Space and Unspace of Everything (Sarah Bartling

After a last glance at Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, I set the book down, and my mind seemed to keep racing, making an effort to locate the pieces of the puzzle to put every moment together. The Raw Shark Texts was an absolutely thrilling ride, and although I relished every second of fishing the text for meanings and following Eric Sanderson “Two” to the deep conceptual waters in an attempt to save himself and his companions, I could not help my initial reaction of feeling slightly cheated. For a little while, I flipped through the pages, looking back over the first Eric Sanderson’s letters, reviewing the flashbacks with Clio, taking into account the radioactivity of Dr. Randle, the memories of the owners of the inn, and so on.

Most of the scenarios Eric undergoes are unbelievably believable, but it seems as though that is the intention. The last few chapters’ mantra (“the view becomes the reflection, and the reflection, the view”) comes to mind. What is true and what isn’t true seem to blend together, and we keep flipping the coin to see the other side.

Perhaps Steven Hall hopes we accept the outcome, the thought of Eric breaking free of the conceptual loops and memory-eating monsters, emerging from the dark waters to an island away from his past, moving on with “Scout”. When he accepts that he cannot change what has happened and that he had no sort of control on Clio’s death, he acknowledges change and the significance of the creation, presence, and demise of concepts. Dr. Trey Fidorous’s attempts to enlighten Eric with this notion on page 244 when he discusses languages and how “Languages can get sick and die, you know. Extinctions happen, and then there are the migrations.” Nothing remains the same, and though there may ache for the past to be altered, it is necessary to persevere on. The concept of evolution is not confined to Darwinian principles; evolution is applicable to all aspects of time, space, thoughts, and living and nonliving things. There is no eventual greater, stronger, more perfect outcome, as noted by Darwin, because it’s necessary to slowly let go of the past to accept the challenges of the future.

It seems this can apply to the digital age of our generation. What appears before us on a screen is and is not what it seems, and we are both bound by our conceptual loops of time and space and freed by the boundless, nonlinear concepts and change that await us. I think of Fidorous’s example of Matisse and his distinction between the woman and the painting, the metaphorical and the literal. Despite how one could argue that they are both one and the same thing, Fidorous emphasizes in this instance how they aren’t. Or how the tiny shreds of papers that read ‘water’ are and are not the concept of water. The metaphorical and the literal, the mental concepts and the physical things, the extinction and the change, and the linear and the nonlinear that were utilized in The Raw Shark Texts will be the ultimate tools for our digital storytelling this semester. Our ideas and our abilities to blend the believable and the unbelievable are limitless, and we keep up with our fast-paced technological present, recalling the first Eric Sanderson’s word to the wise on page 260 when he writes, “Fifty per cent of memory is devoted not to what has already happened, but to what will happen next …. We remember what we did and also what we will do.”

So, though I feel myself fumbling about for those last few missing pieces of the puzzle, I am still able to imagine the shapes and colors of the bits that would slide into the empty spaces. The Raw Shark Texts leaves me with the determination to pursue the space and unspace of everything.



**Also, this is my new username. Had issues with the old one (sabartie) which is why it was late. Thanks guys.



~ by sarahbartie on January 28, 2013.

4 Responses to “Space and Unspace of Everything (Sarah Bartling”

  1. This post is good because it picks out an important quote that captures a lot of what the text is doing: “Languages can get sick and die, you know. Extinctions happen, and then there are the migrations.”

  2. I enjoy this post because it involves the two very important concepts of physical and digital.

  3. The digital age really determines the kind of media that we like and dislike, and how we are exposed to that media. This is a paperback novel based around the concept of technology and it uses that premise to its full potential. We as readers try to figure out the puzzle based on our exposure to difererent technologies and media and no matter how hard we try the novel is always a step ahead of us, and it knows it. I found myself getting caught up on many of the puzzles, but I knew that the book would tell me eventually what everything meant, so I took the back seat and just went with everything, and I had a decent time with this book. I didn’t try to solve anything for myself; i just kept reading, and it made me happy. Parts were still confusing but if I kept reading all would be clear. Blah blah blah more stuff blah blah blah

  4. finding unspace or is it space? i’m not really sure what either is or if they are the opposite..dude where’s my cat? is that my girlfriend or my new girlfriend? i suppose there are multiple people that get tattoos of the same thing, but this one is on her toe. This doctor doesn’t like me. oh wait he’s going to help me…but what about the other doctor that was going to help me? ms randle well, i didn’t trust her. instead i trusted my first self who i am not anymore anyway. so why is my first self right if i don’t even know who blah blah blah i am going to have my mind eaten by a shark and then not remember that i was actually pulled out with toe tattoo and then the police will look at my physical body or maybe they won’t and then there will be a newspaper article that my family i don’t talk to will read and be sad about or not remember me about. Who knows? all i care is that now i’m safe on some island now with no shark

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