The War of the Encyclopaedists: A Chapter 8 review

I’m currently reviewing chapters of War of the Encyclopaedists by Gavin Kovite and Christopher Robinson. As a Dune novel it’s pretty awful. This is pretty great reading material if you want to start writing fantasy novels. I feel like I’m learning a lot about the craft of writing just by obsessively pouring over these chapters.

Look forward to my own upcoming novel tentatively titled A Blade of Swords.

Table of Contents located here.

Chapter 8 is yet another Montauk Chapter, and another short one. Montauk’s continuing adventures in Seattle. After this chapter there’s a shift to Boston.

The chapter opens in a courthouse where Montauk & Mani are in the middle of committing fraud by fake marriage.

A couple sit next to them filling out paperwork for a marriage license, just as Montauk had done three days ago. The guy was thin, had shaggy brown hair, and wore a tweed jacket and bow tie. His arm was around the girl, who looked Chinese and was dressed like she lived in Manhattan. They were cooing and smiling over their clipboard.

So of course Montauk and Mani decide to be assholes.

“I’m glad we’re having the coq au vin,” Mani said, loud enough for them to hear.

“What?” Montauk whispered.

“It’ll go well with the black truffle ravioli,” she said, “Don’t you think?”

“Yes, quite,” Montauk said. “Though I must say, our boldest menu choice is surely the lemon-caper sorbet.”

Mani snickered but regained her composure. “I can’t wait to see the look on Clarissa Worthington’s face.”

Montauk had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing at that one…

Mani feels like an asshole which, good. You don’t really have a high horse on this one Mani, since these guys didn’t run you over with a car, and you know, aren’t committing fraud. Good thing you aren’t real.

Montauk’s all like:

He couldn’t help feeling that certain elements were absent, that a marriage wasn’t a marriage without rings, and rice, and, well, consummation.

Also your marriage is fake so… yeah, CERTAIN ELEMENTS ARE ABSENT.

I mean, c’mon, what do you want from me here?

The absences didn’t bother Mani.

Well, Mani’s not really there so I guess a fake wedding is as good as a real wedding for her.

She felt the same rush that she’d felt years ago when shoplifting a Goo Goo Dolls CD from Sam Goody.

Goo Goo Dolls? Man, in my heart of hearts I’m hoping it’s the sound track to City of Angels instead of just the Goo Goo Dolls. I can see Mani being into that masterpiece collaboration between Meg Ryan and Nic Cage.

Also… I mean, what do you want from me book? These people definitely seem like assholes right now.

They need some witnesses so Montauk literally grabs two randos in the hallway.

Stuff happens.

They come to the vows and Mani writes Montauk some totally sweet vows.

“‘I vow not to be an asshole. Or a coward. To answer all letters sent to me, to eat any an all desserts I can get, to–,'” He coughed. “‘To jerk off at least twice a day, to come home safe, to be open if I hurt, to make it my life’s mission to not fuck over anyone, anywhere, no matter how much they deserve it.'”

Look, spoilers guys, but Montauk doesn’t really hit most of these through the course of the book. I know for a fact that he definitely fucks someone over who totally doesn’t deserve it.

Montauk ruminates on the nature of fraud. Then kisses his bride.

It was a brief kiss, a guilty kiss. Not at all like the other night on the couch. It was more like a hesitant taste of milk. Milk that might have gone sour.

I just got back from a dance aerobics class so I’m more tired than usual, so maybe that’s why I don’t get this milk reference.

Days pass. Mani gets into bed with Montauk on the night before he leaves and they talk about stuff.

“I’ve been thinking about your advice. About getting out of Seattle.”

“I think I might go back to Newton.”

What’s relevant to this is that Corderoy and Montauk have now pretty much left Seattle. So naturally Mani leaves Seattle. Where does she go? Boston. What’s in Boston? Corderoy.

I’m just noticing that Mani is alternating between Encyclopaedists right now.

Mani has cello s tattoos on her back.

Montauk kind of dwells on how early mornings were his favorite time of the day as a child.

He inhaled and his thoughts were enveloped by Mani’s sent, like submerging his head in warm bathwater. Smelling her body beside him made him wonder how she tasted, which made him wonder if she waxed.

Mani’s smell again. It’s a thing.

Like… again. It’s come up again.

he’d made the conscious decision, for the first time in his life, to not sleep with a girl, his wife, for a reason other than that she was ugly.

I don’t know how to read that. Like… he’s never consciously decided to not sleep with a pretty girl before? I’m sure there’s a ton of pretty girls who consciously decided to not sleep with him. It’s a weird thing to think and it’s weird to me that this is the first time in his life he’s thought, “Nah, this girl is pretty but I don’t want to have sex with her.”

The next morning he gets up and gets ready to leave and sees that Corderoy has updated their red herring wikipedia article.

One evening in hazy futurity we’ll have a great bonfire of books, though their immolation will symbolize not the destruction of information but its immortality. Through death, we shall destroy death.

Yeah, book burnings always remind me about the immorality of information too.

The real take away from this is that I think it comes back around to Yoda’s thing, “Luminous beings we are, not this crude matter.”


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