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The Mermaid Variations

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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 02:52 am:   

I have recently been working on a project called THE MERMAID VARIATIONS. This project consists of a book of eight linked short stories with the overall title of The Mermaid of Curitiba.

The idea is that I'm going to try to get this book published in as many different languages as possible, but not in English. In this manner, the end result will be many books that are all variations of a theme, but the theme itself will not be visible. This isn't quite the same as a set of variations without a theme but it has a similar 'Calvino-esque' quality about it...

However, this doesn't mean that individual untranslated stories in the series can't be published in magazines or anthologies or on websites. Just so long as they don't form a book in English, the project will preserve its integrity!

I am currently seeking publishers from around the world willing to consider this book for translation and publication. For instance, a Portuguese publisher has expressed interest in seeing the completed manuscript (if published in Portuguese the book will be issued as A Sereia de Curitiba), and I've just heard from a publisher in Greece also interested in seeing it.
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Your mermaid
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 07:30 am:   

My dear traveller!
I can´t hardly believe finally I am close to see this book!
It´s amazing this idea you had of pushing in different languages.
I adimire you so much... you know that!
I´ll writte more to you as soon as I get back home. (now I am at the University)
Love always
Carol
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 02:31 am:   

Thanks minha bela sereia! Without you, of course, the book couldn't exist. And I think it's one of the most inventive things I've ever done. I'm really pleased with it!
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2005 - 02:48 am:   

Extract from 'The Mermaid of Curitiba':


"We remained at that café table and invented an improved version of the game 'Rock, Paper, Scissors.' This famous game, as I am sure you are aware, is played with no more equipment than empty hands. On the count of three, the two players each make a symbol with one hand, a clenched fist represents a Rock, two extended fingers are Scissors and a flat palm is a piece of Paper.
A Rock blunts the Scissors, the Scissors cuts the Paper and the Paper smothers the Rock.
We added a pair of new symbols: Dynamite and Raincloud.
This made the game more complex:

game

As can be seen, the Rock blunts the Scissors but it also smashes the Raincloud, the Scissors cuts Paper but it also severs the fuse of the stick of Dynamite, the Dynamite blows the Rock to pieces but it also disperses the Raincloud with shockwaves, the Raincloud rusts the Scissors but it also makes the Paper soggy, and the Paper still smothers the Rock but now it also becomes a letter of complaint to the authorities about the owner of the Dynamite, who is subsequently arrested..."
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Rhys
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2005 - 03:38 am:   

Lovecraft once described himself as a "veritable bike-centaur". Here are two possible bike-centaurs:

bicycle-centaurs

These also feature in The Mermaid of Curitiba...
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Tamar
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2005 - 06:08 am:   

These your drawings, Rhys? A man of many talents...

I can see all sorts of arguments ensuing if I played your version of the scissors-paper-stone game. For example, I would have to insist that the raincloud extinguishes the fuse on the dynamite. And rocks do not smash rainclouds. I mean, I've never tried it, but if they did it would be raining rocks half the time in Yorkshire!
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 02:08 am:   

Hi Tamar.

Water doesn't extinguish dynamite fuses: the fuse contains its own oxygen, usually in the form of potassium nitrate. Dynamite can be used under the sea, if necessary.

As for the rock smashing the raincloud, the answer is that the rock is coated with silver iodide, which stimulates increased precipitation and causes the cloud to rain itself out (the basis of 'cloud seeding').

Nice try, though...
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Tamar
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 04:28 am:   

Oh boy. Beaten hands down. I'm no scientist...:-)
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Luís
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 01:39 am:   

How does paper beat dynamite, then?
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Luís
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 01:41 am:   

Stupid question, I didn't notice the caption under the image. :-) The pen (and the paper) are truly mightier than the sword (and the dynamite).
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Mr Frictionless
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 02:54 am:   

Dona mi mia dynamite, mi bezoni al sarki la gxardeno.

Mi am ne tre nona cxe Esperanto, sed kiu estas?
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 03:01 am:   

Ah, but of course Mr Frictionless had this idea before I did.

Credit where credit is due -- also pumpkins, celery, jaspars, guitar strings, cunningly woven baskets, crystal lattices, sandals and other forms of frictionless-friendly booty! (Including booties!)
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steve r
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 11:50 am:   

No Madeira cake? Or wine?
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 02:51 am:   

Very well, Steve!

You shall have both Madeira cake and Madeira wine!

cakewine
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steve r
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 09:25 am:   

Damn, that cake was hard - I see I left six teeth in it. However, the Brobdingnagian lass who left her lipstick on the othe side of the glass as we drank together... she was something! Thank you.
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AnnaT
Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2005 - 04:09 pm:   

Delightfully intriguing, and the illustrations are wonderful, Rhys. Love your bike centaurs!
Here's another version of 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'
http://www.rockpapersaddam.com/flash/

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