The Dream Archipelago - Week 2: The Negation (conclusion)
The Negation - Conclusion
- Dik returns to Moylita Kaine, and passes Burgher Tradayn along the way, an unpleasant and authoritative man.
- Upon arrival, Kaine herself seems to have been upset by the man.
- Dik gives Kaine a carving of a hand with pen as a gift, and she in turn gifts him a short story that she worked on through the night. However, she asks him not to read it until she has left the island. She says it is written just for him, and suggests it's a story about Dik.
- Kaine explains that he might get in trouble if he is caught with it. It reveals facts about the war that might be sensitive to those in charge - that the military is using gases, and that the war is being perpetuated for the economic benefit of a few. And that there seems to be underground opposition.
- The southern continent has not yet been adopted as the theatre of battle, but this is in the works.
- They are interrupted by the return of Burgher Tradayn, who takes the manuscript and sends Dik back to the barracks. Kaine is escorted to a council chamber for questioning.
- Dik in unable to remain still, and tries to find Kaine. He ends up spying on her discussion with the burghers for a few minutes, before he's caught by his superiors and beaten. He once again returns to his chamber, and eventually returns to duty with no further word on Kaine or his encounters with her.
- As Dik patrols the wall, he contemplates the meaning of walls in Kaine's texts. He concludes that in Kaine's novel, The Affirmation, the characters build walls and find themselves trapped by them. The short story she gives him, titled The Negation, must therefor have been about overcoming walls, and particularly about Dik overcoming the walls that hem him in. Dik concludes this is unrealistic - that it's one thing for an author to suggest such a thing can be done, but it's quite another reality for the person who walks the wall.
- Just then, an enemy combatant appears and surrenders himself to Dik. Dik escorts him to a guard room in admiration and envy.
- Here we meet an old SF trope in the form of perpetual warfare inflicted on society to the benefit of a few. Is this a convincing explanation for the war? Where else have you read this idea? Do you buy it?
- Here we have an Author in conflict with a Figure of Authorty. Is there a difference between them in how they treat Dik? Dik seems to choose the latter over the former at the end, but admires his alter-ego from the other side for siding with the other.
- Do you draw any conclusions about walls and authors from the text?