Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

by Gordon Dahlquist

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Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:57 pm

From an interview with Mr. Dahlquist at powells.com:

If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?

I don't have a subtitle, but a good title would be "The Punishment Element, Perhaps," which is a quote from A Clockwork Orange, spoken by a doctor when they realize that the aversion therapy is desensitizing the main character against classical music as well as violence. For me it's a lovely moment pointing out how many unintended consequences arise out of human intentions, and also how we tend to do our best to rationalize and moralize what we realize too late that we can't control. It's as good a distillation as any for what I try to write about — and am no doubt as subject to as anyone else....

How does Mr. Dahlquist's intention manifest itself in The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters?
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby ladylinn » Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:14 pm

I see the intent manifested with Veilandt and his art work. Perhaps (and I know one should not assume) his experiments with the blue clay had a good purpose for humankind. After the cabal took control of the blue glass, there was no more rationing or moralizing for Veilandt. Also Roger, the Prince and many of the women were unable to resist or stop the consequences of the process. Miss Temple, Chang and Svenson also on each of their quests got to a point where they could not turn back even if they could see the moral decay for humanity. Despite the consequences of their acts, they could not control their push to go on and try to stop the cabal/process or at least excape from it.

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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:09 pm

ladylinn, I really need to learn to think outside of the box more! :eyebrow: It never occurred to me that the original intent of the blue clay may have been for good and maybe it wasn't meant as some sort of evil mind control tool.

(We will have a separate question on The Comte soon so please be careful of spoilers!)

There were times when the three main characters questioned what they were doing and came to the conclusion they were in too deep to go back, perhaps so they could rationalize and moralize their actions. The Cabal seemed to be able to rationalize that putting others through The Process was for the benefit of the victim, although their ultimate purpose was to benefit the members of the Cabal.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby gemini » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:01 pm

I am not sure I understood the intent of the glass books the way Dalquist intended but I thought that the cabal felt that it removed all inhibitions and made the subject more easily controlled by suggestion. It seems important to remember that unless I misunderstood, the main members of the cabal, The Contessa, Francis Xonck, and even the Comte didn't undergo the process.
This would certainly seem that they didn't truly believe it to be a benefit to the victim.

As for Dalquist intention, I think he may have been trying to counter the desensitizing factor of human intentions using the glass books symbolizing the sexual revolution.
This comment
For me it's a lovely moment pointing out how many unintended consequences arise out of human intentions, and also how we tend to do our best to rationalize and moralize what we realize too late that we can't control.

I am left to wondering what things he thinks we tend to rationalize and moralize that we can't control. I can't help but see the sexual contentation here and recall that he used erotism as the pull of the glass books and as a method of torment used by those of the cabal not under its control.
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby trygirl » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:41 pm

Perhaps the intent manifests with Lord Vandaariff. The man's aim was to profit from the Comte's alchemy. He financed the entire operation, brought the Cabal into his world, introduced them to his society and in the end was punished for it. He uses all of his commodities, including his daughter, for the prospect of world domination but instead gets the short end of the stick. I don’t think he foresaw his daughter’s fate or expected to be double crossed by his co-conspirators.

I'm sure when he through in his lot with the Contessa and the Comte, he never thought he would come out on the bottom. But the intent may also be apparent with Roger Bascombe. He never intended for Miss Temple to follow him after the rejection letter. He merely wanted to get rid of her, not have her track him down, and in the process subsequently ruin all of his plans.

But as to Dahlqist's real intention, I have no clue. Maybe it all goes back to computers and how this technology has desensitized society the same as the glass books. People are no longer shocked by anything because they have access to so many desensitizing images...making it easier to nudge our assumptions and control our thoughts. Or maybe his intent was to challenge cultism or religious fanaticism and how easy it is for those members to rationalize their involvement because they "believe" it's for the benefit of the greater good. But their rationalizations only work to serve the cult leaders.
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:42 pm

20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing! I think we all get ourselves into situations with the best of intentions and eventually find out that what we thought we were going to do isn't how it all turns out. Employment, marriage, friendship, education, parenthood.........most every action we take has a consequence and it often isn't the result we imagine. And so, to salvage something from our actions which cannot be undone, we make the best of things, find the good in a bad situation, and press on.

Let's see. what was the question? Well, there was Roger who wanted an inheritance and got in over his head. Chang was constantly doing more than he bargained for. I think there were a lot of characters in this story who got in over the heads, perhaps innocently, and had no way out. I am not so sure the members of the Cabal ever had good intentions. Were they really seeking power to benefit mankind when they started?

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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby Liz » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:26 am

In Glass Books I see a lot of intent going wrong……or maybe going right. Dahlquist talks about certain things being out of our control. I see a lot of fate working in Glass Books.

• Chang being hired to kill Trapping, but someone else getting there first.

• Miss Temple searching for Robert and accidentally meeting Chang on the train.

• The Contessa going to Chang to hire him to find Miss Temple.

• Svenson being hired to keep an eye on the Prince.

• Corinna (Svenson’s love) dying from something related to the Glass Books process—blood fever. (I’m not sure we ever got a definitive answer on that)

• The doc figuring out the antidote for Chang.

I know there’s more, but my brain isn’t working this evening.

As far as intent gone wrong, I think it could be all that trygirl listed.

Nebraska, I think our heroes made the best of a bad situation, and carried on. Neither Svenson nor Miss Temple ever thought they could kill as they did. But they did what they had to do.

Gemini, I can’t get my mind around the erotic aspect of the book and how it might relate here.

I’m still wondering what he means by “as good a distillation as any for what I try to write about”. Is it a self-cleansing? Is he referring to his writing or is what he writes about therapeutic?
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby gemini » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:42 pm

This is off topic to Dahlquist but I'll ask here because trygirls post made me wonder. A little help here for my failing memory. I can not recall what happened to Lord Vandaariff. I last remember him being lead around and controlled by Crabbe and Bascombe. I can't recall him on the airship but forget his outcome?
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:59 pm

gemini wrote:This is off topic to Dahlquist but I'll ask here because trygirls post made me wonder. A little help here for my failing memory. I can not recall what happened to Lord Vandaariff. I last remember him being lead around and controlled by Crabbe and Bascombe. I can't recall him on the airship but forget his outcome?


gemini, I was thinking about that today too. I don't remember anything specific. The last we saw of him he was at the mansion being led off by a memeber of the cabal...can't remember who exactly but Crabbe and Bascombe sounds right. Does anyone remember more? Hmm...maybe he shows up in a sequel?
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby trygirl » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:05 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
gemini wrote:This is off topic to Dahlquist but I'll ask here because trygirls post made me wonder. A little help here for my failing memory. I can not recall what happened to Lord Vandaariff. I last remember him being lead around and controlled by Crabbe and Bascombe. I can't recall him on the airship but forget his outcome?


gemini, I was thinking about that today too. I don't remember anything specific. The last we saw of him he was at the mansion being led off by a memeber of the cabal...can't remember who exactly but Crabbe and Bascombe sounds right. Does anyone remember more? Hmm...maybe he shows up in a sequel?


Lord Vandaariff went on ahead with the Duke, Mrs. Marchmoor, and Aspiche to what I think was the Duke's big council meeting...and then from there to Macklenburg. But while I'm not sure about the destination, I'm certain of his companions.
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:52 am

Thanks, trygirl! So he lives to see another day as well! Hmmm...
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby gemini » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:52 pm

trygirl wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
gemini wrote:This is off topic to Dahlquist but I'll ask here because trygirls post made me wonder. A little help here for my failing memory. I can not recall what happened to Lord Vandaariff. I last remember him being lead around and controlled by Crabbe and Bascombe. I can't recall him on the airship but forget his outcome?


gemini, I was thinking about that today too. I don't remember anything specific. The last we saw of him he was at the mansion being led off by a memeber of the cabal...can't remember who exactly but Crabbe and Bascombe sounds right. Does anyone remember more? Hmm...maybe he shows up in a sequel?


Lord Vandaariff went on ahead with the Duke, Mrs. Marchmoor, and Aspiche to what I think was the Duke's big council meeting...and then from there to Macklenburg. But while I'm not sure about the destination, I'm certain of his companions.


Oh That is interesting and leaves a lot of room for problems in a sequel. I knew someone would recall and it doesn't surprise me its you trygirl. Great memory for details.
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Re: Glass Books Question #20 ~ The Author's Intent

Unread postby Beatrix » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:25 pm

gemini wrote:I am not sure I understood the intent of the glass books the way Dalquist intended but I thought that the cabal felt that it removed all inhibitions and made the subject more easily controlled by suggestion.


I also thought the intention was for the Cabal to control others. They gained a lot by convincing the other characters to expose their secrets and give over their possessions to be part of the Cabal's inner circle. I hope that makes sense. :eyebrow:


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