An explosive metaphor

So I’m reading this story at Lightspeed, and the following sentence stabs me in the eyeball:

Now Lvov could see the Interface itself, the terminus of the wormhole: The Interface was a blue-white tetrahedron, an angular cage that exploded at her from infinity.

The bolding is mine, and I use it to highlight a phrase that bothered me to no end when I read it. (You can tell that I was bothered because I stopped reading to write this blog post.) My problem is what the hell does that mean? It’s an evocative turn of phrase, all right, but it doesn’t do one thing to actually help me see, hear, or feel whatever it is our poor protagonist Lvov is seeing.

Writers: don’t do this. Your metaphors can be awesome and all, but they had better mean something.

1 Comment

  1. It does seem like “from infinity” is too Buzz Lightyear for its own good. When Buzz says “to infinity and beyond” we know it’s impossible for a toy to come from or go to infinity. It’s part of the charm of Buzz’s initial and complete self-delusion. 🙂 Your comment also got me thinking about how earlier authors have employed concepts like “immensity” or “eternity”.

    John Donne wrote “immensity cloistered in they dear womb” and it rocks because Donne was an amazing poet and because he plays off the irony and mystery of the Incarnation. God the Son became a little baby. Ecclesiastes can say that God has placed eternity in the heart of man yet man can’t know the future as a way of expressing our paradoxical knowledge and ignorance. Neither of these proposes the unlimited attribute as a destination but a quality that can be paradoxically realized or touched by the finite through the mystery of how God has worked within the universe. “from infinity” is less effective because out of context (I must grant that) “infinity” has no more unique element to it than saying something came from Waco, TX.

    The other weird part is why there’s no immediate explanation as to why the thing explodes at “her” and just her. Does it explode at everyone else, too?

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