Fungi's thought that The Rose is a rendition of a story told by Borges, except backwards from the apprentice to the alchemist, is a unique view, but may not address the vast storyline of The Rose. Borges's story is 1500 words, on the reconstruction of a rose cast into a fireside at the mention of a word by Paracelsus. The Rose, by contrast, is over 200,000 words and crossing many topics, cultures, setting and characters. Ultimately, the only reference to the Borges story is in an interview on a Basel mountaintop (much later in the work), in which chemist Indigo explains why Borges's short story applies to the motives of the Six (but we're not there yet in this discussion). The Rose bears no other relationship to Borges story, for the themes, actions and narratives are highly varied even while they have many bases in fact. Remarkably, though, in the Author's Note, Leonard proposes applying the mannered language of Borges (not only in his short story, but across his canon of works) to a "drug-trafficking organization" - certainly the first time this has been done (most modern writings on drugs are in the vernacular). Classical, learned, Victorian. How unusual.
Dani, I will try to reach you to propose some questions for Leonard, limited to the chapters we have already discussed. While he may be reachable by email or letter with care and patience, he has done only one online interview in 16 years (see theinfluence.com/the-acid, July 29, 2016). A Q&A on Topia would be a rarity.
February is closing, and we are on Chp 8 (Von Neumann's Playground). Would love to hear from Bernhole and Sidestreet and others on this one, which is replete with many poetic phrases. The Von Neumann story is visionary, erotic, in the end filled with pathos (especially about the feral little girl - unforgettable). Notice the parallel to the abused child in Kathmandu in the prior chapter. What are your fave lines/scenes in this? Some of my favorites, in this wild chapter ranging from Princeton to mathematics to seduction to a psychedelic atomic detonation to the sad story of an isolated, dysfunctional girl:
"Yet Cobalt began to whisper - in a accelerating terms as he approached the light-speed transmission of the Six - fragments of the past and future at the edges of one's grasp." (206)
"... and that past the barriers of comprehension they somehow found each other and embraced." (205)
"In a world where governments still harbored the conceit they could keep secrets, our many watchers within every facility laughed." (208)
"The ripples at the edge of vision became undone into trigonometric functions, sine waves crashing across the tranquil arbors and mirrored surfaces of the lake." (208)
"In the end, there was only a soundless purity, a gossamer feather lifting into nothingness." (208).
Question: Was the girl in Firestone library an operative of the Six? What do you think? We now have met five of the SIx - where will The Rose go next?
Fungi, the events/scene/sentences that spoke to you in prior chapters? Side Street, your faves from "Von Neumann's Playground"? Bernhole, we hardly can wait. Others on Von Neumann? Rumor is that The Rose will be discussed at psy conferences this summer. This forum is the first.