Within the book “S,” we have the book Ship of Theseus. Within Ship of Theseus, we have references two at least two other tantalizing book titles: The Archer’s Tales by Arquimedes de Sobreiro and The Tortugan Journals of Juan Blas Covarrubias.
In a previous post, I suggested that the Interlude [Tocatta and Fugue in Free Time] (pages 299-329) may point to The Art of the Fugue by J.S. Bach. This famous work of Bach is full of mystery, puzzles, and self-reference. In the comments section, JillAggie pointed out how this reminded her of the books Gödel, Escher, Bach and The Glass Bead Game. Then, Captain pointed out that Gödel, Escher, Bach actually references The Art of the Fugue in a dialogue that takes place between the tortoise and Achilles.
Those dialogues were borrowed from Zeno of Elea (490-430BC), a Greek philosopher that Aristotle credits with inventing the dialectic.
Zeno is well-known for describing examples of paradox. Two of them are highlighted here…
Achilles and the Tortoise (The Tortugan Journals?)
In this paradox, Zeno proves mathematically that Achilles cannot outrun the tortoise if the tortoise gets a head start.
The Arrow Paradox (The Archer’s Tales?)
In this paradox, Zeno proves mathematically that a flying arrow is actually motionless, and any perceived motion is only in the mind. Other names for The Archer’s Tales in “S.” include…
Archerin Tarinat by Jänkä Sääksi (p308)
Ang Mamamana Kuwento by Liwliwa Siloy (p329)
Is it possible that these two paradoxes, one involving a tortoise and one involving the flying arrow of an archer, are the sources of The Tortugan Journals and The Archer’s Tales?
If they are, and I admit this is an early and underdeveloped theory, here is why. Both of these paradoxes show how our limited logic and philosophy indicates that something is impossible while reality may be entirely different.
For example, in “S.”, we see that S. is driven by basic logic that the only way to overcome the evil of Vévoda is with destructive elimination. What other course of action could there possibly be? In effect, S. is like Achilles and Vévoda like the tortoise. S. is in a race he can never win if he sticks to the confines of this logic. Vévoda and his agents are always one step ahead. However, in the climax, S. realizes that the only way to win is to stop playing by “the rules.” Fighting evil with evil is actually what keeps him from winning.
Likewise, S. remains unable to move beyond this pattern of choice as long as he accepts the prevailing logic – he is the motionless arrow. But when he breaks free of these constraints and chooses to live outside of them, he is finally able to move. Fighting evil with evil actually prevents S. from ever moving beyond and overcoming evil. Only when he stops playing the game does he actually succeed. He must step outside the rules of the system in order to achieve “the impossible.” This is the paradox.
Obviously, if these are the sources for The Tortugan Journals and The Archer’s Tales, much more mystery remains. This is simply an early exploration of the possibilities. I encourage you to dismiss or enhance this theory based on what you have found.