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  1. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Blinding the reader with (none vital) science mumbo jumbo

    Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by OurJud, Sep 27, 2017.

    I'm hoping to recreate something similar to what you see here in this clip from A Scanner Darkly.

    In this scene Barris is unloading scientific 'facts' about a drug on the heavily addicted Freck. Most of what's contained here is impossible to hear, let alone understand, and it feels like a device I've seen used often in film (not sure if the device has a name). It says to the reader, here's someone who will blind you with facts and information, but don't worry because it's not essential you understand any of it. It only matters you know he knows his stuff.

    Bare in mind the scene in the diner goes on for much longer in the film. It's about two minutes of him talking like this.

    But in film this is easier to get across. The viewer has no choice but to take it as it is. They don't have the option to slow things down and digest it.

    I could do this in writing, to an extent, by showing the confusion of the main character who's being given all this information, and by saying things such as, He talked so fast Henrick missed half the words.

    But is there a risk the reader will naturally want to digest the information and get caught up trying to understand what's being said?

    And is this, in fact, a common technique in writing?

     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  2. making tracks

    making tracks Active Member

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    I don't remember seeing this used in books personally, and I am one of those people who won't move on from a paragraph if I feel like I haven't really got it. That said, if it's made clear that you're not really supposed to understand (and it sounds like you've figured out how to do that) I think I'd be fine with it, as long as it doesn't drag on too long.
     
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  3. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Who is the POV character? If it’s the one who’s talking, then you should provide the detail of what he is saying so that the reader will understand what he knows. If the POV character is the one who’s listening to it, and if your intention is for him not to take it in or understand it, then it would be fine to gloss over it. If the POV character isn’t supposed to understand it, then neither should the reader.
     
  4. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks, chaps. I've long since written this scene but don't think I pulled it off quite as intended. No matter, the character talking goes way beyond what your average Joe is going to know about the subject, so it serves its purpose (which was to show the scientist type knows his stuff).

    @mashers, the POV is the character listening.
     

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