Monday, 30 September 2013

POV And Death

In Poul Anderson's The Devil's Game (New York, 1980), I have read as far as p. 155 (of 255), a turning point. So far, four contestants have offered five challenges. I list below the contestant, the challenge and the outcome -

Rance, swimming: eliminated none;
Thayer, sitting: eliminated none, but she failed it;
Shaddock, climbing: cliff eliminated Thayer, tree eliminated Flagler, which means he can't make a challenge although I see that he nevertheless has a chapter later;
Cruz, sun-bathing (sitting naked all day in the lethal sun): should eliminate all except Cruz, the only black man present, but the challenge is ended early by his murder.

Unrealistically, Cruz not only, like the others, narrates his own challenge chapter in first person, present tense but also continues narrating until the moment of his death:

"Yankee, go home, and I say this not in hatred but in love, because crash..." (p. 155)

Interval Six, Part One, back to third person, past tense explains the crash, a bullet to the brain. If Cruz's entire chapter is narrated by him, then he hears the crash. Or are we to understand that crash is the sound of the impact that ends his consciousness so that the last word narrated by him is "...because..."?

Point of view matters and here Anderson, like CS Lewis in That Hideous Strength, stretches it to and beyond its limit.

A murder should end the game but Haverner has said that he is above the law on his island.

No comments: