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Shriek: An Afterword (Ambergris, #2)
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SHRIEK & FINCH by J VanderMeer > Convening thread for Shriek: an Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer Chapt 1-4

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Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Opening thread for Shriek. Readers can clock in here for us to say hi to one another and get our bearings before we start the actual discussion. So you can clock in here at any time before, on or after the due date, if you like.

Initial impressions of the book are welcome.


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
I am really excited about this one. I read the first chapter right after I finished City of Saints and Madmen, but had to return it to the library due to other commitments at the time. That first chapter was enough to fall in love with it, though. The written back and forth between Janice and Duncan reminded me so much of me and my brother, even though they're not actually conversing. I can hardly wait to find out what happened.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
I was originally more looking forward to Finch, but I'm going to take your word on this one, Amy, and am therefore also looking forward to it! I'll start reading it full-steam on the 27th. :)


mercurialmadness (m3rcurialmadness) | 7 comments My copy arrive yesterday, and I have read some today. I love it so far! My favorite quote so far is: "He loved his own jokes as if they were his children, worthy of affection no matter how slack-jacked, limb-lacking, or broken spined." I also agree that the back and forth between siblings feels natural, or how one sibling would depict the other, and so forth.


mercurialmadness (m3rcurialmadness) | 7 comments *arrived. Oops!


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Guys, you are getting me all stoked here. Starting with this tonight! ^_^


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
I apologize for being a bit late for this one. I've started, and the aura of sophistication and subtle darkness/decay is reminding me a bit of the work of Tanith Lee, though her work is much more purple.


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
I'm also running late; my holiday weekend did not go in a fashion cooperative to reading. I'm so on this tonight, though.

I love the quote you pulled, Robyn.

I actually have somehow managed to get this far without reading anything by Tanith Lee, though I think I have a few of her works on my TBR stack.


message 9: by Traveller (last edited Nov 30, 2015 06:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Another book that the weirdly mixed brother and sister voice is reminding me of, is the cacophony of voices you get in If on a Winter's Night a Traveler.

If I'd known the book was going to have this almost Ghormenghasty/Mervyn Peake-ish feel about it, I would have read it long ago!

Oh, and something else I wanted to mention, was the Middle-Eastern feel that mention of the Kalif brings to it, a vibe I hadn't really picked up in City of Saints. Vandermeer cleverly subverts the Kalif -> Islamic ruler by making him ruler of a "(North-)Western" Empire, just so that we are quite sure the rules are different in this world of his.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
In the COSAM discussion, I had mentioned that Hoegbotton & Sons reminded me a bit of Google and Amazon, but the more rich and ancient feel in this volume is making me think also of the Medicis.


message 11: by Traveller (last edited Nov 30, 2015 04:05AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Also in the COSAM discussion, I mentioned that the razing of the city of Cinsorium by Manzikert I had reminded me of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire/The Conquest of Tenochtitlan

, and in this book, he mentions it again, and so far, I still have that feeling.
So far, I am loving the world-building that Vandermeer is engaged in.


message 12: by Traveller (last edited Nov 30, 2015 06:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Lots of very topical social commentary here, eh? Much as we may disapprove of Muslim flogging and beheading for 'blasphemy' and 'criticism', it would do us good to remember that the Catholic Church, even where politics, more than actual religious defiance was the problem, did the exact same thing, as for example with the barbaric torture and burning of Jean D'Arc.



(I'm referring to (view spoiler) )


message 13: by Amy (Other Amy) (last edited Nov 30, 2015 08:39AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
Traveller wrote: "Oh, and something else I wanted to mention, was the Middle-Eastern feel that mention of the Kalif brings to it, a vibe I hadn't really picked up in City of Saints. Vandermeer cleverly subverts the Kalif -> Islamic ruler by making him ruler of a "(North-)Western" Empire, just so that we are quite sure the rules are different in this world of his. "

The thing I noticed in COSAM was the repeated mentions of the Occident as being exotic, reinventing it as the Orient. Unfortunately, I think that touch is undermined now that you point out he has put the Kalif in the west as well. Ambergris is still an eastern city, maybe a Byzantium, but with the world rotated around it. Not as impressive an authorial feat as it would have been to leave the west as the West and react to it as the foreign. (Honestly, I would deeply prefer that he stop glossing culture and religion with obvious references to the real world. Not that I want my fiction free of such things; quite the contrary: I want an author to fully sublimate the world into the story language he is speaking so that he can speak clearly. This is the hardest part of fantasy to do, I think.)

Traveller wrote: "In the COSAM discussion, I had mentioned that Hoegbotton & Sons reminded me a bit of Google and Amazon, but the more rich and ancient feel in this volume is making me think also of the Medicis."

I hadn't thought of them; that's very true. When I read "The Hoegbotton Family History" in COSAM, I was very reminded of the pioneer traders in the American West, probably because I recently read American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest (verdict: awesome history of a Jewish merchant family in Santa Fe, horrific journalism regarding the spiritism industry; I still think maybe I should have bumped up the rating I gave it).

Traveller wrote: "Also in the COSAM discussion, I mentioned that the razing of the city of Cinsorium by Manzikert I had reminded me of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire/The Conquest of Tenochtitlan"

I really meant to have Letters from Mexico read by now for Cortes' account of his conquista. I will get to it as soon as possible. Thanks for pointing up the connection.

Traveller wrote: "Lots of very topical social commentary here, eh? Much as we may disapprove of Muslim flogging and beheading for 'blasphemy' and 'criticism', it would do us good to remember that the Catholic Church..."

Actually, I read the Truffidians to = Catholics, especially if the Kalif = Muslims. (Again, I really do not like the way JV is playing fast and loose with the details of the religions. It hurts the world building significantly, IMHO.)


message 14: by Amy (Other Amy) (last edited Nov 30, 2015 08:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
Things that jumped out at me:

- the BDD moment: Broke. My. Heart. (JV loves those themes around fathers and mothers and the brokenness of the parent/child relationship.

- loved the Dradin reference; Janice calls it a children's book! which is surely meant to be her misremembering.

Putting some other Dradin stuff in tags just in case anyone is attempting the crazy feat of reading this one first: (view spoiler)

-The whole scene where Duncan reveals the mushrooms is one of the most delightfully shocking things I've read recently. Beautiful, but ouch. And I love that they found the spores beautiful.

-Duncan is questioning whether the gray caps are responsible for the Silence.

-Speaking of the gray caps, I noticed that the Kalif calls them Sporn in the glossary (in COSAM). I much prefer this name and JV loves words to much not to notice the better sound of it, even though it goes to 'spurn.' Wondering why he tossed it to the Kalif.

There was more, which I should have written down last night. Fell in love with this all over again.

Current hypothesis: theme = communication. We'll see how that holds up. (Loved the quote re: historians from Duncan; unfortunately don't have it in front of me to post.)


message 15: by Traveller (last edited Nov 30, 2015 09:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Whoa, have you read the whole book yet, Amy? From where to where do you think we should make a next thread?

And yes, your caution re COSAM is not unfounded at all, since Robyn has not read COSAM yet. :)

I agree totally with your opinion re VDMeers' subversion of real-world elements. Just make your own, completely separate world, dude - even if you meant to criticize our own world, trust your readers that they'll pick it up anyway!

China Mieville also takes aspects of our world and subverts them in rather annoying ways in his "Bas-lag" world.

Btw, I totally recommend Perdido Street Station to you if you like VanderMeer.


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
Traveller wrote: "Whoa, have you read the whole book yet, Amy? From where to where do you think we should make a next thread?"

No, not at all. I made it through chapter 2 last night. Janice starts over again at the beginning of chapter 3, so I am not perfectly sure where to start the next thread.

Mieville is definitely on my bucket list. I saw you have his new book of short stories up in the Mieville group in January and I was kind of thinking about that. I expect I'll be doing a Mieville complete read after my VanderMeer complete read.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
A suggestion re Mieville - experienced Mieville readers are saying that the new short stories are not -that- good.
I would recommend starting either with Perdido (you can still post in that thread anytime) or with Embassytown, and maybe with The City and the City.

Please feel free to post on our 'old' discussions anytime - they are designed to never die. :)


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
Thanks for the tip on the stories. That means I don't have to fit it into January. Will definitely pop over there when I get to the others.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
I've noticed (I think?) that you enjoy world-building, and I'm sort of working from that assumption....


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Anyway, since you guys are a bit ahead of me, please feel free to make a suggestion as to where to break for the next thread on this one. Chapter 1 and 2 certainly become weirder as I progress...


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
I am irresistibly reminded of Calvino by the way she keeps starting over every chapter. The relationship between siblings is so true to life I don't even care that they keep referring to things that have happened without explanation; I just love these two.

Still no idea where to break for the next thread. Chapter 3 was intense. Chapter 4 is a blizzard of information and some philosophy. Looks like chapter 5 is starting with a childhood memory. The book is two parts, ten chapters, then seven with an afterword. Maybe go through chapter 5 and have a new thread for 6 to 10?

I love well built worlds. I love wandering into a place completely fantastical and yet so true to its own self that I really can fill in the blank spaces in my mind. JV is hitting that here with everything but his glosses in place of really knowing the religion of his characters, so that's why it's so glaring to me. (I think of Jemisin in contrast, which might be unfair given the central role religion plays in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but still. Lots of ways to flesh out the belief systems.)


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
How about we make this one to the end of chapter 4, being the convening thread - I don't like making those too long - then I'll start one from chapter 5 and ask that we don't post spoilers too far in advance for the later chapters at the beginning of the thread already? I like to post impressions as I go along... :P


message 23: by Traveller (last edited Dec 01, 2015 03:05AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "Things that jumped out at me:

- the BDD moment: Broke. My. Heart. (JV loves those themes around fathers and mothers and the brokenness of the parent/child relationship.

- loved the Dradin referen..."


Yes, I also noticed the 'parent' thing.

Re the mushrooms - certainly one of the more unusual scenes I have read in my life, and I have read pretty unusual things .... XD. I loved (and was frightened by) that they were so alive - lightly strobing, with a tangy smell- usually mushrooms have a rather musty-ish smell to me, but worst of all was the spores they released - ack!

..and yes, Truff and Truffidian definitely also made me think of truffles in COSAM already...

Oh, and I wanted to mention that it was around this part in the text that I noticed Mary being addressed directly in the text for the first time - certainly she had been mentioned before, but now she is being directly addressed - it's almost like a conversation that's going on there, and you're right, it's very 'real' - it's almost like reading people's Twitter messages to one another. :P (Just much longer. ;) :D )


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Sheesh! Has there ever been a more scathing rejection in literary history (in all senses of the term) than that of Mr Gaudy?

Later on, when Duncan comes out of the underground for the second time, I find it a bit tedious.

...and what's with being a raven? <_<


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
I wanted to choke Mr. Gaudy. (view spoiler)

I found the descriptions of the underground riveting, and the machine deliciously repulsive. (view spoiler) Also, Duncan's explanation of the Silence creeped me right out.

Being a raven? I seem to have missed something there.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "Being a raven? I seem to have missed something there..."
Well, more or less from:
(view spoiler)

to

(view spoiler)

It was actually more a rhetorical question from my side, as in: "Hey, way out, dude! " :D


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
Oh, yes, gotcha.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Re the machine: that is something truly Miévillian; (view spoiler)


message 29: by Traveller (last edited Dec 05, 2015 11:51AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Wow... the entire book is worth reading if only for these passages:

(view spoiler)


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
I love that passage too.


message 31: by mercurialmadness (new)

mercurialmadness (m3rcurialmadness) | 7 comments I apologize I have barely contributed everyone! I will catch up soon! The last couple of weeks has been preparing for finals! So wish me luck, can't wait to get back to reading :)


message 32: by mercurialmadness (new)

mercurialmadness (m3rcurialmadness) | 7 comments I apologize I have barely contributed everyone! I will catch up soon! The last couple of weeks has been preparing for finals! So wish me luck, can't wait to get back to reading :)


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Good luck with your finals, Robyn!

Hmm, I must admit I thought we might have lost you since this book is relatively hard going because the style is strongly narrative with relatively little action and dialogue, which is why I was more looking forward to Finch, I think.

...but if you still have courage for it for later, I'm glad!

Crossing fingers for you.... ;)


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
No need to apologize, Robyn. Real life continues to demand more of my time as well. Hoping to get through this book this week now, instead of this weekend. Best of luck on your finals!


Whitney | 37 comments Hello. I’ve been luring around this group for a couple months. Love Vandermeer, so thought this would be a good place to jump in. I read COSAM last year, and so far enjoying how Shriek is building on that and delving further into some of the mysteries that were touched on there. I tend to wait until the entire book is finished to participate much in discussions, but some really thoughtful stuff happening here already. Also wanted to let you know there was someone else along for the ride. My spoiler comments all refer to COSAM, and although I think they are very minor spoilers I’m playing it safe. I’m also a slow reader, so will probably be continually lagging behind.

Robyn wrote: " I also agree that the back and forth between siblings feels natural, or how one sibling would depict the other, and so forth...."

I also thought the responses from Duncan were very believable. Especially how he frequently replies to the more petty details that speak to that brother-sister annoyance factor. I also like how Vendermeer is continuing use different formats to tell the story, as started in COSAM (view spoiler)

Traveller wrote: "In the COSAM discussion, I had mentioned that Hoegbotton & Sons reminded me a bit of Google and Amazon, but the more rich and ancient feel in this volume is making me think also of the Medicis."

H&S makes me think of the British East India Company, half traders, half pirates, and largely a law unto themselves.

Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "... Honestly, I would deeply prefer that he stop glossing culture and religion with obvious references to the real world..."

I see those obvious references as clues rather than a distraction. Ambergris isn’t a world separate from ours. Even the name “Ambergris” speaks to that. Someone creating a fantasy world whole cloth wouldn’t have used the actual term; which incidentally I always thought was perfect for the city - something exotic and coveted but which is also basically whale vomit.

(view spoiler)


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
Hello, Whitney! Nice to have you along. I'm on my phone at the moment, so I'll respond more in depth later. I love some of the details you called out there. (Also, feel free to jump into the COSAM threads too if you want; I am not finished over there either.)


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
OK, now at a real computer:

Whitney wrote: " Especially how he frequently replies to the more petty details that speak to that brother-sister annoyance factor."

I love that; I have been trying to put my finger on what makes Janice and Duncan so like my brother and I. Thanks for getting it into words.

Whitney wrote: "H&S makes me think of the British East India Company, half traders, half pirates, and largely a law unto themselves."

Another really strong example. JV's continued dipping into merchants as a source of law and conflict makes me want to find a few good histories on these subjects. The Medicis and the East India Company are great examples. The United Fruit Company would be another one.

Whitney wrote: "I see those obvious references as clues rather than a distraction. Ambergris isn’t a world separate from ours."

I totally agree that Ambergris isn't separate (view spoiler). The trouble he runs into is that when you borrow that directly from the real world, you get the whole enchilada, and religion is one of those complex beasts that carries so, so much baggage. By glossing the Truffidians as the Catholics and the Kalif as Muslims, and not really giving enough detail for the reader to subvert his references into something else, he ends up with kind-of-sort-of Catholics and kind-of-sort-of Muslims in the story, and he didn't nail those traditions down well enough to do that without irritating those of us more familiar with some of the elements he's borrowing.

I don't think religion really interests him a great deal in the 'tradition' sense (it clearly interests him intensely in other ways), but by just tossing stereotypes into the story, he weakens the whole structure. For what its worth, his other borrowings from the real world (cars, trains, the merchant clans mentioned above) don't bother me in the least. They ring true. Religion was just too big an item to steal from the real world without breaking the world he's building, I think.

Whitney wrote: "Even the name “Ambergris” speaks to that. Someone creating a fantasy world whole cloth wouldn’t have used the actual term; which incidentally I always thought was perfect for the city - something exotic and coveted but which is also basically whale vomit."

Love this observation. I think JV has had a lot of fun with the gross side of the sea in this series. (Well, the gross side of a lot of things, actually.)


message 38: by Whitney (last edited Dec 27, 2015 02:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Whitney | 37 comments Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "I don't think religion really interests him a great deal in the 'tradition' sense (it clearly interests him intensely in other ways), but by just tossing stereotypes into the story, he weakens the whole structure. ..."

I'm not sure I completely follow your point. Is it an issue of having such small details of the religions, when they are something that holds such a larger meaning for so many? What are the specific stereotypes that are pulling you out of the story?

If I had to speculate, I would say that Vandermeer had no interest in interrogating religion to any great extent, but would have been remiss to neglect its influence on society and culture. Like so many other aspects of his world, he (view spoiler) pulls some of the window dressing from the real world, but not in a way that necessarily supports or subverts the original.

On a related note, I would be very surprised if the city of Morrow, and the Morrow Religious Institute, weren't references to James Morrow, whose books do unflinchingly interrogate religion from a secular point of view. Maybe it's being used as a shortcut so Vandermeer can avoid treading ground that's already been so well trodden?


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "I would say that Vandermeer had no interest in interrogating religion to any great extent, but would have been remiss to neglect its influence on society and culture. Like so many other aspects of his world, he (view spoiler) pulls some of the window dressing from the real world, but not in a way that necessarily supports or subverts the original. "

That is my point, with the added issue that he pulls the window dressing, makes it an invented religion (Truffidianism) but then doesn't give the reader enough to separate it from the real deal. I found it vacuous.

Whitney wrote: "Is it an issue of having such small details of the religions, when they are something that holds such a larger meaning for so many? "

No, not at all. All authors are welcome to have a go at whatever they wish, however they wish. I just found that the hand-waving at real world religions (vs. actually fleshing out what people believe) did not succeed in anchoring the world or those discussions that he actually does want to have. (There are many examples of authors pulling religion into their stories, often in very biting ways, that work very well. I mentioned Jemisin above, but Pratchett would be another.)

Whitney wrote: "What are the specific stereotypes that are pulling you out of the story? "

Dradin in COSAM and Bonmot in Shriek are both essentially Catholic priests.


Whitney | 37 comments Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "Dradin in COSAM and Bonmot in Shriek are both essentially Catholic priests..."

Yes, but why do you say 'stereotype'?


Whitney | 37 comments And I think maybe now I see what you're saying. That a reference to something as big a Catholicism or Islam makes is TOO obvious a reference to the real world to be able to keep your head in Ambergris?


Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
You got it exactly :)


message 43: by Traveller (last edited Dec 29, 2015 12:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "H&S makes me think of the British East India Company, half traders, half pirates, and largely a law unto themselves...."

Hello Whitney, welcome! Good observation!

Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "I don't think religion really interests him a great deal in the 'tradition' sense (it clearly interests him intensely in other ways), but by just tossing stereotypes into the story, he weakens the whole structure..."

... hmm, I'm not too sure he wanted to make Truffidians Catholics or the Kalif Muslims. Can you quote specific proof from the text the he is trying to do that?
To me it seemed more like he's working with archetypes than specifics. Also, Cardomon (sp?) seemed like a Buddhist monk to me more than anything else.

I think Vandermeer was addressing, via the bit relating to book-and-thought censure, more the general inclination that people have to try and route people's thoughts and ideas into shapes and channels that remain within their comfort zone and does not challenge tradition, because tradition helps to keep people in their comfy little ruts.


message 44: by Traveller (last edited Dec 29, 2015 06:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Hmm, I'm thinking this discussion would have been more suited for one of the later threads, in case we drop spoilers for the later parts of the book here, but in any case:

Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "Whitney wrote: "I would say that Vandermeer had no interest in interrogating religion to any great extent, but would have been remiss to neglect its influence on society and culture. Like so many o..."

Whitney wrote: "Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "I don't think religion really interests him a great deal in the 'tradition' sense (it clearly interests him intensely in other ways), but by just tossing stereotypes into th..."

The only reference to Islam that we find is the word Kalif, and I admit that that maybe is a bit vague - but does it necessarily depict Islam? To me it lent a certain exotic feel to the entity of "The Kalif" rather in the way, I think that "Persia" seemed exotic to Westerners in days gone by, because, after all, the world of Ambergris does seem to be quite an exotic creation (to me, anyway).

..but as for religion - religion is the embodiment of the very human trait of believing in something beyond themselves, whether it be some form of idealism or belief in a prescriptive being out there; people have a need to believe in "isms" and in the idea that the way they are doing things is the "right" way. There is a great despair in nihilism, to the point I have found that even many atheists and agnostics feel a need to believe in some credo or set of beliefs. The god-figure might be superfluous, but 'religion' when seen as "a set of beliefs" is a pretty universal human thing.

So, to depict a society that has nothing like tradition or religion, seems to me, to depict a society that is very far removed from humanity, and perhaps that was not Vandermeer's goal. I suspect that you, Amy, wanted him to flesh out the religions more, but to do so, would lead to infodump a la Neal Stephenson, and would not have seem natural in the kind of first-person narration that we find in the novel.

After all, the novel is narrated by Ambergrisians to Ambergrisans, so the natural assumption is that the reader would be already familiar with the religions, and therefore embroidering upon them would come across as unnatural. Also, as you both already mentioned, the novel is not about religion per se, and yet it (I find rather accurately) comments on the 'closed-mindedness' of large sections of the human race.

Actually, all of this isn't so much evident in the first 4 chapters of the book yet - please refer to a quote I made in a later thread dealing with the first section of part 2: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...
(Note: spoilers for part 2 chapters 1-4 in that thread)


message 45: by Amy (Other Amy) (last edited Dec 29, 2015 07:48AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (Other Amy) | 691 comments Mod
Traveller wrote: "... hmm, I'm not too sure he wanted to make Truffidians Catholics or the Kalif Muslims. "

I actually don't think he wanted to do that, either, but that is the window-dressing he pulled and that is what I ended up with in my reading. There is so little detail given for the religions in Ambergris that you have to go with what you get. (Dradin in black with a white collar, the Kalif and his men with swords, monotheism (for the Truffidians at least), the seminary and the missions.) Interesting that you got Buddhism for Cadimon; I actually managed to experience him as a Truffidian; the only place in the book (the book being COSAM) where there was enough information.

Traveller wrote: "I suspect that you, Amy, wanted him to flesh out the religions more, but to do so, would lead to infodump a la Neal Stephenson, and would not have seem natural in the kind of first-person narration that we find in the novel."

Most definitely. I disagree that he would have had to infodump to do this; just a few references or observations of the actual content of their beliefs would have been easy to work in, especially with Bonmot.

That is a later chapter though, and I will try to get back to this in a later thread when I have the book in front of me.


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
I suppose I can't disagree too much with that, and yeah, I think it would be a good idea to take the discussion to a later thread, where were can freely work with more info. :)


message 47: by Traveller (last edited Dec 29, 2015 10:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Amy (Other Amy) wrote: " Interesting that you got Buddhism for Cadimon; I actually managed to experience him as a Truffidian; the only place in the book where there was enough information. ..."

Well, not to want to spoilerize COSAM too much, but the Living Saint just doesn't seem to be the kind of thing you'd find in Catholicism.... :P ..and Buddhism is all about detachment, so...

But to get back to what I said about Truffidianism not seeming to me to be any of "our" religions, the living saint seemed enough of an anomaly to have made it strange for me.


message 48: by Whitney (last edited Dec 29, 2015 05:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Whitney | 37 comments Traveller wrote: "But to get back to what I said about Truffidianism not seeming to me to be any of "our" religions, the living saint seemed enough of an anomaly to have made it strange for me. .."

More stuff from COSAM below, so (view spoiler)


Traveller (moontravlr) | 2455 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "Traveller, I'm definitely more in your camp when it comes to the religions of Ambergris ...."

I'm not using spoiler brackets because I think I'm generally avoiding bigger spoilers by being as vague as possible; anyway: one knows at the start of COSAM already that missionaries are involved, and I agree that the missionary aspect is what linked Truffidianism to Catholicism for me as well. And I admit I had not read all the footnotes, but if what you said further in your post is the case, then I agree with that as well.

Of course, Catholicism is by far not the only religion to shout heresy; but I agree that Vandermeer's use of language certainly suggests Catholicism, for example cathedral instead of mosque of temple. I think "temple" would have been a more neutral choice, if he'd wanted to be neutral.


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