“The Three Dots”
The three dots, which appear in the book when characters hear a cry for help, seem to resemble the three dots that appear in an iMessage conversation when the other party is “typing”. Perhaps Danielewski includes these “dots” because when they normally appear, in a text conversation, they represent that someone is communicating (typing), but you are unsure of what they’re saying, just as in the book when we hear a cry but are unsure of what it is or what it means.
if they were these “iMessage dots”, what would this entail? So far, Danielewski has peppered The Familiar with distinct and extremely fresh pop culture nods, but also some references that require a little analysis- like on page 260 when Taymour says “Only if it’s graphic enough to make 50 Shades look like Bella’s wedding night”. Lines like these are less “nods” and more like “only if you watched it” inside jokes. Another example is page 342 when Talbot mentions Twin Peaks and renames the “Laura Palmer” drink “Bob” (Bob was the name of the demon that kills Laura Palmer on the TV show).
These references, these snippets of the familiar in The Familiar, force us to analyze the text using our own worldview and call attention to the differences between the world of the book and our world- Xanther’s friends use standard text abbreviations on page 197, but the name of the app is spelled out in wingding-like characters, forcing the reader to view them almost as another language which calls attention to the fact that text-speak is essentially a different language.