Response 7

Could talk some more about race, but...

Hiro Protagonist is defined from the second page as someone who kicks ass:

"Since then the Deliverator has kept the gun in the glove compartment of his and relied, instead, on a matched set of samurai swords, which have always been his weapon of choice anyhow. The punks in Gila Highlands weren't afraid of the gun, so the Deliverator was forced to use it. But swords require no demonstrations" (2)

slow river and corporations

Of all the "subplots" that make up this novel, I found the Lore/Sal Bird -- Magyar one the most intriguing. In the beginning it definitely inspires a disgust for the corporate machine and how little it seems to care about the consumers of its "product", which is essential to life: water. All of this seems to suggest that in a technological age, one of humanity's few remaining weaknesses is its dependence on greedy profit-driven corporations for survival, which is certainly true of our real world.

Living in a fish-eye lens, caught in the camera eye

One of the most striking elements in Nicola Griffith's Slow River is the use of cameras. Throughout the text, the picture seen by the camera somehow shows a raw truth, and is able to catch characters at their most vulnerable moments, and with Lore, somehow seems to draw out her vulnerability.

Katerine the Corporate Monster

Nicola Griffith's Slow River is an acclaimed piece of science fiction, and insofar as it has realistic portrayals of the interactions between chemistry, biology, corporations, and the environment, it's a very successful book. But when it comes to the personal and family intrigue, the book has problems. Too many times, the characters' motivations are in question, so the plausibility of the novel suffers. Katerine, especially, is a character whose actions are never fully explicated, who serves as a major antagonist without a cause.

Some thoughts on Slow River

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I am still not sure if Slow River falls into my personal definitions of science fiction. Obviously, it takes place in the future, and there are extrapolative qualities to the narrative, but it does not seem "sciency" enough to me. The water parts, although interesting, do not have the same glamorous appeal as interstellar space travel. One of the most fascinating areas of the novel, to me, was the role of pleasure in manipulating its victims' lives.

Identity and Morality

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The use of different tenses to describe the different phases of Lore's life, as intertwined in Slow River, is clearly open to interpretation. To the degree that the last phase, chronologically, is the one in which first person is used, one might say that Lore simply identifies most with her current incarnation, and that the tale told from ten years further on would invoke the first person only for events later still. However, it seems possible that the use of third person reflects Lore's conscious dissociation from herself as she existed before the advent of Sal Bird the second.

Camera and utilisation in Slow River

In any world where identity is important, the camera is going to be a focal point of observation. In Slow River, in response to Tok's "Find something," an admonishment to keep Lore sane with the parents she has, Lore acquires a camera and edit board. Lore's filmography becomes a very important part of the book. It shows not only the fluidity of identity, but shows first how perception of identity can change things. "Lore's first projects are wish fulfillment," and are of her parents happy together.

Rich people suck.

I enjoyed Slow River. However, I also enjoy The Hills and America's Next Top Model, so this means very little. I enjoyed it, but I didn't think it was particularly good. The major issue I had with it was the apparent lack of a character arc for Lore. As she is the protagonist, I assume we are supposed to identify and sympathize with her; at least, I found no indication to the contrary. I did not particularly like her, however, and there were some major flaws in her character that I thought needed more of a treatment than the book gave.

Dealing with Vulnerability

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I wanted to tie together two issues we discussed briefly in class: Lore's seemingly overwhelming worry about being discovered and themes of environmentalism.

Ain't no Cyberpunk

It was pretty easy to expect, when I was first handed Lore as a trembling victim and Spanner as her fast-talking underworld coach, that the world of Slow River is a cyberpunk world in which one's identity implant is their life and loss of it turns one into a non-person. This isn't what Slow River is about at all.

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