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    characters vs. information

    Still thinking about how to write the big, complex, "globalized" novel. It occurs to me that one (obvious?) way to cram a lot of information into a novel is to have at least one character whose job or obsession is working with information. Grappling with the process of turning information into knowledge.

    Spent a little while in the bath thinking of characters from 20th-century fiction who fit this bill especially well, and came up with the following:

    • Nicholas Branch, the JFK expert from Don DeLillo's Libra

    • Ozymandias, from Alan Moore's Watchmen

    • the conspiracy hobbyists from Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum

    • a couple of Borges protagonists (the ones from "Library of Babel" and "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" in particular)

    • Francis Wayland Thurston, the protagonist from H.P. Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulhu" ("The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents")

    • possibly Oedipa Maas from Thomas Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49 (I'm re-reading it right now)

    • probably someone in the Rob't Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy (which I haven't re-read in a decade)

    • possibly Travis from J. G. Ballard's Atrocity Exhibition (need to think more about that one)

    Information in poems works totally differently, and I'm thinking about that, too, so another post will take that on, probably soon.


    Tuesday, October 11, 2005
    1:10 PM


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