Arc of a Scythe (Hiding from Thunderhead)

Brief description

The Thunderhead has cameras everywhere, and it watches and keeps track of every human being, including the Scythes, although it is forbidden from interfering with Scythe business.

Sometimes the characters attempt to hide from the Thunderhead, to find a blind spot where it has no cameras, or to distract it, by causing a commotion that will make it turn its cameras elsewhere. This may or may not work.

The Thunderhead does have one absolutely blind spot, which its human creators programmed into it as a failsafe: there is an area around an island in the Pacific Ocean that it is completely unaware of. 

Pull Quotes

No one was watching her—at least no human eyes. She couldn’t help but be aware, however, of the Thunderhead’s cameras swiveling on light posts, tracking her all the way from her car to the restroom. It might not have been in the car with her, but it knew where she was. And maybe even what she intended to do.


She left the restroom with Scythe Anastasia rolled up under her arm. She was now Citra once more; proud and headstrong, but with no impressive social footprint. A girl not worthy of much notice. Except to the Thunderhead cameras that swiveled to follow her as she strode back to the car.

Shusterman, Neal. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe Book 2) (p. 42-43). Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Kindle Edition. 

She led him out of the light and they lingered in a shadowy corner of the memorial where no one could see them, except for the Thunderhead’s infrared cameras. But none were visible at the moment. Perhaps they had actually found a blind spot.

“It’s good to see you, Honorable Scythe Anastasia,” he said.

“Please don’t call me that,” she told him. “Call me Citra.”

Rowan smirked.

“Wouldn’t that be a violation?”

“From what I hear, everything you do now is a violation.”

Rowan’s demeanor soured slightly. “Don’t believe everything you hear.”

Shusterman, Neal. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe Book 2) (p. 46). Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Kindle Edition. 

At first Greyson assumed that he would merely take out the cameras if they didn’t turn toward Greyson—but he couldn’t do that, because it would alert the Thunderhead that something was wrong. Instead, the backup plan was to take out Greyson.

“If you can’t do it on your own, Mange will put a nice size river stone in your brain,” Purity said with relish rather than remorse. “All the blood and commotion will be sure to turn all three cameras!”

Shusterman, Neal. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe Book 2) (p. 265). Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Kindle Edition. 

She then pulls out an image of the Pacific Ocean, covered with a crosshatch of flight paths. It clearly shows the space over which no planes have crossed. The void is of no concern to me. I never needed to route planes over this spot of open sea, simply because there were better routes that took advantage of prevailing winds. The only thing that troubles me is that I never noticed it before.

They put forth their theory that this is the location of the mythical Land of Nod, and the founders’ failsafe, should the scythedom fail.

“There’s no guarantee,” qualifies Munira. “All we know for sure is that the blind spot exists. We believe the founders programmed the Thunderhead just before it achieved awareness to ignore its existence. They hid it from the rest of the world. We can only guess at the reason.”

This theory does not trouble me in the least. And yet I know that it should. I am now troubled by how little I am troubled.


As an aside, it pleases me that Scythe Curie has perspective enough to realize that my absence there is a perilous thing. And yet I don’t find it perilous myself. I don’t find it problematic. I should. I make a note that I must contribute substantial processing time to analyze my unusual lack of concern.

Shusterman, Neal. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe Book 2) (p. 386-387). Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Kindle Edition. 

Work that the situation appears in

Title Publication Type Year Creator
Arc of a Scythe (series) Narrative, Novel Neal Shusterman
Machine P.O.V
Not machine P.O.V.

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