Beyond Reality discussion

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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > 2010-09 JULIAN COMSTOCK: the narrator *spoilers likely*

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message 1: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
What did you think of the novel's narrator, Adam? How does having him narrate the story affect the tone and impact of the novel?

(I'm sorry this question sounds a bit "book report-ish", but I thought it was one of the most interesting aspects of Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America.)


message 2: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 338 comments I thought the use of Adam as a narrator was brilliant. First, there's the way he consciously imitates the 19th century narrative style. Then, there's the way that he reports events without ever seeing their implications. He's very observant, but naive. He's also trying to write with some objective distance about things that he can't possibly be objective about. He's the ultimate unreliable narrator.

I think Robert Charles Wilson did a brilliant job of writing as Adam. He practically turned writing into an acting job.


message 3: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I'm just starting it - am on page 32 of the ebook - and am so far finding the narrative voice delightful. I think it's gonna be a winner.


message 4: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
For me, the narrator was what made this novel. Adam is naive in some ways and very insightful in others. He has a delicate way of not quite mentioning things he finds difficult to deal with - you can tell he knows, but he sort of talks around them.


message 5: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments Will I have been pretty negative with Adam's naivete I did like the authors choice of of viewing the world through Adam's eyes.


message 6: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I like Adam just fine. I am finding it hard to believe that a mere 163 years would be enough to transform the world as much as it is in this novel.


message 7: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments Read on Sandra, there is a history lesson, I did have a big issue with the Slave part but it is plausable


message 8: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 338 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I like Adam just fine. I am finding it hard to believe that a mere 163 years would be enough to transform the world as much as it is in this novel."

I don't find it unbelievable at all. Look how much the world and people's attitudes have changed since 1857.


message 9: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Sandi wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I like Adam just fine. I am finding it hard to believe that a mere 163 years would be enough to transform the world as much as it is in this novel."

I don't find it unbeli..."


I was referring to all that is apparently lost, such as hygiene, for one thing. It's just hard to imagine that such knowledge is gone -- adequate medical care, sanitation, and what not. But hopefully there will be more explanation forthcoming. And clearly the narrator comes from a very backwoods place and hasn't been exposed to much, so perhaps that explains it. I know things have changed a lot since 1857, but for all that knowledge to be totally lost, something extraordinary must've happened. Surely oil and whatnot didn't just disappear without any warning. And even now, we're looking for alternatives. That's what I've been thinking about.


message 10: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 338 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Sandi wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I like Adam just fine. I am finding it hard to believe that a mere 163 years would be enough to transform the world as much as it is in this novel."

There was a plague too, so the population was severely depleted. I don't think the problem is so much the knowledge being lost as the knowledge being suppressed.


message 11: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Sandi said: There was a plague too, so the population was severely depleted. I don't think the problem is so much the knowledge being lost as the knowledge being suppressed.

I suppose that's possible, though to what purpose I can't imagine other than some weird religious thing.


message 12: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I think I've figured out what's going on that's bothering me. The society puts all the resources into making war and thus there's little left over for social niceties like typewriters/computers -- that BTW don't consume much energy -- medicine and sanitation. And I think it's the ignorance or naivete of Adam Hazzard that makes it all sound unbelievable...or stretch credulity. The religious leaders certainly twist values to serve the purpose of making war.


message 13: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments Thats what happens with Tyrants, The Comstocks used war to keep peoples minds away from their own circumstances. Imagine being born into slavery because you great great grandparents made a deal to work for food 150 years ago. The minute there is no war the whole thing will fall apart.

As for electricity a whole new infrastructure will need to be created, and its easier to have the plebs live in fear than live with light


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