terça-feira, maio 15, 2018

Non-Distinctive Narrative Voice: "All Systems Red" by Martha Wells


“I remember every word ever said to me." That was a lie. Who would want that? Most of it I delete from permanent memory.

In "All Systems Red" by Martha Wells




"I'm six-foot five inches tall, black wavy hair, turquoise eyes, and with a cat under my arm." In a first-person narration how can I describe this? Should I use an admiration take or just be factual? For starters, admiration has nothing to do with sexual attraction. You can admire someone for what they do or say, but when it comes to sexual attraction the first and foremost things on your mind are… But then I am a full bodied male and I suppose my sexuality is more "aggressive" because of that, not that I'm unable to appreciate the higher components of an individual of course. Because of this "nuances", first-person narration is always rather difficult to engineer with complete success. They do involve a lot of tinkering to make sure you do indeed avoid the tiresome repetition of "I" in favour of more interesting ways of presenting the character's perspective. The question is always the same: How is it possible to have an absolutely distinctive voice from the first page onwards? How can I build a story around the other characters by using "the eyes" of the first-person narrator? Could my hypothetical first-person narrator say something like "I'm choked with admiration for you!"? Narrative-wise is it a perfectly feasible emotion? I think so. A bit creepy to say otherwise, I would think, unless you walk around with porn goggles on. It’s very difficult to shift point-of-view in first person. With so many characters, should Martha Wells have written alternating chapters all in first-person narrative, one for each of the crew members (along with the chapters for the murderbot)? Yes, but then we'd have a longer novel and maybe Wells didn't want to go down that path. Who knows? This is only SF right? As it is, all the characters seem basically identical in voice and all are clearly just riffs on the author's voice. Not good enough. But 3 stars for the attempt just the same.


SF = Speculative Fiction.

5 comentários:

Book Stooge disse...

Does this mean you won't be reading the other 3 novellas coming out this year? I've been waiting until all 4 are released and then I'll dive in and see what all the fuss is about.

Manuel Antão disse...

I've just finished "Artificial Condition". It was a 4-star read, much to my surprise.

Anónimo disse...

Well, I guess that answers that question.


A blogger related question, not apropos to the post itself.

If I link to a post of yours, like I did with Algorithm of Power, do you get any sort of notification anywhere?

I just started following some other people on blogger and am having some issues with commenting and other stuff. I just wanted to get some answers from a friendly force before I go charging in on a new blog, guns blazing :-)

Manuel Antão disse...

No. I didn't have any kind of notification when you linked "The Algorithm of Power".

Do tell...

Book Stooge disse...

Well, if you read my review on wordpress, I add you as a source in regards to the translation issue I had questions about. I just needed confirmation you didn't get any sort of notification from blogger.

I do know I don't get notifications in wordpress when I link to something in wordpress from blogger. Since I add all my links to wordpress in my reviews and just copy/paste to blogger, I've got plenty of experience that way :-)