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point of view

Charles Stross has put up a link to the first chapter of his forthcoming novel Empire Games, the start of a second series about people with the genetic talent for interworld travel. It looks interesting and I definitely plan to read it. But one sentence pulled me up short:

She didn’t know it yet, but it would be the last normal workday of her career.

On one hand, that yanked me right out of the protagonist's point of view to that of the omniscient author. On the other, it also gave me advance knowledge of what was to happen later in the fictional timeline, and in doing so took away my sense of suspense, that peculiar state in which the reader's mind imagines that it doesn't know what comes next.

I have the impression that this sort of thing may be common in technothrillers; at least, I read one lately that did it every few chapters for an entire book. But it perplexes me that a genre that lives and dies by suspense would favor a literary device whose natural effect is to diminish suspense. And I'm surprised that Stross would have resorted to it, especially since the sentence, and the entire paragraph that it constitutes, could have been entirely cut with no damage to the narrative flow.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2016 01:08 am (UTC)
He probably will cut it, too. That reads to me like rough draft plot noodling.
Dec. 16th, 2016 01:29 am (UTC)
I hope so, but the release date is January 17, so there's not a lot of time.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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