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14 August 2010 @ 08:16 pm
The Dogs of Babel Discussion  
Hey everyone! If you've started reading the book,  regardless of what's going on in the site like I have, then I think we should have a discussion. We can continue this book club, or we can start another one, depending on what happens in the future, if it becomes and remains active.
So I have the first question:
When I first started reading I wasn't sure I could really take seriously the idea of a professor attempting to teach a dog to speak, but as I continued reading I became more and more sure that he might succeed. Has the same happened to you? And if so, why?

For me, the way it was written, with Paul so methodically and scientifically going about the task of teaching Lorelei to speak, something so ridiculous sounding for most of us, gave it a sense of truth. It did not feel forced or desperate, although obviously it is. For Paul it seemed like the most logical solution to the question of what happened to Lexy.  It really did not take a lot of thinking on his part before he came to the conclusion of what he must do. Grief leads us to crazy things.
What do you all think?
psychedeliceyes on August 19th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
I got the same vibe that you did. The idea is ludicrous but some people have a certain talent of taking the ludicrous and stretching and tweaking it until it's almost plausible. I think that it's left up to how the author handles it as well as the reader's willing suspension of disbelief. In this case, since he's taking a scientific approach to this task and backing up his ideas with evidence and testing his subject (I've only just started the book) it makes it easier for the reader to go along with the otherwise ridiculous idea. I think it also helps that an otherwise rational man is being driven to desperate measures. Or rather, it's easy for the reader to think that in such extreme circumstances anyone, no matter how grounded in reality, could go against what's logical.

Now, if actually succeeds, I think my suspension of disbelief might snap for a number of reasons. The fact that he's choosing to pursue this is far easier to sell to an audience.

(Late, I know, but I just started reading. Looking forward to more discussions!)
The Auburn Haired Magicianvalca85 on August 19th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
What I also found interesting is that although we realize the idea is insane, as I'm sure a small part of him also does, he does not come across as truly desperate. Yes, he's grieving, but he does not give the impression that he's going to blow up a post office, or anything of the sort. He seems completely sane with brief flashes of insanity, if that makes sense :)
psychedeliceyes on August 20th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Yes, I really like the fact that he doesn't just break down. At this point I sort of think he's being stitched together by this small thread of hope. Typically, people who do have some form of hope don't break down completely and I'm glad the author realized this. Can't wait to read further. :)
temporaryworldstemporaryworlds on August 20th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
I have to admit, I was kind of skeptical about Paul's dog speaking exercises, but I do like the fact that he never came across as completely desperate. Paul is a logical, methodical person. That can be seen in the way which he plans out his vacations with Lexy, instead of being able to throw caution completely to the winds. It makes sense that he would express his grief in a manner which appeared to give him some semblance of control.

Now some of the developments LATER in the book I had a harder time swallowing. Fortunately, there was enough of the book for me to enjoy that I was able to get past that.

Are we allowed to discuss spoilers here, or should we wait until the end of the month?

Oh and I wrote a review of this book yesterday. For anyone that didn't see it on bookish- http://temporaryworlds.livejournal.com/66822.html
The Auburn Haired Magicianvalca85 on August 20th, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
About the spoilers, I guess as long as we put a big warning label on the comment so that people who haven't finished it can decided whether they want to read it or not, I think we should be fine. Is there a way that the comments after the word "spoiler" can be hidden? I know that some websites let you do that, but I've never tried it here.
I am also dying to comment on the ending and some other crucial points in the story :)
temporaryworldstemporaryworlds on August 20th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Spoilers
I'm not sure how to do the hidden comments for the spoilers, but I think it can be done. I was thinking that if we give warning, discussing spoilers should be okay. Either we can write "SPOILER WARNING" with big letters and lots of stars in a comment, or separate the discussion into two posts: a spoiler free post for people still reading, and a spoiler post for people done.

Although it doesn't look like there are many people here anymore :(
The Auburn Haired Magicianvalca85 on August 20th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Spoilers
Making two different discussions is a great idea. Let's do that!
Yeah, I know people were a bit disappointed when the site became inactive after only a week, but we should try to get more people. I'm going to post a notice in some of the other communities and see if we can get new members to join in.
Lolamilkmaid on August 21st, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
I kept falling in and out with the idea. At first I thought it was ludicrous but possible. However, I would then come across something that would make me think he was grasping at straws. But then I would get caught up in his enthusiasm and start believing again. 8D But when we get to the Cerberus Society (trying not to give too much away), alarm bells rang and I thought 'This is a step which shouldn't be taken.' Grief does lead us to do crazy things. Sad as it sounds, I kept thinking about how expensive his phone bill was gonna be! LOL!! 8D I agree completely with what you say about it not feeling forced or desperate, which it never did, even though logically I thought he was driven nuts by grief.
kanzankanzan on August 22nd, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
I only just started reading because I had another book going and haven't had the chance until now. So far I am actually somewhat buying the teaching a dog to speak thing. I suppose it's only because having dogs growing up, it was really clear to me that they did have a vocabulary (though very limited), and did have a sense of deeper understanding that they are credited with. That said, I'm only on the fourth chapter, and I'm not sure the actual SPEAKING part is something I can fathom, but the idea of language and a dog understanding and developing grasp on greater language is plausible from where I'm at.