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  1. #16
    Anitaverse Refugee FicusFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Himself
    I do have a notion that they won their way clear, but in a peculiar sense, the POV character was Rivvy, and Rivvy doesn't know what happened to them.
    As I said I had not considered this, and had to think about it. I have, and I could only come up with one explanation.

    My experience of reading the book is that Rivvy starts out as a standard AI, and at some point in the book becomes a full 'being'. Rivvy becomes aware and develops emotions, and starts to think for 'herself'. But though Rivvy has a lot of data, information, and perhaps experience (as an AI), she is really a child as a being. She has also lost her objective ability to look at situations that she is now emotionally invovled in. She also has little experience with having emotions and juggling emotion and intellect.

    The narration of the book is much too sophisticated to come from the Rivvy we see in the book.

    Even if the 'wreck' drifted for millions of years Rivvy would still be a child because she would be in isolation and would have no chance to grow in terms of using and learning to control her emotions or developing a synthesis with her intellect. She would have no chance to gain in experience by using her emotions in context with others.

    The only option I can see for Rivvy to be the narrator is if the 'wreck' was evenutally found, and salvaged. She was still physically intact, and had not gone insane from being alone and drifitng. Once found she was revamped into another use, or joined with another AI, or allowed to develop as an adult being on her own. But in some manner she continued on as a full being and developed and grew into an adult.

    The book then is her memoir of the events, with her 'old' facts and events joined with her more recent emotional insight and growth which gives it the sophistication the reader experiences.

  2. #17
    Anitaverse Refugee FicusFan's Avatar
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    My local real world SF Book Group also read this book this month. It was my choice . Anyway there were a 3 who loved/really liked it, two who didn't (one didn't finish), and two in the middle - who thought it was close to evenly balanced between good points and bad.

    Interestingly those who didn't like it, said there were no sympathetic characters, nobody they cared about. Funny I did not have that reaction at all. I did have a hard time picking just one favorite character though and that made me re-evaluate my experience of the book.

    Erf, you were right on the money when you equated it to Peter Watt's Starfish. I realized (eventually) that just like in that book I was a fascinated fly-on-the-wall more interested in following the characters to see what happened to them, rather than having a character that I identified with. Other complaints were that the story was too dark, too much like a soap-opera with who was sleeping with whom, and hard to follow because it seemed to jump from viewpoint to viewpoint, sometimes within the same paragraph.

    There was one Hard SF fan (with a physics degree) who was impressed with the use of micro gravity, the means of acceleration, the difficulty of dealing with the momentum when turning, and other touches. He usually lambastes books with what he considers physics howlers. He also thought the use of the gravity wells in the tables was a neat idea (to keep the plates from floating away). But then he pointed out that while it would keep the plates anchored - the food would likely float off the top side of the plates

  3. #18

    Omniscient Narrator

    Quote Originally Posted by Archren
    As long as you're here, I did have one question. Why did you choose to go with the 3rd person omniscient narration? I'm really glad you did, it added so much in terms of mood, atmospherics, etc. However, the trend in SF today is so often for multiple 3rd person limited. In fact, I'm getting pretty sick of reading multiple 3rd person limited, so that made reading "Wreck" even more refreshing and entertaining.

    Was there a particular reason you chose that voice?
    The proximate cause was a Worldcon panel. Maureen McHugh made some comments regarding the lack of omniscient viewpoints in SF and said it was almost a marker that distinguished genre from mainstream.

    Besides, I was the narrator, and I'm omniscient. I know everything except Greek.

  4. #19

    Rivvy the Narrator

    Quote Originally Posted by FicusFan
    The narration of the book is much too sophisticated to come from the Rivvy we see in the book.
    Actually, I never intended for Rivvy to be the narrator, so it's just as well. The notion did occur to me about 2/3rds through, but I did not write it to be that way.

  5. #20

    Sympathies

    Quote Originally Posted by FicusFan
    Interestingly those who didn't like it, said there were no sympathetic characters, nobody they cared about.
    What! They must have hearts of stone, not to weep over poor Miko or 24 DeCant, or to find no care over the poor befuddled Gorgas, or the heartbreak of Satterwaithe's dead baby. They probably meant that there were no characters that they could pretend to be. (Unlikely, as all 16 types were represented...)

    Quote Originally Posted by FicusFan
    Other complaints were that the story was too dark, too much like a soap-opera with who was sleeping with whom, and hard to follow because it seemed to jump from viewpoint to viewpoint, sometimes within the same paragraph.
    a) Dark. Duh? It's called tragedy. SF is almost unbearably upbeat, though, so they may have been unaccustomed to the lack of last minute rescues and so forth.

    b) Who was sleeping with whom. Sex is also not popular in SF. But let us put 16 people (minus two dead) into a tin can for several months at a time. Especially with i) half of them teenagers and ii) cultural mores more like the Middle Ages.

    c) ...jump from viewpoint to viewpoint... This is a complaint of SF readers who sample mainstream. I recall being confused for a time reading Gore Vidal's LINCOLN for that reason. Other folks get put off by use of present tense narration.

    Quote Originally Posted by FicusFan
    the food would likely float off the top side of the plates
    Aha! But... the utensils were referred to from time to time as "stay-plates" and "stay cups" so there was undoubtedly some high tech gizmo to prevent that. The nature of the gizmo [he says, waving his hands]? So commonplace that none of the characters remarked on it. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  6. #21
    Anitaverse Refugee FicusFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Himself
    What! They must have hearts of stone, not to weep over poor Miko or 24 DeCant, or to find no care over the poor befuddled Gorgas, or the heartbreak of Satterwaithe's dead baby. They probably meant that there were no characters that they could pretend to be. (Unlikely, as all 16 types were represented...)
    Well as I remember they complained that the characters weren't done well (this is not me, but what about 3 people said), so they didn't care about them, they didn't feel anything when they read about their suffering, and at least one felt that all the characters had exactly the same problem and so were clones. He is also the person who thought it was too dark, though he admitted up front that he didn't like tragedies. He thought their problem was their inability to communicate to each other, and so there were 14 dysfunctional people with the exact same problem

    I agree they probably couldn't find a character they wanted to be, and so they didn't have as much interest in it. I also think the tone of the book was probably too intellectual for them, they are used to more visceral 'action-adventure' stories. That was another complaint that nothing happened.

    The group is split between those who are real readers, and those who just read genre, and only certain types of genre. I am a continung trial to those people . When reading your book though I got one of the guys who can best be described as being frozen in reading only what he loved in the 7th grade - to read and enjoy your book. He loved it and I hope it opened up a new world for him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Himself

    a) Dark. Duh? It's called tragedy. SF is almost unbearably upbeat, though, so they may have been unaccustomed to the lack of last minute rescues and so forth.
    Yeah but he admitted up front that it was his issue. But others agreed it was depressing. They are used to a lighter tone - even if there aren't last minute rescues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Himself
    b) Who was sleeping with whom. Sex is also not popular in SF. But let us put 16 people (minus two dead) into a tin can for several months at a time. Especially with i) half of them teenagers and ii) cultural mores more like the Middle Ages.
    I am always annoyed by this, because it is a continual complaint whenever a book has any real human interaction. They never complain about the violence or the whiz-bang stuff, but if there is a real relationship meaning love and sex, they object. I am not fond of romance books myself, but that is more the plastic pink tone of most of them, rather than any objection to sex or relationships.

    Quote Originally Posted by Himself
    c) ...jump from viewpoint to viewpoint... This is a complaint of SF readers who sample mainstream. I recall being confused for a time reading Gore Vidal's LINCOLN for that reason. Other folks get put off by use of present tense narration.
    I think it is just a problem for people who aren't readers. I am not sure that those who complained read anything more than the group read every month. I thought you did a good, even remarkable job of keeping all the voices separate and I loved being in their head.

    Quote Originally Posted by Himself
    Aha! But... the utensils were referred to from time to time as "stay-plates" and "stay cups" so there was undoubtedly some high tech gizmo to prevent that. The nature of the gizmo [he says, waving his hands]? So commonplace that none of the characters remarked on it. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
    Of course

  7. #22
    He thought their problem was their inability to communicate to each other,
    Ah, then he did "get it."

    + + +

    This may be a problem in the future, even more than it is today. (Anyone who has worked in business knows that there are different sorts of folks and learns (or not) that those who think or process info differently are not necessarily stupid.) But on the Internet, one may search out and associate with only like-minded folks. Some newsgroups will even go so far as to ostracize or expel heterodox opinions. (Not all who disagree are disagreeable, after all.) Soon, they will hear only the echoes of their own thoughts, and mistake that for dialogue. Hence the line in WRECK, opinions repeated often enough take on many of the attributes of fact.

  8. #23
    Prefers to be anomalous intensityxx's Avatar
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    I'm reading and loving Wreck of the River of Stars right now, and am wondering if anyone has found the solutions to Mr. Flynn's challenge to identify which MBTI types each of the characters portrays. While I am familiar with the types, I'm not an expert. I see obvious features of various types, but haven't come close to determining all four traits of each character. My own type is the rarest, and so am especially interested in knowing which character embodies my type. I'd really like to see myself as others see me, through the eyes of the characters in this book. Preferably not after I've finished it. Thanks in advance to anyone who has tackled this puzzle.

    By the way, this is my first book by the author and before I got to page 50 I ran out and bought most of his previous novels.

  9. #24

    Thank You

    for your kind comments. No, no one has yet risen to the challenge. The one that I was counting on, a PhD psychologist who was in some ways the model for Mariesa in the FIRESTAR series, confessed yesterday that she had not yet read it, although she has it on her shelf.

    I very much doubt I hit the 16 types on the nose, but they are fuzzy sets and no one is all of a type.

    If you went out and bought most of my other novels, I will not be the one to chide you for it. Be advised that parts of FIRESTAR have entered the realm of alternate history. When it was written, the year 2000 was yet futureward. The four are best read in order: Firestar, Rogue Star, Lodestar, and Falling Stars. There are three passing references to a stand-alone: IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND. Keep an eye peeled for Red, Gloria, and Norris.

  10. #25
    Prefers to be anomalous intensityxx's Avatar
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    I appreciate your response, Mr. Flynn. I'm assuming then that you can't be persuaded to give away the answers to the challenge? Or even one? (mumble...INFJ...mumble..) If you ever do decide to make the answers public, please let us know where to find them.

    I look forward to quiet times following the holidays so I can immerse myself in the remainder of Wreck of the River of Stars. I particularly appreciate how well you are able to show us each person's perceptions of people and events as they occur. I enjoy reading an author who writes with empathy and compassion.

  11. #26

    Infj

    Hmm. INFJ? The Counselor. One of the Idealist types.

    Persevering and willing to do what needs doing. Always puts in best effort. Quietly forceful and conscientious, concerned for others. Respected for her firm principles and desire to serve the common good.

    NFs are friendly to the core in dreaming up how to give meaning and wholeness to people's lives. Conflict in those around them is painful for NFs, something they must deal with in a very personal way, and so they care deeply about keeping morale high in their membership groups, and about nurturing the positive self-image of their loved ones. Indeed, while they might differ from each other on how important judging (J) is in acting on their friendly feelings, and while their social address can be reserved (I), all NFs consider it vitally important to have everyone in their circle -- their family, friends, and colleagues -- feeling good about themselves and getting along with each other.

    Myers, an INFP herself, saw her fellow NFs as "humane" and "sympathetic" -- as "enthusiastic" and "religious" -- as "creative" and "intuitive" -- and as "insightful" and "subjective."

    Under stress, INFJ's can make judgments with little information; become too intuitive; and follow a vision with little probability of being realized.


  12. #27
    Prefers to be anomalous intensityxx's Avatar
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    Welcome back Mr. Flynn. I'm actually still reading Wreck, having restarted it following the holidays. Your description of INFJ is more flattering than the sources I came across. It's interesting to read what your sources told you about INFJ's and it'll help me guess which character is this type. I have my suspicions narrowed down to a couple of the women at this point.

    I read somewhere that spec fiction readers are mostly N's, which seemed right to me. I started a thread here in the Playroom to test the idea, having members take a good sample test online and report their results (I'm pretty sure it was N's, maybe NF's - the thread was recently archived so I can't go back and check). It proved true in every case. I found the whole thing fascinating.

    I'm glad you posted, it makes me want to get going with your books.

  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by intensityxx
    I'm glad you posted, it makes me want to get going with your books.
    Maybe it'll make me want to get going with my book. The new one goes to slow.

  14. #29
    Anitaverse Refugee FicusFan's Avatar
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    Is that the Black Forest Aliens ? Black Plague Aliens? I remember black, German, and Aliens. And something makes me think of the 1300s.

  15. #30

    Eifelheim

    Quote Originally Posted by FicusFan
    Is that the Black Forest Aliens ? Black Plague Aliens? I remember black, German, and Aliens. And something makes me think of the 1300s.
    That's the one. The problem with writing science fiction set in the 1340's is that you can't just make stuff up. So the research on this b*****d has been tougher than on the future-settings of other stories. I have already played fast and loose with two events on purpose. a) The flagellant procession did not reach Strassburg until several months after the close of the story; and b) the Freiburg guilds did not storm Falcon Rock until a couple decades later. I have also learned that I may have let Will Ockham leave Munich too early, which may require me to shift a banquet scene or to create a work-around. I must Ponder.

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