Annotation Alcatraz Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Sixteen is the chapter for random obscure references and jokes. Perhaps I did this unconsciously, rather than having more full-blown asides (though my editor did cut one about soy sauce and ninjas from the next chapter–I’m serious) because I wanted things to move quickly.
Anyway, here’s a list of the references, if you didn’t get them all. First off, we have the Heisenberg joke–he’s the guy who is famous for his teachings and discoveries about the uncertain location of electrons. The wordplay with him is so twisted that I have trouble working it out, but it still makes me chuckle. This is probably the one that remained in the book that my editor likes the least–she tried to cut it three times.
The “British people are all well-mannered dinosaurs” crack also almost got cut, but I decided to keep it. It breaks the fourth wall a bit–essentially, it’s me admitting that I made dinosaurs act like proper, stereotypical Brits just for the heck of it. It’s a self-aware parody of the stereotype, which means that sentence could undermine the cohesion of the worldbuilding. But, well, the worldbuilding is all there to let us have fun anyway.
Let’s see…others. The dinosaur talking about the “C” section of the library is a reference to Michael Crichton, who wrote Jurassic Park (and Jurassic Park Two, which starred a character who had died in the first book, but who was so popular in the movie that they resurrected him in book two by simply saying, “Oh, you were mistaken. His wounds weren’t as bad as they looked”).
Grandpa Smedry saying “I’ll go for a walk” is a reference to Monty Python, of course, and Quentin’s “Wasing not of wasing is” is a reference to Spook from my own Mistborn series.
Did I get them all?
Grandpa Smedry getting stabbed in the leg, and Quentin having been beaten, get back to some of the things I talked about before when Alcatraz was being tortured. I didn’t want to make this book too graphic, but there are some things I couldn’t avoid. It’s tough to have a lighthearted novel in which dangerous things can also happen. I hope I walked that line all right. (And I know there is a lot out there that is far more dark than this. I’m just wanting the balance to feel right for this book.)
In this case, I felt I needed to push Alcatraz to actually come up with a plan that worked. Against the Alivened, it was basically an accident that he won. His passions took over, and he did what was natural. As he himself says, “I didn’t mean to do that.”
Here, I’m forcing him to plan and think. Unfortunately, his first choice–while being funny–was rather unproductive. I did mention that the dinosaurs would come back, though.