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Moonwise: HC 15-17, PB 7-10 - Input Junkie
October 24th, 2012
03:04 pm

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Moonwise: HC 15-17, PB 7-10
Ariane played croquet with Sylvie, Thos, and Cat: "...ah, but she would never know them, they were elsewhere, sliding from themselves to other selves, three and many and one mind, teasing her with an uncomprehended joy. "Look! A falling star!" they cried. And she, her own cloud, had run after, never quite seeing what they saw, but ecstatic with the rumor of transcendence." This strikes me as having echoes of the Christian Trinity, but I'm reasonably sure that no real world religion has a strong presence in the book. On the other hand, it also wouldn't surprise me if Annis and Malykorne get invoked now and then by neo-pagans.

"....Ariane thought, O but I never heard her when she sang; it was like those falling stars, gone before I could say, how beautiful, beautiful in going." I'm going to assume this is a literal description of how Ariane experiences the world. Her memories are vivid, but her current sensory experience (possibly just for hearing and kinesthesia) is apt to be vague. This probably has something to do with her clumsiness, but she sees her clumsiness as a background fact, a personal defect that there's no point in thinking about. Of course, I might be projecting here-- let's see how sensory experience is portrayed for Ariane and for the other characters.

"In remembering Sylvie's voice, she heard it rise, travelling as if through years, like starlight from a long-cold, hanging stone." This took me a bit to figure out, since I don't normally think of dead stars as hanging stones. My first thought was that it had something to do with the lintels at a stone circle like Stonehenge, but clearly not.

Ariane remembers Sylvie singing: "Now open these windows, open and let me in: The rain rains on my good clothing..." [elipsis in the text] The lyric is from Lass of Loch Royal, which was on Silly Sisters-- the album whose name is used for the section of the book.

"Ariane was silent, neither song nor shadow, but the glass in which they meet--O now the I is crystal". I assume the glass is a mirror rather than a drinking glass.

It's tempting for me to focus on Ariane's problems, but her nature also leads her to be able to do extraordinary things.

"What's this?" Ariane tweaked the wet bundle under Sylvie's arm. "Lord Gregory's kid?" From the "Lass of Loch Royal".

""I like the coat," said Sylvie. "Like a highwayman." "The woman they couldn't hang", said Ariane;" Presumably a reference to John Babbacombe Lee, the man they couldn't hang. After the trapdoor on the gallows failed three times, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Fairport Convention made a rock opera about him, and at least some of the songs are available at youtube.

..."then wheeling, "Stand and deliver!" She snatched the loaf. "Ha! 'Tis Fitzgranary. The Scarlet Pumpernickel."

I have no idea whether Fitzgranary is a reference to anything in particular or is exuberant nonsense. The Scarlet Pumpernickel is a reference to The Scarlet Pimpernel, and is a surprisingly memorable pun.

"The ash-witted antiquarian for whom Ariane had so long and so painstakingly collated folklore had died, in mid-fascicle, leaving no scheme or sense of her entanglements, that her presence had made scholarship as a spider makes its web. Not being formally ararchnid, Ariane was severed--snip--and so turned out, an unpapered alien." A fascicle is a bundle.

I'm not sure whether "made scholarship as a spider made its web" is sarcastic-- whether it was incoherent work which was declared scholarship, or whether the antiquarian inevitably made scholarship out of clutter.

In any case, the theme of abandonment echoes with "Lass of Loch Royale".

Also at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/994004.html

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From:thnidu
Date:October 24th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
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Moonwise arrived this morning. I'll join in the discussion tonight.
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 25th, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
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I'm looking forward to whatever you write.
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From:thnidu
Date:October 25th, 2012 05:25 am (UTC)
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Not tonight. I didn't get home till near midnight.
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From:subnumine
Date:October 24th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
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The comment that Ariane is "not formally arachnid" implies that she is informally arachnid. Ariane reminds me of Arachne; it's the French for Ariadne, but she is also a spinner and a mistress of webs.

A fascicle is a collection of sheets, issued paperbound, as part of an eventual book (for example, the OED was published fascicle by fascicle). The antiquarian's book is not being issued in order; the syntax implies that the antiquarian herself tied the fragments of it together, just a spider actively maintains its web.

The noble highwayman Fitzgranary is a pun: a loaf is quite literally "son of a granary". The dialogue may not be a quote from anything in particular - but all of it must be from the mouth of Errol Flynn somewhere.
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 24th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
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In context, I'd say that Ariane being not formally arachnid is a way of saying that she didn't have academic credentials, certainly with the possibility of implying that her scholarship was of academic quality.
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From:subnumine
Date:October 24th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I agree that the immediate context means that. But it also feels like a hint on why the chief characters have these two relatively rare names.

Edited at 2012-10-24 10:48 pm (UTC)
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 25th, 2012 04:57 am (UTC)
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We'll see what shows up. So far, there's been a lot of moon imagery for Ariane-- possibly as much as an image per page. I think there's maze/entanglement imagery coming up, but not so much in the way of spider imagery.

There's been wood/forest imagery for Sylvie (and why Sylvie rather than Sylvia?), but it's more about her house than about her.

Thanks for the details on fascicle and Fitzgranary.

Edited at 2012-10-25 05:07 am (UTC)
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From:subnumine
Date:October 25th, 2012 05:51 am (UTC)
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I'll keep an eye out for Bruno.
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 25th, 2012 07:44 am (UTC)
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Please do. I've got a copy of Sylvie and Bruno, but I don't know when I'll get around to it.
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From:alexx_kay
Date:October 24th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 24th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
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Thanks very much. It turns out that the original cartoon isn't available online, but the soundtrack illustrated with Disney(?) clips, is.

Edited at 2012-10-24 09:16 pm (UTC)
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From:pickledginger
Date:October 25th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
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*feels a sudden urge to do some baking - with rye flour and beets*
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From:metawyrd
Date:October 25th, 2012 12:48 am (UTC)

the croquet paragraph

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***Introduction***

Hello everybody, my name is Rob Thornton. I am a technical writer (software documentation) with about 20 years of writing experience and an MA in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon. Nancy found me at the last Balticon--we were talking about Moonwise and she didn't seem to believe I was a True Believer until I pulled out my copy of Cloud and Ashes. :)

Anyways, I don't really know as much about the Child ballads as I would like so I will focus on the writing itself.

***Moonwise PB 7-10***

While I have not read Moonwise in quite a while, this paragraph about the croquet game seems like an old friend to me. It may be my favorite paragraph in the entire book--it is a bravura bit of writing that knocks me down flat.

For example: "It was a fierce and freakish game; the air was flawed with wild giggles, pibrochs of ecstatic fury, threats and jeers and ranting taunting triumphs. Ariane was battle-drunk, amazed at her own rapacity. The others played elusively, erratically as moths; now belantered in the bushes; now undone by the backlash of a clacking, cleverstick riposte; now flying with uncanny grace through hoops that should have been unassailable as rainbows."

There is so much wonderful stuff in just these few sentences that I could go on for pages, but the first thing I notice in this snippet is that her use of semicolons seriously kicks ass. While I am not a fiction writer, I believe that the colon and the semicolon are the most difficult to use and master. Gilman has FOUR semi-colons in this snippet and three of them are in the same sentence (!), but she makes it all seem as easy as pie.

And in that masterful sentence with three semi-colons, she tosses incident after incident after incident at you in a rush, giving you the feeling of exhilaration that the players surely felt.

Vocabulary:

Flawed: According to the Free Dictionary, the secondary meaning is a "brief gust or blast of wind." also in this definition it says that the word can also mean a "blast of passion (obsolete)." Could Greer be punning in this selection? I'd believe it--that is pretty damn scary I think!

Pibroch: According to Wikipedia, it is "an art music genre associated primarily with the Scottish Highlands that is characterised by extended compositions with a melodic theme and elaborate formal variations." (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pibroch)

Belantered: according to Gilman, the word means "belated or beknighted" (SF Site interview with Swanwick, http://sfsite.com/02b/msgg170.htm). It was the only decent source on the first page, believe it or not. :)

That's it for tonight. I hope that is enough though. :)

Rob

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From:nancylebov
Date:October 25th, 2012 05:02 am (UTC)

Re: the croquet paragraph

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Thanks, and I'm glad you've got the time to comment now. If you have any slight impulse to cover the previous posts (only two of them) I hope you don't repress it.

The second sentence about the croquet game has subject drift from the players to the croquet balls. Is this a problem? The author getting away with something? A masterful move that improves the description?

Oh, and "hoops that should have been unassailable as rainbows" is a lovely bit that nearly snuck past me.
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From:thnidu
Date:October 29th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)

Re: the croquet paragraph

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OK, you baffled me there with a typo (it's "benighted", no "k", which would have implied a very different meaning) and sent me to the SF Site interview. OMGs! Talk about a-mazed, I was!
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