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I’ve rather let these writing diaries slip of late, due to a rather intense month (entirely unrelated to ADoF). Let’s do some catching up.
Chapter 43, ‘Interlude #7’, concludes the mini-Cal/Holt sub-plot. This kicked off at the very end of Arc 2, and rumbled through Arc 3 in the interludes. At last, here in Arc 4, that storyline meets its ending.
What began as an interdimensional fight sequence has developed into a philosophical powerplay of sorts. It’s all about Cal making a point – to himself as well as to Holt.
Interlude #7 also introduces us to a new world, which will become increasingly important as Arc 4 progresses. If the Arc 3 interludes were about Holt coming up against an immovable force – Cal – and finding himself unusually helpless, this chapter is about Holt shattering upon impact with that force. This world – as yet unnamed – is not only incompatible with Holt’s entire woldview, it actively unravels it.
Working in marketing, I often find myself in situations where you wish you could magically see how things would have played out differently had you taken an alternate route. Hence the joke (back in Arc 2, I think?) about the dimension technology initially being used by marketing firms to do A/B testing. The inability to effectively test different outcomes is what makes it hard to argue certain points of view, without it all remaining theoretical or ideological. The world in Interlude #7 bypasses that, giving Holt direct evidence of the alternative. It’s an indirect condemnation of Earth and a validation of everything Kay has been thinking.
I am aware that it’s all very lefty-utopian. But in a multiverse, at least one dimension is going to be like that, right? I’m sure there’s another dimension somewhere where the Trump family have ruled the planet for centuries.
This chapter is absolutely me indulging in my own socio-political fantasies. I’m unapologetic about that – ultimately, those are the themes of the book, although I don’t expect all readers to agree. Just as Holt is likely to maintain his beliefs and position, despite the world he now finds himself upon.