Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Climaxes

The climax of Ensign Flandry is the discovery of a rogue planet on a collision course with the sun of an inhabited planet. But the existence and nature of rogue planets must not seem to come as a deus ex machina near the end of the novel. Therefore, an otherwise unnecessary conversation about rogue planets is placed near the beginning of the novel.

The climax of The Rebel Worlds is Dominic Flandry's capture of the rebels' codes so that the rebels cannot win and must go into exile. But the nature and importance of codes must not seem to come as a deus ex machina near the end of the novel. Therefore, an otherwise unnecessary remark about codes is made, then explained, earlier in the novel.

Since a novel is an artifact, each part of its text exists for a purpose. If rogue planets or codes are mentioned earlier, this is because they will turn out to be significant later. Knowing this, the sufficiently attentive reader should be able to treat the earlier, apparently inconsequential, passages like the clues planted in the opening chapters of a mystery novel and to deduce from them what will happen next.

Certainly, when the rebel leader dismisses as a daydream the possibility of reading the enemy's codes, it should occur to us that that is precisely how Flandry will defeat the rebellion.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    I understand what you mean about the discussion of rogue planets in Chapter 3 of ENSIGN FLANDRY being a clue showing how important a rogue planet will be to the entire story. But I'm doubtful it's correct to say the rogue would have been a deus ex machina if Chapter 3 didn't have that discussion. To me, the really important bit was where Dwyr the Hook managed to find and transmit the rogue's coordinates to Flandry. I think the discussion of rogue planets in Chapter 3 is best understood as an explanation of what rogue planets are like. It would not have been artistically appropriate to set this explanation in the later chapters.

    To those who have not read ENSIGN FLANDRY, I apologize for the spoilers.

    Sean

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