The Dream Archipelago Week 1: The Equatorial Moment and The Negation part 1
edited May 2021 in (2021) The Dream Archipelago by Christopher Priest
The Equatorial Moment
- This short piece of fiction puts us briefly up into the vortex and describes what it's like to fly through one.
- It reveals a bit about the history of their exploration, that they continue to defy explanation, and tell us how time is shortened as one falls through them, which makes them very useful for shortening long haul flights.
- The centre of the vortex is neutral and a place of safety. This seems to be both a practical reality and a metaphor.
The Negation part 1
- We are introduced to Dik, a young conscript in what seems to be a branch of the army performing border patrol of Faiand.
- Dik is stationed somewhere northerly - perhaps on Faiand itself, which is described as being surrounded by a security wall.
- The author Moylita Kaine is currently in the same town, having been commissioned to write a play about the place.
- Dik has read Kaine's book, The Affirmation, several times, and was moved enough by it that he seeks to meet her. This takes some work, since his time is mostly filled with the duties of a soldier.
- Eventually, he books a time to meet the author at her rental. She is initially stand-offish, thinking he represents the Burghers, but she opens to him once she discovers his true motives.
- They have a pleasant enough discussion about The Affirmation in general, but also about the nature of novels, though Dik suspects much of it is above him.
- Both agree to a second meeting again soon, but it doesn't happen right away, and he has time to reflect on what Kaine said and some literary criticism he read while at college.
- Dik wonders: "In explaining her novel to him, had Moylita Kaine been trying to tell him something?"
- Priest wastes no time in establishing some themes, and they are familiar to us already.
- The Equatorial Moment seems to exist only to create a mood and establish a theme. What did you get from this chapter? I was immediately put once again in mind of a Yin-Yang symbol, which the vortex seems to be at the centre of. The writing is of the lyrical type @RichardAbbott was hoping to see more of.
- The Negation brings to life a character we encountered at some distance in The Islanders - Moylita Kaine. You may remember her as an author who exchanged letters with Chaster Kammeston - or seemed to. Priest may have been suggesting that Kammeston invented the entire exchange in a fit of Erotomania. In another entry, Kaine made a long and difficult journey to recover the body of a conscript who had died in a plane accident. Might that have been Dik?
- Kaine is the author of a book called The Affirmation, which was also the name of Priest's first novel set in the Dream Archipelago setting. These books have the same name, but are otherwise quite different. Dik seems to be obsessed with the book as a reader. The title of this chapter is The Negation - the opposite of an Affirmation? What themes are being suggested so far in this story?