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May 20, 2014

Published today: My Real Children, Jo Walton’s first novel since Among Others
Posted by Patrick at 11:56 AM * 150 comments

mrc.jpg On sale today in the US, Canada, and the open market. Forthcoming in the UK and various parts of the Commonwealth on August 21. You can read the first seven chapters of it here. The schedule of Jo Walton’s tour for My Real Children can be found on the front page of her own site, here.

My flap copy:

It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know—what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.

Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War—those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?

Two lives, two worlds, two versions of modern history; each with their loves and losses, their sorrows and triumphs. Jo Walton’s My Real Children is the tale of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives…and of how every life means the entire world.

Some advance reviews and quotes:

“The most astounding mixture of joy and sorrow I have ever felt…My Real Children is a story of pure love without an ounce of sentimentality, infinitely wise about the human condition, parenting, and family. It changed the way I think about the very meaning of life. By playing Cowan’s two lives against each other, Walton has brilliantly illuminated something raw and true about where happiness comes from, and where it leads. Walton’s last novel, Among Others, was one of the best novels of 2011, winning the Hugo, Nebula, and British Fantasy Awards. If anything, My Real Children surpasses it.”
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

“My Real Children has as much in common with an Alice Munro story as it does with, say, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. It explores issues of choice and chance and destiny and responsibility with the narrative tools that only science fiction affords, but it’s also a deeply poignant, richly imagined book about women’s lives in 20th- and 21st-century England, and, in a broader sense, about the lives of all those who are pushed to the margins of history: the disabled, the disenfranchised, the queer, the lower middle class. My Real Children is a quiet triumph, not least because whatever life Patricia happens to be living at any given moment, she remains deeply and recognizably herself. Good novels show us a character’s destiny as an expression of who they fundamentally are. What most novels do only once, My Real Children does twice.”
—Lev Grossman, Publishers Weekly

“My Real Children starts quietly, then suddenly takes you on two roller-coaster rides at once, swooping dizzily through a double panorama and ending in a sort of super Sophie’s Choice. A daring tour de force.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin

“In her essay on Iain Banks’s The Crow Road, Walton wonders why more SF authors don’t write in a manner closer to Banks’s mainstream fiction. Why aren’t there more ‘SF stories that are about people but informed with the history that is going on around them’? My Real Children reads like her answer to that question. […] At first glance, one is reminded of the movie Sliding Doors, in which one character is followed along diverging paths, but Walton digs deeper. It’s not just that Cowan is living two lives; she is actually living in two alternate histories, neither of which is the ‘true’ world Walton’s readers inhabit. […] It is unclear whether Walton has wrapped a literary novel around SF tropes, or crafted a subtle genre novel featuring achingly beautiful prose and carefully crafted characters. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Walton has created an SF story focused on characters and informed by the world around them. My Real Children is the rarest sort of novel—one that transcends genre. It is a book that, one surmises, will be eagerly reread as the years pass.”
Quill & Quire

“Keep some tissues ready; I wept with joy and grief, prayed for someone’s health, and shivered with fear. Throughout, Patricia’s steadfast strength inspired me. […] I feel as though I’ve gotten to read another book about Taveth from Jo Walton’s Lifelode, in a way, in how thoroughly I see that Patricia’s housekeeping and parenting and teaching and writing and peace work are all of a piece—all her work is love made visible. Walton pays attention to the concrete domestic details of real people’s lives. There’s a moment where Patricia and her partner have to buy another pillow the first time they have an overnight houseguest. This is science fiction written by a host, someone who reflexively practices hospitality both in her social life and in her fiction.”
—Sumana Harihareswara, Cogito, Ergo Sumana

“A wonderfully absorbing novel about how one woman’s decision can change the course of history. I lost sleep reading it, and dreamed about it when I did sleep.”
—Delia Sherman

“A dizzying array of astonishments unfolding, a Chinese box of surprises. Once started, it is extraordinarily difficult to put this book down, even for dinner, even for bed.”
—Jane Yolen

“A masterpiece of personal and political worldbuilding…With its finely-observed treatment of human interpersonal relationships, this novel is as good as Walton’s previous alternate historical masterworks Farthing and Tooth and Claw. I know of few other authors who are so deft at evoking the complicated relationship between international politics and domestic dysfunction. No matter how outlandish the social context she’s built, however, Walton’s true strength lies in creating characters you come to know intimately—and whose lives you care about intensely, especially when they fall apart. You may find yourself in tears by the end of My Real Children, but you won’t regret a single second you spend engrossed in its pages.”
—Annalee Newitz,

“No one plays with genre categories like Jo Walton, sailing calmly through boundaries and borders as if they didn’t exist.”
—Lisa Goldstein

“[T]here is a deliberateness in [My Real Children’s] every moment and movement, no matter how small. The cruelties are horrific and heart-breaking, but economically so; the happinesses are writ small, but glow fiercely. There is a restraint throughout that is part of Patricia’s personality, an evenness and a fairness in the face of enormous life events which I found tremendously compelling.”
—Amal El-Mohtar,

“Walton has written alternate history before, but here she takes the idea a step further, exploring the relationship between personal and public histories, inviting us to consider whether we’d prefer a happy life in a miserable world, or a miserable life in a happy world. The version of Patricia that accepts the proposal (‘Tricia’ and later ‘Trish’) ends up in a loveless marriage with a failed academic, but in a world in which President John F. Kennedy survives to run for re- election and a moon colony is established by the 1980s. The other Patricia (‘Patty’ and later ‘Pat’) becomes a successful travel writer and finds a long-term, loving same-sex relationship with a botanist named Bee—but here the Cuban missile crisis leads to nuclear devastation. What makes the novel particularly poignant is that we first meet Patricia as a 90-year-old in a nursing home who somehow remembers both lives, leading the attendants to believe she’s confusing fantasy with reality. But her confusion over her own and the world’s past, and over which sets of children are her ‘real’ children, lends the novel a haunting, meditative quality and makes the two Patricias into one unforgettable character.”
—Gary K. Wolfe, Chicago Tribune

Comments on Published today: My Real Children, Jo Walton's first novel since Among Others:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 12:26 PM:

Yay! I'll recommend it too, very highly.

#2 ::: Devin Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 12:31 PM:

Oh, man, I will have to do this thing. I *finally* read Lifelode (yay for moving in with a partner with her own awesome bookshelf!) and was reminded that I like everything she's ever done, even if none of it much resembles any other bit of it.

#3 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 12:33 PM:

Wonderful! Looking forward to it.

#4 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 12:54 PM:

A must-read. I will delay replacing my worn-out shoes to buy this.

#5 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 02:07 PM:

I very highly recommend this. I got to help beta-read this (great fun for me) and I'll echo some of the quotes above in that I had tears running down my face--both happy and sad. Jo even felt a tad sorry for all of us, but we told her not to worry as it was truly excellent.
I wrote a more complete review on my blog at: My Real Children review
Race out and get it now.

#6 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 02:50 PM:

Today? I picked it up on Sunday here in the Netherlands, a pleasant surprise when I went to get the book (The Story of the Stone) I'd ordered from the local sf shop.

It looks really really great, but then it's a Jo Walton novel, so that's a given.

#7 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 03:13 PM:

Amazon informs me that it's now in the hands of the USPS, so it _may_ be waiting for me when I get home! And then it's heading to the top of my TBR stack. I am very much looking forward to this.

#8 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 03:34 PM:

It's a wonderful book. I'm glad it's out, because now I can start giving it away.

#9 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 03:34 PM:

I pre-ordered the Kindle version months ago, but it hasn't downloaded to my reader yet. Not sure why.

#10 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 03:59 PM:

Xopher @4, that seems to me the best possible blurb,
"I will delay replacing my worn-out shoes to buy this."
Well done ;-)

I am on the last lap of The Museum of Abandoned Secrets, another book that crosses back and forth between real fantasy and fantastic reality, giving us many true lives.. and now this new Jo Walton book. Don't tell me the novel is dead..

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 07:14 PM:

My copy landed here this evening. Together with Bear's The Steles of the Sky.

My problem: I am in the middle of reading a book I have to review for Caribbean Quarterly. Which comes first, duty or pleasure?

#12 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 07:56 PM:

And Jo will at Balticon this weekend. At least according to this propaganda from her publisher

#13 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 09:26 PM:

I will indeed be at Balticon!

And I will also be reading and signing MRC in a zillion other places around the US -- schedule on the front page of my website

If any members of the Fluorosphere are in any of those places and want to come by and say hi, I'd be delighted.

#14 ::: Kellan Sparver ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 10:30 PM:

In her essay on Iain Banks’s The Crow Road, Walton wonders why more SF authors don’t write in a manner closer to Banks’s mainstream fiction. Why aren’t there more ‘SF stories that are about people but informed with the history that is going on around them’?

Without meaning to seem self-pitying -- the world is as it is, and no one owes me an audience -- there aren't a lot of venues for that kind of story, inside science fiction or out. I think some of the rise in mainstream authors writing things (The Road, The Leftovers) that as genre readers we would classify as science fiction is born out of that gap.

The comparison of My Real Children to Alice Munro catches my eye, and I very much enjoyed Among Others. I look forward to checking this out.

#15 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 11:03 PM:

This is one of the best two or three books I've read in the last twenty years. Maybe EVER.

#16 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 11:07 PM:

Jo, Karen and I are planning to make it to the Seattle stop. Plans sometimes go awry, but we're planning.

#17 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 11:08 PM:

I read the boingboing sample chapters, bought the book immediately on my e-reader, and devoured the rest of the book by the end of the afternoon.

I noticed, and enjoyed, the epigraph before reading, but having read the full book and gone back to the beginning, I am now staring at that perfect epigraph again. Did I just read a novel-length reply to John M. Ford's "Sonnet Against Entropy"?

#18 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 11:37 PM:

And over on Amazon a nice comment by this S. M. Stirling fellow ... who gave it 5 stars.

#19 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 06:51 AM:

Rymenhild: You kind of did.

I so very much wish Mike could have.

#20 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 06:58 AM:

My reaction was that it was what happens when the child from the Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas has a choice.

#21 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 07:47 AM:

I just read the first 7 chapters over my lunch break.

What's the name of the local SF bookshop in the Netherlands that Martin Wisse mentions @6? Because I'm more than ready to hop on a train to pick it up across the border if I can't find it in Brussels.

#22 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 09:13 AM:

Pendrift: I assumed Martin was referring to Amsterdam's American Book Center (Spui 12, 1012 XA Amsterdam), which is certainly where I'd go were I looking in Amsterdam for a recently-published English-language book. Large, well-chosen SF and fantasy section, thanks to very smart buyer Tiemen Zwaan.

There's also an American Book Center branch in the Hague, but I don 't know whether its SF&F section is as good.

#23 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 09:19 AM:

I've already confirmed with Tiemen that there are copies available in the American Book Center in Amsterdam. Plans, they are Afoot.

#24 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 09:59 AM:

Funny how my thoughts have gone from Where can I get it in Brussels? to Hope I don't find it in Brussels!

I have also just discovered that the French title for Among Others is Morwenna.

#25 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 10:00 AM:

We can still Enact Plans, even if you have reading on the train up, Pendrift.

#26 ::: Bronwyn ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 10:07 AM:

Martin Wisse @6: Hughart's Story of the Stone? The Master Li novels are some of my most loved books, and as far as I know there are only the three, though the writing implies more.

#27 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 10:16 AM:

abi @25: Amsterdam and the people living in and near it are reason enough to Enact Plans. Plus I have some book binding screws to deliver. Shiny new books are a big fat bonus.

#28 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 11:20 AM:

Read the first chapter, then bought the book for my Nook. I hope to finish it on the way to WisCon later today.

#29 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 11:42 AM:

I always try to attend Balticon, being the closest local Con for me, but plans oft go awry. Still! Now I have a plan to find a book and then to find the author.

#30 ::: Kelly Jennings ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 12:35 PM:

I bought it on my Kindle yesterday afternoon & stayed up until three in the morning finishing it. (I didn't want to -- I wanted to save some for today -- but I couldn't stop.)

I've loved every Jo Walton book since Tooth & Claw. This one too! The ending was just perfect.

#31 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 04:31 PM:

It's a long time ago, but I think the American Book Center provided the tote bag for the attendees at Confiction. That's too long to be a guarantee for all the stores, but it's nice to know they are still a significant player for SF in the Netherlands, in a world that has Amazon.

#32 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 11:10 PM:

"Slaughterhouse-five" discusses the protagonist becoming "unstuck in time"

this seems to be about becoming unstuck in paratime

#33 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 01:56 AM:


If it eventually turns out that this book has not changed my life, it will not be the book's fault but my own.

#34 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 02:17 AM:

Pendrift @21: as Patrick and Abi have said, it's indeed American Book Center, a quick five minutes away from Central Station on lines 1, 2 and 5.

They do indeed have a fantastic science fiction section, with all the usual suspects but they also had e.g. Jacqueline Koyanagi's Ascension available before anybody knew how good a novel that was (better than Ancillary Justice imo) and have been championing Jo Walton for a while now, from the Small Change series onwards.

#35 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 02:19 AM:

Bronwyn @26: indeed, it's Barry Hughart's second novel, which was the only one of his I still needed and had been looking for since at least 1999 or 1998 or so. Again found via American Book Centre.

#36 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 02:45 AM:

My copy arrived on Tuesday, and I was just looking at it today, and noticed something that doesn't show up at all on the online versions of the cover:

The dust jacket is matte, but the title and the author's name are overprinted in a clear gloss -- but offset a bit. So the title and author are doubled on the cover, just as the book protagonist's life is on the inside. That's a clever touch.

#37 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 08:03 AM:

Curious that this announcement should come just as I finished Keith Donohue's Stolen Child.

#38 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 10:04 AM:

David Goldfarb (36): That sounds like a cool effect, but it's not on the copy of the book that I have (from my library). I wonder which version is the mistake?

#39 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 10:17 AM:

Ginger -- I'll be signing at Balticon at 3-4pm on Saturday, and reading at 5. And I'll be there all weekend, being on panels and hanging out.

Yarrow: I think it's me who should be saying "Wow"!

Everyone going to Amsterdam to get it -- this is just so awesome.

Everyone who bought it already and likes it -- thank you!

#40 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 10:24 AM:

#38 ::: Mary Aileen

That depends on which universe you're living in.

Is there any hope for LifeLode to be reprinted?

#41 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 12:01 PM:

Nancy, #40: NESFA still has print rights to Lifelode, but Tor will be doing an ebook edition by and by. We'll announce a pub date soon.

#42 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 12:03 PM:

David, #36: I think you may just have a copy where the spot gloss is slightly off-register. Although you're right, it's nicely appropriate. Felix culpa!

#43 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 12:10 PM:

And by the way, I've been silently updating the original front-page post with quotes from new reviews as they come in--so far, Amal El-Mohtar's review on and Annalee Newitz's on io9. I also added a link to the schedule of Jo's My Real Children tour, which is now in progress.

In the future, I intend to do posts like this on the official publication date of more of my and Teresa's books.

#44 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 04:50 PM:

This sounds wonderful. I just put in a request for my library to buy it.

#45 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 09:37 PM:

I have added my name to the list of holds at my local library. (Eight! on three copies. Not bad!)

#46 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 01:08 AM:

Patrick@42: It's off by really quite a lot, fully 1/8". That's why I thought it was deliberate, I didn't think the spot gloss could wander that far simply by mistake. (1/8" is "slightly" if the effect is intentional, but "hugely" if it's a registration error!) I guess I get to enjoy having a different-but-appropriate copy.

#47 ::: Nickp ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 09:15 AM:

I'm kind of afraid to read this. I mean, before I had kids, it used to be enjoyable to imagine how my life would be if I had chosen a slightly different path. Now, any change to my past, even marrying my wife slightly earlier or slightly later, means that those particular little people would never exist. And that is no fun to imagine. It's basically the reason why I found the end of "The Family Man" so horribly sad. So he ends up with the right woman after all, but the children that he loved in the alternative timeline are gone forever.

The blurb of this book sounds as though the book might cut a little too close to my anxieties.

On the other hand, it's a Jo Walton book, and all sorts of people I admire say it's awesome. So,it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that I will read it.

#48 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 09:49 AM:

I've read it. It is, indeed, awesome.

There are some books written in a style for which the only word I have is 'gentle'. Not, I must hasten to add, in the sense of genteel, but in the sense of warm, friendly, comfortable, drawing the reader in with humanity. Jo has mastered gentleness in writing. I loved this book. I loved the way that she made Patty's and Trish's lives intersect even though they differed.

One thing though. Rationing didn't end in 1951. What happened in that year is that sugar came off ration (because Tate and Lyle's shipping arrangements were resumed) so that sweet points ceased to be allocated. Rationing ended in 1953. When my father arrived in London in 1953 he was issued a ration book. For some reason he kept it and I came across it years later.

#49 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 09:49 AM:

I've read it. It is, indeed, awesome.

There are some books written in a style for which the only word I have is 'gentle'. Not, I must hasten to add, in the sense of genteel, but in the sense of warm, friendly, comfortable, drawing the reader in with humanity. Jo has mastered gentleness in writing. I loved this book. I loved the way that she made Patty's and Trish's lives intersect even though they differed.

One thing though. Rationing didn't end in 1951. What happened in that year is that sugar came off ration (because Tate and Lyle's shipping arrangements were resumed) so that sweet points ceased to be allocated. Rationing ended in 1953. When my father arrived in London in 1953 he was issued a ration book. For some reason he kept it and I came across it years later.

#50 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 10:35 AM:

Nancy, #40: Lifelode is still in print from NESFA. The limited edition version sold out in 2011, but we were allowed to reprint it (Thank you, gracious author.) and it has been quietly selling ever since.

#51 ::: canisfelicis ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 12:47 PM:

So when I was a kid--fifteen or so, I think--I dreamed an entire life. I started out toddling, in a place not Earth, ended up dying at sixty or seventy, a full life and three daughters behind me.

I woke up in my bed, fifteen years old and utterly exhausted, and full of memories. It took weeks for them to fade. For me to not miss my daughters, for me to stop wanting to go places that didn't exist, or eat things that I had no idea how to produce. Or even not missing or wanting, just being surprised. I'd lose myself in thought when I was walking somewhere, I'd turn a familiar corner and feel lost, like I'd snapped free of a long pattern. It felt a lot as though I had moved to a new city, and had to keep reminding myself that that coffee house was 600 miles away, now; the garden I wanted to walk through didn't exist, the place where I was accustomed to sitting and reading a book didn't exist, the person to whom I would talk when I needed new clothing was someone I'd known in my head but never in the flesh...

It was a very strange experience. I woke up knowing who I was here and now, but also I had been this entire other thing, and I had liked being her even though her life had a lot of sadness too. Even now, almost seventeen years on, I still occasionally get dim moments where something seems familiar, and I think "Oh, like--" but the 'like' wasn't ever real and here.

I read the summary of this book with a sharp twist of recognition. It sounds amazing, and I'm not at all sure if I should read it.

#52 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 10:01 PM:

The dreaded Internal Server Error. If this doesn't shake it loose, I'll repost it.

#53 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 10:30 PM:

canisfelicis 51: That has a remarkable resemblance to one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the only episode of that show that made me cry. I wonder if something similar to your experience happened to the writer (though in the episode it was the result of an alien artifact, rather than a natural dream).

My late friend Alexei Kondratiev was so adept at learning languages that after he had a group of serial dreams in which people spoke an otherwise-nonexistent language, he wound up able to speak a little of it, and kept it to the end of his days. He also spoke 42 existing Earth languages, a dozen or so fluently (including two Gaelics, Welsh, and Breton).

Still miss that guy. Probably always will.

#54 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 10:32 PM:

(Actually it was three Gaelics. I forgot Manx.)

#55 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 05:16 PM:

Wow. This was so very, very good.

I can identify, perhaps, a few of the ingredients: the "Sonnet Against Entropy", and the heartbreaking double vision of The Man in the High Castle. Cordelia's observation that "All wealth is biological," a theme which lends Bujold's novels such strength. The flap of a butterfly's wings.

But the contrast between Patricia's two lives is haunting. So much power for happiness and heartbreak, held in ordinary human hands. And yet Patricia goes on, finding her work and building a family in any world.

#56 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 06:38 PM:

#51, canisfelicis: That's absolutely fascinating.

#57 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 09:46 PM:

canisfelicis #51: Wow. That puts me in mind of some of the tales of Celtic myth -- it's been a long time since I read the mythology, but I think there was a tale or two (Welsh?) where someone went "under the hill" (that is, the Otherlands), lived a lifetime there, and returned to the same night they'd left.

Which is to say, not completely unique to human experience, but rare... and so powerful and magical, that such incidents can be retold and remembered for a very long time.

#58 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 10:36 PM:

PNH #43: In the future, I intend to do posts like this on the official publication date of more of my and Teresa's books.

I, for one, will be absolutely delighted.

I haven't read a word of Jo Walton's book yet. But having read this thread I'm going to go check out the sample. Also:

1) That is a really gorgeous cover image.

2) I love that that Ford sonnet was used as an epigraph. Honestly I'm almost ready to buy it just for that.

#59 ::: canisfelicis ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 01:04 AM:

Xopher Halftongue, #53

Ohh, language. That sounds wonderful. I fairly regularly get poetry, but it's mostly in the gorier nightmares, and so not worth sharing. To get a language constructed in one's dreams...what a fine thought.

Dave Harmon, #57 --I thought of those sorts of stories, too, when I was navigating the next couple of weeks. It's certainly informed a lot of the rest of my life, and my growing up; if I can't ever be *entirely* sure that I'm not going to wake up from this, too, I'd better be careful to be kind. If this world doesn't exist outside one's own head, then that means there's no making up for one's unkindnesses...

#60 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 01:55 AM:

Dave Harmon@57: It's also a theme I've seen in collections of Eastern folklore, and Hermann Hesse used it in one of the appendices of The Glass Bead Game (AKA Magister Ludi).

canisfelicis@59: Some people might be tempted to conclude that if the world doesn't exist, then what they do doesn't matter. I like your conclusion better.

I find that this world is a lot more solid than my dreams. When I read some text, look away, then look at the text again, it always reads the same. When I'm awake I can reliably dial a telephone. (Just to take two examples.) In dreams those things aren't true. Then again, when I'm awake and try to move objects with the power of my mind, it never works, and in dreams it sometimes does.

#61 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 05:55 AM:

canisfelicis #51: Wow, I thought I was the only one. Back when was around the same as you when you had that dream, I had a series of recurring dreams with an alternate life, that felt just as real as my own, even if it was probably inspired by all the fantasy I was reading at the time, living as I was as a nomadic warrior on an endless steppe in that dream. The memories have faded, but that feeling of having actually lived it remains.

#62 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 08:44 AM:

Xopher: Welsh isn't "a gaelic". What you want to say is that he knew three Celtic languages -- which is pretty impressive, and knowing 48 languages is really amazing.

#63 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 10:38 AM:

I read Xopher as meaning two gaelics (Scots and Irish, I presume) and Welsh and Breton. Indeed, doesn't the comma after 'Welsh' force that reading? Without it, of course, the sentence would be an example of 'my parents, Ayn Rand and God'.

#64 ::: The_L ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 11:16 AM:

I've never read this author before, but I know I need to read this book, based just on the blurb. I think I'll recommend it to the faculty book club at work.

#65 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 12:15 PM:

Jo, I meant it as Andrew read it. Sorry it wasn't clear. Alexei spoke Irish, Scots, and Manx as well as Welsh and Breton. I think he had smatterings of Cornish and Northumberland Gaelic as well, but he wasn't perfectly fluent in them.

#66 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 09:46 AM:

Oh, dear, that's still a muddle. I've been at WisCon and not really focused on...much of anything, really.

Here's what I meant. Alexei spoke (among some 42 languages), the following Celtic tongues:

  • Goidelic ("Gaelic" languages):
    • Scots
    • Irish
    • Manx (though I may have been wrong about this because it appears that Manx is dead, though that may have happened very recently)
  • Brittonic:
    • Welsh
    • Breton
    • perhaps a smattering of Cornish, though that would be purely for academic interest

#67 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 11:10 AM:

I finished My Real Children yesterday, and the only reason I didn't start rereading it immediately was that I'm right in the middle of a whole string of such books: Addison/Monette, Bear, Lynch, with Kowal and Brennan still on deck.

Gods is this a great season for reading, or what?

(I will admit to having an odd moment of my own the other morning: I'd read about half of the Walton the night before, and when I got down to the kitchen, everything looked subtly different, very faintly wrong-proportioned; not different, not wrong, just not quite familiar. Eek, I thought, and started up the espresso machine.)

#68 ::: anhweol ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 12:24 PM:

Xopher #66: Manx is perfectly plausible, since while it lost its last traditional native speaker in 1974, there are still a number of fluent speakers trying to revive it, and foreign learners (especially with existing knowledge of other Gaelics) are not unknown. (I went to a number of Manx Language Society events on the Isle of Man in 1997-98, though I never made much progress with the language: my Celtic knowledge is largely confined to Welsh).

#69 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 02:50 PM:

Cornish is going through a similar process of revival. In both cases, it appears to be coming along more successfully than I would have guessed ten or twenty years ago.

#70 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 08:37 PM:

Who here is going to The Word in Brooklyn for Jo Walton's reading and signing event tomorrow night at 7pm? (me me me (I hope))

#71 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 09:45 PM:

Sumana @70, I’m planning on it.

#72 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 04:36 PM:

A friend of ours, whom I hadn't even thought of as a science fiction reader, came round to dinner last night and said that he'd just bought a book to read on the plane trip he's going on today, but made the mistake of starting it early, and couldn't put it down, so now he was almost finished with it. Gee, guess what book it just happened to be? I lent him Farthing to take on the plane, and he's thinking of coming to Jo's Seattle talk.

#73 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 04:45 PM:

I gave my Welsh colleague the elevator-pitch description of this book in the ladies' room at work. (She's already a Walton fan after Among Others.) That's another copy going to be bought, and yet one more when she finishes it and wants to give one to her mum.

I suspect I'll be glad there are copies set aside for me and Pendrift.

#74 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 09:54 PM:

I have finally got my mitts on it, and I am enjoying it immensely.

#75 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 12:48 AM:

...and crying.

#76 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:55 AM:

It was easy to read, as is usual with Jo's books, but for me was too much like real life to be SF. Or am I confused?

#77 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 01:32 PM:

iamnothing (76): Aside from the two versions of Patricia's life, both of which 2015-her remembers, neither version is our reality. Given the moonbases in one version and nuclear war in the other, I'd even call both realities science fiction, which I normally don't do for straight alternate history.

(My personal classification scheme has three categories: science fiction, fantasy, alternate reality. Sometimes, as here, they overlap.)

#78 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 01:34 PM:

Me (77): That being said, however, it does read more like mainstream fiction than SF. I've contemplated recommending it to our assistant director with a possible eye to using it in the library's book group (which he co-leads). There's a lot to discuss!

#79 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 04:06 PM:

I've read it now, too, and am sad to have finished it because I was enjoying it so, and so immersed in the lives of both sets of characters. I agree that a lot of it reads relatively like mainstream. I think it would be approachable for a non-fan.

#80 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 05:23 PM:

Mary Aileen@77: I would distinguish the kind of Alternate History which simply follows another timeline, and that which actually relates different timelines to one another (as this does, by having Patricia remember both). The first, I would say, is not science fiction, unless the content of the other timeline makes it so (so on this I think we agree); but the second is, because it implies the different timelines really co-exist, rather than just being something which might have been, and this is a scientific hypothesis.

#81 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 07:00 PM:

Andrew M (80): I agree with your second part also, especially if the two timelines actually interact. (Which they arguably do here, since Patricia remembers both of them.) My use of "straight alternate history" referred to your first category, of one alternate timeline. Apologies for being unclear.

(hitting post a second time because I got the Dreaded Server Error message the first time)

#82 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2014, 08:45 PM:

I just finished reading this; I loved it nearly as well as Among Others, and if I hadn't just read Susan Palwick's Mending the Moon a few days ago I'd say it was the best book I'd read this year. It reminds me a lot of Mending the Moon -- both are among the most emotionally intense books I've read lately, and both are sort of borderline sf/mainstream in very different ways, and both are about non-traditional families.

Fragano Ledgister @49, re end of rationing:

I'm not sure when Pat and Trish's timelines first diverge from ours. The big obvious events are in 1963, but in one of them -- I think it's Trish's -- somebody says something about the Russians not having used tanks to suppress the Hungarian revolution, which means that one diverged at least as early as 1956. I suspect that if I knew more recent history and re-read the book with more careful attention to the bits about world news, I would discover an earlier divergence point.

On dreams: I've never had anything as intense or complete as canisfelicis reports, but I've had one or two dreams where I was heartbroken, on waking, to find that the friends I'd made in the dream weren't real. Talking of dreams and new books, however, leads me to Steven Brust & Skyler White's The Incrementalists. A few days ago I went to bed after reading the first two chapters, and had vivid dreams all night about how the rest of the book would turn out. Unfortunately I can't now remember much about them.

J. Michael Straczynski (I think it was he) said that he had continuous dreams for years of an alternate life where he was living in one town and going to school every year with the same friends, instead of moving frequently because of his father's work as he was doing in real life. (I'm basing this on 20-year old memories, probably inaccurate. I could search the Babylon 5 newsgroups for the message, but there'd probably be a lot of false positives because of the B5 episodes with "dream(s)" in the title.)

#83 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2014, 03:29 PM:

I finished Sunday.

It's so lovely and understated, but full of power and reality.

Thank you for the book.

Have an Amazon review.

#84 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2014, 11:11 PM:

I started reading it this afternoon. Up to page 117 now. It's grabbing me hard now. I was born in 1953; I'm now into the era where I was starting to pay attention to national and international events. Neither of Patricia's worlds is our world, but the echoes of my childhood hopes and fears is rousing some strong emotional resonance.

#85 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2014, 07:14 PM:

My Real Children is an extraordinary novel. A real gift. I am so grateful that you recommended it on ML — I might have picked it up eventually anyway, but certainly not right away. To say nothing of very grateful to Our Gracious Host for editing it, and to Ms. Walton for writing it.

I do have one nit to pick — editorial, not authorial (a few of those, perhaps, another time, when I am feeling more like taking critical distance: right now I just want to bask in its brilliance) — and one question to ask.

(All spoilers are ROT13'd).

The nit: Le Guin's blurb — on the top of the book and reproduced above — contains a horrendous spoiler in the words "naq raqvat va n fbeg bs fhcre Fbcuvr’f Pubvpr". If you simply understand the "Fbcuvr’f Pubvpr" bit, then that plus the basic set-up of the novel (what one gets from the blurb, say, or the first chapter, or at the latest a few chapters in) gives away far too much about the (very) end of the book. Of course I understand why you'd want a Le Guin quote on the book. But couldn't it be truncated, in the interest of not spoiling the readers? You could replace the ROT13'd words with an ellipsis and be none the worse for it.

Too late for the hardcover, obviously, but what about the paperback? Foreign editions? Online promotional material? I mean, sure, the book is so rich & wonderful that the spoiler didn't do much damage. But why put it in?

And the question, the entire thing ROT13'd for spoilers.

Vf vg fhccbfrq gb or boivbhf juvpu pubvpr Cngevpvn znxrf ng gur irel raq bs gur obbx? Gur svany fragrapr znxrf vg fbhaq yvxr vg'f fhccbfrq gb or; ohg vg qvqa'g frrz boivbhf gb zr. Qvq V whfg zvff fbzrguvat? Be vf gur svany fragrapr fhccbfrq gb or vebavp (fnlvat vg'f boivbhf jura vg'f abg)? Qbrf Jnygba jnag qvssrerag ernqref gb qenj qvssrerag boivbhf pbapyhfvbaf? Be vf gurer na nafjre, yvxr Ahzore Svir'f erny anzr va Gur Svsgu Urnq bs Preorehf?

Any thoughts?

#86 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2014, 07:35 PM:

Stephen Frug:

Orpnhfr Cngevpvn ernyyl jrcg jura fur gubhtug nobhg gur fgngr bs gur jbeyq, gur ahpyrne rkpunatrf naq gur ghea gb gur evtug, V guvax fur qrpvqrq gb fnpevsvpr ure evpu crefbany ybirf naq unccvarff fb gung gur jbeyq nf n jubyr jbhyq or orggre bss. Fur'f nyjnlf orra fhcre-erfcbafvoyr, gnxvat pner bs Orr be Znex sbe rknzcyr, naq gung'f whfg ohvyg vagb ure rgubf, ure punenpgre, va obgu gvzryvarf.

#87 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2014, 07:37 PM:

Ohg gb nafjre lbhe qrrcre dhrfgvba, V guvax jr gur ernqref qba'g trg n pyrne hanzovthbhf nafjre, naq rnpu ernqre fbeg bs trgf gb qrpvqr jung uvf be ure Cngevpvn qbrf.

#88 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2014, 07:39 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara:

Thanks very much for replying.

Lrnu, gung'f fbeg bs gur jnl V jnf yrnavat; pregnvayl vg jnf zl svefg vafgvapg. V guvax lbh'er *cebonoyl* evtug. Ohg ba gur bgure unaq, vs fnpevsvpr sbe bguref jnf n pbafvfgrag cevapvcyr jvgu ure, gura fnpevsvpr sbe ybir jnf, gbb. Fb V pna fbeg bs frrvat vg tbvat gur bgure jnl. Znlor.

Ubj qrsvavgr qb lbh guvax lbhe nafjre vf? Qb lbh guvax vg'f *pyrneyl* gur vagragvba, be gung vg'f lbhe vagrecergngvba ohg lbh'er abg fher, rgp. Qb lbh unir n frafr bs ubj bcra Jnygba jnagf — be, gb trg npnqrzvp sbe n frpbaq, ubj bcra gur grkg jnagf — gur raqvat gb or?

#89 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2014, 07:44 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara:

Sorry, my reply to you went up before your second post. But thanks for addressing it in advance!

#90 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2014, 08:23 PM:

Interesting! I hadn't thought of it as juvpu qvq Cngevpvn pubbfr? I just read it as fur fnvq obg -- Lrf va bar jbeyq, naq Ab va gur bgure. Vg jnf n syhxr gung fur pbhyq frr obgu cnfgf nf qrzragvn frg va. Be znlor va Jnygba'f vzntvangvba, nal qrzragvn cngvrag vf frrvat gurve zhygvcyr cnfgf naq gung vf cneg bs gurve pbashfvba?

#91 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2014, 11:50 PM:

May I just say that I'm very grateful to all of you for rot-13ing your spoilers, and look forward to reading them in a few days or a week when My Real Children gets to the top of my to-read pile? (Got to read the library books first; THEY have a deadline).

#92 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 09:24 AM:

Boivbhfyl V'z abg tbvat gb pbzzrag nobhg jung vf be vfa'g boivbhf, be jung nal tvira ernqre fubhyq be fubhyqa'g svaq boivbhf, nobhg gur raqvat bs Zl Erny Puvyqera.

I will note, though, that Stephen Frug's heartfelt #85 is literally the first time I've seen anyone protest the Le Guin quote as a "horrendous spoiler." And I know for a fact that lots of early readers of the published book were people who are known, by me, to be extremely spoiler-averse. But I do see his point, and I'll keep it in mind when we do subsequent editions.

#93 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 09:27 AM:

V guvax gur ernqre trgf gb svther bhg gur pubvpr naq gung gurer ner cbffvoyl zber guna gjb. Nf Cng/Gevfu jbaqref:
Ubj znal jbeyqf jrer gurer? Bar? Gjb? Na vasvavgr ahzore?
Vs gur pubvpr vf ernyyl orgjrra abj naq arire, vg frrzf yvxr rnpu ernqre unf gb znxr gur pubvpr onfrq ba gurve vagreanyvmvat bs Gevfu/Cng'f yvsr.

#94 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 09:46 AM:

V guvax fur qbrf trg gb pubbfr, ohg orpnhfr fur xabjf gur pbafrdhraprf bs ure pubvpr, fur qbrfa'g trg gur fnzr jbeyq gung fur tbg jura fur znqr gur jbefr pubvpr sbe urefrys va vtabenapr. Naq V guvax gur jbeyq fur trgf ol pubbfvat gur jbefr yvsr sbe urefrys vf bhef.

There is no basis for this in the text. But it's why I said what I did in comment 20.

#95 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 11:00 AM:

abi@94:I like that idea.

#96 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 02:56 PM:

Thanks to everyone for replies.

V'z tbvat gb gnxr gur qviretrapr bs ivrjf sebz vagryyvtrag pbzzragngbef nf vzcylvat gung ng yrnfg vg'f abg fbzr *irel* boivbhf guvat V'ir zvffrq: juvpu vf gb fnl, gung gurer zvtug or *na* nafjre, ohg vs fb vg'f zber bs n Trar-Jbysr-jr'yy-arrq-Eboreg-Obefxv-be-Wbua-Pyhgr-gb-jbex-vg-bhg-bire-gvzr, gura n Seht-lbh-qhaqreurnq-ubj-pbhyq-lbh-abg-unir-frra fbegn guvat. Naq V'z yrnavat gbjneqf n ybbfre vagrecergngvba.

That said, please, keep the comments coming!

#92 PNH: I apologize if I put the point too strongly. But it did signal the end more than I'd like. (And I don't think of myself as *particularly* spoiler adverse...). Thanks for considering the matter.

Incidentally, it wasn't the worst back-of-the-book spoiler I've ever seen: the blurb on my copy of Heinlein's Double Star literally spoiled all the way up to the penultimate page of the novel. Now *that* was annoying.

#97 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 03:54 PM:

I have seen a copy of The Moonstone which named the murderer on the back cover. (I guess the problem arose from it being seen as Classics rather than Detection.)

Abi: Thanks for your interpretation; it has the advantage of resolving a rather obvious problem that was worrying me. Qbrf gung znxr Cngevpvn na Vapnagre?

#98 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 04:03 PM:

Lbh zvtug guvax gung, ohg V pbhyqa'g cbffvoyl pbzzrag.

#99 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 05:15 PM:

The most aggravating spoiler blurb I've ever experienced was the one for Greg Bear's Eon. The story-telling does an amazing job of building up a mystery about what's inside the anomalous asteroid, leading up to a reveal about 1/4 of the way into the book which would be jaw-droppingly beyond anything you'd ever expect - if the blurb hadn't stomped on it.

If you have never read the book, get somebody to tear off or hide the back cover before you start it.

#100 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 06:03 PM:

P.S. and I thank you all for rot13-ing here, because I haven't got my copy yet. Hmmm. It's lunch time. Maybe a trip to B&N is in order.

#101 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 08:01 PM:

... and I have it! I'm sure I'll have my own comments after I've gulped it the first time through.

#102 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2014, 08:36 PM:

One thing I liked about getting this book in beta was that I had no idea what it was about until I started. Jo sent out the file and I started. No cover, so no cover blurbs at all.
This made for a preconception free reading. For this book, I think that heightened the experience of Pat's life. Especially the first chapter as I tried to figure out just what was happening.

#103 ::: Jane Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2014, 04:52 AM:

Among Others was such a beautiful book. I have to sit quietly and close my eyes when I think of it. It's still with me now.

I am SO going to buy this when it is published in the UK.

#104 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2014, 12:35 PM:

Well, I just finished and it left me in tears last night and again this morning, as I've come to expect from Jo's work. Very good tears.

My answer is with abi's, and I'd add one other thought: Ybivat ure puvyqera nf fur qbrf, naq nyy bs gurz orvat ure erny puvyqera, ubj pbhyq fur jubyrurnegrqyl pubbfr nal nafjre ohg "obgu"? Naq gung tvirf ure bhe jbeyq, grrgrevat nybat ba gur rqtr bs qvfnfgre, ohg fybjyl vapuvat gbjneqf zber xvaqarff, zber gbyrenapr, zber ybir.

Patricia's struggle with her memory has a particularly personal resonance for me owing to my mother's dementia and memory problems over the last decade before her death. It has raised a real question for me of whether I will want to live with that, if mine goes down the same road, though I hope it won't come to that.

#105 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2014, 02:16 PM:

More end talk.

V fnj vg nf zber bs n Gur Ynql be Gur Gvtre? pubvpr gur svefg gvzr V ernq vg. V ernq n erivrj gung gubhtug vg jbhyq or boivbhf fur jbhyq tb jvgu Jbeyq Orr (grr urr). Ohg gung erivrj arrqrq gb tb gb gur arkg yriry.

Nyfb, znlor gur nafjre srryf boivbhf qrcraqvat ba lbhe vagrecergngvba bs dhnaghz zrpunavpf. Gur fgbel pbhyq or n creznarag ovshepngvba, be n fhcrecbfvgvba/bofreingvba/pbyyncfr. Znal jbeyqf be gur Pbcrauntra vagrecergngvba?

Qbrf nalbar ryfr guvax Cngevpvn'f zbz fhssrerq sebz gur fnzr pbaqvgvba? Fur yvirq va n jbeyq jurer ure uhfonaq naq fba qvrq, ohg gur Anmvf jrer qrsrngrq... Znlor gur jbzra bs guvf yvar xrrc jnagvat gb unir vg nyy.

#106 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2014, 04:56 PM:

OK, I admit, I borrowed Lenore's copy (and her Nook). I haven't replaced the shoes, either, but...well. I couldn't wait any longer to read it.

I loved it. It was heartbreaking, and I was completely engaged in the lives of this woman and her spouses and children.

As for the ending, V qvqa'g trg gur vzcerffvba fur jnf pubbfvat sbe nalbar ohg urefrys, be rira gung juvpu yvsr fur cersreerq jbhyq npghnyyl punatr ure rkcrevraprf be qrgrezvar juvpu frg bs puvyqera pbagvahrq gb rkvfg. V gbbx vg nf whfg gur nathvfu bs univat gb qrpvqr jung jnf erny jura obgu pubvprf unir nfcrpgf lbh ybir naq nfcrpgf lbh noube.

#107 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2014, 05:23 PM:

I think I love this book more and more as I hear about how everybody is taking away quite different from the ending.

#108 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2014, 05:24 PM:

arrgh... that should read "something quite different"

#109 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2014, 05:30 PM:

Xopher #106: Ng yrnfg ba vgf fhesnpr — jung Wrjf pnyy gur "cfung", gur cyna zrnavat bs gur grkg — fur qbrf pubbfr sbe zber guna whfg urefrys. Vg fnlf fb va gur cernagrcrahygvzngr cnentencu: "Znex be Orr. Ab pubvpr, rkprcg gung fur jnfa'g pubbfvat bayl sbe urefrys." (Bgure yvarf va gur ynfg srj cntrf nyfb fhttrfg vg, V guvax, ohg gur bgure yvarf ner n ovg nethnoyr; gung frrzf fgenvtugsbejneq.) Znlor gung'f fhccbfrq gb or qryhfvba ba ure cneg be fbzrguvat. Ohg, ntnva, vg frrzf gb zr gung gur cfung vf gung fur qbrf pubbfr sbe zber guna urefrys.

Dan Lewis #105:

Regarding your final point — "Qbrf nalbar ryfr guvax Cngevpvn'f zbz fhssrerq sebz gur fnzr pbaqvgvba?" — it's a nice thought. Certainly the evidence is merely suggestive. But I do like the idea.

#110 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 11:08 AM:

Gur ernfba V yvxr Nov'f gurbel vf gung vg nafjref n dhrfgvba gung jbhyq bgurejvfr or chmmyvat; jung unf unccrarq gb bhe gvzryvar? Cngevpvn znxrf bayl bar pehpvny pubvpr, naq vg'f n fgenvtugsbejneq lrf/ab pubvpr, fb vg ybbxf nf vs gurer ner bayl gjb jnlf sbejneq sebz gurer; lrg obgu yrnq njnl sebz bhe jbeyq. Ubj pna guvf or? Nov'f vagrecergngvba nafjref guvf: bhe jbeyq jnf abg ninvynoyr hagvy Cngevpvn unq frra gur gjb bevtvany gvzryvarf naq jnf noyr gb pubfr va gur yvtug bs guvf.

#111 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 01:33 PM:

Andrew, I have to say I like that a lot. But jung gura orpbzrf bs Cngevpvn'f yvsr va bhe gvzryvar? Nyfb, vg erznvaf harkcynvarq jul Cngevpvn (be nalbar) fubhyq unir fhpu cbjre. Fur qbrfa'g fubj nal ernyvgl-oraqvat novyvgl ng nal cbvag va rvgure gvzryvar.

Juvpu vf gur jubyr ceboyrz V unir jvgu gur "fur'f pubbfvat sbe gur jubyr jbeyq" vagrecergngvba. Gurer'f abguvat va rvgure gvzryvar gb fhccbeg vg be frg vg hc. Gurer'f ab pbaarpgvba sebz ure pubvpr gb zneel Znex be abg gb nal bs gur jbeyq riragf va gur gvzryvarf...jryy, abg ng gur fcyvg cbvag naljnl. Ure xvqf qb nppryrengr gur zbba pbybal cebtenz va bar gvzryvar, ohg gung'f zhpu yngre (gurer nyernql VF n zbba pbybal cebtenz, sbe bar guvat).

V thrff gur nafjre gb gung vf ure ersrerapr gb gur Ohggresyl Rssrpg. Vg'f cbffvoyr gung ure jrqqvat pnhfrq evccyrf gung xrcg fbzrbar sebz tbvat gb Nzrevpn ng gur evtug gvzr gb cerirag Xraarql'f nffnffvangvba rgp. V whfg guvax vs WJ unq vagraqrq gung fur jbhyq unir frg vg hc zber.

#112 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 02:15 PM:

ROT-13 is so much fun. Did you know that if you rot13 "nowhere" it turns into "abjurer"? Other fun pairs: Pyrex/clerk, green/terra, Cheryl/purely.

And if you ROT13 "SF" it reverses into "FS".

I started thinking about this because one My Real Children character's name, ROT-13'd, is "Orr", which is the protagonist's surname in an unpublished story my spouse wrote that has some themes in common with My Real Children.

#113 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 02:22 PM:

Xopher: I feel it's possible to write about this particular question without spoilers or ROT13, since it's present from the very inception of the book.

I see the influence of Patricia's choice as more than simply the "Butterfly Effect", and interpret the power of Patricia's decision in the influence of a religious light.

If I may jump (within genre) to Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, which has a profoundly serious moral underpinning, one of the tenets expressed there is that every victory for good and every expression of good, however minute, is a victory for good throughout all space and time and influencing all space and time. This is also an essential idea in Mahayana Buddhism; I was both startled and unsurprised to find an epigram from Dogen Zenji's 'Moon in a Dewdrop' heading one of Diane Duane's later books in the series.

In reality, every choice we make, each word we speak, each action we take, truly does affect our entire world and the entire universe. We simply are not privileged to know in what ways they will do so. Faith is the trust that our intent for good and our choices for good will ultimately have good effects even if they aren't visible or appear as a failure to us. I see the change in the world she lives in with Mark as the spreading ramifications of the generosity of that one choice, independent of how it works for her.

In both her lives, Patricia is herself profoundly and simply religious - I was deeply moved by her expressions of gratitude to God for Bee's presence in her life. Perhaps one way to understand her recall of both lives is as a kind of grace, a gift.

#114 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 02:50 PM:

Clifton 113: V qvqa'g frr ure qrpvfvba gb zneel Znex nf trarebhf fb zhpu nf sbbyvfu. Ur ungrq ure sbe nterrvat gb zneel uvz naq gerngrq ure nppbeqvatyl. Gur bayl tbbq gung pnzr bs gurve zneevntr jnf gur puvyqera, naq jryy, sybjref tebj sebz qhaturncf. Naq abg nyy bs gurz jrer sybjref; fbzr bs gurz jrer gurve sngure'f bssfcevat va zber guna whfg gur culfvpny frafr.

V ernyyl qvqa'g yvxr Gevpvn ng gur ortvaavat. V sryg cvgl sbe ure, ohg xrcg tbvat "ab, ab, qba'g qb gung, gung'f fghcvq!" ...juvyr ng gur fnzr gvzr ernyvmvat gung fur qvqa'g unir gur pubvprf, be xabjyrqtr bs pubvprf, gb or noyr gb nibvq gubfr zvfgnxrf.

#115 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 03:27 PM:

Xopher: V qvfnterr ba n pbhcyr cbvagf bs lbhe vagrecergngvba, cnegvphyneyl "sbbyvfu" - zvfgnxra naq sbbyvfu ner abg gur fnzr guvat. Fur jnf jba bire ol gur ybivat gubhtugf ur rkcerffrq va uvf yrggref gb ure naq qvqa'g ernyvmr gung ur jbhyq arire nyybj uvzfrys gb or gung jnl jvgu ure. Ertneqyrff, V gubhtug ure "abj" jnf orpnhfr fur sryg ng gung zbzrag gung ur qrfcrengryl arrqrq ure.

V nyfb qba'g guvax ur ungrq ure sbe nterrvat gb zneel uvz. Tvira jung jr svanyyl yrnea nobhg uvz, vg frrzrq gb zr gung Znex ungrq uvzfrys nyy nybat, ungrq cergraqvat gb or urgrebfrkhny naq "abezny", cebonoyl ungrq orvat tnl, naq jnf gnxvat nyy gung bhg ba ure nf n fpncrtbng. Hggreyl ubeevoyr orunivbe, ohg fnqyl oryvrinoyr sbe gur gvzrf.

#116 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 03:28 PM:

#111 ::: Xopher Halftongue

Strongly agree, this is what I got.

Also, at the beginning, weren't we to understand there were zber guna gjb jbeyq ivrjf? V'z guvaxvat bs gur qrgnvyf bs ure pner snpvyvgl.

Vg'f nyfb cbffvoyr fur jnf yrtvgvzngryl pbashfrq nf jryy nf pnhtug va gur fuvsgvat yvarf.

#117 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 03:42 PM:

P.S. Vg nyfb fgehpx zr yngre, n juvyr nsgre ernqvat, gung jura Gevfu ernyvmrf arne gur raq bs gur obbx gung gur jbeyq jurer fur fnlf "Lrf" gb Znex raqf hc orvat bar jurer fur pbhyq unir zneevrq Orr, nygubhtu fur qbrfa'g guvax bs vg, gung nyfb zrnaf vg vf bar jurer Znex pbhyq riraghnyyl unir orra jub ur ernyyl jnf. Vs gurl unq tebja hc va gung jbeyq nf vg ribyirq, ur jbhyq abg unir arrqrq gb cebcbfr gb ure nf n cergrafr gb or fgenvtug.

V'z abg fher jurer gung svgf vagb nalguvat be vs vg qbrf, vg whfg bppheerq gb zr nf orybatvat fbzrjurer.

#118 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 04:46 PM:

Clifton 115: V fnvq sbbyvfu orpnhfr "zneel va unfgr, ercrag ng yrvfher" vf n jryy-xabja ehyr, naq rira fb furygrerq n crefba nf fur jnf fubhyq unir xabja orggre. Lrf, ur sbbyrq ure jvgu uvf yrggref (naq V gubhtug vg jnf tbvat gb ghea bhg gung fbzrbar ryfr jebgr gurz, Plenab-fglyr). Ohg fur qvqa'g unir gb npprcg uvf snyfr qvpubgbzl; fur pbhyq unir fnvq "qba'g or fvyyl, jr pna gnxr fbzr gvzr gb guvax nobhg guvf." Be znlor fur pbhyqa'g, ohg gung qbrfa'g znxr vg jvfr abg gb.

Zl gubhtug vf gung Znex tnir ure gung hygvznghz orpnhfr ur jnf orvat cerffherq ol gung bgure pbhcyr (gur barf jub qrpvqrq gung fur fubhyq or Gevfun sebz gura ba; V qba'g unir gur obbx urer) gb zneel, naq gung ur jnf ernyyl ubcvat fur'q ghea uvz qbja, naq gura, ng yrnfg sbe n crevbq bs lrnef, ur'q unir gur rkphfr bs "V unq zl urneg oebxra ol gur bayl jbzna V pbhyq rire ybir" naq abg unir gb zneel.

Gura fur fnvq lrf, naq ehvarq uvf yvsr. Tenagrq gung vg jnf ernyyl ragveryl uvf snhyg (abg orvat tnl, boivbhfyl, ohg uvf jnl bs qrnyvat jvgu vg); unf gung rire fgbccrq n zna sebz oynzvat n jbzna sbe uvf gebhoyrf? Rfcrpvnyyl uvf jvsr?

#119 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 05:15 PM:

Carol 116: V unq gur srryvat gung gur qrgnvyf bs ure pner snpvyvgl sryy vagb gjb pbasvthengvbaf, gur bar jvgu gur yvsg naq gur bar jvgubhg. Juvpu bar orybatrq gb Gevfu naq juvpu gb Cng V unir ab vqrn.

#120 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 05:33 PM:

Xopher @ 118: V fnvq sbbyvfu orpnhfr "zneel va unfgr, ercrag ng yrvfher" vf n jryy-xabja ehyr

True enough. One of the things I've had to relearn and remind myself of recently is that really there are never just two alternatives in a situation, however much it might feel temporarily that there are.

"V ybir lbh, ohg qba'g or fvyyl, gnxr n qrrc oerngu, naq yrg'f gnyx guvf bire shyyl" zvtug unir lvryqrq lrg nabgure irel qvssrerag yvsr.

#121 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 05:43 PM:

Sumana: Do you also have the problem that after you've been reading/writing enough ROT13 text, it starts to come through a little too easily? After a bit, the most common short words - conjunctions, prepositions, etc. - like "naq" and "gur" and "guvf" start being directly readable.

Speaking of which, your mention of "Bee" and "Orr" made me notice that "be" and "or" are another rot13 word pair.

#122 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 05:57 PM:

Clifton @121:

"V ybir lbh, ohg qba'g or fvyyl, gnxr n qrrc oerngu, naq yrg'f gnyx guvf bire shyyl" zvtug unir lvryqrq lrg nabgure irel qvssrerag yvsr.

Naq gung erwrpgvba bs gur qvpubgbzl znl vaqrrq or n jnl va juvpu Nov'f vagrecergngvba va #94 pbhyq or ernyvmrq.

Vg'f abg fhccbegrq ol gur grkg, nf fur abgrf, naq vg jbhyqa'g unir bppheerq gb zr. Vg vf, creuncf, fhccbegrq ol "Ntnvafg Ragebcl" - rfcrpvnyyl gur ynfg yvar.

"Fnl jung lbh zrna. Orne jvgarff. Vgrengr."

Vs lbh fgneg sebz gur gjb rkgerzrf bs yvirf cerfragrq va gur grkg, naq vgrengr orgjrra gurz n srj gvzrf, lbh znl jryy jvaq hc jvgu fbzrguvat yvxr bhe jbeyq.

(Sbe gung znggre, gur ragver obbx pbhyq or ernq nf n erfcbafr abg whfg gb gur fbaarg, ohg gb gur "qb abg oryvrir lbh'yy trg gur punapr gb pubbfr" yvar - jung jbhyq vg zrna vs lbh pbhyq pubbfr jung nobhg lbhe yvsr lbh ybfr?)

#123 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 06:10 PM:

lorax@122: Oh, I really like your expansion of that thought! Thank you!

#124 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 06:23 PM:

Sumana@112: I remember a discussion at about whether The City and the City was FS or snagnfl.

#125 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 06:32 PM:

Gur vqrn gung bhe jbeyq pnzr bhg bs n pbzovangvba bs gur gjb jbeyqf fubja qbrfa'g ernyyl jbex sbe zr. Gur cbvag bs gurer orvat gjb jbeyqf, arvgure bhef, vf gb perngr hapregnvagl nobhg gur svany pubvpr: vs bar bs gur gvzryvarf JRER bhef, gura jr'q XABJ juvpu jnl fur pubfr, juvpu jbhyq ragveryl qrfgebl gur "Ynql-be-Gvtre" nfcrpg bs gur raqvat.

#126 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 08:44 PM:

I'm never going to get caught up here. Last night it took me a good half-hour to unrot a couple of comments. And gave me a headache.

#127 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 09:11 PM:

V yvxr Kbcure'f vqrn gung Znex npghnyyl jnagrq gb or ghearq qbja naq uvf ungerq terj bhg bs gur npprcgnapr. V guvax Pyvsgba vf nyfb evtug gung Znex cebonoyl ungrq uvzfrys naq gur fvghngvba ur jnf va. Onfvpnyyl, ur jnf gbgnyyl zrffrq hc.

#128 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 09:11 PM:

Anne, do you know about

That makes it fairly easy. For Firefox users there's also an extension called Leetkey, though it may currently take a little tinkering to get it to install.

I'd have a headache too if I had to read all of the rot13'ed text without assistance.

#129 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 09:49 PM:

Wow, great discussion. Although while I'm not getting a headache, due to Rot13, I *am* loosing track of whose saying what in between all the cutting & pasting.

But great theories.

I do have one question, Xopher, if you still believe that fur qbrfa'g trg gb pubbfr, gura ubj qb lbh vagrecerg gur yvar V dhbgrq va zl nobir pbzzrag ("Znex be Orr. Ab pubvpr, rkprcg gung fur jnfa'g pubbfvat bayl sbe urefrys.")?

And on the question of jurgure be abg fur jnf sbbyvfu gb pubbfr Znex: Guvf vf npghnyyl zl znwbe yvgrenel *pevgvdhr* bs gur abiry: puncgref gjb-svir, juvpu fubj ure cer-qvivqrq yvsr, ner gjb bar-fvqrq. Juvpu vf gb fnl, gung ol gur raq vg frrzrq ernyyl pyrne juvpu jnf gur evtug pubvpr: V xabj V jnf lryyvat ng gur cntr "Fnl ab! Fnl ab!".

Fb jung V jbhyq unir fhttrfgrq (unq V ernq vg va qensg) jbhyq or gung Jnygba npghnyyl *dhbgr* bar bs gubfr yrggref. Vg jbhyqa'g unir znqr pubbfvat Znex gur evtug pubvpr (nfvqr sebz orggre-jbeyq erfhygf), boivbhfyl, ohg vg jbhyq unir tvira hf n zber thg-yriry haqrefgnaqvat bs ure pubvpr (gung cneg bs ure gung pubfr vg), gb fnl abguvat bs jul gurl'q snyyra va ybir ng nyy. V qba'g guvax vg'f fhccbfrq gb or gung fur zvfernq gur yrggref ragveryl, v.r. gung gurl jrera'g nalguvat fcrpvny: nsgre nyy, jura fur erernq gurz rira xabjvat jub naq jung ur jnf, fur fgvyy fnj gur tbbq va gurz (vs abg va uvz). Fb jul abg tvir hf *fbzr* frafr bs gur bgure fvqr naq fubj jung fur ybirq nobhg uvz, naq abg whfg ersre gb vg (boivbhfyl zhpu jrnxre)? Fur jbhyqa'g unir gb punatr n jbeq bs gur yngre grkg — vg pbhyq fgvyy or cerpvfryl jung vg jnf, naq *ur* pbhyq or cerpvfryl jung fur fb-dhvpxyl sbhaq uvz gb or — ohg V'q yvxr gb frr n ovg bs gur bar guvat gung znqr ure guvax qvssreragyl.

Boivbhfyl V unir ab vqrn jul Jnygba qvqa'g pubbfr gb qb guvf. Ohg V'q fcrphyngr gung vg'f uneq: vg'f yvxr univat n punenpgre jub'f n terng cbrg be cuvybfbcure: vg'f nyjnlf zber pbaivapvat vs lbh qrfpevor gurz guhf jvgubhg dhbgvat gurz. (Hayrff lbh'er Anobxbi, V thrff.) Ba gur bgure unaq, vg *vf* jrnxre: va n "fubj abg gryy" frafr, jr'er bayl gbyq. Znlor vg jbhyq unir orra vzcbffvoyr gb jevgr yrggref gung jbhyq whfgvsl Cngevpvn'f snvgu va Znex. (Be creuncf rirel ernqre jbhyq unir arrqrq n qvssrerag yrggre, naq gung'f jul vg'f orggre gb gryy abg fubj.) Fgvyy, V guvax gung vs fhpu n yrggre — be ng yrnfg bar puhaxl dhbgr sebz bar — pbhyq unir orra jbexrq va, vg jbhyq unir orra n fgebatre obbx.

(Qba'g trg zr jebat: vg'f na nznmvat abiry. V'ir nyernql chfurq vg ba n ybg bs sevraqf. V'z ybbxvat sbejneq gb erernqvat vg. Ohg V qb guvax gung vg, yvxr nalguvat haqre urnira, vf abg dhvgr cresrpg, rira vs vg'f irel irel irel irel tbbq: naq V guvax guvf vf bar bs vgf synjf.)

I'm curious what everyone else thinks of the suggestion in those last few paragraphs. I rather guess people will disagree, but maybe not...

#130 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 09:50 PM:

Perhaps it's too late now, but maybe a special spoiler thread on this book would be good? To let us talk freely (and to keep us all from getting ebg13 headaches)?

#131 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 09:52 PM:

Like Steve Halter @ 127, I also agree with Xopher's analysis of Znex'f cebcbfny naq fhofrdhrag orunivbe @ 118.

This reminds me of something in Alison's Bechdel's most excellent Fun Home, which is a memoir about her parents. Ure sngure jbbrq ure zbgure sebz nsne jvgu oevyyvnag yrggref. Ur jnf tnl, ohg qrgrezvarq gb cnff nf fgenvtug. Ur jnf na Ratyvfu znwbe, naq yvxrq gur vqrn bs gurz orvat S. Fpbgg Svgmtrenyq naq Mryqn (vs zl zrzbel freirf pbeerpgyl). Gura fur npghnyyl neevirq ba n cynar gb zneel uvz.

#132 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 10:07 PM:

Thank you, Clifton. I'll have to check that out.

#133 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 10:22 PM:

Stephen Frug@129:Jul Wb (jub vf jryy njner bs gryyvat if fubjvat) znqr gur pubvpr gb tb nyy va jvgu gryyvat zvtug or na vagrerfgvat nirahr gb guvax nobhg obgu va eryngvba gb gur yvgrenel pubvpr naq gur birenyy qvfphffvba bs pubvpr.

#134 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 10:29 PM:

Steve Halter #133: I'm not sure I see where you're going with that. Care to elaborate?

#135 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 11:26 PM:

On the ending: I incline toward abi's view in #94, though I'm not sure the text supports that interpretation more strongly than the others; it seemed to me a very "Lady or the Tiger?" ending.

On Tricia's relationship with Mark:

V pna frr ubj Kbcure'f vagrecergngvba vf cynhfvoyr, ng yrnfg va ergebfcrpg -- gung vf, vg'f cynhfvoyr gung Znex zvtug yngre ba pbzr gb oynzr Gevfu sbe zneelvat uvz. Ohg V qba'g guvax ur jnagrq ure gb ghea uvz qbja ng gur gvzr ur nfxrq ure. Jura V ernq gur yvar:

"Ur nqqerffrq ure nf uvf 'frpbaq frys' naq fnvq gung fur jbhyq erqrrz uvz."

-- V fnvq gb zlfrys, "BX, ur unf fbzr ceboyrz be creprvirq ceboyrz naq ur guvaxf zneevntr, cnegvphyneyl gb Cnggl, jvyy or n zntvp ohyyrg gb svk vg. Znlor ur'f tnl (zbfg yvxryl, tvira gur ahzore bs tnl punenpgref va Wb Jnygba'f bgure obbxf, naq gur Znewbevr & Tenpr vapvqrag n srj cntrf rneyvre), be znlor ur'f genaftraqrerq, be unf n cbeabtencul nqqvpgvba be n cerqvyrpgvba sbe serdhragvat cebfgvgvgrf -- fbzrguvat ur guvaxf gung zneelvat Cnggl jvyy svk. Naq vg'f abg tbvat gb jbex, bs pbhefr." Cebonoyl ur oynzrq Gevpvn jura uvf zntvp ohyyrg qvqa'g jbex, ohg V qba'g guvax ur jnagrq ure gb ghea uvz qbja jura ur nfxrq ure.

#136 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2014, 11:26 PM:

Stephen:V guvax lbhe bofreingvba vf n tbbq naq vagrerfgvat bar. Rfcrpvnyyl tvira gung jr ner gnyxvat nobhg gur angher bs pubvprf naq gurve rssrpgf. Vg bppheerq gb zr gung gurer pbhyq or n qrrcyl vagrejbira eryngvbafuvc orgjrra gur pubvprf gung ner znqr naq gur angher bs gur gryyvat bs gur fgbel vgfrys. Nf lbh zragvba, gur svefg puncgref ner gryyvat hf gur cerqvivqrq fgbel naq gura jr frr n pubvpr cerfragrq naq gur bhgpbzrf sbe n ovshepngrq havirefr. Gura, ng gur raq jr zretr naq tvir gur ernqre n pubvpr. Fb, znal pubvprf gb guvax nobhg naq gurer ner cebonoyl ernfbaf haqreylvat rnpu bs gurz gung ner jbegu gnyxvat nobhg.

#137 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 01:20 AM:

V nterr jvgu Kbcure -- vg qbrfa'g frrz nf gubhtu Cngevpvn'f pubvprf pbhyq cbffvoyl or pnhfngvir bs gur punatrf va gur terngre jbeyq, orlbaq gur rssrpg ba ure bja pvepyr (juvpu jbhyq boivbhfyl vapernfr gur qvssreraprf orgjrra gur gjb jbeyqf bire gur trarengvbaf, ohg jbhyqa'g, nf V frr vg, vzzrqvngryl rkgraq gb guvatf yvxr jurgure gur Xraarqlf jrer fubg). V fnj gur pubbfvat gung jnf abg bayl sbe urefrys nf zrnavat cevznevyl gung fur jbhyq unir gb qrpvqr juvpu bs ure puvyqera rkvfgrq.

Ohg V nz fgnegvat gb guvax gung znlor Wb qvq vagraq Cngevpvn'f pubvpr gb or pnhfngvir, juvpu V nz abg fher V yvxr. V jvyy unir gb ernq gur obbx ntnva naq frr (obgu jurgure gung ernqvat znxrf frafr, naq jurgure V yvxr vg).

#138 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 01:58 AM:

I may start calling myself Kbcure somewhere or other.

#139 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 05:17 AM:

Xopher @ #138

You have a cure for keyboards? Do tell.

#140 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 06:43 AM:

I'm sorry I didn't think of a spoiler thread sooner. Do we want one now, or is it too late? Or should I turn this into a spoiler thread (post warnings) and rotate the comments the rest of the way? Tell me what I should do, for I am short of sleep and not at all decisive.

Also, I don't think it's a case of actual causation. I think that in a book like this one, the universe is allowed to work by the rules of poetry. I think that in it, association and symbolism, and yes, even rhythm, rhyme, and music, affect the course of history as much as agency and power, which follow the rules of prose.

And I think writing a book that works both ways, as poetry and as prose, is a pretty damn neat achievement.

But I am drastically underslept, and everything is like a dream to me right now. I could well have parted company with objective reality in this.

#141 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 06:54 AM:

I'd be grateful for a spoiler thread that rotated the rot-13 comments already posted here.

#142 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 08:00 AM:

OtterB's suggestion@141 (spoiler thread rotating the already posted rot13 comments) sounds good to me.

#143 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 09:29 AM:

Designating this a spoiler thread and rotating all the ROT13 means that I'll have to stop reading this thread for a bit (have to finish m/y/ /h/o/m/e/w/o/r/k/ reading the Hugo candidates first) but it will vastly simplify my catching-up after I do. So I vote "yes".

#144 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 09:31 AM:

What you tell me three times is true. Give me a few minutes to assemble it.

#145 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 09:34 AM:

Please do not add to the conversation in either thread until I tell you to, OK? I need a little bit of time to copy things over.

#146 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2014, 11:16 AM:

OK, all done. Let the conversations resume.

#147 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2014, 09:57 AM:

This finally came in and I've been reading it this weekend.

1. It's wonderful.
2. I hate Mark.

#148 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2014, 10:07 AM:

Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads @146, thank you! I'll be having some lovely stirfry chicken for lunch and I'll set aside a plate for you....

#149 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2014, 11:24 AM:

Ah, I return to this thread, as I read oh so slowly these days and I'm not finished yet. I have just hit the 70s, and I'm having the mildly uncomfortable realization that I'm missing out on a lot of interesting world-building things simply by not knowing real history well enough to compare. Still. Having a fascinating, marvelous time so far. (Though I think I need to start writing out names on an index card, front and back for the respective timelines, so that I can keep everyone straight. I've never been good with names.)

#150 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2014, 05:46 PM:

Jim Henry @82: J. Michael Straczynski (I think it was he) said that he had continuous dreams for years of an alternate life where he was living in one town and going to school every year with the same friends, instead of moving frequently because of his father's work as he was doing in real life. (I'm basing this on 20-year old memories, probably inaccurate

Yes, I remember that story, too. The town, as I recall, was under construction. My impression was that the "town" that was getting constructed was his brain's metaphor for the B5 universe.

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