Reply from Robert Gibson re Mercury/Language myth influencing Valeddom

by Robert Gibson
(Lancashire, England)

I enjoyed your new Alien Scripts page, Zendexor, and as always am grateful for your coverage of my work. However, I feel I must tell you, that when you state, re the Mercurian connection with language in myth, "Gibson's use of the language theme in Valeddom is surely influenced by this tradition. I can't believe it's coincidence that he writes of the ultimate language as something Mercurian" you're wrong - unless I was being unconsciously influenced - for the amazing truth (amazing when you consider how staunch a Lewis fan I am) is that when writing Valeddom, and specifically the Noleddern episode, it just never occurred to me that I was chiming in with Lewis' emphasis on the connection between Mercury and language. Why it didn't, I can't imagine - the link seems blindingly obvious now that you mention it.

Perhaps unconscious influence was at work - in which case it almost sounds as though C S Lewis in his Cosmic Trilogy was telling it like it is, and the Intelligences governing the planets are real! (I'm half joking.)

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May 18, 2016
Subconcious Creation
by: Dylan

If language were not already an intractable part of the Mercurian character, it is now, after Mr. Gibson seconded C.S. Lewis!

It seems to me that the language facet is not unlike another aspect of the Mercurian character, music. Perhaps it is better put to say that Mercury is the world of artistic creation, of the humanities.

In regards to subconscious influences in stories, I have some experience with this outside of fiction literature. I am an actor in Chicago, and I do improvisational theatre shows. Each show is usually composed of vignettes, each one different than the last - yet, in the end, we often discover that they were connected by some idea or theme. This is almost always unintentional, and is caused by one scene influencing the next, and the next, and so on.

I would propose that science fiction writers are like improvisors: building worlds together, taking little bits of what came before and reminding them, consciously or not.

[Comment from Zendexor: Absolutely spot on, and the reason, I guess, is that the subconscious mind works much faster than the conscious. Otherwise Dylan wouldn't be able to improvise fast enough, nor Wyatt Earp be able to draw fast enough... And as for literary creation: perhaps, while the conscious is necessary to break new ground, the unconscious points us to it.

The implications, for OSS tradition-building, are vast. It really makes you wonder what it is that we're playing around with.]

May 16, 2016
Tricky business, the tracking of influences
by: Zendexor

Yes, well, the question is still open, but I think I find it easier to believe in unconscious influence than in pure coincidence, in this particular case! I wonder what other readers think.

The interest of the question goes beyond the particular books we are arguing about. After all, our topic is the OSS and its evolution of its own character, its own "literary worlds" which form - to use a fluvial analogy - at the "river-mouths" where great currents of influence debouch into particular stories. Those currents might well be stronger than the conscious mind of the writer. In fact by this time they're so vast, they may be part of the mental air he/she breathes, more than a mere occasion for decision-making as regards plot.

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