The Great Eastern Q4: Setting

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In an interview I heard with the author, it was pointed out that “The world is larger than we can imagine”. What do you think was meant by this? What did you think of the world presented in The Great Eastern? Was it convincing as the real world, or a veneer against which the story was presented?

Comments

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    As I said in Q4, I was impressed with the historical detail, and the way the real world history of the ship was involved. And the details of the ship. I quite liked Nemo's awful past, and the idea of progress and shrinking of the world the cable across the Atlantic represents. And the way the Great Eastern was a white elephant - an engineering project nobody really had a use for. There's definitely an analogy there.

  • 2

    What bits of setting exposition I read at the beginning seemed sensible extrapolations from the real world. When you start looking at history in detail, all these fascinating little bits come to the surface. The Flashman books are great for this. There are all sorts of adventures in previously-obscure little bits of the world, great springboards for the imagination.

  • 2

    The Flashman books I've read have been great. And another case of reusing a character from fiction and plenty of historical characters.

  • 1

    I had no problem with any of that.

  • 1

    I liked much of the same things that @dr_mitch mentions. I was particularly drawn to Nemo’s past, and I might seek out something else to read from the perspective of colonized Indians.

    Everybody agrees that Nemomwas the protagonist, right? ;)

  • 2
    I’m not sure who the protagonist was, or even if there was one - or even three. Ahab was certainly a force of his own, and the hero of his own story. But he’s not sympathetic. Nemo is sympathetic and has a character, but is oddly remote. Brunel seems like candidate, but he doesn’t really have a lot of presence, does he? Sometimes I wondered if he even was a character, and not just a viewpont.
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    @Apocryphal said:
    Brunel seems like candidate, but he doesn’t really have a lot of presence, does he? Sometimes I wondered if he even was a character, and not just a viewpont.

    I like that assessment of Brunel a lot.

  • 1

    Well, the author started to color in the background of Brunel a bit, but kept on getting bored and eventually couldn't be bothered hauling the crayons out.

  • 0
    Like others, I thought the use of historical detail was good, especially the idea that some folk would have vehemently (and aggressively) opposed the construction of the communication wires. Definitely some contemporary analogies there.

    The basic idea of blending history with individuals who, though fictional, many regard as real because of the impact of the books was a really good one.

    I'll come onto some of my reservations in other discussion points...
  • 2

    @Apocryphal said:
    “The world is larger than we can imagine”.

    And yet what we do imagine is more than the world.

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