Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Diagramming Babel (Part 28)

Diagram 28.  We're almost done with these things.  How will I fill my Wednesdays then?

From top to bottom, left to right, in four segments:

a) "Put the ring back"
"Firestone -- 
capable of producing
heat.  One











Why is that drawer closed?
It contains he ring you tried 
to steal last time you were 

How do you know?

E. told me.  We have brunch together.

(Absorbed.  Grinned.  "Why Dame Serena.  I believe
begin to think that you like me."

Horse hooky.


The diagrams came first, of course.  The bits of dialog are scribbled down, inspired by them. You can tell how quickly they were done by the way I never got around to b).

The diagram with W (Will) at the center maps out the relationships between characters.  In this section Will is interacting with DS (Dame Serena), E (not Esme this time, but Eitri), and Fl. (whose name I'll withhold for reasons of plot).    The section was feeling a little unmotivated, so I drew this diagram in order to define the relationships between DS, E, and Fl.  

Dame Serena, I decided was too aristocratic to have any significant relationship with Fl.  But Fl. and Eitri would have to be seriously in cahoots.  And -- here's the big revelation for me -- Dame Serena and Eitri were friends.  Aha!  From this came the bit about brunch.  Which revelation helped to define the formidable Dame Serena.

As for why Will should have three separate plotlines and why his outward arc should also be secret and cryptic . . . we're rushing into the end-game of the novel here.  This is not the moment to reveal that Norman Bates's mother is himself in drag.

Et un bon mouche . . . 

In the April issue of F&SF, which arrived in my mailbox this morning, is a review by James Sallis of my What Can Be Saved from the Wreckage?:  James Branch Cabell in the Twenty-FIrst Century.   Most of the review is a graceful synopsis of the argument (particularly useful since so few people will see the book), peppered with a few bits of information from Sallis's own horde of lore (such as the fact that Heinlein described Stranger in a Strange Land as a Cabellesque satire).  It concludes:

Cabell is a problematic author, and to all appearances was a difficult man, but for those interested in learning more abut Cabell there can hardly be a better or more readable beginning than Swanwick's monograph.

All of which I mention not to promote the book (it hardly needs it), but to marvel at receiving so positive and intelligent a review for something that was published in an edition of 200.  Sometimes the world is full of pleasant surprises.


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