I love all your thoughts on human-Controller culture. I'm so glad someone cares about the meatbags as much as I do. <3
YES! It’s something that I really love about Animorphs that K.A. Applegate takes the time to flesh out the personalities and experiences of the hosts so much, even the ones who make only minimal appearances like Tom or Taylor. Back when I was writing for the Supernatural fandom “Sol cares too much about the meatsuits” became a running joke among my friends (let’s just say I spent a lot of time worrying about Jimmy Novak and Adam Milligan), and that was years before I started doing fics about Applegate’s human hosts. Although a lot of movies or books that deal with that concept of a hostile consciousness controlling one’s body (The Puppet Masters, The Host, The Tripods, Doctor Who, Angel, etc.) tend to gloss over the sheer disturbingness of what that experience must be like, the Animorphs series gets elbows-deep into the horror, since Animorphs never does horror halfway.
It’s actually refreshing that, even in the books like #19 and #29 that show more sympathy for the yeerk cause, K.A. Applegate does not flinch away from telling us: these humans are “the most total slaves in all of human history” (#30). They are not even allowed the privacy of their own thoughts (#15), and they can be punished for even so much as daring to blink their own eyes (#2). The yeerks “don’t just take over your mind and eliminate you. You continue to be aware. You continue to be conscious. You sit there in your own head watching the yeerk open your memory, watching the yeerk fool your friends and family, watching the yeerk turn the people you love into the same kind of slave you’ve become” (#10). In MM4, in #6, and #19, she outright states that the yeerks are violating the bodily autonomy of their hosts in a way that cannot be excused or apologized for. Visser, #2, #6, and #8 all go into the devastating psychological damage that the hosts accrue; Alloran, Chapman, Allison Kim, Tom, Lore David Altman, Jara Hamee, and half a dozen other unnamed hosts all attempt or commit suicide in order to avoid continuing infestation. If you think about it, these are people who are not allowed the freedom of their own thoughts, much less the freedom to decide when to breathe or blink or turn their heads. No wonder they want out at all costs.
So, yeah, it’s true that I’m a sucker for the stories about mind control, and I love wondering about the horror of being used as a human puppet. However, I’m not sure that any writer captures the nightmare fuel quite as masterfully as K.A. Applegate does.