21st Century Literature discussion

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May 2012 - Cloud Atlas/Mitchell > Chapter 7 (spoilers allowed)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited May 03, 2012 06:30PM) (new)

I've decided to open several more threads for individual chapters. It may seem like plodding. I just want those who are farther along in reading to be free to discuss. It should also be that those who are just beginning will find a place to discuss as well. Thanks.


Kevin Stuart | 19 comments In the chapter 5 discussion, Silver referred back to the Timothy Cavendish chapter and the continuation of the imprisonment theme. Cavendish's exclamation "Solyent Green is People!" really comes to mind as even more foreshadowing from that chapter.

There is a sense of accomplishment in completing each of these story lines, but there is also a sense of disappointment that further questions about these characters won't be answered. I found myself wondering how the world transitioned between that of Sonmi and Zachary, but going back in time is going to cut me off from that information... unless the wrapping up of these stories abandon the uni-directional aspect of time, which I could see David Mitchell trying and pulling off.


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited May 17, 2012 09:03PM) (new)

Kevin,
Thanks for sticking with this group read! I also felt let down here and there. What I mean by that is I became engrossed in a story line or particular characters lives and had to let them go albeit temporarily.
Mitchell certainly has a gift for keeping the reader entranced and questioning.


Silver | 83 comments OMG this book is truly brilliant! Thus far I think this chapter was one of the most ingenious moments of the book. The revealing of the Somni escape adventure as being all staged, that was suburb. Once again I love the way in which the author brings concepts of reality into question, as well as how much he reveals in the art of storytelling itself.

What can be trusted in this book? Does this book truly have one ultimately reality? I love the way in which he can have such a self-awareness of the story as being just that, a story, while still drawing the reader into the characters and wanting to know what is going to happen and making the reader believe in them, though you are told that they are all just fabrications (hmmm makes me think that the use of fabricant might have more than one possible meaning here.)

I also loved the way in which this chapter offered a commentary upon our own society. I particularly enjoyed the part of the interview when Somni explains how the colonists lived, which is incomparableness to the Archivist. People today seem to have forgotten that there was a time when we lived without technology and can seem to barely function without it.

Also the revelation of Somni's story and the trial being all scripted makes me think of today's Reality TV, after all how much of that is actually real, and how much has been scripted for the sake of producing greater entertainment? I have to say an episode of South Park is brought to mind, in which it is discovered that all of Earth was created as a Reality TV show by aliens.


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited May 26, 2012 05:57PM) (new)

Silver wrote: "OMG this book is truly brilliant! Thus far I think this chapter was one of the most ingenious moments of the book. The revealing of the Somni escape adventure as being all staged, that was suburb. ..."
If you're wondering how much of a "reality" show is scripted,all of it! What's not in black and white is scripted in participants' heads.


Silver | 83 comments Diana wrote: "Silver wrote: "OMG this book is truly brilliant! Thus far I think this chapter was one of the most ingenious moments of the book. The revealing of the Somni escape adventure as being all staged, th..."

Well yes, the knowlege of being on film is going to change how people act, and it would be impossible for one to act completely normally and naturally while they know they are being under obversation, and of course they want to do thins to draw more attention.

But I wonder, how much are they being told by producers to do, act, say? How much are they being prompted and led by those making the show? And how much of it is controlled by the way things are edited?


message 7: by Zadignose (last edited Jul 04, 2012 11:15PM) (new)

Zadignose | 85 comments Alright, I'm just angry right now. I got a bit frustrated as I started reading chapter 6, so I took a break for about a week. Then I decided to go back with a positive attitude, and I got back into reading the stories and enjoying it. Though some nitpicks remained, I felt that the book is imaginative, and that's what I was looking for when I started reading it.

But now... the ending of the Sonmi story is pathetically awful. I'm sorry, it's just 100% b.s. There's already a cliche of paranoid fiction, the (evil laugh) hoo-hoo-ha-ha, it was all a wicked plot, hoo-hoo-ha-ha. But that's okay, I was aware that such a conclusion might come about, but if that's how it has to be, does it have to be such a stupid, implausible, inane, tacked-on plot that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever?

Alright, we've got a blunt attempt to inflate current fears of environmental armageddon and the wickedness of corporate greed, painted as a future dystopia. Alright, alright, I'll play along, just give me some originality, get me involved in the particulars. But the conclusion just ruins the whole thing.

Seriously, nothing at all could possibly motivate Unanimity to do this. The motive which is attributed is transparently ridiculous. Now, it's easy to see the author's motive: to score points by pulling off a faux-clever twist. But to me, this conclusion is a literary train wreck, in a story which otherwise actually managed to win my interest and sympathy despite my cranky skepticism and the little niggling flaws along the way.

I think I'm getting set for more disappointment in the chapters to come. At about 70% of the way through the book, I'll likely find the courage to finish reading the rest, sooner or later. But right now, it's time for another break.

By the way, my apologies to those who feel differently about the ending, I'm just prone to be a bit strong in expressing my own disappointment, and at the moment I'm really in need of venting.

If the book was simply rotten from the beginning, I'd have no reason to be frustrated, as I wouldn't expect much, but I think the author shows enough *potential*, and the stories are intriguing enough, that they also have enormous potential to disappoint when they go wrong. I'm in the mood to sing:

"Why do you build me up, buttercup,
baby, just to let me down, and fool me around..."


message 8: by Zadignose (last edited Jul 04, 2012 11:20PM) (new)

Zadignose | 85 comments P.S., the dammit comet-shaped birthmark thing is whoah irksome!

When an author finds himself being too faux-clever, he's got two options. One, be actually clever. That's hard, though. Two, stop trying to be clever, and be sincere. If you want emotional investment from your reader, then deliver, don't cop out.


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