OF THE CITY OF THE SAVED...
NOTES: BOOK ONE
PLEASE NOTE that, if you read these notes ahead of the book itself, you will encounter SPOILERS.
Book One: The three “books” of the novel were originally going to be called “Paradise”, “Purgatory” and “Inferno”, but one of my test-readers perceptively pointed out how utterly naff that was. Lucky escape there.
the Uptime Gate: The Uptime Gate was first mentioned in The Book of the War. Among other background details, The Book reveals that the Gate is set on the summit of a mountain, whose slopes form the vast settlement named here as “Ascension”.
the prehuman australopithecine species: That's “species”, plural. Australopithecus was a genus of primate ancestral to modern humanity: the first, broadly speaking, to walk upright and use tools. They thrived between roughly 4½ and 1½ million years ago. They may not have been very bright, but (as The Book of the War establishes) they qualify as both human and sentient, for the purposes of resurrection in the City at least.
General Scipio Africanus: The first appearance of a historical character in the novel... not that he does much. Publius Cornelius Scipio (236 to 183 BC), also known as Scipio the Elder, was a hero of the Roman Republic and was granted the title of “Africanus” after his victories over the Carthaginians in North Africa.
Terra Mater: Like Diana, a Roman goddess. Her name means what it says – “Mother Earth”.
the Romuline pageant: The creatures all come from the Oligocene Epoch, around 38 to 24 million years ago. In a few cases there's no direct evidence that they were contemporary with one another, but you know what fossil records are like. The “devil-boars” are entelodonts, the “hyena-beasts” creodonts. Both of them are exactly what they sound like. The “blade-toothed felines” are Dinyctis, the so-called “false sabre-tooth cat” (although since it really was a cat, and had actual sabre-like teeth, I can't see what was so fake about it).
The “ancestral mammoths” are Paleomastodons: it seemed unthinkable to include a procession of prehistoric beasts in a Faction Paradox novel without introducing mammoths in some form or other. The “stranger pachyderms” are gompotheria – long box-headed elephants, like it says on the tin – while the “rhinocerids” are brontotheria, the general family of “rhinos with weird knobbly bits instead of horns”. The “behemoths” are baluchitheria – the largest recorded class of land mammal, some of whom were of comparable size to the sauropod dinosaurs (ie very large indeed). The “crested serpent” is a madtsoid, belonging to a prehistoric order of, yes, great big snakes. Some cryptozoologists think surviving madtsoids are responsible for the Thai legend of the naga, or river-dragon, which is why I've given this particular one a not-palaeontologically-justified crest.
The “monkey-apes” are Aegyptopithecus: another group of primates ancestral to humanity, but very much more distant than the australopithecines (and evidently not among the City's resurrectees). The question of what would have happened had the Romulines captured any of the individual Aegyptopithecus who happened to be humanity's direct ancestors is an interesting one – but take it from me, they haven't. The “miniature horses” are Mesohippus. Larger than Eohippus, smaller than Merychippus, Mesohippus would indeed have made an ideal playmate for your toddler, probably.
Laura Tobin: Tobin is Lawrence Miles's character, first introduced in his BBC novel Interference and appearing later in The Book of the War. Tobin herself is not a character about whom much had been written prior to Of the City of the Saved.... Her rather complex relationship (which may be one of complete identity, depending on how you look at it) with Lawrence's other character Compassion, is explained in the sidebar “The Compassion Project” on p73.
Paynesdown District: Sidebars are not, of course, a usual feature of a novel. They're more familiar from magazines and text books. However, they were integral to the pseudo-reference style of The Book of the War, and it was planned – initially, at least – that the device would form part of the house style for the Faction Paradox novels. Whether this is the case in the long run remains to be seen. I found the technique a useful one, though: it allowed me to remove substantial chunks of exposition (some of it quite detailed) from the main body of the text, freeing up the novel's flow and allowing for a careful pacing of certain revelations.
The Faction: Their first mention in the novel proper. If you don't know what a Faction Paradox is, I strongly suggest you read “The Story So Far” on pp3-4, this page and possibly these ones too, and then come back here.
Julian White Mammoth Tusk: Julian is a Neanderthal – one of a species of human beings who flourished in Europe between circa 300,000 and 26,000 BC. More confusingly, he's a fourth-generation City-born Neanderthal, biologically Neanderthal but culturally a Citizen. As we will see, he doesn't have much patience with his Neanderthal roots.
Palaeontological opinion is perennially divided about the Neanderthals: whether they were a separate species from modern humanity or merely a separate subspecies; whether they interbred with mainstream humanity and were absorbed, or simply became extinct; and whether they possessed the same capacities for reasoning and imaginative thought as contemporary Homo sapiens. For the purposes of the novel, the answer to the last is clearly “yes”.
I don't propose, incidentally, to footnote all of Julian's peculiar slang. For one thing we'd be here all week, and for another it's designed to be comprehensible, given a bit of effort on the reader's part. As elsewhere, though, I will be noting references to myth, Faction Paradox continuity and the like.
waragi, ouzo and / or substances akin: While it's probably well-known that ouzo is an aniseed-flavoured Greek liqueur (and very nice it is too, provided it's drunk at well below freezing point), how many people know that waragi is a Ugandan spirit distilled from banana leaves? Well, you do now.
His timebeast head: The novel's first reference to one of the key events of The Book of the War, and of City history, the Timebeast Assault of AF 262. This attack on the City by the Great Houses is recounted in more detail in Chapter 16.
Of course we bloody talk!: The other big controversy concerning the Neanderthals is whether they were able to vocalise, or whether any language they possessed would have to have been purely gestural. Scientific consensus on this matter oscillates from one opinion to the other with great regularity, but the current belief appears to be that they could, indeed, speak. By the time I found this out, however, I was already committed to the idea of Julian as a non-vocal character who communicates using Gestural Civil. There isn't any obvious reason, though, why some individual Neanderthals couldn't have been mute, as some individuals of our own species are. That's what I've tried to convey here.
(For what it's worth, I imagine there are other Civil variants, equally mutually comprehensible, for Citizens with other disabilities – who are deaf-blind, for example, or who lack both vocal cords and hands – as well as more exotic variants for those posthuman species which were re-engineered to communicate via radio waves or chromatophores. But that's beside the point.)
Tens of identical men: Some readers have been surprised, seventeen pages into the novel, to encounter a large group of Sherlock Holmeses. The reasons for this may seem unnecessarily obscure, but are elucidated in the sidebar on “Remakes” on p103.
...oh swyve, though Julian: “Swyve” is a Middle English word meaning, precisely, “fuck”. It's very common in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I mention this only because Julian uses it an awful lot.
verrifanting: “Traitorous”. The story of Lord Mayor Verrifant and his part in the Timebeast Assault may be found in The Book of the War
Jabez Krishna: The first instance of the multicultural blasphemies of which Julian makes rather a habit. Jabez is a startlingly dull Biblical character, who pops up in I Chronicles 4 vv9-10. Krishna is a far more interesting Hindu deity, the legendary warrior and hero of the Baghavad-Gita who became known as an incarnation of Vishnu.
hawking: Now Julian is apparently swearing by the name of the physicist Stephen Hawking (1942- ), Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University. Possibly a sect of Hawking-worshippers becomes influential in humanity's future; possibly Julian is merely being ironic.
Urbanus Ignotus: Another new character, one of the novel's major viewpoint characters. Of Roman ancestry, he forms a contrast with Julian in that he has grown up within a culture closely derived from that of his ancestors, and knows little of the City at large. This is about to change.
skeletonic bio-automata: A small tribute to Ray Harryhausen, master of stop-motion animation and special-effects god-king of the 1950s and 60s. His skeleton army appears in Jason and the Argonauts (1963).
Lucius Cassius Ignotus: An invented character, but one with parallels in certain historical figures. The novel was originally to have included a brief biographical sidebar, but this was omitted for reasons of space.
robots capable [...] of changing into items of military hardware: A reference, of course, to Transformers, the comic / cartoon / film series about robots who can do precisely that. Since Mad Norwegian Press publishes an unofficial guide to the series, it seemed fitting at the time.
The Rump Parliament: The Faction Paradox body within the City of the Saved, given its own entry in The Book of the War where it is established as a powerful, if shadowy, presence in the City. Its family structure is derived from that of the parent Faction, but Godfather Avatar (like all the Rump Parliament members in Of the City of the Saved..., with one exception) is an original character.
Selene Walmric: The name is an anagram of “Lawrence Miles”. Well, I needed a historian of Faction Paradox, so it seemed appropriate.
The Great Houses: As with the Faction, a fundamental fixture of the Faction Paradox universe (see “The Story So Far” on p3). The Houses are a world of time-travelling godlings who long ago imposed their will on the whole of history: they are the parent culture against which Faction Paradox is in rebellion.
by some remote chance: The culture to which Laura Tobin and her conceptual descendants belong in Interference and The Book of the War is known as the Remote: this is the culture which in the City is responsible for the “remakes” (see p103) and inhabits Teletopia District (see Chapters 50 and 58). While the proper noun isn't used in Of the City of the Saved... for fear of over-burdening the reader with information, I felt justified in punning on it occasionally.
King Square: As p53 reveals, the square contains a statue of the City's first Lord Mayor: together with the name, one might read this as suggesting that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King has played an important rôle in the City's politics. On the other hand “King” isn't exactly an uncommon name, or word. It might equally be referring – for instance – to King Richard III.
Thank Civvie: Julian's multicultural swearing encompasses the Romuline goddess of the City, Civitata.
Tall Cllr. St Marx: Allisheer St Marx's first appearance in the novel: she will become a major character. For her biography, see p53.
Homo habilis: Literally “handy man” – a species of hominid ancestral to modern humanity who thrived between 2 and 1½ million years ago.
Cro-Magnon: A prehistoric race rather than a species of humanity, the Cro-Magnons (who were anatomically identical to modern human beings) flourished between roughly 35,000 and 8,000 BC. Their relics, including art and ritual sites, suggest a thriving culture including religious observance.
“revolved”: I hoped at some point in the novel to deal with the plight of the Revolved Citizens – but alas, space did not permit it. Distantly human-descended sentients, the Revolved fulfil the criteria for resurrection in the City, but nevertheless are considered “humanity once removed”. The idea was that, in the far future, some of humanity's evolutionary descendants might lose the capacity of consciousness, becoming mindless animals once more... and that some of their descendants, unimaginable generations hence, might evolve new consciousnesses, in modes entirely alien to those of ancestral humanity. Sentient and human-descended (unlike their nearer ancestors, who would be human-descended but non-sentient, and therefore not welcome in the City), they would nevertheless be prohibited by their very nature from comprehending the megalopolis around them. The voice which says ‘Rivermade’ in the Voces Populi may be that of a Revolved Citizen.
The English word imago: Originally a Latin word, in fact, meaning “image”. In English, however, the word is used for the adult form of an insect, which makes its usage here particularly appropriate. The imago is discussed in greater detail in a sidebar on p201.
An Erect cleaner: Unlike the Neanderthals, Homo erectus (literally “erect man” – another predecessor species of humanity, dating from roughly 1½ million to 250,000 years ago) were almost certainly incapable of speech.
Mesh Cos: Mesh is of the last human species and civilisation. She is a new character, although one of her compatriots, Het Linc, appears in The Book of the War. For Mesh's biography, see p45.
Dis Pater: Literally “Father Dis” – the name is probably derived from “dives”, “rich”. He was the Roman god of the underworld and the dead. His equivalent in the Greek pantheon was Hades, alternatively known as Pluto (a name which also means “rich”).
Neptunus: Known in English, of course, as Neptune. The name's origin is apparently obscure.
Romulus: Rome's legendary founder, after whom the Romuline District is named. He and his twin brother Remus were sons of the war-god Mars, and were suckled by the she-wolf who later became Rome's emblem. As adolescents they fought to the death, and the survivor, Romulus, went on to found the city. Romuline lore has elevated Romulus to godhood, and made him the consort of Civitata.
Vulcanus and Minerva: The Roman equivalents to the Greek gods Hephaestus and Athena, and originally the patron deities of blacksmithing and wisdom respectively.
Tiresias: It was common for foreign slaves in the Roman Empire to be given a Roman name: this would often be taken from myth or legend, as p40 reveals that “Tiresias”'s has been. While the original legend of Tiresias (a Theban whose other attributes included prophecy and longevity) merely had him spend a decade as a woman (a curse inflicted on him by the goddess Venus), later tradition has ascribed hermaphroditic characteristics to him in old age.
The English word “hermaphrodite” is itself derived from classical myth: Hermaphroditus was the son, appropriately enough, of Hermes (Mercury) and Aphrodite (Venus), who became merged with a water-nymph against his will and took on her female characteristics as well as his own male ones. As Hermaphroditus was a beautiful young god, however, his name would not have been an appropriate choice for the elderly Tiresias.
the Manichean chapel: Manicheanism is a Gnostic religion, sometimes interpreted as a Christian heresy. Its founder, Mani, was crucified in 276 AD. The term is sometimes used, inaccurately, for variants of Christianity which affect to despise the physical world.
One of her descendants: Some necessary backstory relating to Tobin's conceptual descendant, Compassion (or more precisely Compassion V). The story is recounted in the sidebar “The Compassion Project” on p73, and in more detail in The Book of the War.
Rudimentary biodata analysis: Biodata is established in The Book of the War as another background detail of the Faction Paradox universe. It is to someone's life history roughly what DNA is to their physical body: like DNA, it can be engineered, at least by anyone with the capacity to manipulate time.
Professor Anthony Fisher: Another major character makes his appearance. For Prof. Fisher's (self-composed) biography, see p139.
Aelfred College: Named after (and presumably founded by) King A[e]lfred the Great of Wessex, noted for his patronage of learning institutions.
Angstrom Hive: The Councillor puts in a brief showing in Book Three.
This chapter originally had a biographical sidebar dealing with Cllr Ignotus, but this was removed in the final edit.
of Francistine manufacture: A piece of pure self-indulgence here. The Francistines are a far-future order of spiritually-minded bio-engineers in my Doctor Who short story, “First Person”. The name is a portmanteau of “Franciscan” and “Frankenstein”, incorporating perhaps a hint of renaissance artistry from “Sistine”.
He’s a Sciopod: As Tiresias suggests, the Sciopods are a one-footed Indian tribe described by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History (77 AD), and by a number of other classical and Mediaeval authorities. They traditionally used their giant foot as an umbrella, to shield them from the oppressive midday sun.
That, young Urbanus, is a Manfolk: Our first (knowing) sight of a faction within the City who will become rather important as the novel progresses.
Jemily: My apologies should go at this point to my friends Jennie Parry-James and Emily Fletcher, whose joint nickname I appropriated here for no better reason than that I've always liked it.
compsognathus: A small yappy-type dinosaur. Thinking on it, it's probably more likely the Romulines would have a nickname for them, as with the “devil-boars” and “behemoths”, although clearly they use the technical names for some dinosaurs (see, for instance, p98).
Dedalus: In classical myth, D[a]edalus was an inventor – the builder of the Cretan Labyrinth, the first man to achieve human-powered flight, and the father of Icarus of “flew too close to the sun” fame. The Romulines have lazily conflated their mythic figures, giving the name of the Labyrinth's designer to someone who resembles its famous occupant, the Minotaur.
The Minotaur was originally conceived when Pasiphaë, the wife of King Minos of Crete, persuaded Daedalus to fashion an artificial cow in which she could sit to have sex with a bull sent by the god Poseidon (Neptune). Minos was unimpressed, both with his wife's behaviour and with the resulting offspring: hence his commissioning Daedalus to imprison the Minotaur in the Labyrinth; and the artificer's later need to invent wings so that he and Icarus could escape the king's deferred justice.
Like Ignotus's cook, Dedalus is a collateral, of mixed human-alien heritage. His physical appearance was Lawrence Miles's idea: I had at first been rather vague about what kind of alien the character was to resemble. The fact that a minotaur named “Mr Smith” appears in Lawrence's audio drama Labyrinth of Histories may not be a coincidence.
Marsday: In Latin, “Martis dies” – Tuesday. The English name derives from the Norse war-god Tiw, the Latin one from the Roman war-god Mars. I presume that the Roman names were replaced by the Germanic ones when formerly Roman Britain was conquered by the Saxons (although in fact I just made that up, and have no actual information on the point).
the Great Houses' terminal assault on humankind: This final extinction of humanity is first mentioned under Het Linc in The Book of the War.
noosphere: A term coined by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit priest and anthropologist who also created the eschatological doctrine of the “Omega Point”. The noosphere (from Greek “noos”, “mind”) is the (conceptual) sphere of human thought and spirituality, in the same way as the biosphere is the sphere of biological life. Clearly Mesh Cos' people succeeded in tapping into their own noosphere, and utilising it as a kind of analogue to our world-wide web.
Publications: As well as certain clues to the character's literary origins, Mesh Cos' selected bibliography contains a number of obscure references. “Tac Fles” was mentioned in an earlier draft of the novel as a sculptor of Mesh's culture, the artist of a “Monument to Humanity” in Mesh's home District of Samphire. The “Entrustine Horde” crop up again on p93. “Postmen in London” is a pun on the title of Olaf Stapledon's 1930s science fiction novel Last Men in London, the sequel to his better-known Last and First Men. Both volumes deal with the final generation of humanity. (My novella Peculiar Lives draws heavily on these and other of Stapledon’s works, and features Stapledon himself as a character, under the alias of “Erik Clevedon”.) “The Spiral and the Helix” (while I imagine it as a volume of poems or something similar) is presumably a reference to the DNA double helix and to the Spiral Politic – the name given in The Book of the War to the region I have less problematically referred to as “the Universe”. Ichthyosaurs were fish-shaped aquatic reptiles contemporary with the dinosaurs.
the fabled Lost Planet of Erath: Ooh look, another anagram. (In fact, Erath is not Earth, despite appearances: Earth in the Faction Paradox universe is destroyed in 10,000,000 AD. RealSpace is constructed out of space-opera clichés, however, and the mythical Lost Planet which turns out – astonishingly – to be humanity's abandoned home is about as clichéd as they come.)
the Dyson Sphere Heritage Centre: A Dyson Sphere, as first theorised by the physicist Freeman Dyson, is a shell of material constructed around a sun, at roughly the distance of a planetary orbit, to maximise living space for the inhabitants of the solar system in question (most of which would have to be taken apart to build the structure). The absence of detectable Dyson spheres in our galaxy is sometimes cited as evidence for the non-existence of alien cultures, or at least of very advanced ones.
Inhabitants [...] Famed for: The formula used in the 1980s state-of-the-art computer game Elite, whose wire-frame graphics, randomly generated planetary descriptions and entrepreneurial economics are remembered fondly by an entire generation of socially inept teenagers. Its use here helps to confirm RealSpace's status as, basically, a giant space-opera theme park.
A particular aerial view: The “particularly iconic” image Urbanus is recalling here is that immortalised in Jim Calafiore's Timebeast Assault illustration in The Book of the War. See my note on the novel's Frontispiece for some mention of why I would have liked to have included it there.
Kyme Janute: Not a major character, but one I became fond of. I've described her as resembling the British Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe, as played by the 1980s wrestler-turned-actor Mr T.
the Manthing: Rude though this sounds, “thing” is actually a perfectly respectable Anglo-Norse term for an assembly. In fact, the Icelandic Parliament is still called the Althing.
Plaka Perikles [...] Lincoln Place [...] Castro Boulevard [...] Mandela Mandala: These are presumably references to Perikles Alkmaeonides, Abraham Lincoln, Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela, the respective heads of state at one time or another of Athens, the United States, Cuba and South Africa. “Plaka” is Greek for “place” or “square” (cf Italian “plaza”), while a “mandala” is the name given to any shape in which lines radiate from the centre of a circle.
a tap of a finger-bone on her remote: There's that word again.
Handramit: It came as something of a shock to me, months after the publication of Of the City of the Saved..., to realise that I'd stolen Prof. Handramit's name from C.S. Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet (1938) – a novel I must have read a dozen times, but which I had no intention of referencing here. There, the word “handramit” means “canyon” or “canal” in the Old Solar language. I imagine it must be every published author's fear that they will suddenly discover that an idea they thought wholly original was subconsciously shoplifted: I'm relieved that in this case the theft was purely phonetic.
Handramit is the novel's only Great House character – and, having been a refugee since “childe”hood, even he is only allied to the Houses by ancestry, not culture.
House Mirraflex: One of the Great Houses House Mirraflex is the group responsible in The Book of the War for both the Timebeast Assault and the extinction of Mesh Cos's civilisation.
Footnotes to Chapter 18: My ideal placement of these excerpts would have been as marginalia, floating text boxes anchored to (but not, as in the published version, explicitly cross-referenced to) specific points in the text. The idea was that they would indicate the non-linearity of St Marx's habitual thought patterns without overly disrupting the flow of the text. Of course, this is quite a difficult demand for an author to make on a book designer, and I entirely understand why Mad Norwegian took the more straightforward approach seen here. I offer the original suggestion only as an interesting detail of the editing process.
House Halfling, the Mal'akh Report: In The Book of the War, House Halfling is a political pressure group lobbying for equal treatment for collaterals. The Mal'akh are vampires, although precisely what relationship they hold to humans is debatable. There are vampires in the City however, the so-called Sons of Tepes. These are probably collaterals within the City's understanding of the term, so may fall within House Halfling's sphere of interest.
pracks: Possibly a reference to Praxis, the drug described in The Book of the War which allows the user's mind to affect directly the structure of the universe – in City terminology, a drug with a distinct archemathical component to its action. It's not a substance one feels terribly comfortable with Rick Kithred taking, given the particular delusions he holds.
AVATAR: It's clear that Godfather Avatar sees life as a performance, and himself, to some extent, as playing a rôle. The use of stage-directions as speech markers in his viewpoint chapters emphasises this.
various “corporate-cult” cliques: The first of several references to This Town Will Never Let Us Go which were written into the novel at Lawrence Miles' request. In This Town, a mask resembling the Godfather's is worn by the Chief Executive of a rather unconventional record company.
Novaya Zemlya: In reality an icebound island in the Arctic Ocean, to the North of Russia. It appears in Vladimir Nabokov's novel Pale Fire (1962), as the fictional (and surprisingly temperate) kingdom of Zembla. Quite why the Madagascan infantry would be fighting a battle there is anyone's guess.
I tell you these things: Another of the main characters unexpectedly reveals herself: the first-person voice of the City of the Saved. She is, as Chapter 33 will confirm, the true narrator of the chapters entitled “The City.”.
Kempes District: Those who have visited Worthing, the seaside resort in West Sussex where I spent my teenage years, may find Kempes District – rain, rubbish, fading tourist attractions and all – appallingly familiar. This chapter originally had a sidebar, “Kempes District” which was removed in the final edit.
House-bred collaterals: Or, as The Book of the War calls them, Regen-Inf troopers.
999 discs to 1.000 towers: Currency doesn't pay a large part in the novel, but for what it's worth the City's primary monetary unit, the tower, is divided into 1,000 discs. A sphere (mentioned on pp97 and 133) is equivalent to 1,000 towers.
Mercuryday: In Latin, “Mercurii dies”. Further to my earlier musing about naming days of the week, both Mercury and Woden (as in Wednesday) are gods whose aspects include language – although Woden or Odin was the chief of the Norse gods, whereas Mercury was a lowly messenger to the Roman ones. (“Wednesday” here is a translation into English from the Civil Tongue, of course.)
Homo virilis: Literally “virile man” – appropriate enough for the majority of the Manfolk, as we will see.
Erath's moon, Anul: Yet another transparent anagram, designed for the benefit of RealSpace's paying customers.
Marduk-knew-where: Marduk is a Babylonian solar god, instrumental in the Babylonian creation myth.
The Okeanos: As p170 reveals, a gigantic saltwater river, named after the one which encircles the earth in classical cosmogony.
Compassion III: An interim iteration of Laura Tobin / Compassion, between Tobin herself and Compassion V (the one who became a timeship). Technically this is her first appearance, although I can scarcely claim her as an original character.
The Compassion Project: The sequence of events related in the sidebar is drawn from Interference and The Book of the War.
her sister Alison: Dave Stone's 1997 novel Ship of Fools introduces Alison Tobin, a teenage goth and terrible poet who expresses the hope that her more popular sister Laura “dies horribly in a car crash”. Interference, published in 1999, nominally takes place in the same fictional universe as Ship of Fools. Lawrence Miles' choice of the name “Laura Tobin” for one of its characters is a subtle and frequently missed continuity reference, as well as an almost entirely pointless one. Rather like this one here, in fact.
The Prosperos: ‘William Shakespeare's celebrated “guns and godlings” soap opera’, according to The Book of the War. Clearly the resurrected Shakespeare has traded cannily on his unparalleled reputation to carve out a substantial media empire for himself.
Teletopia: Apart from its obvious English connotations, the name's Greek roots would suggest “Remote place”.
Melicia Clutterbuck: The author, of course, of The Human Species: A Spotter's Guide, from which the novel's sidebars have been quoting so extensively. Clutterbuck, who plays a substantial rôle from this point onwards, became one of my favourite characters during the writing of the novel.
This chapter is a science-fiction retelling of the myth of Prometheus, the Titan who in classical myth created humanity, setaling fire from the gods as a gift to his creation. For this reason it includes a number of nods to Frankenstein, Mary Shelley's “Modern Prometheus” (1817), to other science fiction sources, and indeed to the Bible. (If I'm waxing slightly pretentious here, then I do apologise. This is a core chapter, and I'm rather pleased with how it came out.)
the universal machine: A concept originally devised by the mathematician Alan Turing (who puts in an appearance in Book Three). The original idea is that a “universal machine” would be sufficiently flexible to mimic the action of any other machine: in fact, the practical embodiment of this philosophical ideal is the programmable machine – essentially, the computer. What Mesh Cos and her contemporaries create, however, is the expression in reality of the ideal itself.
Cousin Porsena: A member of the Rump Parliament, obviously. That's all we know about him at this stage, except that he's apparently dead and delirious. And swears a lot.
the young Jodie Foster: I'm assuming we all know who Jodie Foster is.
a loa: As the text says, a ritual construct summoned by the Parliament to act as its messenger. In traditional vodoun (voodoo), the loa are a pantheon of petty gods invoked for various pragmatic purposes. They are viewed as capricious and subject to human, even childish moods, yet paradoxically still biddable given the appropriate sacrifices. In this respect they resemble the gods of the Roman pantheon rather closely – the major difference being that vodoun, even in Haiti, is intensely countercultural in its outlook, while the Roman religion was, in its original context, utterly mainstream. I wanted to draw out some of these parallels and contrasts in the novel, but didn't find an appropriate opportunity to do so.
Vish knew: Vishnu is the primary god of the Hindu pantheon, the deity of whom Krishna is an aspect. Like Marduk, he has many names and appearances.
they could have teleported him: If you're paying attention here, you may spot the possibility that people who have been through the teleporting process may exist in the City in numerous iterations, like Tobin / Compassion's people. This isn't an idea the novel elaborates on, but still... it's fun to imagine the James T. Kirk equivalents of the Faction Paradox universe meeting in their hundreds, each trying to prove that he has the one true claim on their shared identity.
Holy Moroni!: In Mormon belief, Moroni is the angel who dictated The Book of Mormon to the religion's founder, Joseph Smith (1805-44).
Oh... Mammoth-Mother: Presumably the ancestral deity of the White Mammoth Tusk tribe.
Big Finnish Benny: Like Vice Vera, a name created through a typo. Big Finish is a company producing Doctor Who spinoff material: Benny (short for Bernice) Summerfield is one of their key characters. Hence such phrases as, for instance, “the Big Finish Benny anthology, A Life Worth Living”.
an Albionsfold United football shirt: That's English football, not American football. Albionsfold is evidently a culturally English District – possibly even one dominated by resurrectees from Brighton and Hove.
tetranocular: Four-eyed. In the literal sense.
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