Welcome to the World of “S.”

Storify

I urge you to dig. Give in to the unknown for a while and ponder the mystery. It’s worth it. – JJ. Abrams

Welcome to Thoughts on “S.”  Y’ part o’ th’ tradition, now. Part o’ th’ tradition. Here you can read about, discuss, and find resources to help you delve into the topics, puzzles, ciphers, clues, riddles, enigmas, mysteries, love stories, and battles between good and evil found in “S.” To tailor your “S.” experience, choose from the options below.

A Spoiler-Free Beginner’s Guide to Reading “S.” (this is the only post that does not mention events in the book – a great way to get started)

An Intermediate Guide to Reading “S.” (For those who have finished reading the book but have questions and/or want to go deeper)

Walk-Throughs  (detailed, orderly analysis of chapters, characters, or themes)

Inserts (where the inserts are and what they might mean)

News

Blog Posts

 Questions? Comments? Email me at mystimus@gmail.com.

Comments
  1. Captain says:

    Nice work on organization. Thanks

  2. Marie says:

    Hi there,
    I just started “S” last week, so I am a complete beginner. I was wondering whether anyone has “translated” the pirate-like talk of Malstroem in the first two chapters (that’s how far I am by now)? English is not my first language, so I get most but not all of it (and I fear that I miss important stuff).
    Hope that someone can help:)

    • I do not know of a word-by-word analysis of Maelstrom’s pirate-speak, but if you point out something specific I’m sure I and others will venture our best translation attempt.

      For example, “coggin'” means “thinking” or “understanding”, I believe.

    • Timothy Timmy Tim Tum says:

      I think Malstroem has a Jamaican accent.
      On p32 he says:
      Int mine =Isn’t mine.
      Dunt ten’ a name = Doesn’t have a name.
      Dun once, haps. Dunt n’more = Did once, perhaps. Doesn’t anymore.
      Ridden o’mine = Getting rid of mine
      They ridden o’tharn. Names’s trouble = They are getting rid of theirs. Names are trouble.
      On p33 he says:
      Trouble = Trouble
      We’ve ‘structs to take y’. = We have instructions to take you.
      Take y’. = Take you
      No where = No where
      Int na captain = There isn’t a captain
      Int na captain. ‘S us. We viv the ship = There isn’t a captain. Just us. We and the ship.
      Do what’s needin = Do what is necessary
      On p38 he says:
      Ye’ll work t’ lapsin an’ yond. Creed on’t = You’ll work until collapsing and beyond. Count on it.
      Int no spondin’ tha = There’s no responding to that.
      On p39 he says:
      Cause cant nobod spond it = Because nobody can respond to it.
      Landways voxin tha’ Sola gotter shine wi’ ye = On land there is talk that Sola likes you.
      On p50 he says:
      Fool. Yer assin mayed a’flammus t’the waterline = Fool. Your messing may burn us to the waterline
      On page 51 he says:
      Y’aint coggin naught, are ye? = You aren’t understanding nothing, are you?
      On page 52 he says:
      Rise y’proper, sunnydags = Get up now, sunny boys!
      We’re nigh to nudgin y’ship. Ye’ll want t’ viz it, asure = We are near to nudging your ship. You will want to see it, for sure.
      On p54 he says:
      Lad oughta et the monk’. Weepin hearts don’ lass aseas = Boy should have ate the monkey. Weeping hearts don’t last on the seas.
      On p55, he says:
      Dint I jus’ ware y’ on weepin hearts? = Didn’t I just warn you about weeping hearts?
      He migh’ still ha’ som t’give = He might still have something to give.
      Y’ought be more heedin where y’put y’spires. Misprendins a finn way a’get y’proper dead = You ought to worry more where you put your nose. Being nosey is a fine way to get you killed.
      On page 200, he says:
      Vizz we hookt one ugger rough-fish? We’ve the bless o’ th’ damnt, we do. = See we hooked one ugly rough fish? We have the curse of the damned, we do.
      On p201, he says:
      Wellvenoo, sunnydags. Rise y’proper. = Well now, sunny boys. Get up (set sail?).

      Ohoy! I spotted another translation of Maelstroem here: https://whoisstraka.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/maelstrom-an-exhaustive-translation/

  3. Mary Holst says:

    I was wondering if someone could make 5 discussion questions for a group I am leading about the format, story, and the themes. Thanks!

    • Here is my attempt. Other readers, please feel free to help Mary with your own version of questions. And Mary, regardless of what questions you actually choose, I would love for you to comment here on how your group went.

      1. What story snippets can you find in Chapter 1 that parallel larger themes throughout the remainder of the book? (See https://whoisstraka.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/thoughts-on-chapter-1-what-begins-what-ends/ for possible answers)

      2. J.J. Abrams describes this book as a “love letter to the written word.” In what ways do you see this revealed within S?

      3. What do you make of S’s ability to think abstractly about his surroundings and circumstances, even in the midst of terrible situations? Specifically, what do you think of his detailed analysis of the cave paintings as he runs from Vevoda’s detectives?

      4. The margin notes between Eric and Jen often parallel the action within SOT on an emotional level. “Different stories. Same tradition.” How do you see this playing out and what importance do you think it carries?

      5. The ship that carries S is clearly a metaphor, but for what exactly? Its ability to “resurrect” and hide on the waters and still be the same ship despite every piece of wood being replaced must mean something. Use the story in the Chapter “Obsidian Island” where S. sits down and reads the book labeled “S” and sees nothing but page after page of drawings of the ship to help explain your answer.

  4. Hey! Nice to have my site visited by a fellow Straka-seeker :) I must admit, I’ve fallen out of the circle regarding the book. Is there more mystery and puzzle still going on? Seemed to have quieted down for a long time, so I stopped checking in…

    • Loved your Thanksgiving post. As far as Straka and its mysteries and puzzles, I think there is progress. Depends on how you look at it. Would love to see any thoughts you have if you have time to delve back in.

  5. storywrtr says:

    Just starting this book, finally. Hoping this will help tremendously.

  6. tony says:

    Nearly finished with my first reading of S. I’ve found myself hoping that we might be treated to other Straka books, to the point I’ve even written to Mulholland Books about it. The only thing that could make this experience more exciting is to have even more texts to analyze on multiple levels. Thanks for such an expansive website. I hope to dive into it even more upon finally completing the book.

  7. Theresa says:

    POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT.

    I am on page 53 and apparently have just discovered that FXC is a woman. I had noticed up until this point the name “Felomena” mentioned on various pages, which to me, came out of nowhere. But I turned back to the beginning of the book when FXC was explained and no where does it say F=Felomena, but Francisco or Filip (pg vii)

    Did I miss something?

  8. Theresa – we are all in the same boat (pun intended). It took me multiple readings of both text and marginalia to absorb things that seemed obvious later. I think most of us here would admit the same. Happy reading and ask as many questions as you like!

  9. Hey everyone,

    I’ve just begun the reading of S. but from what I’ve seen so far, and seems to be missed for the most part is the heavy undercurrent of references to the “Ancient Mysteries”, Alchemical Arts, and Mystery Schools.

    In the book, JJ is regularly making references using metaphor to the structures of conciousness as well as the shape and architecture of the Universe as describe in Ancient Egypt, the masonic Order, and general magic and mystery schools the world at large.

    In the first chapter alone he begins with a character which is lost in a maze town, drowned in water, meaning that he’s just submerged himself into the depths of the feminine. A further indication of this is when he blatantly states that the mans entire right side hurts. (indicating his masculine side)
    This is used because the man’s masculine side has been overtaxed so thus he is submerging himself into the waters of the feminine to uncover a more balanced way of being. (The city reflects his unbalanced way of being being off tilt)
    The relationship to the masculine and feminine sides of the body can be read on this site or just googled.
    http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2006/3938.html

    The first chapter alone has all over the place these metaphors relating to going down into the body and into the root. (or root chakra) Or in other words into the collective unconcious and the root history of our society.

    Symbols used such S. indicate Scorpion, or Scorpio, or the Snake from the Garden of Eden. Whilst the main character carries a “dried” up fruit indicating a reference to the fruit of knowledge. pg 6

    This fruit is reffered to as “ancient and petrified”.
    The word ancient is then used again where the description of the cities physics is described as ancient and flawed as on page 8 and on pg 4 as well “ancient and flawed geometries”
    These are references to the Ancient Mysteries schools body of knowledge into the Sacred Geometry and Number.

    Numbers like 3,6,9 show up many times (which are important in the mystery schools)
    The word Mobius is used on page 10 and 11 referencing the geometrical structure of the universe as it is also coupled with words surrounding it relating to sound.
    These two pages together have heavy references to torriodal mathematics and sacred geometry.
    Some info on torroidal math and the importance of 3,6, and 9 is here: http://vortexmath.webs.com/

    In this radio here mathematician Michael Sneider talks about how the geometry in our society and our understanding of number isn’t aligned with natural geometry.

    Further information on a more natural and geometrical form of mathematics is here:
    http://www.constructingtheuniverse.com
    Within this site you’ll find the ties of geometry to Ancient Mystery Schools.

    Again focus is put within the body on the desciptions of the “organ grinder” and his relationship to money and trusting the person he is working with. These are more aspects relating to the root chakra and related the Scorpio constellation.

    In the first chapter alone JJ is setting up a world where one is going down into a roots of society to discover the source of the flawed geometry. This is a major reference to “sacred geometry” and how most of our society is built off of flawed geometries (ones that are disproportional with natures natural ratios of Phi.)

    The reason why JJ Chose S to be Scorpio is because scorpio is the investigator, they are all about going deep down into the collective unconcious ( or flawed geometries of old cities) and uncovering the truth.

    Anyway those are some of the aspects I observed, I don’t have the time to write everything I saw, plus it wouldn’t be too fun it I gave all the secrets away.

    Enjoy!

  10. Scott Ivlow says:

    I just started reading S. In May. I have read any thing on just how much Ship of Theseues refferences Greek mythoology with out it’s own blog. The one of the pictures on the book cover on The Winged Shoes of Emydio Alves are White Ravens that are only referred to in Greek mythology. The Raven has it’s own Ship of Theseus going on through litary history. The Ravan also has a Shakespeare connection as it does to Doug Dorst nd the Ship of Theseaus

    • Scott Ivlow says:

      My comment posted buy accident. The Shakespare connection to the Raven because it was mentioned in 3 of his stories. Ship of Theseus has a connection to Shakespare because the whole point of the book is to try to uncover who is V.M. Straka. Nobody knows if William Shakesphare are his writing or somebody else like a Duke. Enter 20 th Century B. Traven remove the B and T you have Raven.

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