Esther’s Space- journey through my life

October 19, 2007

Galatea has way more underlining than is normal

Filed under: p()5t^^()d3,~]\[ — estherspace @ 12:45 pm

Galatea 2.2 is not my ‘normal’ book.  First of all, it is shelved in the science fiction section.  I’m not into that.  Maybe this book will change my mind, but I am doubtful.  Since we have covered so many different angles, I kept on running into little lines that struck me, resulting in the graphite-covered nature of my book. 

 One of the passages that struck me was:

The regulars took on personalities.  They Danish renegade.  The Berkely genius provacateur.  Slow and Steady, respected co-authors, in constant battle with their archrival, Flash-in-th-Pan.  Some speculated.  Others graciously deflated.  I saw myself as a character in this endless professional convention:  the Literary Lurker.

These are not personalities, they are stereotypes, or, as he described himself, characters.  This made me think about the Nikki Lee photographs, and how we attempted to describe what stereotypes she was embodying.  Like with the Lee photographs, these names don’t actually mean anything specific.  Instead, they hint toward any one of a number of random characteristics, all of which can be disproven in specific situations. 

In this paragraph, is Powers attempting to create the list of characters that we need in order to understand his novel?  It seems that by providing this list he is depending upon our understandings of each of these types, and using our natural tendency to make assumptions about how these stereotypical characters would interact.  Or, in a sense, he is setting it up so that our brains could write the novel itself.

Whoa, I think I just wrote through to an understanding of how the brain is like a neural network, and where literature fits into that.  Like we were talking about in class, the machine is fed information causing it to flip switches, etc.   So, when Powers feeds us this information, our minds are synthesizing it and flipping certain switches that correspond to our previous understanding of what to do with this information.  As we are given the characters, our brains are starting to create an idea of what the outcome will be when they interact.

However, Powers is taking our outcomes and feeding us new information to mature that understanding.  We believe that when these characters interact the outcome will be C, but Powers is  having their interactions, and even their characters be a little different than we’re used to (ex. of the neural networker who is well versed in literature).  This new information causes us to go through our switches again, making new assumptions based on the new data, and, in this process, we’re expanding the breadth of the connections we’re making.  Wow, it does make my brain hurt.


A neural network



  1. I agree on the stereotype idea because the author uses scientists as a steretype of just knowing science ideas and takes them with being smart on that and literary knowledge like Lentz.

    Comment by tllabello — October 19, 2007 @ 7:15 pm

  2. I enjoyed reading your post and feel that you have some very interesting ideas about the novel thus far. the discussion involving the switches was epecially interesting to me, as the author seems to relate this with how the author is creating this template of switches for how we will understand and comprehend the novel. I especially liked how you saw that the author is setting up a situation in which our brains can actually create the novel. Good Post!

    Comment by mcallistera910 — October 21, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  3. I like the way you’ve laid this out, Esther. The neural net is one giant, electronic conceit for postmodernism. We, as humans, devise a thought path based on information we’re given, ideology… until it’s challenged with new information and rethunk, so to speak.

    I avoided this aspect completely in my post just because I was more interested in the human relationships developing, but I kept thinking about how my assumptions were being played with by Powers – both the narrator and the author.

    By the way, If C was with Powers in U., E., and B., who do you think A. is in her 22nd year?? Son of [a] B!! I can’t seem to work it out yet… but I sure do sound like a mathematician when I try.

    Comment by Kim S. Clune — October 21, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

  4. wow everyone wants to comment on ur blog esther. i guess i will too. i like the idea of us writing the novel as the neural net and from our knowledge of literature (DING DING Frankenstein anyone?) we may be able to figure out how creating false intelligence may end up. lets see if we’re right!

    Comment by hannahzel — October 21, 2007 @ 11:56 pm

  5. […] my first Galatea 2.2 post, I  was interested in drawing connections between the neural network of Powers’ machine and […]

    Pingback by Galatea 2.2…..3 « Esther’s Space- journey through my life — October 28, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

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