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Sue Burke
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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > Semiosis—Sue Burke Q & A

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message 1: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 977 comments Author Sue Burke has joined our group and has agreed to answer questions in a running Q&A on our sicence fiction pick of the month for June, her Semiosis.

As a teaser, in a recent communication she had this to say:

“I just joined. Thanks for the invitation! I look forward to the discussion. One question has already sparked some discussion elsewhere: Each chapter has a different point of view character. What does it do to the storytelling? I know that it resulted in advantages and disadvantages. I had a reason for doing that and was willing to accept the consequences. It also turned out to be a difficult way to write a book.”

Sue thanks so much for participating.


message 2: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 977 comments Sue,

Nice to have you here.

Multiple narrators are one of my favorite literary devices. I love trying to figure out all the unreliable narrators and just how they are unreliable.

Some people say, "Art is not a puzzle." But I say "Psshaw" to that. I love art that is puzzles. But I can certainly see how creating the puzzle is a difficult way of writing the book.


message 3: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (last edited Jun 07, 2018 05:16PM) (new)

Kathi | 3379 comments Mod
Thank you for joining our group, Sue Burke.

Regarding the ever-changing POV characters—at first, especially with the amount of elapsed time from chapter to chapter, the changing POVs contributed to a sense that this was a collection of related short stories. That sense lessened as the timeline tightened up. And Stevland as a recurring POV character helped the continuity, too.

I imagine it must have been difficult as an author to see through different eyes and with a different perspective each chapter. I wonder what having Cedar as a POV would have shown us...

Did you know you were going to use that device for this book or did it evolve as the first few chapters were separated by time & generation?


message 4: by Nick (last edited Jun 24, 2018 07:45AM) (new)

Nick (doily) | 977 comments Sue,

We had a lot of positive comments in our "Finished Reading" thread.

Here's one from Steve:

"Best new alien life: fippocats!!!!"

Any comments on the comments?


message 5: by Sue (new)

Sue Burke (sueburke) | 9 comments I love the fippocats. I wish someone would make an action figurine of them. (I have the rights, in case anyone is ambitious.)

As for doing each chapter from a different point of view, yes, that was my plan all along, and I think it worked well enough, but as Kathi said, it made writing the book more difficult.

I did it simply because plants are slow. I tweaked them a bit compared to Earth plants, but they're low-energy beings. So I had to engineer a way to give them time to react, and to turn necessity into a virtue.


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