Monday, April 14, 2008

#58 Deep Trouble II

#58 Deep Trouble II.

Front Tagline: Something's fishy...again!
Back Tagline: The Fish Are Biting...Everyone!

Official Book Description:
Billy Deep and his sister Sheena are spending another summer in the Caribbean on their uncle's totally cool floating lab. The weather is beautiful. And there are lots of neat places to go swimming and snorkeling.
Billy and Sheena are great swimmers. But even great swimmers get into trouble--especially this year. This year there's something really scary going on under the sea. The fish all seem to be growing. Bigger and bigger. With monster-sized appetites...

Brief Synopsis:
Deep Trouble II opens one year after the events of the previous book. Billy and Sheena are back on summer vacation with Dr. D in the Caribbean. Seeing as how this is the last sequel in the original Goosebumps series to be tackled by the blog, it's reassuring to know that the foundations of the sequels are still upheld: By page two, the entire plot of the first book has been negated. The adventures of the first book now boil down to:

1. How Billy discovered a mermaid and no one believed him.
2. How Dr. D valiantly was opposed to anyone keeping mermaids in cages.
3. How it was all very exciting.
Answer key: 1: F 2: F 3: F

But hey, maybe Deep Trouble II will make up for this early stumble by treating the reader to new thrills! That bit of positive thinking dies a quick death as the book opens with Billy tickling a ferocious octopus. The octopus turns out to be Sheena and the tickling turns out to be tickling. She asks if he's a "tickle-fish." Sweet mother of God, there are over a hundred pages left.

Billy decides to play a trick on his sister. He runs up to the deck of the Cassandra and grabs a gray pillow. He's going to swim underwater with the pillow sticking out so his sister thinks he's a shark. This plan backfires when a real shark shows up and chases both kids onto the boat. Then the shark starts attacking the boat. Dr. D runs out and asks about the noise. Dr. D is skeptical about the attack, as there are no sharks in the area. He asks if they're sure they weren't just chased by a kid holding a gray pillow.

Dr. D leads the kids into the office on his boat to look at a new large mystery fish he has captured. Dr. D and the kids thumb through some science books until one of them makes a shocking science discovery: the giant fish is positively identified as a minnow, an animal that, like Hedwig, has a maximum length of one inch.

Billy spots some plankton samples that Dr. D has gathered and snags some to feed his goldfish. Only when Billy prepares to feed his fish, he's shocked to discover that there's a human head inside his goldfish bowl. Sheena reveals that the human head is actually a doll's head and Dr. D explains that the water in the fishbowl made the small doll head appear as large as a human head. I called the local PetsMart to see if this was true and the girl that picked up asked me if I had a real question.

Billy becomes obsessed with getting Sheena back for her 'prank,' though that's really pushing the intended usage of that word. In the water the next morning, the two go swimming and Billy cries out, "Shark!" Sheena fails to fall for this as he's not holding a gray pillow. But the joke's on Sheena, as she gets sucked into a giant jellyfish. No I'm not kidding and yes this book only gets worse.

Billy realizes he must save his sister. He attempts to just reach in and pluck her out but nothing short of diving into the jellyfish will work. Billy plunges inside the giant creature, grabs his sister, and then the two escape as the giant jellyfish scuttles away to fight another giant fish. Oh I hope it's a peanut butter shark! Hahaha, I want to thank seven-year-old me for that joke.

Once safely back on the Cassandra, the kids can't find their uncle anywhere. But as with most things you lose, it's always the last place you look. Billy and Sheena pull their uncle, who is covered in foamy slime, out from underneath a giant snail that has found its way onto the boat. Before everyone can piece together that the giant snail aboard the ship is of course the same tiny snail which once lived in Billy's fishbowl, more things happen.

The boat suddenly jostles to one side as something immense weighs down the other end. When the trio go to investigate, they spy Billy's pair of goldfish who are now the size of small whales and nearly capsizing the boat with their immense weight. Billy makes the following brilliant observation about his fish:

"You could really see them now that they were so big."

Wow, now I'm not sure which character sounds the most like a scientist! The three main characters wrestle with the giant fish and heave them off the boat.

I know what you're thinking: I can't believe it's Monday and the update was on time. Hey, shut up, because I meant the other thing you're thinking, about how this is turning out to be another sequel where the plot is just "Hey you know that thing, let's make it bigger and call it a book."

However, perhaps you, like me, are asking the immortal dramatic question, "Will there be more scientists?" Thankfully the answer is yes, as three unpleasant men show up on Dr. D's boat. The head man introduces himself as Dr. Ritter and asks the trio if they've seen anything unusual. Dr. D says no but then Billy blurts out about the giant goldfish. Dr. D tries to explain that the boy is confused and they were just two pillows, but Dr. Ritter has heard enough. He sends one of his henchmen to investigate the ship and the giant snail is discovered. Way to escargot! Wow, seven-year-old me is contributing a lot of material for this update.

Dr. Ritter lays out his Eight Simple Rules For Discovering My Secret Experiment, the main gist being don't. Dr. Ritter had developed the special magical plankton using science to make fish bigger and end world hunger. Like most scientists, Dr. Ritter follows his humanitarian speech with the attempted murder of children. Billy starts to protest but Dr. Ritter says, "Shut it. Get up. Move along. Move it on the double. 'Cause if you don't you're in deep, deep trouble."

But Dr. Ritter gets homicidetracked when Sheena notices an attack from above: Seagulls! Gull attacks can be thrilling

But not in RL Stine's hands. These gulls ate the enchanted plankton, thus they are so big as to just be ridiculous. While the Rodan-sized birds distract the evil scientist's henchmen, Billy and his family escape on a lifeboat. Then the lifeboat is lost at sea. Then they land a deserted island. Hey, that reminds me of a certain ABC Drama just begging to be evoked and punned: I bet once they get settled on the island, they're gonna relax and get Eli Stoned.

The book engages in every desert island cliche imaginable-- Do you even have to ask if there's a coconut tree? At one point Sheena proudly claims to have caught a giant silverfish, which is disgusting and doesn't say much for the editors at Scholastic that they didn't realize the difference between writing "silver fish" and "silverfish."

At some point during all this, Billy utters the following immortal line:

"I feel like I'm living in some kind of dinosaur world," I said. "Only instead of dinosaurs, we're surrounded by giant sea creatures!"

Which is like poetry for your gag reflex.

Two giant dolphins wash up on the shore and one gets tangled up in a rope hanging from the lifeboat. The three hop in the boat and are taken on a wild dolphin-driven ride through the sea. I like Goosebumps books because they're so scary!

Somehow Dr. D and the kids wind up back at their boat, only to find Dr. Ritter has taken up residence. He greets the family and escorts them into Dr. D's lab. Dr. Ritter reveals that the enchanted plankton has a serious side effect: whenever it is ingested by a human, the human turns into a fish for life. Folks, this is the climax of the book.

Dr. Ritter forces Billy to choose a bottle(?) of plankton and down its contents. Billy attempts to distract him by turning around and fussing with some pillows in order to give the impression of having turned into a fish, but Dr. Ritter forces him to drink the potion. Billy does, but he doesn't turn into a fish.

Dr. Ritter grows frustrated and a fight breaks out between the two scientists. Dr. D tries to hold Dr. Ritter down on the deck of the ship but he breaks free, grabs some plankton, and swallows it before Dr. D can call the police. Dr. Ritter then indeed does turn into a fish and merely swims away. Now that's how you end one of these books.

But the Twist is:
Sheena asks Billy why he didn't turn into a fish. He explains that his revenge against Sheena was that he was going to pretend to drink the plankton-- surely RL Stine knew that plankton wasn't a beverage right? Billy threw out the liquid plankton from one of the bottles and replaced it with iced tea. Sheena begins to laugh because improbably she had done the exact same thing and had planned to prank Billy in an identical manner. So it's hereditary. Sheena then takes a big gulp from another bottle, which is predictably followed by her being unsure she picked the right one.

the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship:
Billy Deep and his sister Sheena again, who disappears into a jellyfish a third of the way into the novel.

Questionable Uncling:
What kind of crazy man leaves all those dangerous pillows laying around where they could be mistaken for anything but pillows?!

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending:
Ch. 26/7:
Billy and Shena fall into the claws of a giant crab. Only they actually fall into the sand where there crab was before he left.
Oops I forgot to mention the scene with the giant crab, didn't I? Quick, let me get my red pillow so I can recreate the scene for you in lifelike detail.

Great Prose Alert:
But I felt it. That whiff of danger.

This is what I get for criticizing the first Deep Trouble, which, while not particularly good, at least wasn't abysmally awful like Deep Trouble II. This is the worst sequel in the original series behind Monster Blood IV-- and so of course that means it's one of the books to garner another round in the Horrorland series.

In case you missed the hilarity below, Blogger Beware's new URL is The old links should still redirect, but it's a good idea to update your bookmarks and start figuring out what to do about your "" bicep tattoo.


Anonymous said...

To be fair, HorrorLand's adding sequels to everything that originally had a classic series sequel. Because two books just wasn't enough scares (as this blog has taught us all).

I remember the plankton ending and the giant fish from this book, but the desert island had entirely slipped my mind. Perhaps it's for the best.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember starting the book but not finishing it out of boredom. Wow.

Brent Waggoner said...

I still don't understand the twist. How was pretending to drink the plankton a prank? Was Billy trying to make Sheena think he was an imbecile? Good one, Billy.

Anonymous said...

Don't laugh, a pillow ate my dog once.

The Guindo said...

I think the "drinking plankton" bit has to do with the fact that plankton are tiny particles suspended in water. So they'd be drinking the water containing the plankton.

Seven-year-old you is sadly much funnier than seven-year-old me.

Fear Street said...

Vile. Terrible. An abomination of unholy proportions.

I commend you for putting yourself on the line like this.

Anonymous said...

I thought you were going to reference Gilligan's Island until you mentioned an ABC drama. The book isn't what I remember of it (as proven by my comment on the last book). Still pretty lame.

Anonymous said...

no, R.L. Stine is right. I spent four weeks working algae for my bio lab this year and it was always horrifying. algae is extremely horrifying. and by horrifying, i mean boring.

Anonymous said...

Troy, you're like Jesus. You suffer so we don't have to suffer. I also liked that joke against my ilk who whine when the update isn't (Technically, it's not since you're not in the same time zone I'm in :|) on time. :P

I wish Deep Trouble II was more like Lost. Ben as Dr. Rittler would be awesome.

Zak said...

Did Sheena actually turn into a fish? I thought I remembered she did and always wondered why she's suddenly a human again in this next Horrorland book. But this seems to imply that she didn't and that actually solves the problems.

Hairest Adventure next plz

Anonymous said...

Did any sequel ever pay attention to the cliffhanger ending? For that matter, did any books at all ever pay any attention to the cliffhanger endings? They always turn out to be a misunderstanding or prank.

...Oh wait, Return To Horrorland might have picked up on the conclusion to One Day At. I know the computer game did.

Zak said...

Lets see... sequels usually DO follow their twist endings IIRC. Let's see every sequel and who missed it:

You already covered Horrorland, anon, and everything about that was right.

Monster Blood - it disappears. No big deal, just get another one.
MB2 - Cuddles eats it, but it expired so nothing should happen.
MB3 - Evan shrinks down to a foot tall. Okay, they did miss it in MB4

Night of the Living Dummy - The twist is that Slappy's alive... need I say more. (The rest of the Slappy sequels wouldn't matter since they have different families so they can have whatever they want happen).

Deep Trouble - So the little thing is chasing Billy... and part 2 picks up there.
DT2 - I thought Sheena did turn into a fish, but my memory serves me wrong here and she was just flopping around to scare Billy because we never see her transform, hence why she's still human in Horrorland DT?

Haunted Mask - It was explained as well in the show, her brother put it on only once so he can take it off.

Say Cheese and Die - We never see the twins in the sequel, so what happens to them shouldn't matter.

The Mummy saga - Curse of the Mummy's Tomb didn't really have a groundbreaking twist, just the parents returning with scary timing.

Invasion of the Body Squeezers - well, it's a two-parter to begin with, but I'm talking about the Give Yourself Goosebumps sequel "Revenge of the Body Squeezers" which literally picks up right where part 2 left off with Jack, except for a new character named "You"'s point of view.

Night in Terror Tower - Didn't really have a sequel-preventing twist and the sequel did go along with all the stuff that was revealed.

Return to Ghost Camp - Same story as NotLD, different characters.

I believe I covered all of them.

troy steele said...

Zak, Deep Trouble II doesn't explain the sea creature from the end of the first book at all, it starts one year after the events of the first book without any mention of the ending. The ending of II also implies that Sheena drank from the wrong bottle but ends there. Otherwise though, very comprehensive! Which book is the Terror Tower sequel?

Anonymous said...

Might be another Give Yourself Goosebumps. Some of those seem to have been more like Give Your Ghostwriters Free Rein With Their Premises, but I guess canonicity wasn't really much of an issue with Goosebumps. On that ill-fated topic, though, a question: Does The Haunted Mask II definitely take place a year after the first book? Because so does The Scream Of The Haunted Mask, apparently.

Also, the Attack Of The Mutant video game ignores the book completely, but it wouldn't have much of a story if it tried to follow on, what with there being no Mutant to Attack anything.

Anyway, does this mean it's Don't Go To Sleep or one of the Invisible books next? (If only the books really were invisible, eh?)

Anonymous said...

I feel your criticism of scientists in Goosebumps is a bit misplaced. The scientists, as far as I can tell from your reviews, think the kids are just making things up or overreacting.

But see, the kids are freakin' idiots half the time, so figuring the kids are full of crap is a pretty safe gambit.

Also, the most terrifying thing Goosebumps ever did was have you do this blog, mention Tippi Hedren, and then have me look her up on Wikipedia and see that image. Imagine that in place of a twist ending.

troy steele said...

She could have really been something.

Anonymous said...

I was in friggin' MIDDLE school when I realized that a giant bird couldn't work because they have a hollow skeletal system. R.L. Stine can eat a dick.

Zak said...

Troy - "Return to Terror Tower" is the second "Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition". It's another one where "YOU" are Sue and Eddie's friend in the 20th century (they take on the last name "Morgan" after they come back, which makes sense) but you don't believe them about being prince and princess of England and then you get transported back to the medieval world and get separated from them.

It's like that, the twist of the Body Squeezers is the blue alien appearing after getting rid of all the green ones, and the Give Yourself sequel is about the blue aliens.

Anonymous - "Scream of the Haunted Mask" is with different people, isn't it? Not Carly Beth or Steve or Chuck or Sabrina, So it could be a year later.

Anonymous said...

The synopses I've seen for The Scream Of The Haunted Mask mention Carly-Beth (and apparently the original mask). To my knowledge, it'll be the first HorrorLand book where a classic enemy faces a classic protagonist - Slappy's books always had new kids, Deep Trouble always had different enemies, and there was no point in bringing back the Monster Blood protagonists yet again (and The Haunted Mask II had a different mask and nearly different heroes). I don't know if the Mummy and Say Cheese And Die sequels will use the same kids - shouldn't they know better by now? Shouldn't they have known better after just one book, let alone sequels?

Zak said...

Ah, my mistake, it was Moster Blood for Breakfast that had the different people.

Still, I mean... well, we all know Stine but I doubt he'd go as low as to disregard The Haunted Mask II.

Anonymous said...

When I was reading these the first time around, I never picked up on the discontinuities (wrong word, i think, but you get the idea) between originals and sequels. . .

Which at first doesn't seem like such a big deal except
1. I would often (re)read the first then (re)read the sequel within the same day
2. In case the re didn't make it clear, I read these books over and over and over
3. I was 9 when I stopped reading (maybe there's an excuse for when I was 6...but 9 is pushing it)
4. I caught the trophy room error in Harry Potter (it changed floors once, I don't remember the specifics cause I haven't read the earlier books in a few years) when I was 9 or 10

I blame these books for the fact that I'm a total continuity freak now...

Hmm, this is long.

In conclusion, can we expect an ontime update next week and ditto on the Tippi Hedren

troy steele said...

Updates should be on-time from now on

Zak said...

Sweet, just one last request.

I don't know how much spam you get or if there's a way to change this, but is it possible for you to make it so comments immediately appear rather than waiting for them to be approved? I mean if you get a lot of spam comments that must be rejected then never mind... but it makes sense, sometimes I check to see if my comments (which are sometimes questions or stuff expecting a response) have been replied to and I find that they're not even there yet! It'd make for easier communication... not necessarily from you, but between other users here as well.

Anonymous said...

I say we have a whole discussion forum for this. There should an entire board to sacrifacing things in the name of Troy Steele in hopes he'll announce his candidacy for Presidency in '12.

Only one man can be President and, dammit, it better be a Goosebumps man!

Anonymous said...

How old are you troy?

Anonymous said...

I hope you do MyHairiest Adventure this week.
Since you have mentioned the twist ending(Where Larry turns out to be a dog)like 776856899 times I think you should.
Please give us a hint

troy steele said...

Mid-20s, meaning I won't be able to run in '12. Rats!

The site is too high profile to allow the comments to be unmoderated, sorry-- I've never withheld negative comments about the blog though, sometimes against my better judgment.

As far as message boards go, most of my readers already don't comment on entries, so I can't imagine the majority would post on a dedicated forum either.

Anonymous said...

Protip: In Don't Ever Get Sick At Granny's, a book in the Ghosts of Fear Street series, the main character also turns out to be a dog at the end -- AND it was a dream.

True story. (Good book regardless, in my humble opinion.)

Anonymous said...

I once dreamed I was eating a giant marshmallow and when I woke up my FISH WERE GONE!

Anonymous said...

I've just discovered your blog by accident yesterday and have been going back and reading older entries since. You make for a hilarious read, but especially when one is on cold medicine. This line, however, made me love you even more:

"an animal that, like Hedwig, has a maximum length of one inch."

You have officially gained yourself a new loyal reader. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

In Don't Ever Get Sick At Granny's, a book in the Ghosts of Fear Street series, the main character also turns out to be a dog at the end -- AND it was a dream.

True story. (Good book regardless, in my humble opinion.)

Reply: I read that book (Don't Get Sick at Granny's) too, and I thought it sucked--because of the cop-out ending and the fact that it was never explained why the grandmother did all those weird remedies, like filling her grandson's bladder to near-bursting or turning him into a monster.

R.L. Stine (or whoever really wrote it) could have said that she was a legitimate doctor who went insane or a witch, but to just throw it all away and say it was a dream by a dog--that's low.

Giga Power said...

Thanks to you I ordered the five original series books that I didn't have from Ebay..and this was the first one on the list.

I'm now a sad panda.

Anonymous said...

that was a terrible subscription you kept getting off subject

Anonymous said...

Creep from the deep, Scream of the haunted mask, and Escape from horrorland ignore the events of Deep trouble 2, The haunted mask 2, and Return to horrorland

Crazy56U said...

Dude... how the heck is this not an online web series yet; this would be freaking hilarious in video form!

Anonymous said...

Silverfish has a Wikipedia page now.

Anonymous said...

benny here. wow one that was actually okay. 6/10 good i guess.

scooby said...

i feel your pain troy.Don't worry I'm pretty sure this one and and the first one get retconned for a very slightly better new book(though i may like the book becouse this is the first time he uses pirates after 100 freakin books.To many werewolf stories to write,i guess.I mean,pirates are a stupid villian but i cant beliwve it took him this long to use them).

Anonymous said...

Hi Troy,

I'm afraid these old Imageshack images have expired or something, so you may or may not wish to reupload them.

...Has it really been six years or more that I've been reading this blog? Because I recognise some of my comments in this thread.