The Dream Archipelago Week 13: The Discharge, part 1
- We meet an un-named soldier, fresh from boot camp and in his 20's, marching to a ship. He's a conscript, and heading to the south continent to fight.
- The war is now 3000 years old! Common knowledge holds that it was the Islanders that started it.
- As he travels south, the recites the names of several islands. He says: "Each of these names was evocative to me. Reading the names off the map, identifying the exotic coastlines from fragments of clues - a sudden rise of sheer cliffs, a distinctive headland, a particular bay - made me think that everywhere in the Dream Archipelago was already embedded in my consciousness, that somehow the islands were where my roots were found, that I belonged in them, had dreamed of them all my life. In short, while I stared at the islands from the ship I felt my artistic sensibilities reviving." I picked this about because I feel the same way.
- There is to be only one island stop - on Muriseay, the largest island - where the soldiers soon learn they can take a brief leave for R&R.
- We learn of Rascar Acizzone, a painter and the inventor (or pioneer) of tactilism, who lived in an artists colony on Muriseay. We learned briefly about him in The Islanders.
- The soldiers are granted shore leave. Most opt to visit the whores. Our viewpoint character, though, seeks only to find the trace of Acizzone. Instead he finds whores, and ends up in gogo bar.
- Our soldier is uncomfortable in the gogo bar and wants to leave, but just then black-caps with batons enter and block the exits. Meanwhile, women seem to sense him and harass him with their come-ons. A younger woman catches his eye and he goes with her into the back.
- He enters one of the private rooms and soon finds himself alone with a woman on a bed in a scene that seems like a re-enaction of Ste Augustinea Abandonai, one of Accizone's most famous tactilist works. He realizes he's been searching for this. The woman tells him he must either engage and ravage her, or he must leave. Lamely, he leaves.
- He blunders through the corridors, interrupts a couple, then enters and empty room. Three women quickly join him and before he knows it, he's The Swain of Lethen in Godley Pleasures, another of Acizzone's works. Finally he's aroused.
- But its over almost before it begins, and he's left to climax on his own. Dissatisfied and embarrassed, he leaves and returns to the ship - which sets sail the next day.
- Are the women in Priest's books more comfortable with sex than the men?
- Who is taking advantage of whom in this scenario?
- What's the connection between art, sex, and war? Why do both feature so much in The Dream Archipelago?