Friday, 22 July 2016

Introductions Of Characters And Of A Scenario

SM Stirling, Island In The Sea Of Time (New York, 1998), pp. 10-11.

(The visuals of Nantucket will keep us supplied with images for a very long time.)

"Doreen Rosenthal pecked at her computer..." (p. 10)

We are all familiar with that these days. I am doing it now. Doreen is the viewpoint character on pp. 10-11, to be replaced by Police Chief Jared Cofflin on p. 11. He is followed by Captain Marian Alston on pp. 12-15. We are being introduced to the characters of a novel.

Doreen is a student intern filling an astronomy post with the Margaret Milson Association which is a fictitious organization. I deduce that from the fact that, when I google it, the only reference that I can find to it is in a later novel by SM Stirling. Doreen practices kata.

These characters gradually disclose the nature of a problem:

Ian Arnstein merely detected "...the tantalizing smells..." of a seafood dinner (p. 10);
however, Doreen "...realized what was happening in the sky..." (p. 11);
Jared, jarred, stands staring upward and hears screams (ibid.);
Marian on a sailing ship...

...well, I haven't read that far yet - but the plot definitely thickens.

8 comments:

  1. "Margaret Milson" is also thinly fictionalized: http://www.mariamitchell.org/

    Everything that's noted in the book as existing on Nantucket is actually there (or was in 1998), down to the small machine-shop and it's owner.

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  2. "Margaret Milson" is also thinly fictionalized: http://www.mariamitchell.org/

    Everything that's noted in the book as existing on Nantucket is actually there (or was in 1998), down to the small machine-shop and it's owner.

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  3. I don't know why I'm getting double postings here: sorry about that.

    BTW, the reason some of the people/places on Nantucket are slightly changed is to protect the innocent -- or at least not to offend the living. When I was researching the book, I did a large number of interviews on the island itself and some of the characters are locals... really, composite characters combining features from the locals. (Known as "Tuckerization", in the trade.) Others are completely fictional.

    The sheer amount of useful stuff on Nantucket rather surprised me.

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    Replies
    1. Or, in this case, Nantucketerization!
      I suspect that any location, closely studied, will provide ample material for fictionalization. The fiction writer notices details that many of us miss.
      Paul.

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  4. Dear Mr. Stirling,

    One reason I read your Nantucket books with so much interest was because it (or rather large parts of them) was set in MY home state of Massachusetts (albeit on an island I never had occasion to visit).

    I have noticed how many American SF writers seem to prefer living in CA and how few of them reside in MA or New England (aside from Allen Steele, of course). And they tend to set many of their stories in CA or the West of the US. So I found the Nantucket books esp. gratifying!

    Sean

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    Replies
    1. The weather is an element; it's certainly one of the reasons I moved to New Mexico. Writing is a very portable occupation -- all you need is electrical power and Internet access.

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    2. Dear Mr. Stirling,

      True, the cold, frigid winters of MA and New England would be one factor discouraging writers from living there! All a writer really needs are the things you and Paul listed.

      Merry Christmas! Sean

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