[This is the fourth installment in a series. The whole series can be found here.]
One of the most impressive and entrancing aspects of S. (and part of its brilliance) the many layers that the overall book possesses, each to be appreciated and studied by the reader of the book. There is the actual text of Ship of Theseus, then there is the concept of the translated work, then there are the footnotes of the translator. This is the first level, if you will, of the reading containing a number of different layers to be contemplated by the reader.
Next there are the pencil notes of one of the characters reading the text at a young age, then there are the pen margin notes made by this same character later in life and the female character he is corresponding with as they discuss both the text and their own personal feelings and events in their own lives. This is the next level.
Finally there is the level of the reader, taking this all in, in its many different aspects, putting it all together and deciding from there what the story is telling them.
While it has been hinted at in the previous chapters that there is something developing between the two characters making their comments in the margins, and I’ve discussed this in previous installments in the series, it is in this chapter, the third chapter of Ship of Theseus, that this relationship is made clear as something blossoming between the characters over the reading of this text, as they become more open with each other, sharing personal details from their lives, and being outright flirty with their commentary. This is also played upon by a relationship taking place within the text of Ship of Theseus, and the characters reading it, discussing it and playing around with it, as they hint at their evolving feelings for each other.
Adding a level of realism with the notations in the margins, the characters even make simple illustrations or doodles at points, much as we all have done when our interest begins to waver and we find ourselves wanting to create something from scratch on an empty square of paper. It adds to the level of detail put into the development and making of this book, even down to occasional smudges of the ink, leading to the possibility that the character writing the particular notation might be left-handed.
At this point of reading S. I got the sense that I was reading an important scholarly text, something out of classic literature that has been around for a number of years, perhaps even centuries, and after finishing the book, it might be worth a reread or two, perhaps right away, or perhaps after the passing of some time, so that the many subtle levels of the story can be better appreciated, once all the details from start to finish are fully known.
It is also in this chapter and a sliver of fear is introduced to the characters reading the text, which is in turn passed on to the overall reader, as they discover alterations in the text that weren’t that way before, meaning since their last reading someone has come and made this alteration, such as the underlining of the word or sentence. It forces the reader to ask questions such as whether these readers of Ship of Theseus are being watched or observed in some way, and just how important this text truly is. It adds an growing element of risk to these characters which just serves to make it more thrilling for the reader of S. This is developed even further with developments happening to these readers in their lives, people they know getting hurt, others getting killed who are in some way related to this text.
And with the development of the chilling and dark in S., it seems only warranted that there a reader should have an ideal playlist to accompany the reading. So here are some suggested playlists from Songza to add to the mood of reading S.
Mars is one of those planets that no matter how many books are written about the big red planet, be they fiction or nonfiction, science fiction and astronomical readers and fans will never be satiated. But while a number of novels have been written about our red neighbor, none of them have been written quite like Andy Weir’s The Martian.
Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars, as a member of the élite Ares crew. Then a dust storm threatened the crew and their equipment and the plug was pulled and the order given to return home, which everyone did except for Mark who suffered an accident and was hit by a flying piece of metal. His vital signs no longer showed any life and the crew made the call and left Mars to return to Earth.
Except Mark didn’t die and was able to get himself into the habitat the crew had erected the short time they’d been on Mars. Then the real story of The Martian begins as Mark works out when the next Ares crew will be coming to the red planet – over four years from now – and what supplies and equipment he has to work with. As an engineer and a botanist, Mark has the skills and tools he needs, but he still has to do all the math and calculations and thinking to come up with, say, how he’s going to turn the floor of the habitat into a viable potato farm to help provide food, or use the components of the Martian rover to help him survive. And Mark is the sort of person who delights in showing you all his work, whether you understand it or not. The book kicks it into high gear when Mission Control final realize Mark is still alive and well on Mars and needs to be rescued for his sake and saving their own face in front of the people of Earth.
Andy Weir has a background in computer science, and clearly had a lot of fun putting in hard work researching and writing The Martian. Mark Watney is a fascinating character in that he is incredibly intelligent and comes up with brilliant ideas that he explains in detail to the reader. It’s as if Discover Magazine was reporting on the story of Mark Watney surviving on Mars. While it is told in first person journal entries, halfway through the book shifts its focus as a ridiculous rescue mission is conceived. Ultimately, The Martian is a book on one human’s will to survive at any cost, how he MacGyver’s himself out of every situation using intelligence and critical thinking, and is the sort of science fiction that science geeks (who are all pretty much science fiction fans anyway) absolutely love.
Originally written on March 24, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.
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We’re a quarter of the way through the year, with three months down and I thought wouldn’t this be a great time to take a look at the writing goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year and see what sort of headway I’m making. And yes, this may be one of the first times I’ve ever done a “writing goals update” during the year and perhaps the reason is because I know I’ve already made some decent headway, but the fact that I have made some headway I believe it cause for celebration. Here’s the original post with my goals. So . . .
1) A new edit/copyedit of Kyra: The First Book of Enchantus. I finished this edit/copyedit a couple of days ago, after setting myself the goal of getting a chapter done each night, I was able to get this completed in decent time. And the new version is in the process of being uploaded to the Amazon Kindle program right now. So goal number one is done!
2) Self-publish Erotica story. This is currently in process and I hope to have it ready to go by early May.
3) Edit “The Innkeeper’s Wife.” This is now next on my list.
4) Submit stories. This has been done and I recently received some delightful news that my first story had been accepted for an anthology. Though I do of course have other stories to submit which I will continue with during the year, including, hopefully, the one in item 3.
5) Write stories. And this relates with my news in the previous item as a recently wrote a story that ended up being the one that was accepted. Though I also plan to write more stories during the year.
6) Start the book. This is definitely going to be a second half or last third of the year project that won’t get started for a while yet, but one never knows, and it’s certainly something I’m looking forward to.
[This is the third installment in a series. You can read the first installment here.]
Things take an interesting turn in Chapter 2 of Ship of Theseus, as the levels of narrative being to blur a little. Our two conversing characters who have been going back and forth over the events in Ship of Theseus start to experience happenings in their own lives that relate to the author and story. We learn of these characters’ histories and their involvement with the college and what their own goals are, as well as certain tertiary villainous characters who are also very interested in this manuscript and possibly trying to thwart them in their endeavor. And now it seems inevitable in some way that these two characters will not only end up together, but are perhaps destined to. It is clear that V. M. Straka was a very popular author worldwide and is the subject of much discussion in various circles, most notably between our two main characters.
It is in this chapter that we get a good dose of notable Abrams with a strong Lost vibe as we have not only dramatic events, but events that definitely take on a supernatural vibe, in the form of a massive waterspout that appears from nowhere, imperiling the crew on the ship known as Theseus, that eventually leaves only the one main character, enigmatically known as “S,” alive and floating on the water, the ship nowhere in site.
The story becomes fuller, as new characters are introduced and learned about with the back and forth writings in the margins, some that are literary assertions and questions about the text, while others are mere conversational pieces between the two characters as their relationship begins to develop.
It is also revealed that with the various footnotes made by the translator throughout the book, many an odd comment is made that doesn’t seem to make sense according to the characters reading the text, to the extent that they deduce there is quite possibly some code at work here. The question is who is it for?
The beauty of S. is that it continues to grow more complex with its many levels plot that are each further developed in their own right, keeping the reader fully hooked into everything going on.
New Book Signing Record
Ryan Avery is looking to set a new record in the Guinness Book of World Records for most books signed at a single signing.