Thursday, November 30, 2006

Against the Blog: 2-1

There are parts of this section that I don't totally get. I suspect that will continue into the future. But I will do my level best to summarize them. That's part of the value of writing this for me: it may bore YOU to distraction, but it helps me to keep a handle on what's going on in the novel.

Surprisingly, we start right where we left off, with the Chums heading north into the Arctic Circle. Apparently, this area of the world is now playing host to a "Ray-Rush," as people come from all over to make their fortunes (?) by finding rays--light rays, magnetic rays, and rays of many other descriptions. Well okay* then!

The Chums are accosted by their Russian counterparts, lead by their rival/sometime nemesis Igor Padzhitnoff. Igor warns the Chums, in ominous terms, that there is some sort of unnamed, unnameable emergency going on in these parts, and that they might want to steer clear. Then, the Russians fly off.

The √Čtienne-Louis Malus is sailing northwards also, in search of...well, the crew is unclear on this point. Possibly Iceland Spar. The ship's crew is compared to characters in a Norse saga, sailing off into the unknown, possibly into Ginnungagap itself...it's quite striking, if a bit long to quote. On the ship in addition to various scientists is Scarsdale Vibe's son, Fleetwood. Scarsdale is financing the voyage, and his son is here to keep track of expenses and whatnot.

I'm not one hundred percent sure where we are now, but I think it's meant to be a little islet near Iceland itself. We meet an old woman named Constance Penhallow, who...doesn't really do much. She poses for paintings sometimes. I'm not really sure what her purpose here is. Her grandson Hunter--who paints her--decides to join the √Čtienne's crew.

Next: a section involving complicated math which I don't understand. The scientists on board this ship, dubbed the Transnoctial Discussion Group, are meeting in a hotel, which I think is in Iceland. As best I can tell, they are discussion the possibilities of traveling in more than three dimensions--we've had land, then water, then sky, what about time? This is the subject of heated controversy. Also:

Iceland spar is what hides the Hidden People, makes it possible for them to move through the world that thinks of itself as 'real,' provides that all-important ninety-degree twist to their light, so they can exist alongside our own world but not be seen. (134)

This is clearly what was going on with Lew Basnight.

Then we go back to Hunter Penhallow, bidding farewell to his grandmother. And that is that.

*fucking firefox 2.0 does not think that "okay" is a word. They would, I suppose, prefer "OK." Maybe we should just abandon written language altogether and communicate solely by jumping up and down and hooting, eh mozilla?

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