Entropy

Definition

Entropy within the book, Deus ex Machina: Logos, refers in a broad and metaphorical sense to information entropy more than entropy as defined for thermodynamics; though, frequent mention of transformations within the novel also allude to the same "metaphore".

In software technology a print transform is software that converts one file format to another format. For instance, there are software utilities that convert files formated with Adobe PostScript to an IBM Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) format. During any transformation it is possible to lose data.

minihauntedselfportrait.jpg

Data loss is easily demonstrated using two samples cropped from the picture to the right.

The first cropped sample shown (below), uses lossless compression techniques to reduce the size of the file without losing any image content.

entropydemo1.tif

This second cropped sample (below), however, demonstrates lossy compression, where clearly the image content is no longer recognizable.

entropydemo2.jpg

Context

Within the context of the novel, Deus ex Machina: Logos, entropy refers to a type of loss or degredation of information specifically in terms of communication between the author and the reader. Mythologically, for example, in the Roman myth, when Echo repeats what Narcissus says, or even when an actual echo across a canyon repeats, the repetition of sound and the actual message carried by the sound gradually degrades, and is eventually lost.

A form of wordplay occurs throughout the novel, emphasizing lossy information. Certain paragraphs and scenes of the novel are repeated, but in altered form, resulting in a form of "information loss".

Compare this paragraph, on page 52

I crawled in. A dialog between two within distantly reverberated around pillars and down the tunnel. Tread marks buffed the scaffolding down a quadrangular carpentry suggestive of a carved tree trunk. It also educed clever but absurd puns: square root, branch logic, leaves of the same. A scrap of an osier mat was brushed to a side. I concentered toward an indistinct dialog though even a sound of my clothes and breath ruffled and amplified, cupped to an ear within an encapsized space. I realized who belonged to the words. Such an odd way of thinking, inflected my thought: A person or people cannot belong to words. That one, yes, is that of Justin, but the other is that of the nameless man. From the side, an auger collected rust beside a scotia under a portico. A blind made of willow twig rolled down and shut a portico. On a natural ledge, a clay ladle, cracked bowl, and mug with black-and-white painted frets and hachures. About a half-dozen scattered corn husks lay below them. Ends of a ladder jutted horizontally on its side form an incarnate lateral T-formed aperture, a few bricks above the floor. In this passage, continuing to the next, I couldn’t explain how or why except through a process of entropy, but I thought, I’ll never be the same.

with this paragraph, on page 128

I opened a door and crawled into a darkness. Tread marks buffed the scaffolding down a quadrangular carpentry. A scrap of an osier mat was brushed to one side. On the other side of the path, an auger collected rust, a blind made of willow twig rolled down and shut a portico, and a ladder jutted horizontally form an incarnate T-shaped aperture a few bricks above the floor…

The length, content, and even the meaning of the duplicated paragraph changes over the course of the novel. This form of wordplay taking place throughout the novel, highlights the lossiness not only of historical information, such as that of The Great Depression, from one generation to the next, but also of fictional biographical information.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License