Exploring Local
Mike Dobson of TeleMapics on Local Search and All Things Geospatial

And Now – Some Holiday Fun

September 6th, 2009 by MDob

I decided to publish this short post on a holiday weekend here in the U.S. It is completely off-topic, which is why I published it on a weekend. If your boss saw you reading this under the guise of research on mapping, navigation, ADAS or Local Search, he or she might think you have lost contact with the real world. Perhaps you can sneak this one in at home?

When I have time to read for pleasure, I read “spy thrillers” or “fantasy”. For the last several weeks, whenever I discover a spare moment that is long enough for a few pages of reading, I have been working my way through an almost incomprehensible fantasy-book by the gifted writer Steven Erikson. The book is titled Toll the Hounds and is Book 8 of the – Malazan Book of the Fallen (in fair disclosure, I have not read the other seven books in the series, which probably is the reason I can make little sense of the plot).

In any event, there are two quotes from to book that I would like to share with you. The first, which I ran across last night, relates to my last blog on trip planning, specifically my ending comment on cartographers. The second, well, it is just an interesting life view that sparked my imagination. So here goes:

In this scene (page 700) the two protagonists are questioning a deceased, skeletal figure who is from the realm of the dead. The skel was directed by his god to tag along with the protagonists until some important even happens. We listen to the ongoing questioning of the dead man:

“What was your name when you were alive, sir?”

“My name? I don’t recall. Being alive, I mean. But I must have been, once. My name is Cartographer.”

“That sounds more like a profession”

The corpse scratched his forehead, flakes of skin fluttering down. “It does. An extraordinary coincidence. What were my parents thinking?”

“Perhaps you are but confused. Perhaps you were a cartographer, trained in the making of maps and such.”

“Then it was wise that they named me so, wasn’t it? Clever parents.”

The story reminded me of the old joke about the cartographer and the thermos, but that is another tale.

Now back to the Toll of Hounds:

In this scene (page 86) two other characters are musing about why they do what they do and why they are following a particular path.

“Where would we go, then, Skintick? We don’t even know where we are. What realm is this? What realm lies beyond this forest? Cousin, we have nowhere else to go.”

“Nowhere and anywhere. In the circumstance, Nimander, the former leads to the latter, like reaching a door everyone believes barred, locked tight, and lo, it opens wide at the touch. Nowhere and anywhere are states of mind. See this forest around us? Is it a barrier or ten thousand paths leading into mystery and wonder? Whichever you decide, the forest itself remains unchanged. It does not transform to suit your decision.”

And so it goes.

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