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Author Topic: Finnegans Wake: Super Glitch, The Book  (Read 137 times)

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Finnegans Wake: Super Glitch, The Book
« on: June 09, 2018, 12:12:59 am »
My interest in video game glitches, particularly Pokémon Red and Blue's huge mass of exploitable (intentionally or not) code wrapped in a package filled with childhood memories, always came down to an enjoyment in watching the game go outside its bounds, yet remaining within a different set of bounds, such that the result was still something I could perceive visually and aurally, even if it didn't "make sense". Somehow I didn't make the connection right away, but it's the same concept that's fueled an obsession of mine over the past year, the book Finnegans Wake.

Open it up, and you'll quickly see what I mean. Right off the bat, it bombards you with a cascade of English--or, are they really English? Close enough, I guess--words and phrases, all of which seem completely disjointed when you look at how they're outputted onto the screen page, yet all stem from some central source and can be explained. In addition to every individual part coming from a particular block of code train of thought, all 628 pages encompass a single program cohesive whole. While it may seem needlessly riddled with quirks at first glance, every word is a direct result of the 6 17 years of tireless work put into creating it. (Others have done a better job of showing this than I ever will. I'm more keen on just admiring it.)

The similarity of reading it to watching memory locations be overwritten as the game continues to run is too great for me to not post about here. Take, for instance, this segment. It appears very early on and doesn't make any more immediate sense than what surrounds it, and yet tends to be the first one to grab many readers' attention simply due to how it looks. (Remind anyone of the ZZAZZ glitch? TMTRAINER effect? JACRED?)

Hohohoho, Mister Finn, you're going to be Mister Finnagain! Comeday morm and, O, you're vine! Sendday's eve and, ah, you're vinegar! Hahahaha, Mister Funn, you're going to be fined again!

Seems pretty nonsensical, right? But if it's being exclaimed with such passion, it's got to mean something! As it turns out, just as ZZAZZ comes down to the number 0x99 and a buffer overflow, this segment has a "behind the scenes" explanation too. Arguably it's most effectively summed up here as "a statement of the resurrection theme involving Finn MacCool and his comic shadow, Tim Finnegan". What do the mythical hero and the subject of a comedic folk song have in common? Well, the myths about "Mister Finn" say he'll eventually rise again. Finn will rise and, by doing so, he will be Finn...again! What's that? He'll be Finnegan? What a coincidence: Tim Finnegan was also thought to be dead, but arose from his coffin when his friends poured whisky on top of it. Too out there? The Wake begs to differ. How peculiar, too, that the passage starts with five Omegas and ends with five Alphas.

What then of the book's central character, RED HCE? Oh, right, that abbreviation stands for...uhh...Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. You see, Humphrey is a reference to Humpty Dumpty, and an earwig (or perce-oreille in French, lending him the alias "Persse O'Reilly") is a type of insect, and this character committed--oh, actually, it stands for Howth Castle and Environs, meaning Dublin. A person must be quite large to be an entire city, which finally leads me to my point, that the acronym stands for Here Comes Everybody. Being Dublin itself, he Haveth Childers Everywhere, which gives us, at last, what the trigram HCE is short for, that being Highly Continental Evenements--no, wait, it was that other one I said. Yep, that one. Oh, and all the others too, but this one in particular. Which one am I referring to? Oh, obviously, it's Huge Chain Envelope. What's that, you're saying I didn't mention that one? Nonsense, I can see right up there that I remembered to include His Eagle and Child!

You get the idea. Bladyughfoulmoecklenburgwhurawhorascortastrumpapornanennykocksapastippatappatupperstrippuckputtanach, am I right?

Welcome back. You seem more dudeish now, so that's good!