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The second part of Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts marks the point in which Eric Sanderson meets Scout and leads up to about the point where Dr. Fidourous finally starts to tell the Second Eric Sanderson about the First Eric Sanderson. We receive a much more detailed history of the Ludovician. What is interesting is the convergence of cultures used to define the Ludovician (i.e. Native American culture and Japanese culture). Throughout the book, I notice that there is a huge emphasis on being “zen” or completely in the moment both physically and mentally. For example, Sandersen needs to be free of a cluttered mind and atmosphere in order to stay safe of the Ludovician. This includes being fully involved in the moment and not messing with “live” materials that may trigger memories. The Dictaphone walls act as a place of meditation where he can focus on whatever he is doing without interruption, creating a barrier keeping out any outside streams of information. This could be Steven Hall’s commentary on all the information that is thrown at us on a daily basis, much of which has to be sorted and much of which is unfiltered(especially on the internet) and possibly meaningless. This point is also reinforced through the fact that many of the texts mentioned including Darwin’s The Origin of Species and the information about Ryan at the beginning are considered dispensable. As Eric and Scout travel through the tunnels built by Fidorous, he remarks that “What English I saw ran from complex to incomplete to meaningless.” It is just a jumble of information seemingly put together to mean something, but at the end, misused or misunderstood.

Another interesting point in the story is the introduction of Scout. Since she was first introduced, I imagined her looking something like Clio, funnily enough. Turns out, she resembles her in other aspects also: her toe tattoo, Eric’s innate sense of trust in her, and the dialogue that is practically a duplicate of the dialogue between Clio and Eric from earlier in the story. I have a few speculations as to why, but I cannot seem to reconcile the possibilities based on the facts given in the book so far. Perhaps Eric’s efforts to bring Clio’s conceptual existence back to life actually succeeded and somehow, the virus found in Scout’s brain is a projection of Clio? Dr. Randle did mention that it had been three years since Clio had died, four years if we count the time that has passed since the Second Eric Andersen was born. It has been four years since Scout left home. These are all clues we must consider. I am excited to find out Scout’s connection to Sanderson’s past.

-Jazmynn Vazquez

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