Late to the party

I’ve been reading “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” recently — after pretty much everyone I know recommended it to me. It’s not a bad book, but there’s something that’s been bugging me about it, and I finally figured out what it it: the writing is based on expository dialogue. It’s a little bit like the dubbed dialogue in anime: “Well, as you know, Colonel, the project started here after the war. The objective was to make sure that superweapon development remained under the control of the central government, and so the brightest surviving scientists were recruited to participate. But the project grew out of control, and the government began to worry that the scientists might not have had the national interest in mind. So they sent in…”

(Or, perhaps: “It can also be argued that DNA is nothing more than a program designed to preserve itself. Life has become more complex in the overwhelming sea of information. And life, when organized into species, relies upon genes to be its memory system. So man is an individual only because of his own undefinable memory. But memory cannot be defined, yet it defines mankind. The advent of computers and the subsequent accumulation of incalculable data has given rise to a new system of memory and thought, parallel to your own. Humanity has underestimated the consequences of computerization,” to use a non-made-up example.)

You know how this works. It’s not bad, just… different… to see characters speaking in what amount to relatively full, self-referential paragraphs. And, as I usually do when I encounter this kind of thing, I wonder whether this was a function of the original writing, or whether it was a function of the translation.