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The ending (merged threads) Options
markinDC
Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:44:27 PM
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I have a few thoughts about the book, but first I want to say something about a post which said Second Eric is the only person you can trust. It's called an unreliable narrator. The whole point is too make his story unreliable to make you think.

As for the book, I don't know if anyone brought this up, but Scout talked about having been in Un-Space (the conceptual world?) for a long time and having left everyone she loved behind. Clio drowned three years before this story, maybe the same amount of time "Scout" had been in Un-Space. At the end, Eric leaves the "real world" behind, and his body washes up. Both Clio and Eric appear to die the same way and "Scout" and Second Eric end up in the conceptual world. Depending on what you believe about the end, maybe the conceptual world is heaven or death (depending on whether or not you are religious), or maybe Clio didn't die three years before, and fled to the conceptual world to deal with her problems the same as Eric does.

Someone else brought up that maybe Scout had been sending the letters. I thought the same thing. How exactly was Eric sending letters in the past for such a long period of time? At first I thought Scout had been setting him up from the very beginning, and then I came around to thinking it was all in his head. I ended up thinking everything that was happening was a result of his guilt for not being there with Clio when she died. At the very end it was revealed he was reading a book on the beach while Clio drowned. I think he blamed himself and this was his way of coming to grips with what happened. In the end he realized what had happened, his memories came back, and after he chose not to go on living with the pain, "Scout" appeared to forgive him for what had happened. But that's just my opinion.
the.web.hermit
Posted: Friday, October 10, 2008 3:49:32 PM
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I'm gonna chime in with my two pence as much worth as that is. Beware this is gonna sound crazy.

In my opinion, Dr Fidorous was wrong about nothing being able to survive inside the shark. In fact I think the whole story is taking place within the shark.

That sounds a little insane, but some of the things mentioned in the book got me thinking.

The obvious one to start with would be the book that inspired the first Eric Sanderson to start his expedition, the one about the dream fish, the shamans who enter the sharks to live with their dead relatives.

Although this is stated impossible, we firstly have the simple fact that Eric finds "Clio". It seems strange to me that it's hinted that Scout and Clio are related (or the same person). It could be that Eric is just going crazy. Or Eric achieved what he set out to do.

You may ask why Eric starts with no memories- I think this would have to do with that dream world, with the nature of the shark. Eric's memories become part of the shark. More specifically I think that the entire setting is made up from his memories. Practically the whole thing. He was allowed to live those memories, and experience them as reality. As if he were dreaming them, almost.

I say practically the whole thing. I think some things were changed from his memories- i.e. Mr Nobody, Mycroft Ward, the cats (the thing that I noticed most about Mycroft Ward is that he never actually appears in the book- he is referred to and is a threat that is lurking just beyond the characters perceptions. Contrast this with Clio's story, where it is suggested that there is something wrong with her, but it's never actually defined.), etc. I can't explain how these things were changed, but perhaps Eric's mind altered some of the events or interpreted them differently.

For instance, Dr Randle could have easily been someone who had treated Eric in the past (for depression perhaps?) and he cast her in the same role again, but for different reasons.

Of course the biggest problem I can see with this theory is that it doesn't explain why the bloody shark keeps chasing him. I still don't have a reason for that yet.

Of course you may ask why certain memories, like those of Eric's family or his life before Clio. I would respond by saying that when Eric 1 encountered the shark he was acting on his obsession with resurrecting her. His memories of conceptual fish, Fidorous, the Greek Isles and Unspace all revolve in some way around her. The shark therefore, took the part that was on the surface of his mind the most.

Anyway that's my two pence.
heartbreak
Posted: Saturday, October 11, 2008 3:09:36 AM
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That is a very intriguing idea t.w.h.

Would that make the book the shark? :D
the.web.hermit
Posted: Saturday, October 11, 2008 2:12:21 PM
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heartbreak wrote:
Would that make the book the shark? :D


Shh... it'll hear you...
cj71
Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 4:24:22 AM
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I definitely felt a connection between the book and Life of Pi, as others have posted. I have been interested to read the interpretations that people have had, but haven't seen my interpretation yet, so I thought I'd try to put it in words.

I think both Clio and Eric are dead, both by suicide. I think Clio chose to die (she went out alone, and the 3rd letter made me think that Eric thought it might not have been an accident). My take is that the book started when Eric died. He woke up in some kind of purgatory, and his resulting quest is against the shark which represents his immense and consuming guilt. Scout is Clio in purgatory as well because of guilt (?) too. If Clio had brain cancer that explains Mycroft--his exponential expansion is akin to a cancer tumor. When Eric annihilates the laptop and the shark, both the cancer and the guilt are gone, allowing both he and Clio to go th Naxos/heaven.

I'm not sure how Randle and Fedorous fit into all this yet--perhaps as a guide a la Dante's inferno (?). Very thought-provoking book.
MrMisfitToyz
Posted: Monday, March 23, 2009 1:38:53 AM
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This is my first post in these forums, and I realize I should read all the threads first to make sure none of this is a repeat... But I wanted to write on this one while the ink is still fresh in my memory... (I just finished the book.)

I'm surprised no one's mentioned "The Postcard" in this forum yet... Seeing as to me it seemed so incredibly fundamental to the end of the story... Before the change, when the fan was still a fan and not a prop yet, and before Eric could drink the "water", the postcard was simply a picture of the Greek Island of Naxos (Where the First Eric Sanderson and Clio had such an amazing vacation.)

But after the change, when the collection of ordinary planks, boxes and cardboard were almost magically changed into a shark hunting vessel simply because these were the concepts and meaning placed behind them by Fidorous, Eric and Scout... ... ... After the change the postcard went from a picture of Naxos to a picture of Eric No. 2's house... So what then did that picture, or the very concept it embodied, mean to Eric before they shifted into the alternate reality? Even if the second Eric Sanderson had never been to Naxos before himself (Sort of lol)... From the journal entries and light bulb fragments, he knows that he was happy there once... Truly, unbelievably happy, and madly in love with a girl named Clio Aames. So is it possible then that maybe in some small way Eric thought of Naxos as "Home"? ("'I'm glad,' I said quietly. 'Where do we go now?' She pointed out towards the island. 'Yeah, but I mean what is that, what is it really?' Scout smiled. 'Home.'")

Then, after Fidorous dies and Eric believes he's lost Scout something else happens with the postcard... It starts vibrating... Upon pulling it out of his pocket Eric realizes that it's still his house but black and white and he has a chance to go back to it... I think that right here Eric has an important choice... One that he doesn't even know about... I believe more was at stake here than simply picking to stay on the sinking shark vessel or go back to his house... I believe this was the moment that Eric chose between life or death. He was given one last chance to go back to life, but he chooses instead to stay put. "I'm not going back, I'm never going back... She's dead... She's dead and I'm so, so sick of surviving"

Shortly after choosing to give up his last chance to go back to "life" I believe Eric died (The Eric left behind in our world, the one still surviving in the land where the fan is still a fan, and laying in the foundation works where Eric's body is later found.) and went to heaven (Which is why this chapter's entitled "Just Like Heaven".). Right at this moment in the book there's this passage, "I stared at the picture, overwhelmed by an immense feeling of interconnectedness, a crushing weight of relevance I could feel but couldn't quite find. Something huge happening here. Something, so, so important..." It is in this moment that "a patch of warmth" touches Eric's back, the postcard fades to pure white, then it suddenly transforms and Eric's left holding "an underwater photograph of a brightly coloured fish." One of the same photographs presumably that he'd earlier thrown into unspace, left for dead, and regretted getting rid of so much... And right then Scout surfaces. Shortly after she surfaces and they're talking Steven Hall writes this, "Everything came together then. The whispering nonsense and that huge something I hadn't been able to find, all of it focusing into one bright, brilliant realisation. In that moment, I understood it all. "Oh, God." Scout smiled." Alot of people in here have taken this to mean that Eric got all of his memories back... But I took it to mean that in that moment Eric realized what had happened, that he'd died, and it didn't matter to him because he was with Clio and forgiven. (Although maybe in this moment he did get his memory back too?... But that didn't seem to me to be all that the "Oh God" implied.)

Before going into the alternate reality, before everything changed, Scout was still Scout... ... ... And I'm still rather iffy on this part... But maybe when Eric's concept of water transformed the simple words and connotations into just that... Maybe then, that's when Scout became Clio too... Because Eric 1's Clio would have been the concept that Eric 2 associated with Scout... (But the tattoo on her toe seems to be evidence against this theory...)

I could be entirely wrong about all of this, but that's how it seemed to me when I read it... And the visual of Eric and Clio swimming off into heaven at the end, just seems oh so satisfying to me...

Sorry for the novel, I get carried away sometimes... Amazing book.
MrMisfitToyz
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 12:33:40 PM
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It'd be kool to hear your guy's thoughts on this... If anyone's even read the above post lol... Anyone else think the same thing about the ending?
MiaVRO
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 4:08:27 PM

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I know this is pretty much ignorant, but i refuse to accept the fact that Eric physically dies. For sure, The First Eric dies via. the Ludovician, but i just don't see (or don't want to see) the actual Death of Eric Sanderson!!!
MrMisfitToyz
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 7:08:43 PM
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It honestly didn't really matter to me if the Second Eric Sanderson died in the physical world, as long as he was still alive, well and happy in the alternate reality with Clio... That part seemed more important... But yea, I know what you mean... Mr. Sanderson waz/is (Depending on your interpretation of the end lol) the she!t.
cgsheldon
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 7:09:03 PM
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the.web.hermit wrote:
In fact I think the whole story is taking place within the shark.


If that's true, then Eva Signet is lying; she couldn't have seen any negatives about Eric if they were created within the shark.

Eva is also lying if your theory is that this all happened in Eric's imagination.
cgsheldon
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 10:48:15 PM
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MrMisfitToyz wrote:
Before going into the alternate reality, before everything changed, Scout was still Scout... ... ... And I'm still rather iffy on this part... But maybe when Eric's concept of water transformed the simple words and connotations into just that... Maybe then, that's when Scout became Clio too... Because Eric 1's Clio would have been the concept that Eric 2 associated with Scout... (But the tattoo on her toe seems to be evidence against this theory...)


Scout and Clio have always seemed to me to be two similar, yet distinct, individuals; as someone else noted here on the forum, Scout actually went and got the tattoo that Clio never did.

For Scout to then be subverted out of existence in favor of Clio is a little harsh.

If Scout did turn into Clio, then Eric could've just as easily turned into someone from Scout's imagination.
heartbreak
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 11:55:44 PM
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cgsheldon wrote:
Scout and Clio have always seemed to me to be two similar, yet distinct, individuals; as someone else noted here on the forum, Scout actually went and got the tattoo that Clio never did.


Excellent! I always thought of Scout and Clio as the same person, but they're not are they? Scout is Clio's negative. What Clio would only talk about doing Scout actually did.
MiaVRO
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 12:22:28 AM

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I even noted their personalities as distinct. If they were the same, then why do i like Scout more than Clio? They are seperate, but what is trying to be deciphered, is how they are connected(?)
heartbreak
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 1:12:43 AM
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I to liked Scout better. Didn't get much of a feel for Clio. Might Scout be all the things that Clio isn't or vice versa?
MiaVRO
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 1:28:58 AM

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I like what you said about Scout being Clio's negative, but not everything between them is opposite though. The tatto part, yes, Scout did it when Clio didn't, but they still both wanted it, which is a similiarity. Also, Clio's cancer and Scout's instance with Mycroft Ward in the brain are again, similiarities, but also different. I can't really think of much else, but there are probably more examples like this.
But i agree with you, there's for sure the aspect of polarization between Scout and Clio.
angelita
Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2009 5:18:06 AM
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I just finished the book last night, and found this website today. I posted this in the Scout/ Clio thread, but thought it would be more relevant here, now that I've searched around a bit.....

____
OK, I do feel like I'm speaking a little out of order here... as you've all been progressing nicely through your analogies... but I just finished the book last night! And maybe this possibility has already been brought up... but my first reaction at the end of the book, with the newspaper article, was that Eric was dead from the start... or close to the start. I am at work, and have had very little awake/ not-at-work time to think about his, so forgive me if I'm not recalling things correctly (without the book with me).
I haven't had a chance to double check this... but isn't the place where his body is found the same place they entered unspace? Maybe he commit suicide to be with Clio?
The parallels of Clio's physical ailment (cancer) + Eric's psychological ailments (it seemed he was already showing signs on their trip) translates to Mycroft Ward & the Ludovician... opposites bringing Clio & Eric together in the afterlife. Their journey a certain purgatory? Their "home", as referenced at the end... which was never home to them, but a vacation... their eternal rest... together?
His death could have occurred at the start... where he awoke, gasping. Or, at the entrance of unspace?
I really do like the "forward memory" theory you're all working out though.
The whereabouts of Gavin has to mean something... Gavin & Ian split... Eric & Clio split. Something had to have happened to Gavin. If I remember right, they were purchased together, as kittens.
There's so much more, of course... but I had to get this out in the open!
___

Then I noticed another poster....
Quote:
I've been thinking that it may have something to do with the belief that cats are able to guide people into the afterlife...but I'm not quite sure.

in questioning why Ian was dragged along for the entire journey. It gave me a bit of a thrill.

Also note... a great and expanding theory (in my opinion) in that thread is what I above called "forward memory". I won't steal the credit from anyone, just check it out. I don't think I've seen this idea brought up in this thread.

I see the theory of death upon un-space (to keep it simple) was also brought up in this thread... and it continues to make me like that angle. Clio drowned/ disappeared into un-space. Eric died/ disappeared into un-space (I did check/ match up the fact that Deansgate is the entrance to un-space, and where they found his body).

I have to also mention that I agree SOMETHING took place as he was viewing the postcard (island-to house-to fish)... and that something feels like the weight of the book rests on it. A decision was obviously made. He originally saw Naxos... now he's looking at Naxos. As he's looking at Naxos he sees his home in the postcard and chooses not to go back. That's simple enough in itself, but what I'm still trying to wrap my head around is what that's saying about the "state" he's in. Is he saying he chooses death over life? Choosing a parallel universe over "our" universe? I do prefer to keep it as close to believable as possible, so I do like the life/death dilemma better. Now that I say it out loud, I'll go back to my "purgatory" theory and say that this is where he realizes WHERE he is and who he's with and making a decision on where to go/ not go from there (moving out of purgatory to heaven?). The thing that kind of throws me is the postcard changing again... and why that was something he almost rushed back in to his pocket..., like he was hiding it from Scout, as she appeared. Was it one last Ludavician temptation to try to suck him back into a search for Clio? Since it was (I assume) a picture that Clio had taken. And Scout showed up at THAT moment to aid him in his decision/ realization of where he was/ who he is/ where he was going?

It was quite clear that in this moment he found the forgiveness that was keeping him in "purgatory". (I use quotes because I do not want to label anything/ anyone/ anyplace. But I have to find words that translate my thoughts)

And speaking of postcards, the final, Casablanca-scene postcard from Eric to Dr. Randle (supposedly). I'll be honest, there were so many thoughts in my head at the end of the book I totally shrugged it off. Dr. Randle was painted as somewhat of a phony, not looking out for Eric's best interests, in the end. True or not, that was the taste in my mouth as I looked at the postcard... so I thought she "sent it" to herself. That was my initial reaction. Plus, my initial reaction told me that it just did NOT sound like Eric's voice to me. But, I think casting it aside is too simple. So, taking the above postcard theory, where "the view becomes the reflection..."??

The Casablanca theme comes from one of Eric's dreams including Humphrey Bogart... and apparently (I do not remember specifically... read this on a post) Dr. Randle makes an example of Casablanca in explaining her diagnosis for Eric. So if Eric sent this postcard to Dr. Randle... what is this "view" telling us? Going back and finding the passage in the book will surely help, but my brain is too sore at this time to even continue trying to further figure this one out for now! I do think it is more significant than I thought initially though... especially following directly after a much different postcard scene... and realization!

One other thing I wanted to say (because I am all but convinced, one way or another, that Clio = Scout, and have all but moved on from worrying about it) keep in mind that as you're weighing the similarities/ differences of Scout & Clio... that Eric 1 & 2 are surely just as different too, and yet (can we all agree?) the same person. If my theory makes sense to you, it is not a giant leap to think that Scout & Clio are the same... Scout evolving into a "new" person on the crossover, in a similar manner to Eric's "new" person.

Now, I hope writing this novel of my own will help me clear my head for the first time since closing the book!
Owen
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 8:05:08 PM
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OK, I must admit that I was initially stumped by the ending, but it kept me thinking for days, and here's the end result of my thoughts:

Essentially, this entire story is Eric's mind jumping through some amazing hoops in order to come to terms with his life, in the minutes before his death.

What it seems to imply (for me) is that Eric died, while in a state of obsession about numerous types of fish, yet suffering a self-imposed amnesia about everything else. The events of the story were real only in Eric's dying brain, which constructed various complicated formulas and encoding which enabled some sort of logic to be hardcoded into the tragic events in his life (ie. to help him make sense of it and find "peace" before dying).

Dr. Randle was real, but only prior to the eleventh recurrence. Dr. Randle within the book is part of this one epic dream or halucination in his damaged brain.

Scout's appearance in the story was the tipping point, at which Eric started to allow himself to remember his last days with Clio again, and slowly come to terms with the tragedy of her death. The hint of an afterlife implies some distant hope of being reunited with her. The fish, the shark, all that aquatic stuff, was Eric's damaged imagination constructing the concepts and ideas that brought Clio back to life through her pictures of fish (which he was obsessed with). The Ludovician was death itself, or rather, a realisation that death was imminent, hunting him and trying to claim him before he had a chance to find peace with Clio. The Ludovician was Eric's instinct, his motivation, to hurry up and work everything out before it all ends.

Trey Fidorous was actually Ryan Mitchell, or at least, the man Eric imagined he might be. (I think, but am not sure, that Ryan Mitchell converts to Trey Fidorous in the QWERTY code). Fidorous was a construct, an imagined personality, which was triggered by a passing mention of his name by Dr. Randle and blown out of all proportion in Eric's dying brain.

But the twist-upon-twist in this tale, is that Eric, as he lay dying, in the exquisitely unusual state of mind, had somehow found a genuine way to transcend the boundaries between concept and reality, and managed to project a message onto a real, physical postcard somewhere in Greece.

Ian was possibly some sort of "spirit guide", a pet of Eric's that died some time ago, but stayed by his side in death to ensure he reached peace.

Coincidentally, I read this book whilst laying on a Greek island last week.
Tim Stanton
Posted: Sunday, August 9, 2009 3:53:17 PM
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I am really enjoying reading other insights into TRST meanings. Recently, I was watching a television special about our universe. One of the scientists brought up the theory of a multi-verse, wherein there exist an infinite number of parallel worlds in which all possible versions of ourselves exist and live out life. The key is that while in one world, we may want to get a tattoo, in another, we actually do. The versions of ourselves will be different because of the choices we make in each possible world.

I'm wondering if the recurring Erics are simply different possibilities of the same essential person. Since the recollections of the first Eric seem to paint a picture of a man who, while being very likeable, is also passive to the point of failing to be an active participant in his life; he doesn't make the hard choices. Sitting on the beach reading while Clio presumably drowns is a good example of this. He finds his "redemption" in the end by actively choosing the life he wants to lead, effectively ending the cycle of trying different possibile lives. Once he truly accepts and engages his choice of world, then what had always been his "view" becomes his "reality."

Of course, this is all just a thought and I'm sure that I will read another post later today or this week that will make me want to rethink the whole thing! lol
Brouhaha
Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2009 3:24:09 AM
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I'm basically gonna hop on with what someone was saying earlier. Mycroft Ward was clearly a conceptual metaphor for something, so I thought about him.

We know he is:
A part of Scout, in her mind.
Not a physical threat, never seen and only heard about.
Despite that, a very scary, and potentially lethal, development.

So yeah, I think that's Clio's brain cancer.

And thinking about the shark, which is clearly a conceptualization to, since Eric says "I know what you are now," I think it's either the pain, the guilt, or probably just the summary of Clio's downfall all combined together. These are all the things that keep Eric from eternal bliss with Clio.

What I don't think are as important are where Eric exists physically. Some of the Japanese texts hint at a thing existing if it is believed in enough, this Tegmark guy goes down a similar, if more scientific road with multiverses, and of course there's the heaven route.

I just think that no matter where he went physically, even if he wound up in heaven or a conceptual world, he had to erase all those things to be happy with Clio again.
ChrisC
Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 4:24:06 PM
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heartbreak wrote:
I find it interesting that it is the exact same size as the postcard and oriented in the same spot.... perhaps that is suppossed to be the picture side of the postcard.


That's because it is meant to be the back of the postcard. Dr Randle asks Eric if he can quote a line from Casablanca in their first session, so I think Eric meant the postcard to be some kind of proof that it is really from him.
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