Festina Lente Constellated

desjardins_card_frontToday my google search began with, “sacred heart coriolis jean – bernard desjardins”. This was inspired by the inserted card illustrating a person holding a hawk? surrounded by thorns (check the top of the thorns closely. See the “S”?). The reverse of the card holds an image of the sacred heart and mentions Desjardins and Coriolis.

I am a creature of images so of course, rather than focusing on the internet pages available, I look at the image section. This led me to an image of a note about Alan Turing. I knew from past research on a different project that Alan Turing was a brilliant cryptologist. Some of the images that came up included references to his time at Princeton University.

515dFoAtRzL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I remembered research on the steam tunnels in the past had indicated some connection with Princeton so I searched again with the keywords “Princeton steam tunnels.” This search brought me to a book called “The Rule of Four”. Written by authors Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason in 2004, the book is about four students are trying to solve a mystery in a rare book from 1499 Italy. This caught my eye immediately based on my research about Aldus Manutius. I wondered if he might have published the book. The book they were trying to decipher is a real book called, “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili“.

This is an extremely interesting line of research as, indeed, Aldus Manutius is connected with the original text of “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili”. The authorship of this book is a matter of intrigue as it was originally published anonymously. There are innumerous riddles and cyphers that exist including a phrase that is formed from the decorative initial letters of each chapter.

The authorship issue is one that comes up frequently in the book, “Ship of Theseus”. I had just about decided that it really did not matter to me who wrote it, that it was the content of the book that mattered. Today, I found an article written in 2015 that sums up my opinion on the authorship issue perfectly. In “A Journal of Verbal/ Visual Enquiry“, John Dixon Hunt wrote about Hynperotomachia, “The authorship question, I must say, somewhat bores me, being brought up in a school of literary criticism where the text was king and the author fairly marginal. I am of the Shakespearean school that says the person who wrote the plays was somebody (or even a consortium) called Shakespeare, as the person who proclaims himself the author of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili was one Francesco Colonna, a Venetian monk with connections in Treviso, whence Poliphilo’s beloved Polia says she comes.”

He further writes, “At the very opening of his book, Poliphilo says that all things human are nothing but a dream[…]He is indeed an assiduous recorder or commentator — careful in his descriptions, yet largely uncurious about what they might mean, unless — as with the three doors — he is forced to make a decision.”

In my opinion, you could easily say the same about “S”. There are times when “S” wonders if he is in a dream. As he begins to write, he tries to direct his words but eventually gives up and becomes a chronicler of events.

a princeton bulldogThe book “Hypnerotomachia” mentions the event know as “bonfire of the vanities” from February 7, 1497. This was an event brought on by a minister preaching about the sin of vanity items like mirrors, elegant dresses, makeup, playing cards and books. Literally, piles of books were burned alongside many other items that might lead one astray. The preacher was Savonarola. If you are interested in these events, there is an intriguing book called, “Savonarola” by Donald Weinstein published at Yale University Press…hmm Yale again…another constellation. (Princeton has a Yale Bulldog mascot in a gutter on their Princeton Chapel. A serious rivalry:) )

There have been numerous academic studies done on the gardens and sculptures described in “Hypnerotomachia.” Research lead me to information that the Gardens of Barmoza were inspired by the text. Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto mentions the similarity between the Gardens of Barmoza and “Hypnerotomachia”. Roswitha Sterwering writes at length about the descriptions of the gardens in “Hypnerotomachia”.

1024px-Bomarzo_parco_mostri_orcoThe Gardens of Barmoza were influential in the painting of Salvadore Dali and the author Jean Cocteau. One of my favorite sculptures from the park was the inspiration for Salvdore Dali’s Tempation of St. Anthony. If you sit in the mouth of the monster and whisper, you can be heard very clearly from outside the mouth. The sculpture is called, “All Reason Departs”. This happens to me ever time I read “Ship of Theseus”.

My final constellation of the day concerns the name Roswitha and Straka. Note that Roswitha Sterwering wrote about “Hypnerotomachia.” I find her name odd. Once when I was searching for information about the “Night Palisades” cover I found a movie that was starring a young woman named Roswitha Straka. Note the similarity between the movie poster and the book cover. The movie is “Udet – die vergessenen Briefe”. It is a movie by Alexander Bruckner about a young man who learns about his grandfather by a “devised” letter. There is not much of a description about the movie but is won awards at Cannes for movie shorts.firstWorldWarMovie



Festina Lente

I have spent the day today doing more research on the book, “Ship of Theseus”. My last post was completed mid-semester in the fall of 2017. I wanted to get back to research sooner but alas….Festina Lente. “Make haste, slowly.”Figure-2-Festina-lente-A-Original-dolphin-anchor-symbol-on-an-80-AD-Roman-coin

Interestingly enough, this motto was the last thing that I found today of interest. It describes the process that I have found successful in reading Doug Dorst’s book. I cannot put the thing down. I read and listen and poke around the internet and then read some more. However, I find the book so dense it is difficult to do it justice. And thus, the motto.
I have attached a pdf of a terrific piece of research on the Venetian printer, Aldo Manuzio by Valerie Materese.

She writes, “Aldo Manuzio, combined the business of artisanal printing with humanistic knowledge and love of the classics.” I am aware it is probably a constellation, however, I cannot escape noticing the “S” in the logo for his company. My search began today with research on the company that produced SOT. Charles Melcher strikes me as a man who could thoroughly appreciate the motto above and the love that Aldo Manuzio had for fine work done well.

Research brought me to Charles Melcher’s company, Melcher Media, who was responsible for producing “S’. Melcher is the founder of “The Future of Story Telling” summit and a Yale University graduate. (See his webpage.) Among his other contributions, he is the inventor of waterproof books. As a closet bathtub reader myself, I can appreciate this invention. (Don’t drop “S” in a bathtub or out, the inserts will get jumbled!)

fidel_castro_ernest_hemignwayI was drawn to B. Traven and Hemingway today. B. Traven was the rabbit hole that produced the “Night Palisades” cover. He is a fascinating character and a remarkable confabulator. Straka sounds like he shares similar traits, not least of which is a clouded past. B. Traven and Ernest Hemingway could not have been more different if they tried. Hemingway injected his own personality into his books and B. Traven made it impossible to tell who he was, to the point where there is an authorial controversy surrounding his books.

Ernest Hemingway has been photographed with Fidel Castro and is purported to have been friends with him. No one knows for sure what B. Traven looked like, however, Mulholland Books, also connected with “S”, did a terrific article on B. Traven and created a collage of the four best guess aliases for B. Traven. The collage follows, but check out the article as well. travencollage

As a modeller, (3D sculptor and serious game designer), it is my business to study features. I believe that all of these images are the one and the same person. The nose and small chin are dead giveaways.

From B. Traven, I moved on to Johnny Carrera and his, “Pictorial Webster’s – A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities”. For more about this book click here. His story, in short, is he found a tattered dictionary and became fascinated with the engravings inside. He is a bookbinder, printer and artist, just the kind of guy that JJ Abrams would be interested in.

Bicycle-wheelHe was so interested in the images, that he hand printed 50 copies of the picture blocks from the old Webster’s dictionary. He tracked down all of the print blocks from the old dictionary and found them at Yale University. His book is hilarious as well as interesting. He has left little bread crumbs and bits of humor throughout the book. He has references to Miro, Duchamp (The Readymades), Dali and minute quotations from writers that can be related back to “S” as well. Is it a constellation? Probably, but it is interesting all the same. Isn’t that what the book is about? The love of the word, puzzles and unique items?

From the dictionary, I was drawn along to the image of Aldo Manuzio’s logo. What begins and what ends.

Speaking of which, I end this blog with a final constellation. This is unrelated to my work today. It began in the summer of 2017. I played “Witcher 3” off and on all summer. Just prior to going to grad school I completed the game. The final quest or sequence of the game is called, “Something Ends, Something Begins.” In the sequence, there are three possible endings based on your gameplay of the main character.

The choices you make in game determine if you have the happy ending, the bittersweet ending or the tragic ending. Ain’t it the truth, baby, ain’t it the truth….

Birds of Negative Space

First, let me define the artist’s understanding of negative space. According to Wiki, “Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image.”

The Interlude chapter is the negative space in the book. However, there are many instances of constellations tied to the book that also demonstrate the idea of negative space.


This image is by Salvador Dali. I downloaded the image from wikiart.org.

This is one of the best examples of negative space hiding that I could find. Dali incorporated Voltaire bust by Jen Pierre Houdon in the painting. Some people see it immediately and some have to work at it. The image below is also by Dali and has layers on layers of images that hide. The chalice, the younger versions of themselves, the arches over their heads and the crown to name a few. This is what I was looking for when “Ship of Theseus” mentions negative space.


This is what I found.


This came from a Bad Robot tweet.

That is how I saw the bird in the bookmark on the image from Bad Robot. I have asked many people without prompt what the was on the bookmark and most say a bird. I think Bad Robot does this kind of thing a lot. I think they have inserted themselves in many places in the book and in the websites around the book. It is all part of the game. I am studying the book from the perspective of it being an interactive experience. I think Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams want us to do that as well. If you only look at the footnotes as messages to Straka then you are missing out on the Experience of the book itself. Think of the book as the negative space.

page235Santorini man

This is page 235 from S.

In the highlighted text Eric says it references the Santorini Man. Then the book continues with:  “.. words are a gift to the dead a gift to the dead a gift to the dead. ”

“Words are a gift to the dead, and a warning to the living.” VM Straka tweet.

spinnerI really like this example of the bird. This would be a cool spinner. This came from Bad Robot as well.

Bad Robot actually twittered an almost quote from the book that sums it up for me. It is how the quote is different that changes the feel.

“Words are a gift to the dead, and a warning to the living. … words are a gift to the dead a gift to the dead a gift to the dead.” Twitter from Bad Robot

I believe they were also trying to make the point that the physical book is going away, there is a space left behind. It is our appreciation of the actual physical book that drives our interactive experience with and enjoyment of the book.

These are all images from Bad Robot tweets. I think the luggage tags (and they do this more than once) are a nice touch all things considered.

I think they want you to look at the book from the outside as well as from the inside. We get bogged down in clues in the footnotes and in the text but we forget to step back from the book to see what is there.

birdpotcardI am studying the book from the perspective of it being an interactive experience. I think Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams want us to do that as well. If you only look at the footnotes as messages to Straka and the storyline with S, Sola, Jen and Eric, then you are missing out on the Experience of the book itself. Think of the book as the negative space. The story is the story. The book is the book.

This last image is also from Bad Robot. Can you see the silhouette of the Bad Robot yet? Once I saw it, I couldn’t stop seeing it.

Here’s where we go into the constellation part again. The literal constellations are mentioned many times in the multi media items surrounding the book. I figured I would look to see if I could find them too. Here is what I found.

pleiades_Laid over coin

If you lay the Pleiades over some of the media, it lines up. For instance, the wine coasters from Bad Robot, and the S on the book cover. The Pleiades is the constellation of stars that help sailor’s navigate at night.


Bad Robot has constellations all over their tweeted items.pleides_01 Some of their items are for their interns like the t -shirt below. The constellation is above the image. It is the Northern Cross (part of the Summer Triangle cute for summer interns) also known as Cygnus the swan. To the far left is the Pleiades which contains Halcyon, the kingfisher bird.

If you look at the Bad Robot tweets you will see the Northern Cross and the Pleiades over and over again as well.


denb and pleiades textThe final thing I want to ask today is if you think the following blog page is part of the story. I find the addition of the Northern Cross and the Pleiades quite coincidental. There is great information on this web page about many of the topics that are related to the book. Check it out at the very least.

The Interlude Play

I was trying to write today about negative space. I find myself falling into games with the Interlude chapter again, however. I began by opening my brand new WordPress site and found I was not entirely satisfied with the appearance of my page. I decided to look for an alternative.

As I was checking the options, one in particular caught my eye. I opened the design and found to my astonishment and amusement that the text on the page was a story about someone named Sola. Here comes another constellation. It seems like there is always seven degrees of separation.

I am beginning to do this somewhat tongue in cheek at this point. I believe it is what Doug Dorst intended when he included the Interlude chapter. I have been amused, entertained and sometimes shocked by what my wanderings have uncovered.

Princess_of_Mars_largeToday, my wanderings uncovered a book written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The book was, “A Princess of Mars”. Sola is the princess in the story, who is saved by a dashing Earthling. The book was written in 1912 and was the inspiration for many science fiction authors writing in the subsequent years. Ray Bradbury and Carl Sagan have both mentioned Burroughs influence.

It intrigued me for two reasons. One, the author as a young man signed away the rights to many of his novels. It took many years for his estate to regain the rights. This story was the origin for the character John Carter. Disney made a movie roughly based on the character several years ago.

He was a prolific writer of pulp fiction novels. Tarzan of the Apes, (follow the monkey. I know it is a constellation…only saying…), was his creation.

And two, John Carter was being chased by Apache Indians and hid in a sacred cave to avoid capture. Somehow or other, deus ex machina, he awoke on Mars, having been transported there by some unknown force. While on Mars, he meets the Princess, gets involved with the local politics and has to save the planet from some environmental disaster. That part of the story sounded familiar.

Reading about Burroughs reminded me of a book I read this summer by Robert A. Heinlein, “Stranger in a Strange Land.” This is a story of a child who was the only survivor of a manned trip to Mars. Valentine Michael Smith, (VMS) was raised as a Martian but was returned to Earth as a young adult. Heinlein is yet another author whose work was modified and then restored. He was forced by publishers to cut the original book by 25%. However, the original version was eventually published after the author was dead.


The artwork for the covers of both Burroughs and Heinlein’s books are intriguing. Burrough’s books were illustrated by a Czechoslovakian (O, Prague!) artist by the name of Vaclav Cutta. And Heinlein’s book cover features Fallen Caryatid Carrying her Stone by Rodin. His original work was done in the late 1880s according to the Met( Fallen Caryatid). He is, of course, known for his The Thinker sculpture. I have been doing a lot of that lately.



After going down that rather interesting but lengthy rabbit hole, I decided it was time to return to the Interlude yet again. This time my search brought me to Alfred W. Pollard. And of course, his name caught my eye. It is time for another constellation. Pollard State University is the scene of the action between Eric and Jen. Time to research Mr. Pollard.


The cover from AW Pollard’s “The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table” (1917). Illustrator Arthur Rackham (I love this guy)

Pollard was a Shakespearean scholar. Doug Dorst in an interview with the Autin Chronicle, mentions how he was thinking about the Shakespeare authorship controversy as he was writing Ship of Theseus. Pollard wrote extensively on the subject. He was especially interested in how pirating of the works of authors in Shakespeare’s time changed the original texts. It became difficult to tell which was the original and which was stolen.


He further wrote on the subject of English Miracle Plays, Moralities and Interludes”, according to Wikipedia. Finally, I could get back to Interludes. Interestingly enough, Alfred W. Pollard concurs that the interlude, or morality play, became a diversion that often covered topics such as the sins of youth and the praise of learning or studiousness. this confirms my theory that the Interlude chapter is to be taken on its own merits, separate from the rest of the book.

Wiki’s page on interludes referenced a visual novel called “Interlude”. This “Interlude” is really more of a game in the form of a novel but is considered a mixed media novel.  For the purpose of my argument that the Interlude in Ship of Theseus should be taken as an object entirely of its own like this Japanese “Interlude”, I am taking the definition of visual novel directly from Wikipedia. “In Japanese terminology, a distinction is often made between visual novels (abbreviated NVL, derived from visual NoVeL), which consist predominantly of narration and have very few interactive elements, and adventure games (abbreviated AVG, or ADV derived from ADVenture), a form of adventure game which may incorporate problem-solving and other types of gameplay.”

My research of the interactive game “Interlude” uncovered a term called a parallel novel. I believe that Doug Dorst wrote the Interlude chapter as a parallel story directed at us. A parallel novel takes the characters or the plot from one story and changes them in some fashion adding the result back into the story, creating something entirely separate and new.

isumapFurther inspiration and confirmation for this idea struck me when I was investigating the Pollard State map (included on page 307 of the Interlude chapter). I watched an interview in which JJ Abrams pulled the map out of the book and mentioned that it was his favorite piece of ephemera. I want to know why. I think I figured it out today.

It is pretty clear, that despite having a steam tunnel history at his Alma Mater, the steam tunnel map included in the book is not the same as Iowa State. However, it is true that Doug Dorst did attend a university to which a steam tunnel legend was attached.

It occurred to me after reading about a flood that took place on campus in 2008 that these tunnels could be dangerous. Prior to that, the idea of wandering steam tunnels was kind of romantic. At WPI there is even some talk about a tunnel running from one of the buildings to another.


Illustration by John Tenniel

Then I began to think about what would happen if the map were found to point to particular steam tunnels. Oops, there go the lawsuits. Instead, I looked at the romance surrounding the idea of steam tunnels. This is a chapter speaking to us after all.


The reason why we are all intrigued by the idea of finding a tunnel and going on an adventure was posited by NYFolklore. It is their suggestion that students, I would say people, go searching for these tunnels and exploring them is to test out their capabilities, to defy authority. It is the same reason we are fascinated by the book “The Ship of Theseus”. Tunnels are places that are generally off limits and require some determination to find and conquer. I believe this is why the map was put in the book. It reminds us to persevere, to research and to get off the sofa and put down the remote control. It challenges us to question authority that is oppressive. The Interlude is an interlude, the ship is a ship.




Straka’s Interlude

Interlude FN 5 Pg. 307

“This page of the manuscript, which is an inky mess, shows Straka agonizing over defining the musical mode in which these notes occur–a detail that, to me, seems less than trivial. This “tumble of notes” began as Phrygian, then became Mixolydian, then Locrian, then Dorian, then Locrian again, and it returned to being Phrygian just in time for printing. The tonal differences, he explained in a letter, were significant, and they were important to the “feel” of the detail. I confess I have a tin ear, and I think the detail would have worked just as well if he had made up a musical term for it, or if he had omitted mention of it entirely.”

Tin ear – a deafened or insensitive ear

Tone deaf – relatively insensitive to differences in musical pitch

My research into musical modes follows.

According to Andrew Duncan of http://andrewduncan.net/cmt/ , “One way of characterizing the “richness” of a particular scale is by its interval spectrum. By this, we mean the number of jumps of size 1, of size 2, 3, … contained in the scale.” https://ianring.com/musictheory/scales/#spectrum

Howard Hanson, in the book “Harmonic Materials”, labels the various intervals with the following letters. If there is more than one interval of its type the number will show up as a superscript.

P – the Perfects -This is the interval of a perfect 5th or perfect 4th.

M – The Major Third

N – The Minor Third

S – the second

D – the Diminished

T – the Tritone

The following modes have identical interval spectrums: Locrian, Phrygian, Aeolian, Dorian, Mixolydian, Major and Lydian. Their interval spectrum is p6m3n4s5d2t

They are all comprised of 7 tones. Their “negative” is found by flipping the blacks to white and vice versa. The negatives are pentatonic.

Consider the black dots the tones that are played and the white dots the ones that are not.


All of these modes have only one imperfect tone, that is there is not a perfect fifth above it. This imperfect tone is different for each mode (however this concept was introduced after “Ship of Theseus” was printed).

Dorian is the only mode that is palindromic (symmetry), that is you can flip it along a vertical axis and it is the same either way.

Their binary values are traditionally calculated as follows.

There are 12 possible tones in our system. The binary representation is read from right to left with the root as the lowest bit. If the tone is played it is represented by a one if not then it is a zero. For example, the Phrygian mode is represented by the binary number 10110101011. This translates to a value of 1451. The last tone, the 12th, is not played and is therefore left off the front end as it is 0.

The modes as binary numbers: (interesting to note that none of these modes play the 12th tone unlike the Major or Ionian mode).

10110101011 – Phrygian     = 1451 in base 10

11010110101 – Mixolydian = 1717 in base 10 10101101011 – Locrian       = 1387 in base 10
11010101101 – Dorian         = 1709 in base 10 10110101011 – Locrian       = 1387 in base 10

10110101011 – Phrygian     = 1451 in base 10

In an effort to understand the difference between the modes, I created an infinite fingerboard with the strings separated by a jump of five notes as is typical in guitars. As the image illustrates, there is virtually nothing different about these modes as they are lined up here.


It is only when you layer them on the fingerboard and perform Photoshop magic that the word bead pops out.

An inky mess of layers using Photoshop difference filters.
A reference to Hermann Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game”

Another relationship that I looked at for differences is to consider the notes that are “left out” when you play the modes. These tones comprise the “negative” of the modes. It occurred to me that the “negatives” of these modes might be interesting, that is if you play the white dots and not the black ones.

To find the difference in these “negative” or pentatonic tones (see below), I drew lines to connect the tones that are played for each negative mode. What I found was that the (0 is a numbering convention) 1st tone, the 5th tone and the 10th tone were not played by any of the “negative” modes. Click here to redirect to Tumblr 19 Constellations to hear the note sequence I found while investigating the Interlude. I hear Star Trek, do you?

starTrek This is how I found the negative tones.







Lastly, consider the fact that tone 11 is the only tone left out of the tones played in the modes mentioned in “The Ship of Theseus” and the number 5 for FN 5 and for the pentatonic nature of the negative of the modes both seem to have relevance. Then look at the comment that Jen makes on the first page of the Interlude “Is this our clue for the code? Not getting anywhere with it. Or with any (her underline) of the Fns.” Also on page 311 there is a great emphasis on the fact that U and 26 are connected somehow.

Using the NE (any) Cipher to encode the alphabet you get the following where Z is the 26th letter and it is encoded to U:




And the NE (also called Affine cipher) decoding/ desubstitution table for these coefficients is:




I have not located any phrase or encrypted message that you could use these ciphers on however. I publish this with the hope that someone may find a message other than the constellations I have found.


“O, Prague! City of defenestrations!”

Where is the Principality of Rumor?

Interlude – synonyms: interval, intermission, break, recess, pause, respite, rest, breathing space, halt, gap. It’s Latin roots literally mean between play.

Merriam Webster Dictionary has the definition – an intervening or interruptive period, space, or event: interval

FN 8 The Principality of Rumor was the original title for S. It was supposed to be a suite of literary caprices. A caprice is a sudden and unaccountable change in mood or behavior. Straka mentioned in his letter to FXC that he did not know what shape it would eventually take. “The Book of Theseus” is the literary suite of caprices or a set of compositions intended to be read in succession that contains an unaccountable change in mood or behavior and thus the Interlude.

In fact, both FXC and Straka mention the Principality of Rumor. This entire chapter continues to point me back time and again to Prague. I was led to the publishing house S. Fischer Verlag over and over. They published books by Bertolt Brecht, Hermann Hesse – The Glass Bead Game, T. S. Eliot, Franz Kafka – The Metamorphosis and The Trial.

Courtesy of our Pinterest friends and my penchant for looking at cover art, I was reunited with Jorge Luis Borges. Searches of his novels brought up pictures of labyrinths, Don Quixote and monkeys. Borges referred to the infinite monkey theory and suggested that it had its beginning in the works of Aristotle, Cicero, Pascal and Jonathon Swift. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem

His book, “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” reminds me quite a bit of Nabokov’s “Pale Fire”. In the book, the “author” Pierre Menard is translating a copy of “Don Quixote”, in a manner that will make it much richer than the original text. Sola is seen reading a text that refers back to “Don Quixote”.

mirrors(This image is from Google Books) Borges also wrote a book called “Labyrinths” as in where Theseus killed the Minotaur. This cover with its mirrors placed at angles and referred to as a labyrinth made me think a little more about the concept of mirrors as refractors.

This reminded me of pg 316 and “a place where the light bends at unnatural angles and an ordinary man would need special lenses to see what’s truly there.” I was drawn toward finding a maze that was also built of mirrors.



You can find it in Prague. It is called The Petřín Mirror Maze. The maze was built in 1891 for the Prague Exposition. A maze in Vienna is said to be the inspiration.

There are two places on page 316 that the Principality of Rumor is mentioned. Straka mentions it and FXC mentions it. Straka, in fact, uses the lowercase version of principality as if the place was called Rumor. If FXC is speaking to Straka in the Interlude, this would be the only place that I can see it.

Why do I think Prague is the Principality of Rumor. (principality – territory, country or domain). The following article was enlightening for me. New York Times Czechoslovakia. It is referring to Vaclav Havel who led the Velvet Revolution that toppled the previously communist government. Jan Urban, a journalist, helped relate a rumor that he thought was true about a young student that had been killed by government forces at a peaceful demonstration. The outrage that followed, eight days after the fall of the Berlin wall, caused the peaceful overthrow of the Communist regime. This all happened in 1989, well after the book was supposedly published.

It is my belief that the Interlude chapter is just that. It is a break in the show, a change of behavior. I look at it as “a word from our sponsor”. There is the story inside the book with S and Sola (So La … ti..do). There is the story inside the book between Jen and Eric. There is a story between Straka and FXC. However, as Straka was adamant in FN7 there is also a story about YOU. We stand outside the book and see the book as a tangible thing. We can touch and see all of the inserts, we do the research outside of the book. The author, Doug Dorst, in this case, wants us to remember that we have a story too. He has a story and JJ Abrams has a story and all of the authors, martyrs and artists out here have a story. The birds from Bad Robot, the snippet of the Star Trek theme, The Glass Bead Game(see the post about the Interlude for both of these), references on references to so many different people come together in the Interlude.

I do not see the footnotes in the Interlude as messages to Straka but, footnotes to us.