Seeking Continuity in TNC

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Errant KnightsMove
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 9:18 pm

Seeking Continuity in TNC

Post by Errant KnightsMove » Thu May 11, 2017 9:23 pm

DGITC Warning! ( . . . if the title didn't tip you off)

Yeah, this is a thread about the elephant in the room. If you're a religious DGITCer, I respect your choices and recommend you click the back button immediately.

*waits*

Anyone still here? All right.

We don't talk about The Northern Caves much around here. And for good reason. There's a general consensus, even among the most hardcore Salbians, that TNC isn't just different or disappointing -- it's downright worthless.

Back in the old days, before TNC was digitized, there was this recurring phenomenon: some fan would get excited about TNC, jump through hoops to obtain a photocopy of an excerpt (typically the first 100 pages IIRC), and then, inevitably, discover that TNC just isn't Chesscourt.

It starts out Chesscourt-ish, with Tom and co. deciding (arguably OOC) to go and see what those spooky caves north of the Manor are all about. For a few pages, it looks like it could be another installment of the series we know and love. And then it . . . turns into nonsense. Literally. Not only does it not sound like LS, it doesn't even sound like English. And when there are moments that can be understood by a human being, they're usually totally OOC, graphically fucked-up, poorly written, and just generally not anything worth reading, IMO and in most other Os. DGITC isn't an expression of fear; it's a sensible injunction against wasting time.

So why am I bringing up TNC? Simple: I like a challenge. And if there's one thing I've learned in my years of re-reading and pondering LS, it's that LS may be subtle, but he's consistent. He may play tricks, but he loves his audience, and wants his tricks to be understood.

And in every bit of press after the publication of Regained, LS sent us a very clear and consistent message. Chesscourt wasn't done, and he was continuing it. So: something doesn't add up here. The LS we know from Thornbush and Chesscourt is not someone who would write a 3000+ page manuscript to piss people off. He is not someone who would lie about continuity. (Continuity is what LS was all about!)

So, this thread -- if all goes well, the first in a series -- is a space for me, and anyone who wants to come along with me, to take LS at his word. Read TNC as a continuation of Chesscourt. Yes, it doesn't look anything like Chesscourt. But LS is a subtle guy. He liked to challenge his readers. Let's try treating this as his last challenge. Let's go into the caves.

I have a digital copy of TNC, which you can download here. In the next few posts, I'll make some general remarks about the shape of the document, and make a few suggestions as to how we might start building a continuity theory. (I admit, by the way, that I haven't read the whole thing yet. It's really long and not easy going.)

Feedback welcome. I realize this is a controversial topic (well, the controversial topic!). I don't want to piss anyone off. Just thought this might be a project of some interest to some of you guys.

_________________
Cafe Chesscourt Official Guy With Too Much Time On His Hands

"The four stages of reading an Err post: 1. Wonder if he's joking. 2. Start thinking about his argument. 3. Keep trying to find holes in his argument until the next thing you know, it's 6 AM the next morning, and you still can't prove him wrong. 4. Conclude that the Courtverse is even weirder than you had previously thought." -GlassWave

Major Theory Threads:
Plainsverse!Charles | Infinite Skycrashes | Lorrums As Human Ancestor | Continuity Glitches And Their Resolutions | Multi-Manor Hypothesis | Tracing The Upstairs White Bishop To ATT (And Beyond) | Seeking Continuity in TNC (DGITC Warning!)

delbo

Re: Seeking Continuity in TNC

Post by delbo » Wed May 31, 2017 3:42 am

Dude i always love your theories. Cant wait to see what you make of the Northern Cave craziness!!! Great stuff. -delbo

jenni_fur

Re: Seeking Continuity in TNC

Post by jenni_fur » Wed May 31, 2017 7:58 pm

ha! yeah i was one of those "recurring phenomenon" people. there i was, just after finishing regained, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, thinking "well how bad can TNC be, it's LS after all." oh, did i learn. :P

tbh i'm not too optimistic about mining more salby goodness from TNC? this isn't just your average DGITC thing. i mean i've READ TNC, more than i really should have, anyway. (don't judge me. back then i would have read LS's grocery receipts.)

the reason i stopped reading wasn't the gibberish (although, really, LS? THREE PAGES WORTH OF JUST THE LETTER "a"?), it wasn't the horrible things happening to tom and sally and charles, it was the BOREDOM. i don't know what happened to LS but somehow he managed to churn out 3000 pages where almost nothing happens and almost nothing we cared about in chesscourt gets mentioned.

your theories are always interesting and i'll def. be reading this thread. if you can manage to get anything out of TNC (besides "where oh where did LS go") i will be impressed.

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metamarsh
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 2:30 am

Re: Seeking Continuity in TNC

Post by metamarsh » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:39 am

TNC is just more Chesscourt? Now there is some high-grade Err nonsense. :)

Seriously though, man, I am looking forward to your explorations. Just, y'know, keep in mind that TNC MIGHT be LS fucking with us. I mean, after years of keeping every little Chesscourt detail straight in his head maybe he just wanted to blow our minds one last time by throwing it ALL out and just flying free for once. I think that's what I'd do. But then I'm not LS ;)

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GlassWave

Re: Seeking Continuity in TNC

Post by GlassWave » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:34 pm

metamarsh wrote:
Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:39 am
Just, y'know, keep in mind that TNC MIGHT be LS fucking with us. I mean, after years of keeping every little Chesscourt detail straight in his head maybe he just wanted to blow our minds one last time by throwing it ALL out and just flying free for once.
I see where you're coming from here, Marsh, but if LS had simply "flown free," would we really expect the result to look like TNC? Freeing himself from the crystalline constraints he hewed to for most of Chesscourt proper is one thing; producing a giant corpus of nonsense (with, as Jenny notes, oddities like entire pages filled with nothing but one letter) is another. I can't help but feel like there's more going on here, though, like most Salbians, I've resigned myself to never knowing what.

Err, count me excited to see where this goes.

_________________
Obnoxious pedant, incorrigible Sally/Charles advocate, the only person in existence who's favorite CC book is Sea of Glass
exquisite stasis -- about Sally trapped in the plains forever, and what she did there (AU)

Sally's Lil Sis

Re: Seeking Continuity in TNC

Post by Sally's Lil Sis » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:35 pm

Count me in!! No cave can faze me ^_^

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Errant KnightsMove
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 9:18 pm

Re: Seeking Continuity in TNC

Post by Errant KnightsMove » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:41 am

Okay, let's get started. Good to see I have some spelunking partners!

Jenny and Marsh, I understand your perspectives. Let me clarify that this is nothing but an experiment. You guys know me; I can be very confident when I think one of my theories has a critical mass of evidence behind it. This is nothing like that. I'm as baffled by TNC as anyone else. I just want to see what happens if try taking LS at his word. (He deserves no less, IMHO.)

The Structure of TNC

As I mentioned in the OP, I have not actually read all of TNC. (I'll be attempting to do so in the course of this project.) At the moment, I've read to page 153, and very quickly skimmed the rest. A skimming like this is a necessary step, because TNC is simply too large to read straight through with 100% critical attention engaged. Our reading will have to be guided by the structure of the text.

The first twenty pages of TNC are what I'll call the "Prelude". This section is, more or less, in the same style as the later installments of CC. As in Glass or Regained, there is a lot of dialogue, and there are several of LS' trademark moral discussions, first about the fate of the Angelic Alliance after the Fall of Eyris, and second about whether Tom and co. should explore the Northern Caves.

This argument is perhaps our first sign that things are not right. The Northern Caves were first mentioned in Thornbush (p. 52), where Aunt Mirth warned against entering them. Of course, Aunt Mirth is not a moral authority to be trusted. However, the other (few) mentions of the Caves in CC simply echo Mirth's injunction (e.g. in Mainspring an unnamed Lorrum calls them "a fell place from which none of our kind ever returned"). One would think our heroes would think to assess the nature of the Caves further, at least, before going there. But instead, they make up their minds fairly quickly. (The dialogue here is a bit unusual too -- Sally says "I'm darned curious what's in those caves" which is oddly childlike at this point in the story. IIRC she hasn't said "darned" since Thornbush.)

The Prelude ends when the characters actually enter the Caves. The next section, from p. 21 to p. 85, I will call the Semi-Lucid Section. These pages describe the heroes exploring a cave in a basically readable way. However, there are a number of oddities not present in the Prelude. For instance, for a 5-page stretch (p. 36 to p. 41), Tom's name is spelled "Tomm." There are various typos, like "sayed" for "said" on p. 55, as well as some sentence fragments and other grammatical errors. There are also a number of made-up words in this section, such as "nolobargescope" (p. 32). These are difficult to make sense of and do not make more sense in context:
Charles began to drag further and further behind the group, as he had begun to be troubled by perplexing thoughts and nolobargescope.
A shocking event takes place on p. 79: Tom falls into a deep crevice and apparently dies. No reactions from the others are noted, and they simply continue on. (However, Tom reappears a number of times later in TNC!)
From p. 85 to p. 1553, there is a section characterized by near-unreadability. This is where we see those infamous pages filled with the letter "a," along with many other oddities. I will call this the Non-Lucid Section. Note that this is a bit of a misnomer. There are plenty of bits here that are perfectly readable, some as long as 30 pages. But they come out of nowhere, disappear into nowhere, and mostly describe nonsensical interactions between the cast (including Tom) in vaguely described settings. The majority of this section, however, is filled with various types of gibberish, involving made-up words, phrases repeated many times, garbled bits of earlier CC books, etc.

On p. 1554, there is a notable change. A coherent story begins, with relatively few typos or other abnormalities. It stars Tom and Sally in a setting completely unrelated to Chesscourt. They seem to be husband and wife, rather than siblings, and have an extended (~80 page) conversation about something called "the Lorrum" (!), which they blame for ruining their marriage. From p. 1554 to p. 2709 is a section I will call the "Tales". This section is a series of similar stories, mostly dialogue, typically involving Chesscourt characters in unrecognizable and confusing situations.

Finally, the stretch from p. 2710 to p. 3642 I will call the "Finale." In this stretch, the styles of the earlier sections mix together. There are many typos and made-up words, and the text switches back and forth between "tales" and patches of nonsense reminiscent of the Non-Lucid Section. There does not appear to be an ending: the manuscript simply ends in the middle of a fairly typical bit of gibberish.

Where To Look

It's clear that we can't just read TNC straight through. I hypothesize that the first three sections are intended as a roadblock, to prevent less serious readers from reaching the Tales. This is not to say that the Non-Lucid Section, for instance, includes nothing worth inspecting. I am just saying that the text seems designed to make readers bounce off of it, and contains a long and relatively lucid stretch to reward readers who don't bounce off. I suggest we first begin looking into the Tales. Once we get a sense of how they work, we can start moving on to the more difficult Finale, and then perhaps loop back to the earlier sections.

Continuity

How might TNC be an authentic continuation of CC? I don't know yet, but here are some ideas:

1. TNC's strangeness is an attempt to depict the power of one or more of the godlike entities in the Courtverse (Cherubim, the Aunts, Tilemakers). By entering the Caves, the heroes have angered (?) or otherwise perturbed one of these entities. The resulting chaos reflects the experience of dealing "directly" with such an entity.

2. TNC is "in code." As we all know, the heroes of CC had to do a great deal of heavy thinking in order to complete their journey without failure. TNC asks us to do the same: in order to get access to the final CC installment, we must ourselves become like the heroes.

_________________
Cafe Chesscourt Official Guy With Too Much Time On His Hands

"The four stages of reading an Err post: 1. Wonder if he's joking. 2. Start thinking about his argument. 3. Keep trying to find holes in his argument until the next thing you know, it's 6 AM the next morning, and you still can't prove him wrong. 4. Conclude that the Courtverse is even weirder than you had previously thought." -GlassWave

Major Theory Threads:
Plainsverse!Charles | Infinite Skycrashes | Lorrums As Human Ancestor | Continuity Glitches And Their Resolutions | Multi-Manor Hypothesis | Tracing The Upstairs White Bishop To ATT (And Beyond) | Seeking Continuity in TNC (DGITC Warning!)

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