“The readers cannot go against the author.”
It was rare, coming from the man fuzzier and less graspable than the clouds, with a gentle nature like the light filtering in through the trees- a clear, definitive, declarative tone.
“Whether it be novel or manga—within the stories of the world, the production’s side holds an absolute advantage. The story rests on the author’s palm through and through. All the reader can do, if anything, is read through the tale the author presents, and hand down their verdict of interesting or drab.”
“You think so? I don’t know the specifics, but are you sure the author is free to write whatever tickles their fancy? Surely there’s the editor’s opinion, and the changing times and such.”
“You’ve got to dream bigger. You’re definitely right about that, but that’s not what I was talking about. More conceptual, more abstract… meaning what I’m doing right here is speaking arbitrarily to set a mood.”
He said with a wry smile, “Getting back on topic,” he went on.
“In the end, the readers are nothing more than a thorough passive. No matter how much they adore a story, by no means can they ever intervene in it.”
“What do you mean?”
“In short, regardless of how they detest the developments or conclusion, they are unable to rewrite the events. Once they’re done reading, they can toss the book against the wall, or write curses addressed to the author, but they are unable to add their hand to the story.”
Well that’s obvious, I accepted.
We readers can only read the story we’ve been given. Of course, there’s the take that a work exists as one with its fans, but even so, there’s surely a hopeless gap between author and reader. There exists insurmountable wall between the side that confers, and the side that receives.
And that is—in my opinion—a wall that should never be surmounted.
“To put it more simply, more easy to understand–”
“The author is God.”
I tilted my head.
“Don’t you think God would be the readers in this case? See, they often say you should treat customers like God.”
“Hahah. You have a point there.”
He laughed. Bitter and sweet, his usual smile.
“What’s up with you? You’re biting back especially hard today.”
Just as he said, today, for some reason, I was doing nothing but refuting him.
Usually, half understanding, half not, I’d somehow or another think, “If he’s saying that, it must be true,” with nothing but nods from my side. For some reason, today, I felt like refuting.
Yes, refuting… I felt like rebelling.
His mood unaffected by my advances, he quietly continued his piece.
“While the reader can be no more than a receiver of the story… there is but one means of approach at their possession impossible for the author to interfere with. That would be reading speed.”
“The reader is able to enjoy the story at whatever speed they desire. Whether they take in each passage or skim the page, that’s all up to them. Whether they skip over all the speech bubbles of a manga, or read only a novel’s dialogue, skipping over all the narrative, there is nothing an author can do.”
Meaning, he said.
“Deciding where to stick their bookmark in the story is the reader’s special right.”
“The bookmark is something the author… God can’t do anything about. The act of sticking in a bookmark is an action independent of his work.”
“An action the reader can do, and the author cannot. A means humans can accomplish yet God is unable. The means only God can never obtain… the hand invisible to god is what it is.”
“The hand invisible to god? Umm, that was Adam Smith, was it?”
“Wrong, wrong. I coined that one. Of course, I was parodying Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand of God’ from ‘The Wealth of Nations’, I’ll admit.”
He gave a merry laugh.
“That’s why I named her The Cage of Death Remnant and had it read Orino Shiori. That’s why I named her ability 《Bookmarker》.
“I wanted to make her the existence to stick a bookmark in this world.”
That was where our story began.
As if to ridicule everything that came before it as a preface, the story accelerated in its development.
Finally, it all began to move.
It wasn’t beginning to move now.
That’s why it wasn’t ‘finally’, perhaps I should say ‘at last’.
It had all begun long, long ago.
The simple fact was that I never noticed.