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The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story - Chpt 3

 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:51 am    Post subject: The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story - Chpt 3 Reply with quote

usivius went on vacation in Equador by mistake.

cameraman jenn had graciously agreed to do chpt 3.
she will hereby post tomorrow (mon)

thanks jenn! Big Grin
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok. Here goes:

Chapter three is an action packed chapter complete with a chase and battle and a very interesting glimpse into the persona of Angus Thermopyle. It starts out with an explanation of Angus and his behavior in jail and during the trial. He refuses to answer any questions or to even defend himself so the only evidence the UMC can bring against him is the evidence they garner from their inspection of his ship. His ship is rife with modifications and creative adaptations, some bought and some self made that indicates heavily that pirate activity is it's purpose. They glean enough information from the computer to convict him of piracy but nothing more.
Angus is so tight lipped and the evidence so meager they can only convict him of piracy and can't pin anything related to Morn Hyland on him. He avoids the death penalty. The only emotional reaction he has during any of this is when they tell him that they are going to dismantle his ship. He reacts so strongly that he has to be sedated to stop his raging. Angus is a loner with a heart full of hate and a coward to boot. He has no regard for life and yet is completely dependant on his ship to the point that it is the only thing that he is capable of caring about.

The action takes us back to a few weeks before the trial and it centers around Angus and his terrified reaction to the appearance at Com-Mine station of a huge ship owned by the Hyland family, called StarMaster. He has an instinctive reaction of dread and takes a reading of the ship's hull. He finds out that it is made of a very rare and expensive alloy and this fact alone causes him to flee without proper preparation or thought. He runs on instinct. He is able to control his ship by himself due to his clever modifications but occasionally he has had help, his latest of which is in a tube waiting for incineration because Angus killed him in a fit of rage. Angus finds himself in a position of having barely has enough food and water to last three days. Once on the lamb he finds out that his air purification filters are long overdue for changing. He improvises and does a temporary fix on the filters while taking drugs to keep him awake for his flight. He pushes himself to the limits of his endurance until he finds a place to hide in a mostly played out minefield and stays as long as he can.

He is forced to leave his hiding spot when he is on the verge of running out of air and completely deprived of water and food. He attempts to solve these problems by attacking one of the few mining operations still running in the area. He manages to kill everyone and is just about to plunder for necessities when Starmaster appears and orders him to surrender. Angus has absolutely no respect for life and is a pirate more for the joy of destroying others than he is for wealth. He realizes that his instincts were very correct when they announce that they are in fact a UMCP ship, a police destroyer. He tries to flee despite the fact that his air has him on death's doorstep. He almost gets away by employing a very clever diversionary technique but they catch him anyway by turning his own techniques against him. He loses consciosness and we are forced to wonder about how he went from being unconscious and captured by the far superior Hyland owned ship to arriving back at Com-Mine with a gorgeous Hyland woman in tow and at his beck and call.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nailed it jenn! thanks a TON!!

i have to admit, it's Angus i followed most closely through this story.
i don't know if i identified with him or what. and if i did, i don't know,
considering my own psychological "annomalies", what it is about me that made me identify with him, but i did.

odd, i'm sure. i prob'ly wanna fix him. Rolling Eyes

for whatever reason, i liked him far better that i liked Covenant when i first read him. i know, i know, i can hear the collective gasp now but it's true. maybe it's just that he's so clearly drawn by donalson's descriptions of him.

wayfriend will prob'ly come along and figgerit out for me. Big Grin
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you're more advanced than a cockroach, have you ever tried explaining yourself to one of them?
~ alan bates, the mothman prophecies


i've had this with actors before, on the set, where they get upset about the [size of my] trailer, and i'm always like...take my trailer, cause... i'm from kentucky and that's not what we brag about.
~ george clooney, inside the actor's studio


a straight edge for legends at
the fold - searching for our
lost cities of gold. burnt tar,
gravel pits. sixteen gears switch.
Haphazard Lucy strolls by.
~ dennis r wood ~
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, identifying with Angus.... hrmmm. I think it is probably more about how Angus is presented. We are told that Angus is a psycho and yet we are shown his fear and inability to interact with other humans on any remotely normal way. We are told to loathe him and yet at the same time we are coerced into feeling sorry for him. Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cameraman Jenn wrote:
We are told to loathe him and yet at the same time we are coerced into feeling sorry for him.

Chapter three really grabbed me and pulled me into the story.

I should say this is my first time reading the Gap series, and I've only read to chapter three so I can follow along with the dissection, but I think I am figuring out how the title is linked to the story, the real story.
Given we walk into your typical lower-class space dock full of space-aces, pirates, swindlers and folk simply stuck there with nowhere else to go, the characters seem to fit into classic niches partly due to the fact that we are observing them through the eyes of locals, but it seems Donaldson has tricked me once again. Curses!

In chapter three it seems we are to expect Angus to play out his role as "bad guy", and I think he does a good job, but the writing changes.
We are not flying away on Captain's Fancy with the girlie in tow, or playing good cop/bad cop beating a confession out of Angus or sipping down drinks in Mallory's waiting for more news from outside Del-Sec. Now we are in the cock-pit of Bright Beauty, sweating our brains out, high on dope, running out of air, water, and food with the cops on our tail trying to get away so the story can continue.
For a chapter we are Angus Thermopyle.
I was a bit worried about the scrubbers, whether all the miners were ashed, and if the UMCP ship could barrel down on BB so, to a degree, I can relate to Angus as with other villains and assume, judging by the title, that we are to see him in another light. A brighter, more penetrating light than in Mallory's.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cameraman Jenn wrote:
We are told to loathe him and yet at the same time we are coerced into feeling sorry for him.


Well put. To understand all is to forgive all.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that was great Jenn.
Thanks for covering my skinny @ss...
(still in ecuador.. will check in for ´real´in a week or so...)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Usivius, and you can pay me back by tackling a chapter in my informal read of Mordant's Need.... Big Grin Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the end of my last post in the chapter 2 discussion, I mentioned a “third flaw” in the known story. Though it was conspicuously left out of chapter 2, Donaldson starts with it immediately at the beginning of chapter 3. “Angus surprised his prosecutors further by refusing to defend himself, testify on his own behalf.” (p. 30). So Donaldson is clearly thinking about it, and clearly sees the narrative flow between these “flaws.” And he wants us to think about it, too. So he plants the seeds here at the beginning of chapter three—the first chapter where the story starts to move forward.

We also get the much-repeated detail about Angus howling over his ship being dismantled. These two details are inextricably linked. His silence, and then his howling. They are stated together on the same page here Spoiler:
. . . , and then again on the last page. And then again at the beginning of the next book.
This is vital to understanding Angus, and his alteration throughout the series: he didn’t defend himself, even though it cost him everything. And yet, his lack of defense doesn’t arise through a complete loss of self. He still retains enough of his desire to live to mourn for the loss of his ship. Those two facts don’t add up. If he still cares about the one thing he loves (his ship—which is really his freedom, power, autonomy, etc.—which means he still cares about himself), then why doesn’t he defend himself?

At this point, Donaldson stops talking about how the story ends, and steps back to the beginning. This is THE POINT where he starts to move forward, and stops framing the story with its end. The top of page 31. With no transition whatsoever after dropping the hint of the “third flaw,” the Author begins. And the way he does this is further evidence of the importance of this "third flaw" in the known story; it's the last thing he mentions in the way of foreshadowing, and yet he hides this importance by disguising the transition point. Really, this detail would have worked better at he end of the last chapter. But he tacks it on here, and provides no textual marker whatsoever to indicate that he has shifted directions.

At this narrative transition point, we learn right away a new detail about Angus’s psyche, the second part of his dual motivations. [These motivators will play a very important role throughout the rest of the book.] Not only is he a "creature of hate," he is also a coward. Donaldson introduces the theme of his fear by saying: he has good instincts. His instincts warned him about the Hyland ship. This is his first glimmer that something was wrong, and that his life was about to unalterably change course. It was too good to be true. A prize too tempting, too seductive. Like Morn herself.

One of my favorite lines:
Quote:
“He had tackled ships like that in the past . . .had tackled them and raged to himself fiercely as he did so, destroying what other men would have captured as riches because his need for money had limits while his desire to see what matter cannon fire could do was immense.”


And this line is more than just good writing; it’s another clue to Angus’s future. That which other men would prize, he destroyed with fierce raging. Okay, we could chock it up to his “universal hate.” But that begs the question: what made him so angry? We get a hint at the end of this paragraph: “Angus Thermopyle was always alone, even when he happened to find some stow- or castaway piece of human garbage to crew for him.” In his solitude, “he relived the ships he had tackled and hated them.” He derives pleasure from marring what other people love, because he is unloved.

And of course, this will come into play when he meets Morn. This is how he will want to treat her, too. A prize to be marred. But Morn is also the catalyst which leads to his change. This is hinted at by the very next sentence: “But not this time.” No, this time his instincts tell him that something is different. This time, he didn’t even repaint the letters of Bright Beauty when he fled for space. His cowardice overrides his hate. [This character trait also comes into play with the “third flaw,” and is contradicted on the last page: Spoiler:
. . . he let Morn and Nick go. He had that much courage, anyway.”
Cowardice and hate become dual forces which determine his actions—a tension which up until now has lead to his survival, but will lead to his imprisonment and Morn’s escape.

“If the Hyland ship could find him there, then he was lost anyway. He had never really had a chance to escape.” Yes. Exactly.

Physically, he pays for his cowardice. His air is bad, his body is stressed by strain and drugs. Here, in this tin can, he’s as frail as a fetus, struggling for air, struggling against the constriction of this metal womb. A new Angus is about to be born from this claustrophobic, self-imposed prison.

His hatred rescues him from the consequences of his fear. “The world had been sneering at him from the first. He took revenge when he got the chance.” He blamed Starmaster for his plight, for scaring him. Plotting his revenge enabled him to remain calm, to retain a “cold rage” while he spent the next two days searching the belt for miners. While his brain is squeezed in a vice of bad air, and his tongue is thick from bad water, and he is urgently hungry, this cold black rage kept him going until he found what he needed: the supplies of others. He begins his birth into a new creature with a final act typical of the old Angus: he kills them all.

An odd detail here: contrary to what Donaldson tells us about The Real Story, Angus, on the other hand, “. . . could tell their whole story with a glance at their ship, their camp, and his field-mining probes.” After spending 2 chapters telling us that everything is more than it appears, Donaldson implies that Angus can know everything important in a glance. Of course Angus doesn’t really glean their own personal Real Stories. He makes assumptions and collapses complexity into a neat narrative just before blasting them into their constituent molecules. These illusory summaries we construct for one another are acts of violence. We condense each other into less than what we really are.

And this is when Starmaster catches him. Following its own summary assumptions about his flight from Com Mine, it had found him here and witnessed enough to justify its assumptions. He was a murderer. And, to all appearances, that’s all he was.

But there is more. “I don’t care if you come from fucking God. You can’t have my ship.”
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn good post Malik. This and the Ch.2 post.

Angus could tell their whole story as it was relevant to him, not to his actual victims.

--A
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