favorite movies ever.  Which is why, while reading the revised edition of Circles in the Stream, I squeed when I saw my favorite line from the film — give or take a few words.

There’s a scene in this chapter — which doesn’t appear in the original edition — in which Emily looks at her school yearbook from Colorado and reminisces over her friends and her old life.  She made sure to get as many signatures from friends as possible.  There’s a couple of generic ones, but what her “best bud” Taylor wrote takes the cake: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

… Yeah, that’s close to the actual movie quote: “No matter where you go, there you are.”  I’d say that counts as a reference.

If you’ve never seen Buckaroo Banzai — and you should, it’s freaking awesome — here’s a clip where the above line is said.

… But I’m getting ahead of myself here.  Chapter 2 starts with Emily apologizing to her mother about freezing in the OR earlier.  Dr. Fletcher says everything’s okay, since things were “pretty intense”.  I don’t blame her — I mean, there was a leopard with glowing wounds swiping its claws at everybody.  I’d be freaked out, too.

Anyway, the two then discuss what kind of animal Lyra may be.  Emily guesses leopard, and Dr. Fletcher guesses margay or ocelot.  In the original edition, Dr. Fletcher even says Lyra’s “too small” to be a leopard, which probably explains why most of the original promotional artwork made Lyra look like a spotted domestic cat.  Hmm … that would mean that Lyra would most likely be an ocelot in the original edition — even though Kara always introduces her as a leopard during the Ravenswood Preserve tours later in the series.  I guess that’s why Dr. Fletcher’s “too small” comment was deleted in the new edition.

Dr. Fletcher’s also been studying tissue samples from Lyra.  She believes that there’s either some toxic waste dumping at the preserve that caused Lyra’s burns, or they were inflicted intentionally.  Emily’s all like, “We have to help them!” but Dr. Fletcher tells her not to enter the scary forest.  Of course, we all know that when a main character is told not to enter the scary forest/factory/wherever, they will inevitably enter it.

Dr. Fletcher prepares some samples to be sent to a university — it’s not specified where, but she has many to choose from in Pennsylvania — while Emily opts to spend the night with Lyra.  Before falling asleep, Emily notices some odd bumps behind Lyra’s shoulders.  They’re barely described in the original edition beyond “odd bump[s] behind the shoulder blade”, while the revised edition says they’re “hard but spongy, like cartilage.”  When Emily asks her mother about them a few days later — which doesn’t occur in the original edition — Dr. Fletcher thinks they’re just swollen joints.  The next morning (in the revised edition), Lyra has improved visibly, enough for Dr. Fletcher to claim that Emily has a magic touch with animals.  Emily doesn’t believe her, but decides to spend all her time with Lyra.

A few days later, Emily browses through her yearbook.  Other than what was discussed above, we learn that Emily is entering the seventh grade and that her father moved to Seattle to be with his new wife.  That last bit of information isn’t even mentioned in the original edition until Book 7, when we finally meet Emily’s dad and stepmother.

Eventually, Emily takes the dogs from the kennel on a walk to Arrowhead Park, which borders her house.  A band of girls make snide comments at Emily when the dogs’ leashes entangle her.  These girls are Kara and her Catty Girl Posse, who we’ll see a lot more of as the series progresses.  The descriptions of Kara’s friends seemed to change with each book in the original edition: in this park scene, one has “dark chin-length hair” (Molly), and the other has “curly blond hair” (Tiffany).  In the new edition, the brunette is replaced by a girl with “long red hair” (Heather).  Kara, however, is given detailed descriptions of her clothes and hair — which marks her as a Main Character.

Kara changes the topic of her posse’s conversation, allowing Emily to return to playing with the dogs.  She unleashes them and kicks a soccer ball out towards the woods bordering the park.  The ball hits a ferret — which makes an audible “Gah!” — and two of the dogs run into the woods after it.

So, yeah … Emily has no choice but to enter the scary forest now.

Next time: Emily finds a rock.



  1. Just read this chapter. I knew that quote sounded familiar, but I couldn’t remember where. The funny thing is I don’t think I’ve ever even seen Buckaroo Banzai.

    Did you happen to download the audiobook MP3s from the site? I tried to yesterday, but, as it turns out, the files are unavailable, even though the links are still there.

    1. I do have the audiobook MP3s on me. A kind fan was able to forward a copy back when the official sites were down for a significant period. I can email them to you if you’d like.

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