Cloud Atlas 01 - Structure: Interlocking narratives
So I think the most obvious starter is the question of CA's structure. @Apocryphal said the text is often described as a collection of stacking Russian dolls. What did people think of the structure?
When I was reading and got to the end of the first part, I actually asked myself if my ebook was defective, and spent some time checking that. Of course that would not happen if I had a physical book - the page format and numbers would have reassured me. Made me think about how the physical format matters. I like the movie ok (3.75 stars say), and I know that many of us have seen the movie, so I wonder what people thought of what that adaptation did to the structure, and how it might have evoked different responses from us. Likewise, does this structure have any relevance for the structure of roleplaying, and what adaptations would be needed?
One of the reasons I was looking forward to reading this was I am quite familiar with interlocking narratives in the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist context. Every text has a framing narrative, which provides evidence used by historians to produce a history of early Buddhism, as well as materials for a modern biography of the Buddha. Traditional biographies are too full of myth to be reliable for what we want to know nowadays. Then there are a great number of interlocking narratives that are used to explain the workings of karmic cause and effect, which entail the idea of rebirth and previous lives. Last in the Himalayan context there are interlocking narratives used to explain the development of a particular individual or Buddhist deity over many lives. They are sometimes extremely complex (or is it disorganised?) in how they leap from one narrative to another. What I have gotten from reading these is that connected narratives are a powerful way to evoke and educate an understanding of trans-personal motivation.
In CA the connection was that the protagonists had each read one of the stories, and thought about it, and wanted to finish it. What did people think about this (author's projection of hope onto the reader ;-) ? What did we make of the connection the various protagonists in these stories?