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March 16, 2008

Literary Divination, A Parlour Game
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 11:12 AM *

It’s raining here in Amsterdam, the popcorn is popped and the fire is burning, and it’s time for a game. I suggest we play Literary Divination, loosely based on a New York Times article back in December, describing each Presidential candidate of the time in terms of two science fiction books (Thanks for the reference, Paul A).

My challenge to you, dear friends: deal out a Tarot reading, using books (or films, or any other work) as cards. You can use the Celtic Cross, or any other format, doing a full layout or part of one. Your querent may be real or imaginary, your books from any genre or style. You can examine any aspect of your querent. There are no rules, except one.

Don’t be boring.

Here are two examples to get you started.

the young Luke Skywalker

  1. This covers him, defining the problem space: The Once and Future King, by TH White (an examination of the role of the knight in a changing world)
  2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: The Odyssey, by Homer (a journey from destruction, through peril, to rejoin his family)
  3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: The Aeneid, by Virgil (the journey ends with the establishment of a new order from the ruins of the old, the melding of a new family with the survivors of his past)
  4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens (the struggles of an orphan to find his identity)
  5. This is behind him, where he has been: Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (a rural, isolated upbringing)
  6. This is before him, where he is going: Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles (the troubled encounters with his father, and a misplaced love)
  7. The Significator, defining the Querent: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by JK Rowling (a man of power at the beginning of his training)
  8. His environment: Stagecoach, starring John Wayne (the wild and lawless frontier)
  9. His fears: Paradise Lost, by John Milton (the fall from grace, the temptations of evil)
  10. Culmination, how it all comes out: Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (a long journey, with accompanying rogues and adventures, leading nowhere much except to adulthood)

Hillary Clinton, as seen from the perspective of her gender

  1. This covers her: The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K Le Guin (issues of gender in fraught political times)
  2. This crosses her: How it Works
  3. This crowns her: The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley (the despised woman who saves the country)
  4. This is beneath her: The Incredibles (the role of mother and hero politician at once)
  5. This is behind her: Ender’s Shadow, by Orson Scott Card (supporting another, primary character)
  6. This is before her: Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne (a most improbable race)
  7. The Significator: The Last Unicorn, by Peter S Beagle (a completely different animal)
  8. Her Environment: Dune, by Frank Herbert (politics, the crowning of a new emperor, conflicting economic interests)
  9. Her Hopes: Shards of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold (the power of a woman as an alternative to masculine politics)
  10. Culmination: ?

Comments on Literary Divination, A Parlour Game:
#1 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 12:54 PM:

This is awesome.

#2 ::: Jon Rosebaugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 02:53 PM:

This is devilishly hard to get right, due to the sheer number of
possible combinations. But here's Gaius Baltar in the new BSG, circa
the miniseries, with mostly SF/F, since that's what on my bookshelf:



  1. This covers him, defining the problem space: Three Hearts and Three Lions,
    by Poul Anderson (an ordinary man called to be a knight, in a world
    with allies and enemies he doesn't understand, and a woman he's unsure
    if he can love)


  2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: Son of a Witch, by Gregory Maguire (a journey of self-discovery, learning what his powers are and what he can and, more importantly, can't do)


  3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Wintersmith, by Terry Pratchett (his past foolishness is transcended and he saves his people from the trouble he brought upon them)


  4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Macbeth (urged into rash action by the woman in his life)


  5. This is behind him, where he has been: The Princes of the Air, by John M. Ford (bootstrapping himself up to a high level of credibility and respect, but it may be just a house of cards)


  6. This is before him, where he is going: The Lies of Locke Lamora,
    by Scott Lynch (deception, collaboration and a whole lot of luck will
    help him survive, at the cost of nearly everything he's accomplished)


  7. The Significator, defining the Querent: A Wizard of Earthsea,
    by Ursula K Le Guin (a young man proud of his talents, about to be
    forcefully humbled and sent on a long journey of redemption)


  8. His environment: Amadeus (a famous favorite son in the eyes of the world)


  9. His fears: Tau Zero, by Poul Anderson (due to his initial
    errors, he'll never be able to stop piling falsehood upon falsehood,
    because if he stops just for a moment, he'll be torn to shreds by
    people sensing a weakness)


  10. Culmination, how it all comes out: (well, we don't know that yet, do we, but here's my guess, based on season 3) Space Cadet,
    by Robert Heinlein (He gets no special commendation and is cut down to
    size, but he's strangely happy with the results, because when it came
    down to it, he did his duty)


#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 05:55 PM:

Jon @2:

I'd have said it's devilishly hard to get wrong, since there are so many possible readings per book, and per Querent.

I really like your reading of Baltar. I had not thought of casting him in the light of either Macbeth or Ged, but both work.

#4 ::: Jack Kincaid ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 08:02 PM:

1. Covers him: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

2. Crosses him: Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

3. Crowns him: Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

4. Beneath him: To Build a Fire, by Jack London

5. Behind him: Holes, by Louis Sachar

6. Before him: The Secret Sharer, by Joseph Conrad

7. The Significator: Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger

8. His environment: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey

9. His fears: The Dark Half, by Stephen King

10. Culmination (presumably, metaphorically): The Stranger, by Albert Camus

Querent: an irrelevant man

#5 ::: Jon Rosebaugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 08:44 PM:

Thanks, Abi. I was really worried some of it was boring, which is an
easy way to get it wrong. Plus, my bookshelf is a bit limited. Anyhow,
the rest of you really need to step up here. I want to see some more.

Number Ten Ox, from Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart.

  1. This covers him: The King of Elfland’s Daughter, by Lord Dunsany (the unpredictability that supernatural forces inevitably bring to ordinary places and people)
  2. This crosses him: The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien (An ordinary person thrust into an extraordinary adventure despite his utterly prosaic goals)
  3. This crowns him: The Books of Magic, by Neil Gaiman (Irrevocably changed by his experiences, he enters into a wider world, filled with more mystery and responsibility)
  4. This is beneath him: A Wind in the Door, by Madeline L’Engle (A strange sickness that can only be cured by an even stranger quest)
  5. This is behind him: Superman for All Seasons, by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (The strong silent guy from a quiet, unremarkable farming village)
  6. This is before him: Sun of Suns, by Karl Schroeder (His simple quest will be transformed by the secrets of the world in which he lives)
  7. The Significator: Lady of Mazes, by Karl Schroeder (The circumstances of his childhood having uniquely prepared him for the road ahead, he’ll go to any lengths to save his people)
  8. His environment: My Neighbor Totoro, by Hayao Miyazaki (A seemingly ordinary Japan China with supernatural events behind every corner)
  9. His hopes: Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett (He rights a great wrong, gets the girl, and learns where he belongs in the world)
  10. Culmination: Neuromancer, by William Gibson (Few will ever understand, let alone know his part in it, but he has helped to bring about a profound change in the state of the world)
#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 09:17 PM:

Drat! Jon Rosebaugh and I were struck by the same idea, and he got there first.

I love Number Ten Ox.

#7 ::: Jon Rosebaugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 09:20 PM:

Well, far be it from me to deprive our host of some fun. Go ahead
and do a reading; I'm sure it'll be interestingly different from mine.

#8 ::: Jon Rosebaugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 09:54 PM:

Also, I'd considered doing one for Glinda from the Wicked musical,
but I don't own nearly enough books with excessive use of pink.

#9 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 09:57 PM:

I don't know enough about tarot to participate, but I look forward to the posts.

And may I say, about the original article, that the author managed to prove, in a mere handful of words, that he had neither read Starship Troopers nor seen it, a feat that is quite impressive.

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 10:16 PM:

The book of Jonah:

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part Two: Perestroika, by Tony Kushner. A man is called to be a prophet, but doesn't want to do it.

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: Pacific Overtures, by Stephen Sondheim. A world-changing message must be delivered to an audience that doesn't want to hear it.

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Looking Backward,
by Edward Bellamy. A society that had been in imminent danger of
destruction recognized its problems and bad habits in time to reform
itself and live happily ever after.

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Creatures of Light and Darkness,
by Roger Zelazny. If the gods want to find you, they will. If they want
you to do something you don't want to do, "no" is an insufficient
answer.

5. This is behind him, where he has been: Harvey, by Mary Chase. A man's life is made more complex by communications received from an invisible being.

6. This is before him, where he is going: The Call of Cthulhu, by H. P. Lovecraft. An ocean voyage, culminating in terrifying encounter with oversized seafood.

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: Bartleby the Scrivener, by Herman Melville. He'd prefer not.

8. His environment: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte. There are only three places you can go, and none of them constitute an escape from your constraints.

9. His fears: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He strongly suspects that when he gets there, the inhabitants will kill him.

10. Culmination, how it all comes out: Being There, by Jerzy
Kosinski. His success takes him entirely by surprise. Afterward, he
retires to a secluded spot to contemplate the growth of plants.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2008, 10:37 PM:

Really good game.

#12 ::: Yatima ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 12:16 AM:

Liberace!

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: The Human Stain, by Philip Roth. That's a hell of a secret he's trying to keep.

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: Remake, by Connie Willis. Gotta dance!

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser. The personification of glory.

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Edward II, by Christopher Marlowe. Some secrets equate to a red hot poker up the fundament.

5. This is behind him, where he has been: Wayne's World.
Pete: Hey, isn't "Milwaukee" an Indian name? / Alice Cooper: Yes, Pete,
it is. In fact , it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que" which is Algonquin
for "the good land." / Wayne Campbell: I was not aware of that.

6. This is before him, where he is going: The Waste Land, by T S Eliot. Unreal city.

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: Orlando, by Virginia Woolf. The eternal flaneur.

8. His environment: Mad Men, by Matthew Weiner. Fifties America is changing, but it cannot change quickly enough.

9. His fears: The Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks. A story of the plague.

10. Culmination, how it all comes out: The Loved One, by Evelyn Waugh. Kitsch is the great leveller.

#13 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 02:04 AM:

Severian, the Torturer

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: The Second Law of Thermodynamics

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: The myth of the Phoenix

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: “All You Zombies,” by Robert Heinlein

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Collapse, by Jared Diamond

5. This is behind him, where he has been: “Lenore,” by Edgar Allen Poe

6. This is before him, where he is going: Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: Jesus Christ Superstar

8. His environment: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon

9. His fears: “The Id of Od,” by Alfred Bester

10. Culmination, how it all comes out: Genesis

#14 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 02:22 AM:

I’ll do Luke Skywalker too.

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: The Wizard Of Oz. Eldritch forces contend for control of the world.

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: The Wizard Of Oz. The querent is plucked from his home and voluntold to play a pivotal role in beating back the advances of evil.

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: The Wizard Of Oz. The survivors get to go home.

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: The Wizard Of Oz. An orphan reaches moral maturity by learning to assess the virtues and vices of those around him, and then himself.

5. This is behind him, where he has been: The Wizard Of Oz. An isolated rural upbringing with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry.

6. This is before him, where he is going: The Wizard Of Oz.
He seeks the aid of a reputed good power (the rebel alliance), which
can’t actually do much for him except encourage him to rely on the
virtue that is already within him.

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: The Wizard Of Oz. If you can’t see Luke = Dorothy, you need to retune your gaydar.

8. His environment: The Wizard Of Oz. On the road with the
Scarecrow (Chewbacca), the Cowardly Lion (Han Solo), the Tin Man (the
chilly Princess Leia), and Toto (R2D2 and C3PO). Somehow, Toto, I’ve a
feeling that traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops in
Kansas.

9. His fears: The Wizard Of Oz. This film was very early in Judy Garland’s career and she never made a more popular one. Will it be the same for Mark Hamill?

10. Culmination, how it all comes out: The Wizard Of Oz. A
good witch holds secrets about his destiny, which could have been
revealed much earlier but then the movie would have only been twenty
minutes long.

#15 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 07:42 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 14: It works better with Harry Potter.

#16 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 08:07 AM:

Heresiarch, I see what you mean, but I'm only in book 4 of Harry
Potter now and couldn't do it as well. Who do you see as the Scarecrow?

Incidentally, that's why Jaja Binks is essential to Episode One—he's the Scarecrow.

#17 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 08:59 AM:

Actually, I meant Star Wars::Harry Potter. But I'd go with Ron.

#18 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 11:41 AM:

Zounds! I'd really like to come up with some way to do a random
reading in this system. It seems that some truly revealing revelations
could come from taking a full inventory of someone's books, and then
laying them out.

#19 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 11:56 AM:

Getting my tv-series fangirl geek on for a bit, here's a literary tarot reading for Supernatural's John Winchester:

This covers him, defining the problem space: Moby-Dick.
Obsession, vengeance, and the quest for meaning. "Though in many of its
aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres
were formed in fright."

This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: The Count of Monte Cristo. Life and love destroyed; a new life devoted to the destruction of all that destroyed the old.

This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Persuasion. After victory in war, homecoming and a reunion with the lost beloved.

This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: King Lear. When you get right down to it, it's always all about family.

This is behind him, where he has been: Our Town. The extraordinary blessing of an ordinary life and love.

This is before him, where he is going: The Grapes of Wrath. Driven from home by forces too large to control; finding trouble, and a cause to fight for, on the American road.

The Significator, defining the Querent: Beowulf. "Saving people. Hunting things." Hard-headed, hard-handed, and hard to get along with; nevertheless, a hero.

His environment: Wonders of the Invisible World. The very landscape is full of signs and portents, and the devil walks abroad.

His fears: The Waste Land. Broken images, a world without
meaning, old traditions corrupted and old rituals gone hollow. "I will
show you fear in a handful of dust."

Culmination, how it all comes out: The Vision of Piers Plowman (B-text, passus xviii). The Harrowing of Hell.

#20 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 11:59 AM:

8. His environment: The Wizard Of Oz. On the road with the
Scarecrow (Chewbacca), the Cowardly Lion (Han Solo), the Tin Man (the
chilly Princess Leia), and Toto (R2D2 and C3PO). Somehow, Toto, I’ve a
feeling that traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops in
Kansas.

I seem to recall that Spaceballs made a riff on this at
some point (I forget exactly the context), only it was Barf the Mog/the
Chewbacca stand-in who was the Lion and Lone Star/the Han Solo stand-in
who was the Scarecrow. And of course the C3PO send-up was the Tin Man,
and the Leia send-up was Dorothy.

I need to watch Spaceballs again. All I really remember clearly is the "assholes" scene, starting with "I said across
her nose, not up it!" and ending with "Keep Firing, Assholes!" And
that's because I'd never seen my Dad laugh so hard in my life.

#21 ::: mdlake ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 12:14 PM:

The self-help Tarot for our Prez, who has neither accomplished
anything for himself, nor shown much talent for introspection, and
would prefer literature-lite. I clipped some subtitles for length.

This covers him, defining the problem space: The Logic of Failure

This crosses him: You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way

This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Enforcing International Law

This is beneath him, the foundation...which the querent has made his own: Laws of the Jungle

This is behind him: More Scams from the Great Beyond!: How to Make
Even More Money Off the Creationism, Evolution, Environmentalism,
Fringe Politics, Weird Science, the Occult, and Other Strange Beliefs

This is before him: What Color is Your Parachute?

The significator: The 12 Steps to Self-Parenting for Adult Children

His house: Self Help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life

His hopes and fears: Burying the Secret

Culmination: The Last Self-help Book You'll Ever Need: Repress Your
Anger, Think Negatively, Be a Good Blamer, And Throttle Your Inner Child

#22 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 12:20 PM:

You know, this would almost be more fun if we didn't identify the
subject of the reading, and dropped clues in the explanations for the
books.

#23 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 01:13 PM:

Leah Miller @ 18:

You're right - it should be a Library Thing widget.

Thanks for this, Abi, it's fun. I'm going to play, I promise. I'm still thinking.

#24 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Leah Miller @ 18:

Related to Sarah @ 23 (who posted while I typed this), apparently LibraryThing
has a "Random books from X's library" feature on members' pages. Take
the top book from the list for the first card, reload the page and take
the top book for the next card, etc.

It looks like it generally selects seven books, so one could do a reading using a seven-card spread without reloading the page.

Nifty game, abi.

#25 ::: Marc Moskowitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 01:44 PM:

Heh. iTunes decided to play the filksong "Dumb Dumb Dorothy" while I was reading this.

#26 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 01:49 PM:

Ooh, what a great game!

I wanna do everybody's favorite Captain, Mal "Tightpants" Reynolds of the Firefly-class transport Serenity.

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: Star Wars. Restless
young man from a poor rural planet finally finds a cause he believes
in: overturning the tyrannical Empire and reestablishing a democratic
Republic.

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: Brave New
World, by Aldous Huxley. Society's elites spend all their time in
sybaratic excess, ignoring everyone outside their sphere, and are not
capable of rebelling because the very idea has been trained out of them.

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Democracy
in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville. An inspirational account of a
democratic republic at its best, with its independent and self-reliant
citizens working within a largely libertarian framework.

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: All The
President's Men. It isn't the government's shocking deeds that'll bring
them down--it's the attempt to keep said shocking things secret.

5. This is behind him, where he has been: Apocalypse Now. War shatters you, and it's up to you to put yourself back together.

6. This is before him, where he is going: Mad Max. He must pick his way
across a dead world that is populated only by pockets of utter savagery.

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: The first Pirates of the
Carribean movie. (I haven't seen the others.) Dashing captain fancies
himself a bold, lawless rogue, but ultimately he is an honorable man.

8. His environment: the Horatio Hornblower novels, especially the early ones. They can't all
be sparkling-new first-rate ships-of-the-line. Somewhere in the fleet
there has to be a smallish ship that's seen better days but is still
seaworthy, still being a home for her crew.

9. His fears: Star Trek TNG episode "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1",
in which the Captain betrays his ship and his crew by joining the enemy.

10. Culmination, how it all comes out: Pleasantville. It isn't fast,
and it isn't easy, but, little by little, the people realize that a
world without sin can only be a colorless world; bit by bit, they begin
to question what they're told--and break free.

#27 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 02:51 PM:

I'm having trouble figuring out how best to play along, despite the
explanation of the layout, but with any luck the glimmers will coalesce
into something non-boring.

In the meantime, am thoroughly enjoying the readings so far--kudos to Abi for starting things off!

#28 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 03:05 PM:

Very good things here. I'm glad I finally got my finger out and posted this.

To the reluctant and the intimidated, I would point out that the
Celtic Cross is not the only Tarot layout there is. A very simple one,
for instance, uses three cards for past, present and future. A slightly
more complex one adds in the Querent's hopes and fears.

Or you could do a partial layout, just those cards that strike you
most strongly. Maybe a few people could come up with a collaborative
layout.

For the record, I know virtually nothing about Tarot divination, which is why I linked to that explanation in the initial paragraph. It's where I got my explanations.

#29 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 03:11 PM:

TNH @22:

You know, this would almost be more fun if we didn't identify the
subject of the reading, and dropped clues in the explanations for the
books.

That could be fun. I think we'd get some interesting "wrong"
guesses. I didn't want to do it from the start, because it was hard
enough to explain with the examples I chose.

I don't think we should require any specific approach, though.

#30 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 06:29 PM:

Heresiarch @17: I realized that's what you meant as soon as I logged off the computer and went to bed.

Nicole @20: That's the obvious match-up going by looks instead of
character. But I dare you to call Chewbacca a cowardly lion to his face.

Nicole @26: I'm now watching Firefly for the first time, and
your reading strikes me as very much on target. I'm glad your
culmination wasn't specific enough to give away a spoiler.

#31 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 06:51 PM:

That's the obvious match-up going by looks instead of character. But I dare you to call Chewbacca a cowardly lion to his face.

Oh, I wouldn't! On the other hand, the designation rather suited Barf.

#32 ::: Hilary Heretzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 07:37 PM:

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: Little Men Heroine of previous stories has grown older and gathered a group of teenagers around her to teach and train.

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: Auntie Mame Unusual, eccentric woman with a fascinating past ends up raising a young boy through no fault of her own.

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Ender's Game The young boy develops his amazing intelligence and reflexes and saves the world from invading aliens.

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Who Fears the Devil? Dangerous forces abound, often in human form with strange unearthly powers.

5. This is behind him, where he has been: The Sword in the Stone Trained by a man with a strange relationship with time via unusual adventures.

6. This is before him, where he is going: Mary Poppins Training students in arcane knowledge via unusual adventures.

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: Tom Swift and the Visitors from Planet X Skilled in technology beyond the current level available on Earth and friendly with some non-human species.

8. His environment: The Children of Green Knowe Older woman, strange house, surrounded by children.

9. His fears: Farthing The darkness is insidious and everything she loves may be lost to it.

10. Culmination, how it all comes out: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Saving the world from the forces of evil with minimal casualties.

Um, I'm on vacation and probably won't be on the net much tomorrow
(though I'll be on for a little while longer tonight), but I'm happy to
let people guess. Probably someone will get it right away anyway, given
this crowd.

#33 ::: Hilary Heretzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 07:39 PM:

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: Little Men Heroine of previous stories has grown older and gathered a group of teenagers around her to teach and train.

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: Auntie Mame Unusual, eccentric woman with a fascinating past ends up raising a young boy through no fault of her own.

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Ender's Game The young boy develops his amazing intelligence and reflexes and saves the world from invading aliens.

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Who Fears the Devil? Dangerous forces abound, often in human form with strange unearthly powers.

5. This is behind him, where he has been: The Sword in the Stone Trained by a man with a strange relationship with time via unusual adventures.

6. This is before him, where he is going: Mary Poppins Training students in arcane knowledge via unusual adventures.

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: Tom Swift and the Visitors from Planet X Skilled in technology beyond the current level available on Earth and friendly with some non-human species.

8. His environment: The Children of Green Knowe Older woman, strange house, surrounded by children.

9. His fears: Farthing The darkness is insidious and everything she loves may be lost to it.

10. Culmination, how it all comes out: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Saving the world from the forces of evil with minimal casualties.

Um, I'm on vacation and probably won't be on the net much tomorrow
(though I'll be on for a little while longer tonight), but I'm happy to
let people guess. Probably someone will get it right away anyway, given
this crowd.

#34 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 07:50 PM:

Ack. I seem to have spit up a double post and I can't figure out how
to delete one. I also didn't notice that my name was spelled wrong.

Sorry about that, my internet connection went flaky.

#35 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 07:51 PM:

"There's Kaylee, the Skipper too,

The pilot, and his wife,

The courtesan,

and the rest...

Are here on Serenity's ship."

#36 ::: Nicole the Wonder Nerd ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 08:37 PM:

Hilary@33: Gur Fnenu Wnar Nqiragherf

I loves it, yes I do. I loves it, and am eversoglad that it's coming back! :)

#37 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 09:16 PM:

#33: I'm with Nicole; it's Gur Fnenu Wnar Nqiragherf.

#38 ::: Hilary Heretzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 09:22 PM:

Nicole @36 - Yes, that would be it. See I knew someone would get it
immediately. Though you named the show rather than the character.

I'm actually going to get to see some of the sites where it and it's sister shows were filmed on Thursday. :)

I posted a link to this thread on my livejournal, and it seems to be
starting to mutate into a meme (one person has posted it as such (with
a link back here), and I imagine others will follow.

You have been warned. ;)

#39 ::: Nicole the Wonder Nerd ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2008, 10:08 PM:

Hilary@38Though you named the show rather than the character.

Yeah, I realized that after I hit "post"; thought about posting an addendum, then went "nah". :)



Have great fun in Pneqvss! *is envious*

#40 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 01:50 AM:

TNH @ 22: "You know, this would almost be more fun if we didn't
identify the subject of the reading, and dropped clues in the
explanations for the books."

Agreed! Try this one:

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: “A Theory of Human
Motivation,” by Abraham Maslow (a step-by-step progression from beast
to man)

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: On the Genealogy of Morals, by Friedrich Nietzsche (whither morality?)

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Conan the Barbarian, 1982 (the exploited, captive hero achieves vengeance by destroying the society of his oppressors)

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Moby Dick, by Herman Melville (vengeance above all)

5. This is behind him, where he has been: Being Poor, by John Scalzi (“Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.”)

6. This is before him, where he is going: The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999 (the doors of high society opened to a clever imitator)

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: (There’s only one choice here, which would unfortunately give the whole thing away.)

8. His environment: Neuromancer, by William Gibson (the corporate dystopia)

9. His fears: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson (the internal battle between the lighter and the darker halves)

10. Culmination: The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx (the workers must seize the means of destruction)

#41 ::: Yatima ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 02:32 AM:

heresiarch @#40: I think I'm wrong, but a fun wrong.

Ebl Onggl, sebz Oynqrehaare

#42 ::: Yatima ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 02:33 AM:

Which would make the Signifier V, Ebobg.

#43 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 02:36 AM:

heresiarch @40:

Thyyl Sblyr. (V thrffrq sebz #1! Naq gur erfg jrer pbasvezngvbaf. Zhfg or guvf lrne'f synfu bs oevyyvnapr.)

#44 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 02:57 AM:

There are no rules, except one. Don’t be boring.

I am no where near well read enough to play this game in anything other than a boring way.

#45 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 05:43 AM:

Heresiarch@40: My first guess was Rqzbaq Qnagrf, gur Pbhag bs Zbagr
Pevfgb...but given hedgehog's (I think correct) guess, I suspect that I
hit on your Significator.

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 05:52 AM:

There are no rules, except one. Don’t be boring.

"No! Not the bore worm!"

#47 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 06:01 AM:

OK, here's one:

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: the Book of Kings,
specifically the story of David (a young soldier rises through the
ranks during a great war)
2. This crosses him, showing the nature
of his challenge: Hamlet (a young man wrestling with external enemies
and his own psychological weaknesses)

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Henry V (victory, peace, happiness, marriage)

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: The Secret
History (a man from humble origins who never feels quite comfortable as
he rises in status) (that works for either the Donna Tartt or Procopius
versions)

5. This is behind him, where he has been: Sense and Sensibility
(shabby-genteel, with more principles than money and more learning than
power)

6. This is before him, where he is going: Eastern Approaches (diplomacy, war and adventure)

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: La Geste de Roland
(ultimately, he's prepared to sacrifice whatever it takes to do his
duty)

8. His environment: The Name of the Rose (a strange, isolated community, governed by its own laws and customs)

9. His fears: Richard III (a man twisted by self-hatred becomes a villain indeed and ends by ruining all around him)

10. Culmination, how it all comes out: The Odyssey (travels over, wounds healed, content at home)

#48 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 06:07 AM:

ajay@47: Bits of that put me strongly in mind of Zvyrf Ibexbfvtna,
but other bits (specifically "Beneath him" and "Behind him") don't seem
right for that guess.

#49 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 06:26 AM:

Nicole @39. Looking forward to it. I was wanting to come here long
before the show started, and I just decided that this year I was going
to do it. I'm still a little surprised that all the pieces fell into
place, though.

#50 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 07:49 AM:

Yatima @ 41: Ooh, no. But your signifier you came up with is good enough that I think you ought to do a full spread for him.

hedgehog @ 43: Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Pretty cool that
you got it in one--I thought that there were a couple cards/books could
give it away on their own, especially Orvat Cbbe, ol Wbua Fpnymv, and
Gur Gnyragrq Ze. Evcyrl, but I didn't think #1 would do it!

David Goldfarb @ 45: "My first guess was Edmond Dantes, the Count
of Monte Cristo...but given hedgehog's (I think correct) guess, I
suspect that I hit on your Significator."

I'm pretty sure that the author has said that Fgnef Zl Qrfgvangvba is an adaptation of gur Pbhag bs Zbagr Pevfgb, so you weren't far off. (I'm sure you can see why I couldn't put in the Significator!)

@ 48: "ajay@47: Bits of that put me strongly in mind of Zvyrf
Ibexbfvtna, but other bits (specifically "Beneath him" and "Behind
him") don't seem right for that guess."

On the other hand, they work nigh on perfectly for Neny Ibexbfvtna. Maybe not? It's been too long since I've read them.

#51 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:46 AM:

Neny Ibexbfvtna was my immediate guess for #47, too. I don't think
it fits Zvyrf, if for no other reason than the 'during a great war'.

#52 ::: Betsy-the-muffin ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:52 AM:

@50-- the "behind him" works, but I don't think the "beneath him"
quite works for Neny; uvf srnef/funzr nobhg uvf naprfgel nera'g rknpgyl
nobhg ubj uhzoyr vg jnf(a'g).

My own guess for #47 would be Ubengvb Ubeaoybjre. However, I've only read two of them so I freely admit this might be stupid.

#53 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 09:30 AM:

52 nails it. I was tempted to use some of the Ibexbfvtna books, but
didn't in order to leave open the possibility that the answer was one
of them...

#54 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 10:02 AM:

ajay:

I could have sworn your description would also work for Gur Byq Zna (Wbua Ebysr) sebz Fgveyvat'f Pbadhvfgnqbe.

#55 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 11:00 AM:

54: I would probably recognise that as a deeply insightful statement
if I had actually read Pbadhvfgnqbe. But I haven't. I'm sure it's
deeply insightful none the less; just wasted on me.

#56 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 03:16 PM:

ajay, that's got to be n cbyvgvpvna, because of the "strange,
isolated community, governed by its own laws and customs" bit. Onenpx
Bonzn, except for the married part of the best possible outcome? Not
sure about the culmination, either.

Do I ever wish I had time to do one of these myself! Maybe I will as
a reward tomorrow, after I finish and give this careers talk....(I'd
feel better about talking to high schoolers about my career if my
experiments were working.)

#57 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 03:18 PM:

Way to miss #53, Caroline.... *smacks forehead*

#58 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 04:17 PM:

heresiarch @40:

Your fortune, meant for someone else, sparked this one in me. (One clue - one I did not re-use - brought it on.)

  1. This covers him, defining the problem space: Where Do We Go From Here?*
  2. This crosses him, showing the nature of the challenge: A Theory of Human Motivation, by Abraham Maslow (the hierarchy of needs, or what to want next when your strongest desire is met)
  3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999 (the doors of high society opened to a clever imitator)
  4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: Moby Dick, by Herman Melville (eternal vengeance is destructive)
  5. This is behind him, where he has been: Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes (a long and futile quest, possibly a mad one)
  6. This is before him, where he is going: Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (piracy, a journey over the sea, the temptations of wealth)
  7. The Significator, defining the Querent: Xenocide, by Orson Scott Card (the boy warrior grown up)
  8. His environment: Return of the Jedi (the villain destroyed, and much celebration; true love for others, but what for him?)
  9. His fears: Pirates of the Carribean (the endless quest, lasting beyond desire itself, consuming life and rest and peace)
  10. Culmination: The Prince and the Pauper, by Mark Twain (changed identities, the sudden influx of good fortune, new opportunities)



------

* peripherally, it appears that several people have done that entire Buffy episode in the Sims and posted it to YouTube. Bloody Nora.

#59 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 05:30 PM:

abi, Ohwbyq'f Oebguref va Nezf and Zveebe Qnapr? If it's not what you had in mind, it works beautifully with them.

#60 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 05:35 PM:

Clifton Royston @59:

That's actually a better fit than what I constructed it for. How funny.

#61 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 05:39 PM:

This one's probably immediately obvious, but I had fun with it anyway:

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: “The Archetypes and
The Collective Unconscious”, by Carl Jung (identifying too strongly
with an archetype can lead to difficulties)

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: "A
Midsummer Night's Dream", by Shakespeare ("The course of true love
never did run smooth.")

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: "The Once and Future King", by T.H. White (a cycle fullfilled)

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: "Othello", by
Shakespeare again (misled hatred/revenge, honor as one's undoing)

5. This is behind him, where he has been: "The Divine Comedy", by Dante Alighieri (a tour of Hell)

6. This is before him, where he is going: "Learning to Fly", by Tom
Petty and the Heartbreakers ("Well some say life will beat you down/
Break your heart, steal your crown/ So I've started out for God knows
where/ I guess I'll know when I get there")

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: (Only translate if you
want the answer given away immediately) "Guebhtu gur Ybbxvat Tynff", ol
Yrjvf Pneebyy ("Ur jnf cneg bs zl qernz, bs pbhefr--ohg gura V jnf cneg
bs uvf qernz, gbb.")

8. His environment: France, in the reign of Louis XIV ("L'etat, c'est moi")

9. His fears: "Nightfall", by Isaac Asimov (inability to accept change)

10. Culmination: "Rebel Without a Cause", 1955 (but only for the quote: "You can wake up now, the universe has ended.")

#62 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 05:49 PM:

Leigh Butler @61:

Oddly enough, I happen to be rereading that right now. I thought my guess was due to that till I decrypted that clue.

Nice one.

#63 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 05:59 PM:

abi @62:

Thanks!

#64 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 06:42 PM:

Leigh, very nice.

#65 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 07:34 PM:

I feel very stupid.

(In other words, I have no clue what Leigh's just was, even with reading the dead giveaway bit.)

#66 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 07:49 PM:

Leigh @ 61: I expect I'm wrong, and I've only read the first book, but I keep thinking of Zlguntb Jbbq.

#67 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:20 PM:

#47:

Sebqb?

#68 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:20 PM:

#47:

Sebqb?

#69 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:38 PM:

#61: Lovely. It is Zbecurhf, isn't it? (I admit I had to read the 'dead giveaway' clue to get there.)

#70 ::: Andy H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:47 PM:

Abi #58: I propose that you are Vavtb Zbagbln.

#71 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:47 PM:

#69: I think you're right. If you're not, you ought to be.

I'm partway through writing one, but it's hard, and I think I'll leave it until tomorrow.

#72 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:53 PM:

61

Not

Rzcrebe Wbarf, tho that was my first guess.

Maybe

Gbgny Erpnyy?

#73 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 08:59 PM:

Heresiarch @40: I know you've already given the answer, but I saw
Fgrrecvxr sebz gur Tbezratunfg abiryf in that one, although I couldn't
come up with an obvious significator.

#74 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 10:49 PM:

Rymenhild, that's certainly what I took it to be, also from looking at the hint. I like Eleanor's answer too.

#75 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 11:02 PM:

For one of these I'm trying to work up, I need a book about Mormon
pioneers in Utah. Fiction or non-fiction, as long as family life
including polygamy is mentioned. Any suggestions?

#76 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 11:38 PM:

abi @ 58: I have only one guess: Vavtb Zbagbln, ng gur raq bs gur Cevaprff Oevqr.

Leigh Butler @ 61: Truly, I roll epic fail. But! My guesses are good
enough that I think I'll save them, in case I want to do one myself.
Still, the curiosity, it burns me--please tell!

#77 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2008, 11:45 PM:

Rymenhild @ 69: Oh, duh. That really was an epic fail--I wrote my senior thesis (in high school) on that!

#78 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 01:25 AM:

#69 Rymenhild:

You are correct, sir/madam!

I'm glad y'all liked it. Now I have to go look up the other guesses! (Except Gbgny Erpnyy, I know that one!)

#79 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 03:01 AM:

Allan Beatty@75: Maybe Saints, by Orson Scott Card?

Here's one from me:

The Significator: Magister Ludi, Hermann Hesse. (A man of broad and deep learning, exalted but also isolated.)

This covers him: Gray Lensman, E.E. Smith. (Ongoing struggle between civilization and chaos. Power of mind can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.)

This crosses him: The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper. (Someone bereft of all ties must find a place in the world.)

This crowns him: The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain. (Travelling joyfully with friends.)

This is beneath him: Revelation 20:7-10. (Vast and terrible war, the end of everything.)

This is behind him: Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain. (Someone who chafes at convention and restriction escapes to begin a journey.)

This is before him: The Odyssey. (A clever man, doomed to lose his companions, pits his wits against monsters.)

His environment: A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge. (A vast galaxy full of wonder, terror, high technology, and sometimes-incomprehensible powers.)

His fears: All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren. (Power misused, personal corruption, isolation.)

The outcome: Superman. (A never-ending battle for truth and justice.)

#80 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 04:25 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 79: Ybeq Inyragvar?

#81 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 08:11 AM:

Okay, this one might be tricky. I have no idea how widely read this book is. Hint: not sf.

1. This covers him, defining the problem space: On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, by Thomas Carlyle, reversed.* (the influence of insignificant men on history)

2. This crosses him, showing the nature of his challenge: The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas, reversed. (His task is to defend the revolution from the establishment, for the most selfish of motives)

3. This crowns him, representing the best possible outcome: Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles (The father--opponent and rival--bested.)

4. This is beneath him, the foundation of the matter: The Iliad, Books 16-24, by Homer (The death of a friend must be avenged at any cost.)

5. This is behind him, where he has been: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens (An orphan is given the finest education and upbringing, courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.)

6. This is before him, where he is going: The Odyssey, by Homer (A wanderer must don many guises and practice many skills before his journeys are finished.)

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: (A total give-away. If you
have read the book, and you read this clue, you WILL know it.) Pbzzrqvn
qryyr negr (Zreryl bar va n pnfg bs nepurglcrf.)

8. His environment: The Stone Canal, by Ken MacLeod (A society in the midst of political and economic upheaval)

9. His fears: On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfurt (hypocrisy of the rankest sort)

10. Culmination: The Princess Bride (Leaving your enemies alive and fleeing the country never looked so good.)

*In Tarot, not only the card but the orientation matters—generally upside down cards find their meaning inverted.

#82 ::: Suzanne F. ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 01:17 PM:

1. This covers her, defining the problem space: A Midsummer's Night Dream (lovers manipulated by capricious supernatural beings)

2. This crosses her, showing the nature of her challenge: "La Belle
Dame Sans Merci," by Keats ("La belle dame sans merci thee hath in
thrall!")

3. This crowns her, representing the best possible outcome: Babel-17, by Delany (besting internal and external enemies through language)

4. This is beneath her, the foundation of the matter: The Aegypt books, by John Crowley (what if the world is not the way we think it is?)

5. This is behind her, where she has been: The Worm Ouroboros, by Eddison (the pleasure of language and story)

6. This is before her, where she is going: Orpheus (a poet goes to hell to save a lover)

7. The Significator, defining the Querent: I can't say, it's a dead giveaway.

8. Her environment: Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers (love, regrets, and literature in college)

9. Her fears: Hamlet ("there is a divinity that shapes our ends...")

10. Culmination: The Lady's Not for Burning by Fry (two people save each other from death, and life)

Little, Big would also work for 4.

#83 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Suzanne, that seems like an easy one: Cnzryn Qrna'f Gnz Yva.

#84 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 02:19 PM:

#82: Fpnenzbhpur (aka Naqer-Ybhvf Zbernh)?

#85 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 03:25 PM:

#82 has got to be Gnz Yva by Cnzryn Qrna.

#87 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 03:42 PM:

Susanne at 82:

Guhefqnl Arkg, by the books by Wnfcre Ssbeqr?

#88 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 03:44 PM:

That was supposed to be "from the books by"...

Me type pretty one day.

#89 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 04:03 PM:

Andy and heresiarch have it.

I may have put too many cvengr references in...

#90 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 04:20 PM:

Drat -- I misnumbered. My guess -- Fpnenzbhpur (aka Naqer-Ybhvf Zbernh) -- was actually for #81.

#91 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 07:14 PM:

abi, great! Once I knew that my first guess was not it, I was
considering Jrfyrl as Gur Qernq Cvengr Eboregf (because of all the
cvengr references, as you said) but it didn't quite fit. It never
occurred to me to consider a different character!

#92 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 08:58 PM:

Suzanne @ 82: Though the guesses so far sound pretty good, let me add Rzzn Ohyy'f Jne bs gur Bnxf, or possibly Qvnan Jlaar Wbarf' Sver naq Urzybpx.
I suppose that last one is pretty much the same as the previous
guesses. Actually, it's surprising how many stories could work in that
reading.

Debra Doyle @ 84: Misnumbered, but right! Have a shiny new internets! (Did you need to decrypt the significator?)

abi @ 89: Actually, all the pirate references threw me off at first. It was gjb, fvk, naq rvtug that finally tipped me off.

#93 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 09:42 PM:

heresiarch@92: I figured decrypting the significator would be
cheating, so I didn't. It was mostly 2, 5, and 3 that clued me in, and
10 capped it.

#94 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 09:54 PM:

Looking at how fast people are offering solutions to the ones that
leave me clueless, I am no judge of how difficult or easy this one is.
So I'm giving the titles in clear text and my interpretations in
rot-13, just in case the interpretations would make it too easy. But at
least I can name the significator without giving it all away.

1. Cover, the influence affecting the person or subject generally: The Art of War / Sun Tzu (bar znl gnxr nqinagntr bs cbfvgvbavat gb qrsrng n zber ahzrebhf rarzl).

2. Cross, the nature of obstacles: The Scarlet Pimpernel / Emmuska Orczy (ubj gb betnavmr na haqretebhaq zbirzrag).

3. Crown, the aim or ideal or best outcome: Miracle at Philadelphia / Catherine Drinker Bowen (gur nepuvgrpgf bs n arj angvba ynl n sbhaqngvba sbe yvzvgrq tbireazrag).

4. Beneath, what the significator has already achieved or made his own: When HARLIE Was One / David Gerrold (n pbzchgre argjbex npuvrirf frys-njnerarff).

5. Behind, the influence that has passed: The Fatal Shore / Robert Hughes (genafcbegrq cevfbaref ohvyq n arj fbpvrgl).

6. Before, influence coming into action: The Federalist Papers / James Madison et al. (zragbef jbexvat nabalzbhfyl qenj ba uvfgbevpny rknzcyrf bs ubj crbcyr unir jba naq xrcg gurve serrqbz).

7. Significator, representing the querent: Johnny Tremain /
Esther Forbes (qhevat n jne sbe vaqrcraqrapr, n znghevat crefbanyvgl
fgevirf gb haqrefgnaq uvf bevtvaf naq sbetr crefbany eryngvbafuvcf).

8. House, environment and tendencies which have an effect on the matter: Saints
/ Orson Scott Card (cvbarref va n unefu ynaq erznva haqre gur
whevfqvpgvba bs n terng cbjre ohg qrirybc gurve bja phygher naq
vafgvghgvbaf, vapyhqvat nygreangvir sbezf bs zneevntr).

9. Hopes or fears: The Principle of Population / Thomas Malthus (jr’yy eha bhg bs erfbheprf naq nyy fgneir).

10. Culmination, what will come: We the Living / Ayn Rand (gur ureb qvrf serr).

#95 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 11:30 PM:

#94: Zvxr, from Gur Zbba vf n Unefu Zvfgerff?

#96 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 11:40 PM:

Debra @94. Yup. Did you get it from the titles alone, or did you have to decode the interpretations?

#97 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 11:54 PM:

Alan@96: I went with the titles. (Though I will admit to
decoding the interpretations after I'd posted, just to check that I
wasn't too far off-base.)

#98 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2008, 11:58 PM:

Allan @96: I got it without having to rot13. The combination of
"cards" number sbhe, svir naq bar was very suggestive. Fvk naq avar
locked it down.

#99 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 12:16 AM:

For those thinking of constructing one of these puzzles for a
science fiction book or film or a work in some other genre that
Wikipediots obsess about, the Wikipedia articles often list influences
and allusions.

For example, I hadn't remembered that a couple of the books I used were specifically referenced in the text.

#100 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 03:25 AM:

Suzanne @82: I thought Nycunorg bs Gubea (Cngevpvn ZpXvyyvc), but I haven't read it for a while for details; however I expect the winners will be the Gnz Yva variants (I love S&U myself -- I'm a QJW fan, hmm, interesting rot13 there).

#101 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 05:47 AM:

Heresiarch@80: No, I was intending Qbpgbe Jub.

#102 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 11:33 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 94: I got it after decoding interpretations for 3 and 4, and I've never read the book! Good clues.

Since people are guessing so quickly, perhaps we should move to
either leaving off the interpretations, or using a layout with fewer
cards? I think a layout with fewer cards might be easier (to create)
and more fun (to guess at).

#103 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 08:26 PM:

Here's a shorter one. A Canticle for Liebowitz. Tom Jones. Huck Finn.

#104 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 10:48 PM:

Looks like this game is done. Rqtne Cnatobea'f cbfg-ncbypnylcgvp
abiry Qnil. I haven't read Tom Jones but it's mentioned in the blurb.

#105 ::: (view all by) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 02:51 AM:

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