Further Notes on Ignota
A collection of notes and queries on ‘Seven Surrenders’ compiled by CAMESTROS FELAPTON, at the Request of Certain Parties, being a sequel of sorts to my previous notes.
Page numbers and text are from the 2017 Tor US hardback edition. Errors and typos are from me except where indicated. The notes are not authorised by the author or editorialised by the editor. I’m speculating people! Latin translations are often my best guess from Google translate or from the book itself – corrections welcome.
Notes are given in the order that I spotted something in a book. In some cases, a reference is later explained in the actual text of the book. In other cases, I’m guessing. In many cases, I have added further comments to an observation based on later information from the book. Note also, that my last set of notes contained some unwitting spoilers – i.e. unexplained references in the book which are then later explained by characters for plot purposes.
As many things in this book explain references in the previous book, there are fewer notes overall. I have also included some stray observations as things occur to me. ’TLtL’ will refer to ’Too Like the Lightning’
Character and author intent. Most of the book is narrated by Mycroft Canner, who is obsessed with Voltaire and the Enlightenment. To what extent are his references the intent of the character or that of the author? Obviously it is both, but in general, I’ll assume that it is Mycroft trying to say something if the reference is Mycroft and Palmer is trying to say something when it is a reference outside of Mycroft’s control. Likewise, with possible errors, I’ll assume these come from Mycroft as a character.
A shorter set of notes that brings the story to the end of the fifth day. [No, you can’t spell Iliad]
Page 98 Chapter the Seventh: Treason
• ‘Postman’ – The future: we have defeated gender and have a system of automatic cars that can go anywhere – except in the arena of postal work which is still in the 20th-century.
• “You have forty-seven minutes” – I’ve written ’47 again’ next to this but I can’t remember why.
• ’Spartan trophy hall’ – The Greek city state known for its warrior culture.
• ‘Thermopylae’ – the most famous battle of the Spartans, when they and armies from other Greek states, held a pass against the invading Persian army.
• ‘same scene as five years ago’ – when apparently the ‘bash parents went off-script. 2449.
• ‘pseudoscientific spiritualism of the Nineteenth Century’ – Peak spiritualism spilled over into the 20th-century as well and had its roots in figures such as Frans Mesmer who gives us a link back to18th-century Paris.
• ‘It is the late Nineteenth Century mind that fascinates’ – I assume Freud is being alluded to here with ‘so expert and so wrong’.
• ‘Ggggggyyyyes’ – Cato struggles to answer with a simple yes. I can’t help noticing how is garbled ‘yes’ looks a lot like ‘Gyges’ – the reference to Plato’s ring of invisibility as a moral thought experiment. Cato is one response to this – he has been getting away with murder along with his ‘bash siblings because nobody can see their crimes but Cato does not find this to be without moral consequence.
Page 107-110 End of Chapter 7
Page 111 Chapter the Eight: No Rest for the Virtuous
• ‘the Furies’ – The Erinyes, the supernatural enforcement arm of oaths and vengeance in Greek mythology aka the Eumenides – the kindly ones, an ironic name to avoid attracting their attention. Killing one’s family was a crime that would bring on their wrath, so Mycroft has cause to feel their anger (I assume adopted family counts). Carlyle is an oath breaker and hence also subject to their persecution. Aside from Greek myth and drama, they also appear in Virgil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Divine Comedy (Inferno) as a trio of women. http://www.bartleby.com/20/109.html
• “Danae Mitsubishi?” – this page casts Madame, Julia Doria-Pamphili and Danae Mitsubishi as the three antagonists to OS/Sanner-Weeksbooth ‘bash’s efforts. Each one has been characterised as being exceptionally gendered women (if that makes sense).
Page 114-124 End of Chapter 8
Page 125 Chapter the Ninth: The Visitation
• ‘winged sandals’ – Talaria, a symbol of Hermes/Mercury.
• ‘Thor’s magic strength’ – Bridger is wearing Thor’s magic belt megingjörð .
• “There must be a reason you were born in the year twenty-four forty” – 2440, so Bridger is 14. How does Mycroft know which year Bridger was born though?
• ‘I was seventeen’ – Mycroft is consistent in the age he was when he met JEDD.
• ’twelve Olympians are hiding on their mountain’ – The twelve major gods of Greek mythology give or take a few. The exact line-up varies – e.g. Hades is not always included as he doesn’t live on Olympus. Dionysus is sometimes included as the twelfth and sometimes Heracles is and both may represent examples of ‘new’ gods as described by Mycroft.
• ‘The Greek Stoics said’ – The dog and cart analogy is attributed to Chrysippus 280—207 BCE but may be a later attempt to explain his ideas or those of the founder of Stoicism Zeno of Citium (not to be confused with the earlier Zeno of Elea who was the paradox guy). The metaphor is an attempt to describe how will is possible in a deterministic universe. Stoicism was initially an offshoot of Cynicism.
Page 133-134 End of Chapter 9
Page 135 Chapter the Tenth: Stalin in One Weekend
• ‘Stalin’ – Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin 1878 – 1953
• ‘like Locke or Jean-Jacque’s Noble Savages…Hobbes’ – Discussed in previous notes.
• “Two hundred and forty-four years ago” – In 2210 the transport network starts using Mitsubishi trained set-sets. 2330’s the OS includes the Europeans.
Page 148-149 End of Chapter 9. End of the fifth day