Slow River

nicola griffith website

Looking for resources for the bibliography, I tripped across a variety of interesting essays on Nicola Griffith's website in which she discusses science fiction as a genre, her books, her life, and gender in writing.

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.

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.

The timeline of Slow River....isn't really a line...

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As was already shown in class by the presentation, the events of the book Slow River, while mixed up and shown out of order, can be lined up to form the majority of Lore's life. Beginning in Chapter 2 when Lore is at the age of 5, and ending with her rejoining her Father again at the end of the novel.

However, on first glance it seemed like these events were just thrown together in random order....in a sort of flashback-y way. A little rough, but not terribly unusual.

power, knowledge, and self/identity

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In many of the novels we've read for this class, information and knowledge have been closely tied to technology and/or power. The collection and accumulation of information and its practical applications demonstrate and enforce control. With all of this focus on bettering one's social and financial status through useful knowledge, what happens to the individual? In Slow River, as we discussed in class on Monday, Lore has identity issues (illustrated through parallel narratives, different point of views, etc.).

Sex in Slow River.

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I feel that the entire novel works to reconcile Lore with the incredibly intimate and damaging rape that occurred in her past. All her experiences outside of the protecting curtain of the Van de Oests functions to give her the perspective and independence from which she can understand and come to accept what happened to her. She must reconcile her own sexual attraction for women with the horrible emotional injury that was inflicted upon her by a woman.

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.

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.

So much identity!

Though I would agree with Moller when she says that to label this novel solely as a humanist work about the nature of human identity completely misses the novel's social and political ramifications, the exploration of identity is an interesting facet of the novel to explore. It's also such an obvious part of the novel, that to ignore it is impossible. Lore has three "identities," as represented by the different tenses and perspectives, as we talked about in class. Not only does each Lore's storyline end with a convenient climax, they also begin with a birth.

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