Degrees of Separation – Chapter 2


In which Don Eyr learns a new recipe.

The spell-checker for this story appears to have been uncertain whether Don Eyr’s friend is named “Serana” or “Serena”.

I’m still not entirely sure if the city where Don Eyr has been studying is Paris, or merely Parisian. I incline toward the latter, though.

It says something about the state of matters in Lutetia that there is a ready enough supply of orphans to completely staff the City Watch.

I notice that, in three chapters so far (counting “Block Party” as a chapter), the narration has never once referred to Don Eyr using his family name; the only time his full name has been given is in the direct quotation of what he says when he introduces himself to Serana. I suspect that this is deliberate, and reflects the lack of connection between Don Eyr and his family.

When Don Eyr mentioned, so soon after the introduction of Louis Leblanc the exterminator, that one of his bakers had not shown up to work, my first thought was that Councilor Vertoi had decided to make a ‘zample of young Sylvie. Probably that is not the case, since the story would presumably have said so more clearly if it were; but then again, it doesn’t say it isn’t.

Here’s one point where reading this as a prequel is different from if I’d read it first: I know already what Don Eyr’s delm is calling him home for.

4 thoughts on “Degrees of Separation – Chapter 2

  1. Ed8r

    PA said: my first thought…but then again, it doesn’t say it isn’t

    My first thought as well. I really expected that to become more of the story. Maybe it once was, and then the authors excised it as a distraction from the plot they were following.

    Even though I read “Block Party” first, I had completely forgotten that we were already informed there “what Don Eyr’s delm is calling him home for.”

    And finally, about the city in which Don Eyr has been studying:
    I don’t know whether you had planned to include the final “chapter” Une Petite Liste de Mots Étranges? You will find there the relationship of the name Lutetia to a familiar sounding name in our Earth. And following that are pages of the authors’ comments, which are headed even more clearly.

  2. Paul A. Post author

    Like everybody my age who grew up on Asterix comics, I already knew that Lutetia was an old name for Paris, so that didn’t help much either way. I could easily see a group of French colonists deciding to name their new capital city Lutetia as a remembrance of the old country.

    The author’s note, as I read it, is deliberately ambiguous on the question: the final word on the subject is that the story is “set in Paris… or, at least, a Paris”.

  3. Ed8r

    Ah, I see your point. Yes, thank you for being literal (a point of view I *usually* find myself excelling at, to a degree that other persons are annoyed).

  4. Paul A. Post author

    Another point, which I noticed on my current re-read: In the previous chapter, when Mr dea’Bon is listing the preparations Don Eyr will need to make for studying in Lutetia, they include learning “a new language–not merely Trade or even Terran–but the local planetary language”.

    That’s evidence in favour of Lutetia not being Paris, or any other place on Earth; maybe Terran isn’t the local planetary language of Terra, but in that case I think it would have been said differently.

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