Tim Powers Q&A #2


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Tim Powers Q&A #2

Unread postby Liz » Fri May 06, 2011 5:05 pm

ONBC: "No Shady thought calmly. It just can't be expected of me. I am already on the sidewalk outside reality -- I am simply not going further into the street." (pg. 163) I am intrigued by the fact that your character’s thoughts and words are often beyond the experience of what would be expected of a novel set in the 1700s. I read this particular passage over a number of times as the very modern reflection by Jack comes out of left field. I am sure it's deliberate. The question is why? Does the use of modern day expressions, either in dialogue or in the reflections of the character, make his work accessible to a wider audience? Do you see no reason to have your characters 'ape' conventions of another age, thus making it harder for us to enjoy their thoughts, etc.? It could also be a light twist it you will, an unexpected interjection of modern times that takes the reader by surprise, slightly disorienting. This "technique" is something I also noticed quite a lot in the character of Beth and remarked on in responding to one of the Questions -- I "think" it was why is Beth upset . She is in the 1700s but her head is not there, it's a far more modern woman. It's incongruous, and actually funny.

Tim: I like your interpretation, and I may use it if somebody else points this out! But in fact -- and I wouldn't say this if I thought it would go any further! ;-) -- those were mistakes. Characters in 1718 shouldn't think of parallels from a future time, even if those parallels are what the writer thinks of! I guess I thought they had sidewalks back then -- I mean -- sheesh, it's not as if sidewalks are particularly high-tech!
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Re: Tim Powers Q&A #2

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri May 06, 2011 5:56 pm

You've got me laughing! Yes, my weakness for finding complexity (or more likely inventing it) in the simple has done me in again! You are most welcome to use my weighty explanation anytime you want. :hatsoff:

It was really the word that caught me -- it's modern. And yeah, of course I had to go and look up 'sidewalks' just now (uncontrollable habit unfortunately) and discovered that in the US at least the conventional "what we see in our heads when someone says 'sidewalk" began in roughly the 1860s in San Francisco. Yes, always for centuries walkways and pathways and byways etc.

Oh my. I am just quite happy I dragged this out of you in a small space rather than on a large stage somewhere. Hats off again to your honest and disarming reply.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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