The Gradual Week 10

1

Summary

  1. After Lunch, Kan and Renettia lead Sandro down to the harbour by foot, where they board a small sailboat. The two women sail it awkwardly toward Temmil, but when they reach the half-way point - the point of gradual neutrality - they tell him he must continue alone. Despite his protests, they jump into a dinghy and leave him. He sails the rest of the way alone.
  2. He docks awkwardly on Temmil and goes through shelterate procedures. After a bit of a hunt he finds a seaside pension in which to stay.
  3. After a few days in town, he comes upon a villa with a piano and decides to rent it. He returns to composing and spends most of the next while (days? weeks?) working on several compositions. At first he's inspired by the islands, then later by the concept of time slippage and The Gradual.
  4. One night, while walking in town, he hears music coming from inside a bar. He goes in and finds Cea Weller playing jazz piano with a bassist. She seems happy to see him and tells him that her father mentioned he was coming. Sandro had apparently met him on his previous trip, but had never shared his travel plans.
  5. After Cea's set finishes, she joins him at a table for drinks. Sandro tells her all about his travels, including the adepts. She tells him the adepts are a scam for tourists, and that islanders never use their services. They find other ways of dealing with time deficits (something about insurance & exemptions from the shelterate office - very vague). Cea tells Sandro about her life. Later they dance and, after the bar closes, return to his place to spend the night.
  6. Sandro wakes in the middle of the night and, as he contemplates Cea's sleeping form beside him, he examines his life. In the morning, she leaves to take care of her mother, but says she'll return that evening. This saddens him. He takes a shower, then is hit by musical inspiration - an entire piece pops into his head at once. He plays it on the piano and records it to transcribe later. Afterward, he's drained and slumps over the piano. He returns to alert when an earthquake shakes the house.
  7. Soon after the earthquake, the volcano erupts. Sandro turns on the news and watches for a time - the authorities assure there's no emergency. His thoughts turn again to his new music piece. Then he tries to call Cea, but cannot get through. He decides to walk into town and wanders there for a while before returning home.

Discussion

  • An affirmation of @NeilNjae 's scam theory emerges.
  • Is there a symbolic reason the adepts leave Sandro halfway to Temmil so he can finish the trip on his own?
  • Once Sandro reaches Temmil, he's basically revisiting an old experience, only this time he's older. If the experience of life is a constant progression of time and place, then the revisiting of a previously visited location can take space out of the equation and throw time into stark contrast. It's in these moments we find it easiest to reflect on our past, because we can see the passage of time. In our daily lives at home, the increments of time are gradual. In that sense, the return to Temmil is anti-gradual. Thoughts?
  • I guess with the volcano, the story is literally climaxing?

Comments

  • 0

    Well, I was disappointed by the "it's a scam" revelation - unless the next twist is that regular island folks like Cea think it's a scam, but actually it's legit... we shall see. I find it hard to believe that Sandro would not have heard speculation or read official warnings about a scam. Surely some of the many officials he's met would say something like "I do hope you haven't been in contact with these so-called adepts... they are not connected with us in any way" or some such bureaucratic denial.

    I found the "get him half way across the water" episode believable, as we'd been told several times that it was gradient neutral. As to the idea that he is now immune to temporal deficits and the like, I'm not so sure. Why would this be, if it's a natural phenomenon?

    Two things I found odd 1) he claims at one point to be "fascinated by the idea of time slippage, the experience of gradual time" - yet this so-called fascination does not extend to informing himself of it in even basic details... I'm sure he could go to a library, or find a teacher (even of quite young children) and get some real information about it. The story to date has presented him as confused by it, perplexed, unwilling to properly engage with it - but certainly not fascinated.

    2) The casual mention of jazz music. For some reason this bothered me more than the whole gradual time stuff, which is clearly a world invention to make a (potentially) interesting story happen. But jazz as a musical form has a particular history rooted to events in our world, and those events mean nothing here and have never happened. It would be like suddenly saying that he liked Beethoven's music, or wanted to imitate Schopenhauer, or some such. Until now he has kept to generic musical forms such as "chamber music", "orchestral music", "modernist" as opposed to "traditional". All of those make sense to me, and don't seem so tie to a specific history of the world. But how are we to understand "jazz" in the context of an alien world with a different history to ours? It's a silly thing to get hung up on, but I wish he'd used a more generic term, like "improvisational" or something.

    I'm not surprised he has met again with Cea, and think that's a good plot move... though the fact that she also is unattached and both available and willing to leap into bed with him again after all these years (decades?) seems unlikely.

    I also liked the juxtaposition of all these great changes - the volcano, his sudden new approach to composition (volcanic rather gradual), the potential to actually make a meaningful relationship (starting gradual but certainly becoming climactic and potentially long-lasting). The composition thing seemed to me to be a direct analogy of authors' approach to writing - colloquially the two types being called plotters and pantsers, ie gradually developing a plot or going by the seat of your pants. Sandro is becoming a pantser, perhaps. I can easily imagine musical composers having a similar division. Most authors I know actually have facets of both, so it's not really exclusively either/or, and I guess that's true of composers as well.

    I find I've written a lot! Again, I'm enjoying the progression towards a close and wonder how CP will wind the story up.

  • 1

    @Apocryphal said:

    • An affirmation of @NeilNjae 's scam theory emerges.

    ...and I think there's not much else to say about the implications of it that we haven't said already. It's beyond belief that he hasn't stumbled across this before.

    • Is there a symbolic reason the adepts leave Sandro halfway to Temmil so he can finish the trip on his own?

    Almost certainly. It's a transition for Sandro. Whether it's a transition from traveller to sedentary, or naive to knowledgeable, remains to be seen. But I think he won't be using the adepts' services again.

    • Once Sandro reaches Temmil, he's basically revisiting an old experience, only this time he's older. If the experience of life is a constant progression of time and place, then the revisiting of a previously visited location can take space out of the equation and throw time into stark contrast. It's in these moments we find it easiest to reflect on our past, because we can see the passage of time. In our daily lives at home, the increments of time are gradual. In that sense, the return to Temmil is anti-gradual. Thoughts?

    There's a bit of this, with Sandro seeing how Temmil has changed. But he's not going any deeper and reflecting on how it shows that he's changed through the events in the book. He's changed a lot, but in the usual superficial way, he's not really thinking about it.

    • I guess with the volcano, the story is literally climaxing?

    There are many ways to read "climaxing" and I think all of them are true!

  • 1
    edited October 28

    @Apocryphal said:
    Discussion

    • An affirmation of @NeilNjae 's scam theory emerges.

    So it seems.

    • Is there a symbolic reason the adepts leave Sandro halfway to Temmil so he can finish the trip on his own?

    Has no one else noticed that these adepts just steal boats and leave them where they like? And no one says anything? Do they steal cars as well? Maybe they just want to avoid getting caught for stealing a boat?

    • Once Sandro reaches Temmil, he's basically revisiting an old experience, only this time he's older. If the experience of life is a constant progression of time and place, then the revisiting of a previously visited location can take space out of the equation and throw time into stark contrast. It's in these moments we find it easiest to reflect on our past, because we can see the passage of time. In our daily lives at home, the increments of time are gradual. In that sense, the return to Temmil is anti-gradual. Thoughts?

    You never step in the same river twice

    • I guess with the volcano, the story is literally climaxing?

    Oh GOD! Now I'm going to have nightmares of volcanoes spooging all over the land! Ugh! Thank you for that image, Apocryphal!

  • 1

    @RichardAbbott said:
    Well, I was disappointed by the "it's a scam" revelation - unless the next twist is that regular island folks like Cea think it's a scam, but actually it's legit... we shall see. I find it hard to believe that Sandro would not have heard speculation or read official warnings about a scam. Surely some of the many officials he's met would say something like "I do hope you haven't been in contact with these so-called adepts... they are not connected with us in any way" or some such bureaucratic denial.

    One would think, wouldn't one?

    I found the "get him half way across the water" episode believable, as we'd been told several times that it was gradient neutral. As to the idea that he is now immune to temporal deficits and the like, I'm not so sure. Why would this be, if it's a natural phenomenon?

    Because cause and effect are broken?

    Two things I found odd 1) he claims at one point to be "fascinated by the idea of time slippage, the experience of gradual time" - yet this so-called fascination does not extend to informing himself of it in even basic details... I'm sure he could go to a library, or find a teacher (even of quite young children) and get some real information about it. The story to date has presented him as confused by it, perplexed, unwilling to properly engage with it - but certainly not fascinated.

    Agreed entirely! That bit bugged me as well!

    2) The casual mention of jazz music. For some reason this bothered me more than the whole gradual time stuff, which is clearly a world invention to make a (potentially) interesting story happen. But jazz as a musical form has a particular history rooted to events in our world, and those events mean nothing here and have never happened. It would be like suddenly saying that he liked Beethoven's music, or wanted to imitate Schopenhauer, or some such. Until now he has kept to generic musical forms such as "chamber music", "orchestral music", "modernist" as opposed to "traditional". All of those make sense to me, and don't seem so tie to a specific history of the world. But how are we to understand "jazz" in the context of an alien world with a different history to ours? It's a silly thing to get hung up on, but I wish he'd used a more generic term, like "improvisational" or something.

    The author wants his cake, and Edith too... He wants this to be a different world, where anything can happen, and also someplace familiar, where everything you expect is there.

    I'm not surprised he has met again with Cea, and think that's a good plot move... though the fact that she also is unattached and both available and willing to leap into bed with him again after all these years (decades?) seems unlikely.

    But he's younger now! All buff and muscly!

    I also liked the juxtaposition of all these great changes - the volcano, his sudden new approach to composition (volcanic rather gradual), the potential to actually make a meaningful relationship (starting gradual but certainly becoming climactic and potentially long-lasting). The composition thing seemed to me to be a direct analogy of authors' approach to writing - colloquially the two types being called plotters and pantsers, ie gradually developing a plot or going by the seat of your pants. Sandro is becoming a pantser, perhaps. I can easily imagine musical composers having a similar division. Most authors I know actually have facets of both, so it's not really exclusively either/or, and I guess that's true of composers as well.

    Personally I compose by sitting down and working, intending to compose a song, but letting the song come into being as I am performing it.

    I find I've written a lot! Again, I'm enjoying the progression towards a close and wonder how CP will wind the story up.

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