Skip navigation

Category Archives: E. Multiple

Calvino states that Multiplicity is the quality of “the novel as an encyclopedia, method of knowledge, and a method of connections.” I interpret this to mean that the novel functions as an encyclopedia of allusions to our world. While this is an easy case to make with literary fiction that takes place in the present-day world we are all familiar with, it’s not always as easy with a genre like science fiction.

However, I think Card goes one step further. Instead of making allusions to our world, he creates allusions to his. This is something that George Lucas also did. It’s the act of making passing references to proper nouns that are never fully explained in the work and yet don’t actually exist in our world. Here is one passage on page 244: “They took a helicopter to the I.F. passage at Stumpy Point. It was officially named for a dead Hegemon, but everybody called it Stumpy Point…” The premise of fictional allusion allows the author to submerge the reader in his world, as opposed to the world the reader is used to–I believe this is an alternate form of multiplicity.

The question then becomes, how are we going to turn allusion into a design emblem? I think the best number to apply to multiplicity would be the number eight. Eight represents infinity, and with multiplicity, often there is an infinite number of references and allusions to things, as each can reference a thousand other things. Multiplicity is exponential. Also, Hindu gods have eight arms, since they can do an infinite number of things at once as they influence the world.

The emblem should probably symbolize the stretching ability of allusions and references. Macnab states that spiders are nature’s designers, and while the emblem doesn’t necessarily need a spider or a web, just the concept of a web will suffice. It could be analogous to something that works like a web does, linking many things from one original source.

kevinbaconsixdegrees

I chose this image because it is a logo for a charity organization called Six Degrees. The story behind this came from a university study that found that any two people were separated by no more than six people, hence six degrees of separation. This theory turned into a cult game where someone would name an actor, and the other person would have to link that actor through the actors of related movies until they reached Kevin Bacon. The logo on his shirt is a collage of films that all trace back to him, and the charity is designed to utilize social links in the same fashion to raise money.

While the number six clearly clashes with the number eight, eight is more significant as an abstract concept in the larger picture as the symbol for infinity. Since the infinity symbol loops back on itself, the Kevin Bacon analogy can as well, as the link can go through other actors and eventually trace back to him in a different film. This doesn’t necessarily make him the center of the universe, but it is an example of how social links, in the same way as allusions, can traverse so many links until they arrive at where they departed. Macnab would probably argue the infinite linking of allusions is demonstrated by the number 8.

earth

As I alluded to earlier, Multiplicity can be represented by the symbolic linking of objects, events, or people across the entire planet in a near-infinite chain. As with the Kevin Bacon example, any one person can be linked back to a thousand others and sometimes back to himself. In this emblem, I have taken the planet Earth and placed a spide web over it, symbolizing the web-like quality of allusion.

Specifically, I chose Earth as a link to Ender’s Game in that children were sampled from all over the world to compete in Battle School. Ender looking down at Earth from the space station could imagine something like this, where he came from and where his friends came from. Of course, this web is only one. Every single web would likely cover the entire planet many times over with the sheer size of the cumulative network.

Continue to the final brand emblem here.