Welcome to the World of “S.”

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


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

33 thoughts on “Welcome to the World of “S.””

  1. Nice work on organization. Thanks

    • Luca Daniele said:

      – La nave di Teseo è il nome che scelse Umberto Eco per la nuova casa editrice.
      – Umberto Eco ha scritto il Cimitero di Praga che come ben noto e’ articolato con protagonisti due personaggi conviventi in due parti della stessa abitazione che si scambiano alternandosi note e commenti su un loro diario, ma sono la stessa persona!
      – J.J. Abrams e Doug Dorst hanno realizzato S. anni dopo il romanzo di Eco, ma non ne fanno alcun accenno, facendo riferimento solo allo scrittore B.Traven come ispiratore del fittizio autore V.M.Straka
      1) Quanto ha influito “il Cimitero di Praga” sulla realizzazione di “S.”?
      2) Quando, e perché, Eco ha scelto quel nome per la casa editrice?
      In breve, è tutto casuale? Si tratta di una forzata analisi frutto della ossessione di risolvere enigmi e trovare indizi e collegamenti dovuti alla lettura di S.?

  2. 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 said:

      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/

    • It’s surprisingly consistent with Puerto rican spanish. He misuses and miscongegates words. Without knowing at leastMexican style Spanish you will discover it’s difficult to understand much of what he says.

  3. Mary Holst said:

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

  6. 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.


    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.

    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:
    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.


  10. Scott Ivlow said:

    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 said:

      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.

  11. Hi everybody,

    I’m currently reading this book for a sociology class and am on chapter 8. I’m wondering if anyone can help me with the code wheel that is in the back of the book. I’ve noticed some of the letters in the chapter 8 footnotes are offset and wondering whether those are the letters that are used in the code wheel. Thanks!

    • Interesting – would love to hear how you are using this book in a sociology class. I can tell you anything you like about the code wheel, but I hesitate to do so on this page for fear of spoiling the fun. I will say, though, that the offset letters in Chapter 8 are unrelated entirely to the code wheel. If you read the entire book, I think you will discover a bit more. And, spoiler alert, this link here (https://whoisstraka.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/the-eotvos-wheel-and-the-chapter-10-cipher/) will tell you outright how one message is obtained using the code wheel. I personally think there is more than one and those are yet to be discovered. Good luck in the class and post back any questions or comments.

  12. Wow! Thank you! I continuously wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I take a fragment of your post to my website?

  13. Of course! Just send me a link to your site as well and I will be happy to link back.

  14. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always useful to read through articles from other authors and use something from other websites.

  15. I delight in, cause I discovered exactly what I was having a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.

  16. Giacomo Cillari said:

    I have a couple of questions: first, when did Jen get graduated? As suddensly Eric starts to talk to her as she took degree… Second one, where did Jen find the orignal handwritten copy of Ship of Theseus? as even here suddenly she starts to compare “our” book with the original one, to find out paragraphs added by FXC that may contain codex or other infomation. I have to explain that I am reading the italian book, hope they didn’t miss these information in translation, and that I am still reading blue and black notes, first draft. Thanks to everyone can help me understand this not so fundamental issue.

  17. Very good post! We are linking to this particularly great
    post on our website. Keep up the great writing.

  18. Am I too late to the party? I’m just waiting for my book to get here. I’m very excited to read it

  19. Aisling Withershyn said:

    Dear Eddie: i am late to the party too. I just finished the text read thru of S only and am starting on the margin notes. I will tell you. It has been a struggle. I am still trying to just understand the story. Like what happened.. On a basic level i feel like i read a whole mystery book about a character who has amnesia and i still dont understand a single thing about who he is and whether anything anything i read was real… a dream… an illness induced coping mechanism. Good luck. ‘

    And my question to anyone here…, is there a simple chapter by chapter synopsis i can read without reference to clues or margin story, so i can refresh my memory of the main characters journey… ? i have more questions than answers …help?

  20. TheDragonOfFlame said:

    How do I make my own forum post?

    • This a blog that I manage. All posts are mine, but I have in the past posted on behalf of others. You can email me (see About page) and I’ll be happy to consider what you want posted.

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