Wednesday, October 22

I'd just like to touch on the question of Caine's Adventure-related POV, since it seemed to come up quite a bit in the last thread.

It's not intended to be a literal transcription of his Soliloquy; it's basically a magic trick, not unlike the illusion a first-hander is subjected to, as an Actor's Soliloquy comes to feel like his or her own thoughts--to make him feel like he is the character.

The Studio has an exceptionally powerful piece of speculative technology (direct CNS stimulation by focused induction) to help maintain this illusion. I, on the other hand, have to pull off this trick with nothing more than a succession of black marks on a page.

So:

Some of these black marks represent Caine's Soliloquy, some reflect sense impressions and others denote visceral reactions. Some indicate other things. All of them together are intended to give you, the reader, the illusion of riding along inside Caine's head (and body). That's the whole story.

If worrying about his Soliloquy distracted you from the story, that means I (in that section, anyway, at least for you) screwed up, and let you see the Man Behind the Curtain.

Sorry.

I hate it when that happens. It's kind of like discovering I've been walking around with my zipper down.

17 comments:

c-reyn said...

I didn't have a bit of trouble with it. I was immersed for every second I read. I imagine much of the confusion comes from people TRYING to figure out what the technique is. It worked from the second I saw YOU ARE CAINE.

Scott said...

Have to agree with the above. I grasped it right away.

just-ang said...

Worked just fine for me. I rather liked it.

Bret said...

For me it wasn't an issue that I the reader wasn't immersed, because I was right up there gasping for breath next to Caine... partly because I had read the previous two books and knew very well who his father was, who he was, and so on.

The only thing I was curious about was Caine's interaction with his audience back home... whether he was trying to sell them on "being Caine" where Caine is defined as a Monastic Assassin who grew up and lived his whole life in Overworld, and who had never heard of Earth culture... or if they were sort of aware of "being Hari Michaelson, the Actor, being Caine" if that makes sense.

You don't have to worry about not having immersed me in your world, at the very least. While reading Blade of Tyshalle I became so depressed and snappish that it affected my daily life. The only reason CBK didn't repeat this is that I read it too quickly, in practically one sitting.

In the previous thread, Beth really did put it best.

Joe said...

Ya gotta keep your zipper down when you go balls out for glory.

It certainly didn't bug me as I was reading. Just one of those things I get to wondering when I daydream in class.

Adam M said...

I apologize if any of this constitutes spoilers.

Bret,

My impression on the character they're trying to maintain is that, yes, the audience knows it's Hari Khapur Michaelson pretending to be Caine the Assassin. However, you have to realize that Hari (and all the other actors) are also just made up characters who happen to share names and histories with the people who portray them.

The difference is that the actors are doing what they do for love of Adventure, the audience doesn't know they've been contracted to die in a spectacular fashion. The audience also doesn't know that the actors are having their stories tampered with by the studio (ie by changing the story to make it more violent, dropping a useful weapon in a convenient spot, whatever).

If it helps, think of Colbert: two people with one name. There's one who's "real," who isn't a goofy partisan hack, and there's one who's a comically exaggerated version of a part of Colbert's own personality.

PLEASE DON'T READ THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT BEFORE YOU READ THE BOOK

What pisses the studio off isn't that Marade references her life on Earth, but that she references the studio's purposefully placing them in a dangerous, possibly lethal situation. The audience is supposed to think the Actor seeks out the violence, action and so on by themselves.

Alaina said...

I'm not done yet (savoring every inch of text) but I haven't had trouble thus far...so no apologies necessary.

Michael said...

This book fuckin rocked. I was able to go with the flow of the soliloquy and what not. The only thing that confused me was that it seemed like my book was missing 400 or so pages... I don't know, fingers are crossed I'll find those pages in the next book....

Also on a seperate note, hows the weather in chicago? i'm coming home soon and i hope its not freezing yet...

Tim said...

Caine's conditioning never seems to have been particularly strong; he references Earth a lot in CBK and HD.

I gather it prevents the Actor from explicitly naming things in English and saying "I am an Actor!", but wouldn't it be potent enough that if Caine knows he's talking about Earth, even if he never says as much, that he would not be able to? Or is the conditioning much more lax in Soliloquoy? I'm also thinking of when Caine quotes people from Earth, like Shaw or Kennedy.

He's a lot more explicit in Soliloquising about Earth in HD, but I mark that down as a "I'm a superstar, so fuck you, I'll do what I want." thing.

MaxGC said...

As a dedicated Cainist, and having read all 3 books, the soliloquy is second nature, like a warm worn-in couch.

There remains only one question... When will we get to read 'His Father's Fist'. Combing in the internet as well as your blog has turned up nothing, not even a refusal to give a date.

Caine fans may even be inclined to sue you for the mental state you left them in after CBK. The tension I'm feeling after finishing CBK just wont disappear!

So please, please, please give us a date for this next book. I'm not asking for a specific day, week, or even month. Maybe just a quarter, or a year when we can expect to see it on bookshelves.

Also I must say, without giving anything away about the ending of CBK... true to Caine fashion, the final death (killing?) in CBK didn't just blow me away with how it brought everything together in the end, but it also kept me thinking about it for days afterward.

Andreas said...

This is probably not the best place for my comment, but still:

I only recently became aware of the three Caine novels when reading great things about the new one. I'd love to delve into them, but the fact that it seems impossible to get BoT for a reasonable price, almost makes me wish I handn't heard about the series. I know about the coming e-books, but I can't really imagine myself reading 800 pages on my PC, and it'll probably be a while before I own one of those fancy e-reader-thingies.

Since HD seems to be headed the same way as BoT in the near future (at least it's not in stock at the German, British and American Amazon sites right now and there's also an e-book listed at Del Rey), I have to ask: Doesn't the non-availabilty of the previous (physical) books hurt sales of the third novel? I'd imagine there are quite a few folks like me who weren't aware of Caine until lately but don't really want to start with book three...

I see that it's a big problem for the publisher when the big book chains won't stock the reprint, but are the international online-orders really that irrelevant? Or are there any news about a forthcoming print-on-demand-release? I'd prefer that over an e-book by far...

I guess it's my own fault that I'm late to the party, but I wasn't reading much speculative fiction until a few years ago, and I'd really love to meet this Caine character... ;-)

Greetings from Germany,
Andreas

Anonymous said...

Matt,
This is a wonderful book, and I didn't have any problem with the POV. I can't give you anything but praise. You freakin' rock, man.

-Greg (SC)

Anonymous said...

Somewhat seconding Andreas up there, in that I've read (and absolutely loved) Heroes Die, but am hesitant to pick up CBK until I've read Blade of Tyshalle. Which, I think, would involve a lot of praying to Santa given its current availability.

-Dan

Joe said...

Actually, had it not been so long since I read Heroes Die, some of my questions about the Soliloquy would have been answered. Page 34 of my copy explains about what MWS said in his post.

Rob said...

Matt I think the POV for Caine's adventure has worked wonderfully. It's similiar to the way HD switched from 1st to 3rd person perspectives, but different enough that I'm just as engaged as ever. Really every Act of Caine has had numerous POV's from a variety of characters, so I'd have to think anyone who has trouble with CBK is in the minority. Maybe it's from the newer set of fans, who have only read your SW work and haven't been able to easily get ahold of your previous stuff?

Just another reason for your ever-growing legion of fans to keep aggravating the shit out of Del Rey to push for keeping HD and BoT in print.....

tgibbs said...

I found the soliloquy device very effective. It provides a rationale for Caine's occasional editorializing, and it also gets around one of the drawbacks of a first-person POV, which is that when a story is told in the first person, the reader tends to visualize the protagonist as recounting the events from some safe remove in the future. Because it has been made clear that Caine is constantly narrating his own story as it happens, the first-person POV is given an unusual degree of immediacy.

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