Category: Notes Ignota

Return to Ignota: Volume the Second – Part the Fourth and Final

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.

These notes take us to the end of the book. Events move rapidly and much is explained in the book. Spoliers follow but some majo ones are not mentioned.

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Return to Ignota: Volume the Second – Part the Third

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.

These notes take us to the end of the sixth day. Events move rapidly and references are fewer.

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Return to Ignota: Volume the Second – Part the Second

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]

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Return to Ignota: Volume the Second – Part the First

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.

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Review: Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer Hugo2017

RAGNAROK! Loki is unleashed and gathering his foul offspring together he and the enemies of the gods besiege Asgard, throwing down the bifrost, culminating in an apocalyptic battle which none can survive. From Wagner to Joanne Harris to even Marvel movies, is there a more compelling story? So hoorah for Ada Palmer’s fresh new take on Norse mythology and…

Whattttt? Why are you guys shaking your heads? No, no, I’m not going to let you speak directly in this post. I can see what you are up to. Trying to trick me into italicized direct speech where we banter back and forth about how wrong I am. Nope, won’t do it because that would cast me in the Mycroft Canner role and that is a big pile of nope.

Where was I? So look, Mycroft is Loki and Cornel MASON is Odin obviously, Thisbe is Thor and her whole bash is Heimdall and…no? You want a serious review that isn’t wholly at odds with the book? OK, ok. [record scratch as Wagner is taken off the turntable and then replaced by Mozart.] Let’s begin – this may take awhile and may not go anywhere…

Cave! De historia explicatur infra.*

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Notes Ignota: Part the Last

Notes on Ignota
A collection of notes and queries on ‘Too Like the Lightning’ compiled by CAMESTROS FELAPTON, at the Request of Certain Parties.

Page numbers and text are from the 2016 Tor US hardback edition. Errors and typos are mine, except where indicated. The notes are not authorised by the author or editorialised by the editor. I’m speculating people! Latin translations are my best guess from Google translate and I don’t really know much Latin – corrections welcome.

Page 286 Chapter the Twenty-Fourth: Sometimes Even I am Very Lonely
Page 287
•    ‘Saladin’ There has not been much in the way of references from the Islamic world. This may seem natural given the suppression of religion but that hasn’t stopped multiple Catholic references. Also, I note the Islamic thinkers that a philosophically inclined person with an interest in Catholicism would make reference to aren’t cropping either: Averroes, Avicenna plus others whose writings on Aristotle and other matters became so important to medieval thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas, that their actual names became latinised. Actually, I don’t think Mycroft has mentioned Aquinas either, so maybe it is the suppression of theology? Anyway, Saladin, aka Sarah ah-Din Yusuf 1137-1193, the Kurdish Sultan of Egypt and conqueror of Syria, whose battles (Aleppo, Mosul) resonate today. Celebrated in many cultures but in particular Kurdish culture, his wars against the Frankish Crusader Kingdom even led to him becoming a romanticised figure in European culture.
•    ’Tully’ an affectionate name for Cicero.
Page 288
•    rose petals – more flowers
Page 289
Page 290
•    ‘Noble savage’ I was going to say “Rousseau” but Wikipedia tells me ‘Contrary to what is sometimes believed, Jean-Jacques Rousseau never used the phrase noble savage (french bon sauvage). So now I’ve got nothing to say. Well, read the Wikipedia article as it has a whole section on Rousseau not actually saying anything about noble savages. So, yes, it is a nod to Rousseau but not actually sort of. Different tack: John in Brave New World is a kind of Rousseau-ish natural man thrown into a highly managed society. Brave New World by the way is set in 2540, 86 years after Too Like the Lightning.
Page 290-294
Page 295
•    ‘Vidocq’ – as explained in the text. A real person whose exploits read like the fiction he inspired.
•    ‘Holmes’, ‘Moriaty’ – as discussed.
Page 296 End of Chapter 24

Page 297 Chapter the Twenty-Fifth: Madame’s
•    ‘Madame’s’ I haven’t discussed the gender games in the book, as I’m chasing references instead but look at the weight that is carried in that one word. In English, the association of this French word as a polite form of address for a woman (‘my lady’) is also with sex-workers and carries with it baggage about the kind of business a woman might run (and hence be hers and hence the possessive) as well anti-French British stereotypes about the French and sexuality. However, in the context of the Enlightenment, ‘Madame…’ as word association is answered by ‘Pompadour’ the brilliant figure of the French court who was a major patron of the arts and ‘behind-the-scenes’ influencer and advisor. This chapter plays on the multiple references.
•    ‘Paris was the crown and capital of all things’ – The 18th-century being the peak of France’s influence.
•    ‘birthday of the Great Sage Zoroaster’ The founder of Zoroastrianism, the Persian religion which would have an influence on Middle-eastern and Mediterranean religions. Modern Zoroastrians (such as the Parsis). Noruz is the Zoroastrian New Year and falls approximately on the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox (i.e around March 21), Khordad Sal is celebrated 6 days later as the feast of the birth of Zoroaster. New year falling on or near the Spring Equinox is not uncommon, until 1752 Britain and its colonies marked March 25 as the legal start of the year. Iran, although now Islamic (and Zoroastrians a minority religion) still retains March 21 as cultural New Year and a fiscal one. In the UK the fiscal year starts on April 6 as a consequence of the old new year date.
•    ‘Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel’ A feast of the Orthodox Church, which comes the day after the Feast of the Annunciation (discussed in a Catholic context above) to note Gabriel’s role in that event. Gabriel also has a synaxis (i.e. a holy day) on July 13 in the Orthodox calendar and all the angels get a feast on November 8. In context, Mycroft isn’t any religion due to societal attitudes but he does assert that he is Greek but his references tend towards Catholicism probably because of the emphasis on France and Rome in the text. Here is a fun resource if you want to see Orthodox Saints days in 2454. https://oca.org/saints/lives/2454/03/26
•    ‘Carlyle stumbling on Bridger four days earlier’ In reviews, Mycroft is often called an ‘unreliable narrator’ and while I think that is not correct (it is Palmer who misleads us about who he is – Mycroft tells us upfront that he is Mycroft Canner, which would be rather like a narrator saying they are ‘Charles Manson’ upfront [hadn’t noticed MC v CM prior to this]) but he says some odd things about time. It is March 26. 26 minus 4 is March 22, yes, yes we are on the FOURTH day but that means the FIRST day is 3 days prior. OK, this is just me isn’t it? Yeah, well I’m right and the rest of you are innumerate [sulks, mumbling about ordinal versus cardinal numbers].
Page 298-299
Page 300
•    ‘a million loopholes’ a complaint that has been made against the Jesuits (but also other scholarly approaches to religion such as rabbinical Judaism) is their capacity to assert a strong dogmatic morality and then rules lawyer it. ‘Jesuitical’ has a secondary meaning of ‘practicing casuistry or equivocation; using subtle or oversubtle reasoning; crafty; sly; intriguing.’ and while we are there ‘casuistry’ itself has a dual meaning of both over-subtle, specious reasoning AND the discipline of applying rules and general reasoning to matters of faith and morality. Thisbe is criticising the Cousin hive here but casuistry would seem to be an element (or professional hazard) of the sensayer’s role.
Page 301
•    ‘Jehovah’  a Latinised version for the Biblical name of God known as the Tetragrammaton (4 letters) YHWH (Note that J.E.D.D. already had a four letter name – which was a hint I didn’t spot). As it stands it is also a very English name for god, popularised by William Tyndale and used in places in the King James Bible. Yahweh is more commonly used now, but in general, the biblical god is more normally referred to as Lord to avoid the taboos on mis-using god’s name.
•    ‘Heloise’ Abbess and writer 1090-1164? and most famous for being one-half of Peter Abelard & Heloise which is too long a story to disentangle here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%A9lo%C3%AFse#Relationship_with_Abelard Seen as a kind of real-life tragic romance, in modern times Abelard’s pursuit of Heloise reads more like stalking and harassment. To cut a long story short she ends up becoming a nun and he ends up castrated and a monk. Abelard is a key figure in the development of logic and helped reintroduce Aristotle’s Organon into Medieval thinking.
•    ‘..Candide!” she shouted to a gawking youth above’ – Candide is the titular character of Voltaire’s most famous satire.The work follows the adventures of Candide, a young man under the care of Doctor Pangloss as he leaves a sheltered upbringing to encounter the horrors of the actual world, with Pangloss casting events in terms of Gottfried Liebniz’s philosophical optimism i.e. God must have made the best of all possible worlds and hence what occurs must somehow be for the best (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottfried_Wilhelm_Leibniz#Theodicy_and_optimism ). Voltaire uses events such as the catastrophic Lisbon Earthquake to show the absurdity of the view. Leibniz 1646-1716 is yet another polymath, a German thinker who thought about nearly everything when he wasn’t busy inventing differential calculus. The latter being a point of dispute between Leibniz and Issac Newton who also invented differential calculus – it is Leibniz’s notation that is mainly used today. Note Voltaire was a fan of Newton’s.
Page 302
•    ‘Salon Hogarth’ – William Hogarth 1697-1764 satirical painter and social commentator. Notable for his ‘Harlot’s progress’ and “Rake’s progress’ showing an 18th-century perception of moral decay.
Page 303-304
Page 305
•    ‘you are quoting Diderot’ – Diderot as discussed above. Explained in the text.
•    ‘thus is a new dark age’ – A more overt paralleling of DIderot’s efforts with Asimov’s Foundation.
Page 306
•    ‘the Philosopher’ – Voltaire calls Diderot ’the’ philosopher which is a title Mycroft reserves for Aristotle.
•    “Machiavelli, Hobbes, misunderstood Spinoza, or de Sade” – I think we’ve met them all now except Spinoza. Baruch Spinoza 1632-1677 the Dutch, Jewish lens making whose Ethics read like a geometry textbook but for metaphysics and morality. ‘Misunderstood’ here probably refers to his theological views which are much argued over. Whatever his actual views are, his writings inspired deists, agnostics and atheists.
Page 307
•    ‘Him’ – the word is capitalised as is the practice in bibles for words that refer to the biblical god (i.e Lord, God etc) as is ‘God’ although Heloise uses the indefinite article ‘a god’. Maybe Heliose used special emphasis to suggest the words should be capitalised but given this is direct speech, the capitalisation resides with Mycroft’s writing rather than Heloise. Mycroft (or his editor) is capitalising ‘him’ and ‘god’.
•    ‘Aristotle, Cicero and St. Thomas Aquinas’ – again all discussed before but Aquinas was in terms of his absence from the text. Here he is. Aquinas was a Dominican by the way.
Page 308
•    Commonplace book – a habit of early modern Europe of having a book in which to compile and collect things of note. Rather like making a series of notes on some topic.
Page 309-315
Page 316
•    Saint Francis – as explained in the text. Mycroft dons the garb of a Franciscan and here parallels his life as a servicer with that of a member of the Franciscan order. I get to say ‘Bingo’ here. We’ve had the Dominican’s quite overtly with Dominic, the Jesuits with Carlyle and now Mycroft is tagged as a Franciscan. Note that each also departs substantially from the stereotypes (Dominic loves fine things, Carlyle is empathetic rather than aloof, and Mycroft is a mass murderer and byword for violence in his society)
•    Rochester – I think we’ve met all the other people the Salons are named after. Rochester here is probably https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wilmot,_2nd_Earl_of_Rochester – a man symbolic of the Restoration of the English monarchy and as being the opposite of the Puritan attitudes that held sway in England under Cromwell’s commonwealth prior. Died young of a sexually transmitted disease.
Page 317
•    ‘Not really’ Thisbe doesn’t know much about Voltaire and Mycroft clearly hasn’t been explaining to her in the past about his obsession with the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment is Mycroft’s spectacles (and that of others) but not society wide.
•    ‘someone built one to God’ – we have already discussed one.
•    ‘The Marquis de Sade’ – the book has been approaching De Sade slowly.
Page 318
Page 319
•    ‘Jehovah Epicurus Donation D’Arouet’ – The last being Voltaire’s actual surname. We’ve covered the first two. Donatien is another de Sade reference. JEDD is named after the biblical god, a greek philosopher (somewhat outside of the Socratic tradition) and two contrasting figures of the Enlightenment (on respectable and one distinctly not, both with an overlap of ideas).

Page 320 Chapter the Twenty-Sixth: Madame D’Arouet
•    There are few notes needed here despite the chapter being crammed full of things. We’ve met all the players from Rousseau’s (sort of) Noble Savage to Sherlock Holmes and the discussion spells things out and explains their connections better than I would.
Page 321-324
Page 335
•    ‘When the Graff trial began…” The strike by the Utopians has a similarity to events in Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’. I doubt the Utopians are Rand devotees, but they know their fiction.
Page 336-338 End of Chapter 26

Page 339 Chapter the Twenty-Seventh: The Interlude…
Page 340-342
Page 343
•    ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow’ – part of a soliloquy by Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth after he hears that Lady Macbeth is dead:

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
— To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing

As a title for a science book it seems like a depressing reference even if Cato Weeksbooth is trying to show the poetry inside. Is it a commentary on the book we are reading? The quote also forms the title of a short story by Kurt Vonnegut set in a future world in which people no longer die from old age. As a consequence, the world is overpopulated and short of food.
Page 344-346
Page 347
•    ‘the Typers’ another noun-verb-noun surname, somebody who types.
Page 349-350 End of Chapter 27

Page 350 Chapter the Twenty-Eighth: The Enemy
•    Lots of numbers in this chapter. I’m not saying they have hidden meanings but for reference I’m listing them. The numbers that have upset Mycroft and others in terms of percentages of influence of the hives are 33-67, 67-33, 29-71 from earlier chapters.
•    133-2720-0732 – the location of Madame’s. It is three sets of numbers which locate an object in 3D space, so it has a height element as well (presumably because of flying vehicles). It isn’t our current systems of latitude and longitude.
Page 351
•    27,331 – a number of customers
•    989,408,013 and 110,634,255 – figures on Humanists who want Mycroft dead. (Interesting as we’ve been told people have assumed he was executed).
•    ‘an Amazon, who…chose to grow no breasts’ reputedly the legendary Amazons removed a breast to help with their archery.
Page 352-353
Page 354
•    ‘Alba Longa’ – the ancient capital of Latium near Rome where Aeneas’s son built his capital. Emperor Domitian would later build a palace in a similar location in the Alban hills.The Pope’s residence outside of the Vatican and Rome, Castel Gandolfo, partly includes remains of Domitian’s villa.
Page 355-361 End of Chapter 28

Page 362 Chapter the Twenty-Ninth: Julia, I’ve Found God!
Page 363-376 Again many references but all things we’ve met and are also explained in the text.

Page 377 Chapter the Thirtieth: DEO EREXIT SADE
Page 378-387
Page 388
•    ‘Sarte, Confucious, Augustine’ – a more eclectic set of writers than previously.
Page 389-397 End of chapter 30

Page 398 Chapter the Thirty-first: Dominant Predator
No notes

Page 408 Chapter the Thirty Second: That There are Two
No notes

Page 419 Chapter the Thirty-Third: Last interlude…

The End of Too Like the Lightning.

Notes Ignota: Part the Seventh

Notes on Ignota
A collection of notes and queries on ‘Too Like the Lightning’ compiled by CAMESTROS FELAPTON, at the Request of Certain Parties.

Page numbers and text are from the 2016 Tor US hardback edition. Errors and typos are mine, except where indicated. The notes are not authorised by the author or editorialised by the editor. I’m speculating people! Latin translations are my best guess from Google translate and I don’t really know much Latin – corrections welcome.

This post will take us through to the end of the third day. Then Part the Eighth should reach to the end of the book (tomorrow).

Page 175 Chapter the Fifteenth: If They Catch Me
•    ‘the Moriarty’ The nemesis of Sherlock Holmes whom he called The Napoleon of Crime (which I think will be the closest we will approach Napoleon as a figure). Moriarty was a professor of mathematics. The name is Irish and possibly related to Murtaugh as a different Anglicisation of Gaelic.
Page 176
•    ‘Les Miserables’ The novel by Victor Hugo set between 1815 and 1832 in post-revolutionary France. Hugo is buried in the Pantheon in Paris.
•    ‘Odysseus’ Greek hero in the Illiad and central character of the Odyssey the story of his protracted return home from the Trojan wars. Known for his intelligence.
Page 178
Page 179
•    ‘Determinists’ – people who believe in determinism, a range of viewpoints on the extent to which events are predetermined to occur. Mycroft is referring to a theological position in which God has predetermined everything.
Page 180-182 End of chapter 15

Page 183 Chapter the Sixteenth: Thou Canst not Put if Off Forever, Mycroft
•    The title is written in the style Mycroft reserves for his imagined readers. We are writing his chapter headings now.
Page 184-190
Page 191
•    ‘Robespierre’ Mycroft broaches the topic of the French revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror and also invokes the name of noted revolutionary and head of the infamous Committee of Public Safety during the Terror: Maximillien Robespierre. Robespierre would himself be executed by guillotine by the Committee for Public Safety.
Page 192-193
Page 194
•    ‘Are both this home’s set-sets Pythagorean?’ The exchange is set up to contrast Pythagorean with Cartesian but notably, Cato sees it as JEDD Mason not knowing the right word. I’m still not clear in what sense the set-sets are Cartesian nor is it clear here whether JEDD sees the two terms to be synonymous in this context or ‘Pythagorean’ being a better description of the twins or something else. Like ‘Cartesian’ the term could mean many things from a mathematical context to a view of souls/mind/body. I mentioned the Cartesian Product earlier (essentially the resulting 2D grid generated by two sets) but there is a product that could be called Pythagorean which is the ‘dot product’ for vectors, which in a sense works the other way: turns 2D coordinate like things into a single number.
Page 195-202 End of chapter 16

Page 203 Chapter the Seventeenth: Tocqueville’s Valet
•    ‘Tocqueville’s Valet’ – Mycroft explains most of this reference in the text. Alexis de Tocqueville was a nineteenth-century French diplomat and political theorist. Notable for his book ‘Democracy in America’ his more relevant work for this story is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Old_Regime_and_the_Revolution which analysed French society in the lead up to the French revolution. For Tocqueville, the revolution suppressed aspects of French society but without transforming it, so France then lurched back to monarchy as a consequence. The anecdote about his valet relates not to the French Revolution which is looming across The Enlightenment but to the 1848 revolution(s) aka the spectre that was haunting Europe. Notably, Mycroft and Palmer are now referencing figures from French history that take us beyond the Enlightenment and to periods of revolution: Robespierre, Victor Hugo, Les Miserables (which features the 1832 June Rebellion) and Tocqueville and the 1848 revolutions. Mycroft isn’t going to mention Karl Marx* but you can’t allude to 1848 and not mention Karl Marx for which the wave of revolutionary protests across Europe helped shape his view of revolution as a historical process. Those revolutions were important to not only socialist movements but also democratic reform, anarchism and nationalism. *[Actually he does in the next chapter, thus ruining that theory]
Page 204-211
Page 212
•    ‘protagonist’ Mycroft insist that Bridger is the protagonist of the story
Page 213-215 End of Chapter 17

Page 216 Chapter the Eighteenth: The Tenth Director
•    ’71 minutes’ Just noting the time it takes to get from Cielo de Parajos to Romanova
Page 221
•    ‘Patrem Meum’ – ‘My father’ in latin.
Page 222-223
Page 224
•    ‘Francois Quesnay’ Francois Quesnay 1694-1774 a pioneering French economist as described in the text. Contributor to Diderot’s Encyclopaedia. Quesnay was an advocate of ‘oriental despotism’, a term that arose from Aristotle who contended that due to the climate people of the Orient (which at the time, Aristotle would be thinking of the near east and maybe India) were more inclined to despotism because they were smart but servile, whereas the people of the colder climbs of Europe were less smart but unruly. For Aristotle, the Greeks (surprise surprise) were from just the right climate to have the best of both worlds. The term became associated with arbitrary rulers who commanded extreme power and cultish devotion and excess. Quesnay, however, and other Enlightenment thinkers had a broader notion of the term and also of ‘the orient’. Quesnay’s physiocrats saw wealth as based on land and natural resources, and they saw China (based on their limited understanding of it) as an example of a kind of highly organised and well-managed despotism. The Quesnay reference (and perhaps inclusion in the list) is a double commentary on the Mitsubishi Hive in that they value land and are of the orient. Really, the reference is quite rude in context.
•    Adam Smith – 1723-1790 Scottish economist and smarty pants
•    Marx – Karl Marx who I discussed prematurely on Page 203
•    Morais – I don’t know who this is. Wikipedia tells me it is a Portuguese surname
Page 225
•    ‘we manage to believe and not believe’ – hmmmmm
Page 226-227
Page 228
•    ‘…the Masons are ancient…’  the paragraph refers to the contrast between Masonic traditions which date the movement back to far antiquity and documented history which basically doesn’t.
•    ‘Mithras and Orpheus’ Two examples of Greco-Roman mystery cults. Like the Freemasons, the existence and membership of such cults were not necessarily secret but the rituals involved (centred on initiation and spiritual revelation) were. The Pythagoreans also had elements of a mystery cult. Orpheus was the figure of Greek myth who descended to the underworld and that theme of descent into hell or below the earth was a common theme of a set of mystery cults referred to as Dionysian after the god Dionysus. The Orphics believed in metempsychosis. Mithras was also the subject of another Dionysian mystery cult but Mithras himself was coopted from Persia. Christianity and Mithraism were rival religions in Rome at one point and all sorts of points of comparison can be made between the two to varying degrees of credibility. The Easter story, with the ritual death, burial and rebirth has some obvious mystery cult aspect. Easter Sunday in 2454 would be in April but I briefly got excited wondering if it was in late march that year and hence around the days the story is set but, well, it isn’t.
•    Ramses and Ozymandias – Both Ramses and Ozymandias are variations on the name Ramesses and typically refer to Pharaoh Ramesses II, who did not build pyramids but did build lots of monuments many of which are still around. Ozymandias is, of course, a poem by Mary Shelley’s husband Percy Bysshe Shelly which carries a similar theme as this speech. Palmer, a historian, obviously knows that Mason is citing the same person twice but I’m not sure why she is making him do so. To suggest his speech is actually film-flam? Mycroft describes the quote as ‘fiction’.
Page 229 End of Chapter 18

Page 230 Chapter the Nineteenth: Flies to Honey
Page 231
•    ‘Gibraltar Chagatai’ – Chagatai Khan 1226 – 1242 was the second son and one of Ghengis Kahn’s heirs. Gibraltar is the tiny chunk of the Spanish peninsula occupied by Britain since 1703. The territory was formerly given to Britain by the Treaty of Utrecht which defined the spheres of influence of the European powers at the time. At that point, the royal House of Hapsburg was on its last legs as the dominant royal family in Europe and had controlled the throne of the Holy Roman Empire (such that it was) since 1438. In-breeding, mismanagement, bad luck and changing times would lead to multiple crises for them over the 18th century. Louis XIV aka the Sun King was monarch of France at the time and of House of Bourbon.
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•    ‘modo mundo’ world something? [eta] I had to cheat here and go off what the TV-Tropes page says http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TooLikeTheLightning ‘modo mound’ is a punishment used by the Utopians where somebody is cut off from media.
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•    ‘the protagonist of every work of fiction is humanity, and the antagonist is God’ – According to Aristotle, the first person to act as a protagonist was the poet Thespis (as in the term ‘thespian’ for actor) prior to whom, Greek plays were conducted only by a chorus speaking as one (about gods). So this punishment is, among other things, a kind of reversion to the roots of Greek theatre.
Page 240 -242 End of Chapter 19

Page 243 Chapter the Twentieth: A Monster in the House
•    An aside: I think there is some missing time here. Mycroft heads to Romanova in Ch 18 and on the way gets to hear the discussion (via JEDD) of the directors of the Mitsubishi Hive. Ch 18 follows Thisbe and Carlyle in Avignon and then this chapter starts with Mycroft heading back to Cielo de Parajos from Romanova (across the Atlantic). So we don’t learn what Mycroft does at the Censor’s.
•    While a lot is revealed in this chapter, specifically the horror of Mycroft crimes, I don’t have very few specific notes here. Given the repeated pointing of the text to the rituals of Freemasonry and Mystery cults which themselves contain ritual but not actual torture there may be allusions here but they aren’t something I’m going to look up at this point.
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•    ‘He chose that night, March twenty-fifth to reveal’ – ‘He’ being God. Again, lots here. Mycroft compares himself to a monster in the chapter and also questions why he was ‘made’ what he was. Given the Frankenstein connections we’ve had already, there are obvious ties between Mycroft and the monster of that story. March 25 is the feast of the Annunciation, the point nine months before Christmas day when in the Catholic calendar the Virgin Mary is told by the Angel Gabriel that she is pregnant with and by God. God’s getting people pregnant is another theme we keep meeting but it is nigh on impossible not to occur if you make references to Greek/Roman myths.

Page 256 Chapter the Twenty-first: That Which is Caesar’s
•    ‘That Which is Caesar’s’ – A partial quote from the New Testament by Jesus on the question of whether people should be paying the taxes of the Roman occupiers. Jesus gives a clever reply that operates on multiple levels. He is referring directly to the Roman coins stamped with Caesar (probably Tiberius, son of Livia) i.e. saying that the coins are already Caesar. But, the coin also counts as a graven image of somebody claiming some degree of divinity, so, at another level, he is saying to spurn unholy things for holy things and also getting one up on his religious rivals that by not paying their taxes they are holding onto to sacrilegious objection. On another level again he’s giving an answer that the Roman authorities can’t object to (‘pay your taxes’) while implying that his god is the true authority. As the answer also suggests a dichotomy between Earthly political matters and holy ones, the quote has been much debated in terms of the distinction between Church authority and secular authority.
•    ‘9A’ – Who? Somebody ‘secretly’ has added translations of the Latin without Mycroft or Martin Guildbreaker’s permission but this is within the book that has been approved for printing with their names on it? Has Mycroft not checked the proofs? As others have pointed out, that latin quote on the ersatz title page at the beginning of the book refers to a formal stage in approving a book in the Catholic Church. ’Nihil obstat’ means the book is good to go, which then the overseeing authority would add ‘Imprimatur’ i.e. let it be printed. ‘Imprimatur’ isn’t there. 9A? Looks a bit like AP backwards so maybe its Ada Palmer inserting herself as a character – Mycroft’s subeditor.
•    ‘Ur and Uruk’ Ancient Mesopotamian cities. Uruk was the city of Gilgamesh.
•    ‘Athens and Sparta’ – You know about these cities already.
•    ‘Vienna and Cusco’ – Vienna being the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and of many seats of imperial power of the Holy Roman Empire (whose final Emperor was defeated by Napoleon and who was also Emperor Francis of Austria. Cusco was the seat of the Incan Empire and is still a major Peruvian city. At one time the heart of vast Andean Empire and then coopted by the Spanish as a seat of power. It’s really high up and has great beer. Full of Incan ruins and Spanish churches and prone to earthquakes, friendly stray dogs and tourists with altitude sickness.
•    ‘Paris, Istanbul, Kiev’ and…hold on. What big city that was the centre of an Empire is missing? OK, yes Alexandria is on the next page but London is conspicuous by its absence, particularly as it has its fair share of Masonic and classical connections. However, remember that Britain’s (and hence London’s) world dominance was a 19th-century phenomenon – it is easy to see with hindsight the growing power of Britain during the 18th-century but the loss of the American colonies would have looked like Britain was losing influence rather than gaining it. London as an imperial capital is a notion from a later, more vulgar time for Mycroft.
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•    ‘Alexandria’ – named after Alexander the Great and one of a whole plethora of cities named after him or by him as he slaughtered his way around the known world of the Greeks. In this case, I assume it is the major Egyptian city that was itself a major centre of Greek, Roman, Mediterranean, Islamic and North African learning at varying times. Home to the oft-burned down and lamented Library of Alexandria. Home of Euclid, Hypatia, Saint Augustine, all sorts.
•    Ziggurat – a stepped pyramid, a feature of cities like Ur but also found in central America. Note the notion of a tiered mountain again.
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•    ‘Aeneas’ – a member of the Mardi bash’ murdered by Mycroft but also a reference to Aeneas, a Trojan hero from the Illiad who via the intervention of the gods doesn’t get slaughtered by the Greeks. For the Roman’s, however, this minor role became expanded and Aeneas is seen as the founder of a Troy-in-exile dynasty that results in Romulus & Remus and Rome itself. The most famous retelling of this Roman fan-fiction is Virgil’s Aeneid.
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•    Heinlein – Robert A. you know who he is. The Utopian canon being more orientated to Sci-Fi than Virgil or Ovid. “Michael” here being the central character of Stranger in a Strange Land, which is probably the Utopian’s fave Heinlein rather than Starship Troopers.
•    ‘Micromegas’ – I discussed this already, Voltaire’s proto-science fiction story.
Page 268 End of Chapter 21

Page 269 Chapter the Twenty-Second: Mycroft is Mycroft
•    ‘Senator Aeneas Mardi’ I said I wouldn’t dwell on Mycroft’s murders because it is a factor in the novel that people (including myself) find disturbing. I think there are deeper reasons for this than them simply being appalling crimes but I’ll discuss that in a review. However, I’ll highlight this one though for a couple of reasons. The first being that Aeneas died. The name sort of implied somebody who might survive for the reason I gave. The second is that his killing was staged to resemble the murder of Julius Caesar and hence was an implied threat to the then emperor of Romanova.
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•    ‘Mycroft is not a monster’ Frankenstein again.
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•    ‘one bilingual copy of Homer’s Iliad’ Mycroft would have no need of a bilingual copy of the Iliad. It is implied that the copy was previously owned by Apollo Mojave. A confirmation of Mycroft’s use of Troy references.

Page 276 Chapter the Twenty-Third: Pontifex Maxima
•    ‘Pontifex Maxima’ The Pontifex Maximus was a position in ancient Rome that oversaw the chief priests of the official religion. It literally meant chief bridge builder in the sense that the authority to bridge the river Tiber was religious in nature and also that priests were an effective bridge between mortals and the divine. If you like ‘pontiffs’ were people who bridged things, aka “Bridgers”. I wonder who named Bridger? “Maxima” is a feminine form of ‘Maximus’ to point at Julia Doria-Pamphili.
•    ‘Doria-Pamphili’ Being Pope sometimes runs in the family and the Pamphilis were one example. The later combination of great Genoese families formed the House of Doria-Pamphili-Landi – or so Wikipedia tells me. Julia seems to have adapted the family business to modern times.
Page 276-285 End of Chapter 23

End of the Third Day.