Earl’s comments in RED


Homework Response #2

Professor Jackson


[Needs a title so that readers will
know it is about Fool s, psychical reality, and Michel Foucault]

During our discussion of Pat Cadigan’s novel, „Fools“,
we have brought up the question of identity and its inextricable connection
to psychical reality [What a good beginning!].
The reason that one would say it [antecedent?]
is inextricably connected to this form of reality [define
your key terms. Not every reader would be familiar with the term „psychical
reality.“ Moreover, defining the terms in the paper itself helps you stay
within the definition, helps to set parameters for the exposition.]
in this specific case, is because the basis for which the characters identify
them selves and evaluate their „real“ situations, is through a constant
relationship to a „not real“ psychical plane of reality [The
other reason defining „psychical reality“ is so crucial here, is that you
are introducing a very new variation on the concept. Freud had no inkling
of cybernetic or digital technologies. This would make a great paper topic,
but you have to lay the terminological groundwork]
. As the reader
becomes well aware [NEVER NEVER NEVER imagine one
ideal reader, and NEVER NEVER NEVER base an argument on a presumed response
or belief that reader will have. It falls apart that way. Think about it.
It is not at all likely that a „reader“ will automatically become „well
aware“ that „psychical reality“ is the issue. First of all, since the concept
hasn’t been explained here, we can’t determine that this would be an automatic
interpretation of every reader. Secondly, a critical take on a text cannot
presume that it is automatic, evident, and universally derivable. If that
were the case, it wouldn’t be much of an insight. Thirdly, the conceptual
areas of the „psychical“ and the „digital“ are brand new territories, and
their overlap is by no means preunderstood. Let’s redo this from the definitions
up. You have something here, now we just have to get it in place.]
Psychical Reality composes the relationship between Marva 1, Marva 2, Marceline,
and Mercine [Without a definition I can’t agree or
disagree with this statement. I’m pretty sure I’d disagree, but even the
disagreement needs more conceptual parameters within which to articulate
the disagreement]
. The element of suspense, arises out of this complex
interaction of personalities, and the only stage which can allow that interaction
to take place, is a stage based on a hallucinated form of reality [Why
„hallucinated“? Why „hallucinated form of reality?“ Aren’t all hallucinations,
hallucinations of reality (otherwise the person having the hallucination
wouldn’t believe in it and therefore wouldn’t be hallucinating. On top
of that, a „hallucination“ that is technologically mediated, multifunctional,
and perceived in the same way by more than one person at a time, isn’t
strictly speaking an hallucination. Suddenly resorting to that term also
further fogs up your notion of „psychical reality“]
For example;[:] Mercine’s existence,
which is a material reality, a „real“ reality, is put into danger by Marva,
an existence which is entirely Psychical [Very good].
Marva becomes essentially real, for all intents and purposes, as her actions
have real ramifications and implications to the other characters inhabiting
the mind of Mercine, the Brain Police officer [Excellent!].
While this relationship produces, not only tension between the different
frames of mind, it also creates suspense [What’s
the difference between „tension“ and „suspense“?]
. The reader becomes
wrapped up in the interplay between Marva 1 & 2 [These
two actually have no interactions in the novel. In fact, we only briefly
see the Marva2 character and she is very reticent about speaking at all]
Mercine, and Marceline, and which reality will triumph suddenly becomes
the question [What is the difference between the
individual persona and the „reality“? Does each one personify a different
reality? Does one of these realities triumph? Is reality something that

Identifcation with the different realities [Confusing
„reality“ and „persona“ – it’s with a persona that the individual identifies]

is the question for the reader, as it is very possible that we may identify
and interpellate ourselves [interpellating oneself
would be a good trick. I don’t think it’s conceivable. Read the Althusser
essay and I think you’ll see what I mean. Especially with such major concepts,
do enough research on them before deploying them in the essay.]

within the world of Marva because we may, for what ever reason, identify
with her better [Why? Why does a reader have to identify
with any of them. This is an unfortunate swerve, because it conflates the
technical, psychoanalytic meanings of identification with the more colloquial
„identification“ of hero-worship and goodguys and the movies rhetoric.
Stick with the first one]
. This identification and interpellation,
[interpellation is not correct here. What do you
is completely regardless [„is completely
regardless of“ is not English]
of the fact that her [Antecedent?
There is no one named in this sentence or even this paragraph. To whom
does „her“ refer?]
reality is not material, but is in fact psychical
[This is not possible. Psychical reality never replaces
material reality]
. To the reader, psychical reality is often not
a problem [Who is this reader, and why do we care
what is often not a problem for him or her?]
, and why?

When we as readers pick up a certain text of fiction,
we must [Must? Not really]allow ourselves
to slip into the world that is presented by that text. If a text is to
succeed in pulling us in, bringing us to see through the eyes of the characters
[This is not a necessary condition for a successful
, and feel their emotions with them [Do
you want to feel Lou Ford’s emotions? I’d be surprised.]
, then the
text must present a psychical reality to us that is entirely as believeable
as material reality [Not entirely.] . We [Avoid
using „we“ unless referring to a clearly demarcated group.]
throw ourselves, our minds, into a struggle with the reality at hand [We
throw both ourselves and our mind into a struggle with reality? If it’s
reality, why should we struggle? Are the „ourselves“ and „our mind“ a tagteam
wrestling show or do they just gang up on that reality all at once? They
should try Rendezvous in Black as I hear Woolrich hurls devices
of suspense in there.]
, the psychical reality, and feelings of suspense
arise out of this struggle [Unpack this and stand
back: ourselves and our mind leap into a struggle with the reality of the
novel, and out of this frey emerges psychical reality, and feelings of
suspense. That’s quite a picture!]
. However, we enter a limited
scenario for this psychical to become material [Not
, and therein lies the interesting part of suspense fiction
[Huh? Lost me entirely. My self and my mind our still
struggling with your reality a couple sentences back]

When we read a piece of suspense fiction, we do so because
we intentionally want to place ourselves in a reality [Who
is this „we“?]
which is frightening, or where we don’t know what
can or will happen [Avoid these generalizations.
Keep focus on the texts and the question at hand. Such generalizations
never advance an argument, and are almost always either (1) completely
incorrect; (2) too obvious; (3) dead metaphors.]
It is this not
knowing [Not knowing what?]that makes the
book suspenseful, but to make it so [To make what
„so“? There’s no antecedent here at all. See these detours into generalizations
about „the reader“ and „we“ lead us far far astray]
, we must submit
our consciousness [ouch! Is this after the struggle?
If we have to do this anyway, why to we throw ourselves and our mind into
the struggle with this reality in the first place?]
to the book’s
level of reality. Such a level of reality is what the characters in the
book are living [This may be interesting but put
it in the context of the specific texts under discussion]
, and in
this reality they don’t know what can or will happen to them [Characters
never know anything and nothing ever happens to them. They don’t exist]
This [Antecedent?] is, for the characters,
a reality which is not limited to 200 pages of paper sandwiched between
a cover [On the contrary, it is precisely that. The
characters have no reality whatsoever outside those pages. They don’t holiday
in limbo, or slum in another pulp fiction paperback after the last page
of their book]
, as it is for the reader.

This [Antecedent? This „this“ has
no referent. Avoid using „this“ and „that“ without a noun or noun phrase
after it. Keeping the nouns with it keeps you on track and makes the argument
easier to follow. Please actually answer my questions, particularly the
antecedents to „this“. If you can’t find them, that will show you where
your sentences ran away from your argument.]
seems to be the important
connection between the reader and the book itself. The reader [let’s
hire an Escort to take this reader out.]
lives in a psychical reality,
only in so far as they [antecedent: „reader“ is singular]
are reading the text, but the characters in the text, the characters with
which the reader must identify if the novel is to be successful, live in
that reality indefinitely and they cannot escape [You’ve
already said this and it’s still wrong. Unless you’re thinking of Gumby.
Characters can’t escape from books, but they don’t live in them. They don’t
live anywhere. They don’t exist.]

. In „Fools“, this suspenseful reality [What
does „this“ refer to? You’ve derailed yourself.]
, is in fact psychical,
both for the reader who is partially attached [at
the hip, the „self,“ the consciousness, or the mind?]
to this reality,
and to the characters who live this reality [Attached
to the characters who live there?]

In effect, the characters in „Fools“, Marceline, the escort,
Marva the personality overlay, and Mercine, the Brain Police Officer in
particular, display the power struggle that results in what we come to
reecognize as our „consciousness“ in the arguments of Michael Foucalt.[spelling!]
He argues that we enter into certain power struggles, in which certain
persons excercise .[spelling!] control and
dominance over other persons, and who we come to think of ourselves as,
results out of this struggle. This is what is occuring .[spelling!]
between Marceline, Marva, and Mercine. The fact that personalities
base themselves on psychical reality [They can’t
base themselves on anything. They are computer programs.]
, is irrelavant
.[spelling!] when considering that the struggle
for power which relults .[spelling!] from
this reality, is very much real, and as the novel suggests, has very serious
stakes, as who will triumph in the power struggle, will ultimately be the
„consciousness“ of that body. Foucalt’s .[spelling!]
quote, „Power must be understood as the multiplicity of force relations
immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their
own organization“ (pg. 93, FWP), goes to support this point, in that the
„sphere“ in which these „force relations“ of personalities operate, is
their own, created, psychical reality. Foucalt’s .[spelling!]
own description of this „sphere“ in which the power struggle takes
place, one could argue, is also a psychical reality which has material
ramifications resulting out of it. However, Foucalt’s .[spelling!]
arguments and their relationship to Psychical reality should for
now, remain an argument for another day.

The point of this argument, is to suggest that in one
sense, it is the reader identifying with the characters in a purely psychical
sense that allows for the element of suspense to surface. In another sense,
it is the psychical struggle for power in „Fools“ which creates suspense
becasue of its material implications. Finally, it is the power struggle
which results in how we come to regard our consciousness that Foucalt .[spelling!]
describes, which plays heavily in the suspenseful struggle in „Fools“,
and fact that this struggle depends on a psychical plane of reality is
irrelavant .[spelling!] when considering that
the result of this struggle will be material. The reader of suspense fiction,
must be an integral part of the psychical reality manifested in the novel
for the novel to work, and to work it must create a near mirror image of
Material reality. So are some of the conflicts and struggles in Suspense


[The last two paragraphs are dynamite,
but they need to be integrated into the paper. You should seriously consider
doing this as a project/paper for the course, but begin by thoroughly researching
and clearly defining psychical reality and the variations you introduce.
And read Althusser and the Foucault here. I really like the idea of a Foucauldian
reading of Fools and let me know if you need bibliographical assistance
for it.]



[I corrected the spelling of Foucault
all three times in the above. It’s up to you to carry on from here.]

Works Cited

The Foucault .[spelling!]
excerpt and arguments came from the Suspense fiction Web page, which
was „hyperlinked“ to a Foucault Web [Always give
the url of a Web site you are using.]
site which was devoted to
a better understanding of Foucault and his discussions on the struggle
for „consciousness“ identification. Quote listed as „pg 93“ on this web
page. [No one could find a Web site from a page number
reference. Ask me if you don’t know how to document the Urls. Always give
the url of a Web site you are using.]

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Webliography Example Fantasy
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