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The ending (merged threads) Options
cgsheldon
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2007 11:28:09 PM
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Regarding Max Tegmark, he has an article in the current issue of New Scientist titled 'Mathematical cosmos: Reality by numbers', which may or may not be of interest. Ironically, much like the Raw Shark Texts, it's only a fragment; the rest is behind a paywall.
blanckien
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2007 7:28:37 PM
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just noting if you haven't noticed yet:

not only the the stamp on the postcard in greek, the spot in the middle where there's supposed to be a date has an infinity sign instead. gaaah. what the hell. and there's a final page after the casablanca page in some of the editions-- does anyone have a picture of it, or is it just the paul auster quote?
cgsheldon
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2007 9:21:23 PM
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blanckien wrote:
and there's a final page after the casablanca page in some of the editions-- does anyone have a picture of it, or is it just the paul auster quote?


Nice catch on the infinity symbol. As for the Casablanca photo, benedict did link to it earlier in this thread but that link appears to have died. Short of scanning my own book, this is the largest version of the photo I was able to find.
blanckien
Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007 1:46:43 PM
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thanks for the link, though i have that as the final page as well. however, i think i read something somewhere about there being a different final page in some editions, after the postcard...? (am i hallucinating? ^^;)

also, for anyone who hasn't found it yet, here's the 'alternate ending' that steven hall posted on his powell's books blog:

Quote:
Dear Dr Randle,

I must have written this letter at least twenty times now. Some drafts have been almost as long as the document enclosed, full of notes, tables and flowcharts running over seven or eight sides of A4. I'd have to order five frappes just to pin them down to the table and still they kept blowing away. It's probably for the best. With the way words work, I always end up de-saying half of what I tried to say and anyway my girlfriend has started adding her own bubbles to the charts with "I am a geek" written in them.

So, to business. (and I'm choosing my words very carefully):

If there is a Dr Randle out there, if you've ever met me, if you receive this parcel, then the enclosed account is yours. Take whatever you want from it and interpret it however suits you, you're free to find whatever meaning you like. All I ask in return is that you don't come looking for me. Please make sure I am left alone and if anyone ever asks you what happened to me, where I am now, how things turned out in the end then please just tell them this:

I am home.

Thank you.

Without regret or any need of hope,

Eric Sanderson

heartbreak
Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007 2:23:47 PM
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Interesting... Nice find.
cgsheldon
Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007 3:45:32 PM
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blanckien wrote:
thanks for the link, though i have that as the final page as well. however, i think i read something somewhere about there being a different final page in some editions, after the postcard...? (am i hallucinating? ^^;)


Sorry, I misread your original post; unfortunately I'm not much help on your actual question either.
marsjams13
Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007 3:46:43 PM
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blanckien, you are awesome.

i didn't even know there was a powell's books blog.
i think i'm glad he took that out of the book. A little to much closure for my taste. :D
JennyGro
Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2007 3:06:25 AM
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Yeah, I aggree. Im glad that was not in the book. Throws my 'Dr. Randle was right, and Eric suffered from dissociative fugue and consequently committed suicide and the resulting story was just post-death imaginings' theory out the window. But I didnt like that theory of mine anyway, far too rational.
In all the clio/scout debate, nobody mentioned the 'menthol cigarettes'. This could either be that scout = clio. Or that on one of Erics 11 dissociations Scout has met Eric before, like fidorous.
I could think about this book for hours, its such a mind bender.
MiaVRO
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2008 3:02:00 AM

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Funny thing, not sure if it means anything, but at the end of the book, pg 426 the title reads "goobye Mr. Tegmark"... in the index it states Tegmark, Dr, 426
typo? dunno.
MiaVRO
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2008 4:06:18 PM

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This totally doesn't make any sense, but i sort of realted Tegmark to Fidorous, and when saying goodbye to Tegmark, there was sort of an ode to Fidorous in there. Another question: What happens when one dies in the conceptual world, like Trey Fidorous... I don't know if i wrapped my head around that part correctly, that Fidorous died, in a way. How did that work?
Sophieness
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2008 7:41:49 AM
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I read Fidorous' death with the idea that if you die in the conceptual world, you die in the real world. 'The body cannot live without the mind' - kinda paralleling the theory of the world of The Matrix.

I found that to be the most digestible, non-headache-inducing interpretation so far anyway...
heartbreak
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2008 1:48:03 PM
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Sophieness wrote:
I read Fidorous' death with the idea that if you die in the conceptual world, you die in the real world. 'The body cannot live without the mind' - kinda paralleling the theory of the world of The Matrix.

I found that to be the most digestible, non-headache-inducing interpretation so far anyway...


This might be just useless information, but that theory of your body dies if your mind dies goes back even farther then the Matrix. Its been a long held superstition that if you die in your dreams then you die in the waking world as well.
marsjams13
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2008 6:22:06 PM
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Yeah, look at Nightmare on Elm Street, for christsake!
Mick R
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 2:44:58 PM
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This is the first thread I've read, and a comment earlier on made me wonder about Scout.

How does Eric 2 know about Clio's intention to get a smiley face tattooed on her big toe? Isn't it only from reading the Light Bulb wotsits? Which, we assume, were sent to him by Eric 1, do we not?

What if Scout sent him those letters, pretending to be Eric 1? Could she have been manipulating him before we meet her in the book?

Not sure where this theory might go, but if we don't actually know for certain that the correspondence was from Eric 1, then is it not feasible that Scout could have been behind them?

I'm not sure that would be the case, but I can see how it could happen...
bowlinggiant
Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2008 1:40:43 PM
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Just finished the book which I thoroughly enjoyed. I love the idea of geniuses not going mad but losing their minds to conceptual fish instead. I went on this forum hoping there might be a definitive explanation of the ending (if only it was that simple!). So having read some great ideas and additional info on the forum I thought I'd add my views as to what I think happens.

Eric mk2 and Scout survive and go to Naxos just as the ending suggests. I think that the book is based in the conceptual world not the real world as we assume and so when Eric says they are going home he means back to our reality. The dead body of Eric Sanderson really confused me. If it was Eric mk2 then where was Scout, Fidorous and Ian the cats bodies as they would surely have died too. I read the previous posts giving the idea that it was the body of Mr Nobody but he was eaten by the shark in the hospital. This makes sense though if they destroyed the shark in the warehouse and it left whatever was inside it where it died.

Eric's memory of Clio and him in Naxos (which comes to him after playing the light bulb video) might be a memory of the future and not the past. There is a passage in the book that explains that memories can, in some circumstances, be either.

With regard to Clio/Scout we are told from the beginning that Clio died whilst diving in the sea. But I think it's the conceptual sea she is diving in and that a Ludovician attacks her taking away all her memories thus killing Clio. In this way Scout is Clio mk2. Eric mk1 is in some way responsible for leading the shark to her (which is why Scout tells Eric mk2 at the end that she forgives him and that it was an accident).

Eric mk1 either infiltrates or is somehow part of MycroftWard and releases the Ludovician MycroftWard has captured (Eric tells himself that he is the one that released the shark and Mr Nobody explains that they are the same person and that MycroftWard had captured a Ludovician). Fidorous also explains that Eric is part of MycroftWard which is why the Ludovician keeps attacking him, why Scout needs him and I think why he is so angry with Eric.

I think that Eric mk1 may of been created by Eric mk2 in order to do this but that it went badly wrong somehow. (It would explain the body and the fact that Ian the cat knows Eric mk2 and yet is not comfortable with strangers leads me to think it happened this way round) I'm also unsure of the full role of Dr Randle but it appears far bigger than Eric mk2 can see.

Apologies for going on a bit and for getting anything obvious, wrong just got carried away with it. I'm sure i'll be miles out if a sequel is written and explains it all :)
tiernanogg
Posted: Monday, March 17, 2008 2:14:26 PM
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A lot of great thoughts here. Glad I decided to visit. I just finished the book and have thought about the ending for some time. This is the way I see it.

Eric Sanderson died at the end. He didn't commit suicide, but rather probably died from starvation - if you recall, he keeps talking about how he hasn't eaten, and in the end, only eats (once on the boat) conceptual food. I think the shark is not chasing him to consume his memories, but rather I feel as though the shark IS his memories. Memories that were too painful for him to acknowledge. I feel by throwing away those photos, it was sort of the first step towards amnesia. That the memories of Clio were buried by himself and that the shark were the memories constantly trying to resurface. I think that in the end, Eric goes insane and eventually dies from starvation. I think we have signs that he has that sort of mind with the references to his sanity in one of the light bulb fragments.

The JAWS like battle at the end is so similar to the movie JAWS because that, of course, in Eric's mind, it is how a battle with a shark would go. It is his only reference point for a person doing battle with a shark. Another indication that things are not really happening but rather imagined. I guess I sort of see Eric as probably a homeless person at the end, living in this insanity-riddled fantasy world until he dies of starvation. The postcard being sent could have been exactly what the authorities thought it was - a cruel hoax. HOWEVER, thinking that doesn't fit exactly - because of the Casablanca quote. How would a person know of it unless they were Eric. You could argue that Eric posted it just before his death. However it does APPEAR to be sent from Greece - though there are no postmarks. Don't know. I'm stymied by that.

Anyway, these are just a few of my thoughts. To me it is the theory that fits most of the evidence given.

However, I have a few stray thoughts about some other points. I am wondering about the relevance of Mycroft Ward and Trey Fidorous - these are obviously not real names. Was anyone else struck by how Mycroft Ward is so close to MicroSoft Word? Can there be a message there? Also, Trey Fidorous. Is this an anagram? And Ian the cat. Why is he there throughout the novel. There doesn't appear to be a definitive reason on why he SHOULD be there. He is - more or less - "excess baggage" to be toted around throughout the whole novel with really no obvious purpose. Like Chekov's gun. You place a gun in the first act, it better be fired by the third. What is the significance of the cat. Could it be just that it was the final attachment to reality and when he slips that cat away on the raft it was Eric fully letting go and succumbing to insanity? Like the photo. Choosing not to return to sanity, but staying in his fantasy world instead.

Some thoughts - any answers? I liked the connection to Life of Pi that someone else made. I agree. You either make that leap or not.
Sophieness
Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2008 6:19:43 AM
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I've just finished reading Fight Club. One of the most ambiguous endings ever.

However, I think Steven is still in the lead on this one though!
ModernMaven
Posted: Saturday, May 17, 2008 3:07:43 AM
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I believe the entire book and ending are textual versions of a Rorschach Test (as someone else mentioned). Your interpretation of the ending says a lot about you as a reader and the modes you use to make meaning.

Your conclusions about Eric and, lets say, suicide tie directly into your associations with the concept of suicide and it's connection to the text.

I'll write more later. I have a final paper to write on this text. Enjoy.
Sophieness
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2008 10:27:30 AM
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Dr Max Tegmark
Coincidence? Probably! But hey, it is not unknown for authors to have real people make appearences in their works of fiction. Just look at Paul Auster's New York Trilogy. Scary stuff.
Ellimist
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2008 4:54:41 PM

Rank: Fry
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In the HC, the picture from Casablanca is not credited anywhere... does that not violate copyright in some way?

Sorry if this has been discussed.

Also,
tiernanogg wrote:
Trey Fidorous. Is this an anagram? And Ian the cat. Why is he there throughout the novel..


Anagrams:
Editor Fry o u s
Fry Or Tedious (tedious is also 'outside')
Fruity Rodeos

Eric imbues the cat with personality all the time. I read John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley and Steinbeck made the dog react to situations all the time... "Charley did not like these people; Charley felt disingenuous about that"

Why? Another one of those unresolved issues.
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