Some further dialogue amongst LBC members:
Sam's original post also made mention of the radio schematic diagrams - how did everybody view these? As an integral part of the book? Just something to break up sections? Did you try to determine how they related to the stories before or after them?
The radio diagrams have the appearance of connecting in some way, but I failed to get any satisfaction from them. They all relate to the concept of distance, and thus their discontinuous place in the book
is at least thematically relevant. But in the end I found them an unnecessary embellishment (I felt the same way about much of the front matter: the McSweeney's-esque table of contents, character guide,
etc.), a veering into poetry, that didn't impress as much as the prose. The radio stuff did not capture my interest here or in the title story, so I may be prejudiced.
I thought it was nice the diagrams were there, but I didn't pay much attention to them. I'd look at them now and then, but for me they were decorations. I don't mind decorations. Why does everything have to be central and relevant? I felt similarly about some of the other things, what somebody called the ephemera of the book, the things Derik found McSweeney's-esque. None of it bothered me, but I also didn't spend a lot of time on it. I felt it all suggested that this was a book that wanted to encompass a world, and I was happy to travel around through the book giving attention to the parts that most interested me. In fact, I'm always grateful for a book that leaves that option open. There's a tyranny to the standard sort of novel that wants all its words (and diagrams) to be important and necessary, and I enjoy the freedom now and then to travel through a book at my own pace, stopping at the tourist attractions that most vividly reward my time, while other people linger elsewhere.