What is a Narcon?


On page 563 there is a line. On the next page are these words “A good enough place to pause.”  Then the page numbers and the time stamps stop and we get to meet the narrator. He(I assume the narrator is a he and I will continue to refer to him that way to reduce confusion) is an AI called TF-Narcon9 and he has a sense of humor. He also seems to have emotions, though he fervently denies any individuality whatsoever. What completely rocked my world though was the subsets that include almost every major character. Are they Narcons or are they just being studied? If they are being studied, why? What is a Narcon? Who invented them? These are questions that need answers! What do y’all think?


2 responses to “What is a Narcon?”

  1. scmatth says :

    I’m not necessarily sure what the Narcons are either, but after reading, I perceived them as the book revealing its’ own dynamics. The Narcons seem to be the coding within the book that allows the characters to say and do what they are supposed to, similar to what the coding of the characters in a video game does, but it seems aware that that is its’ purpose, yet unaware as to why. Hopefully the last part of the book will give us more insight to this interesting aspect of the novel.

  2. cwells19 says :

    I, too, was confused as to what Narcons are, but from the text understand that they are a diverse group and can take on various forms such as animals or abstract shapes. I also believe one type is attached to individual people and record their physiological and psychological behaviors. Not only do these Narcns record their behavior, they are intimately connected to this individual; they see, feel, and understand the world based on how the person does. For example, Xanther’s Narcon states that it felt “in a breathless sort of frantic way, like how Xanther felt this morning when they were leaving Echo Park” (page 566).
    I was surprised by how the Narcons in some ways resemble humans. They have personalities, emotions as well as finite capabilities and lifespans. Also, the same way that humans possess a subconscious which can only be partially understood (such as through dreams or unconscious actions), Narcons have Affect-Intersectional Motivations of with they are either not or are only partially aware of. Furthermore, they have the ability to question their existence which is evident when a Narcon says “Wonder is not beyond me nor is enough self-examination to recognize how all these permissions and prohibitions hat I must adhere to often smack a little of servitude or…” (page 569). This sentence mimics the way that people analyze why they do the things they do but can never fully answer these questions.
    I was also wondering if in some way the Narcons are connected with the orbs. This would explain how the orb knows everything about everyone – because each individual Narcon is transmitted its information to the orb. Furthermore, we are reading the information that has been received by the orb. Therefore, the orb would act as a sort of storage center which receives all of the information. This would explain how the Narcon which has interrupted Anwar’s story says that neither TF-Narcon9 X nor TF-Narcon9 know what happened to Mrs. Goolsend but then that information is given to us from another Narcon. However, they glitch when presented with information that is not familiar to them.
    I am still confused as to how long they have existed since the Narcon refers to “the old Narcons.” Also, why they are recording this information since they do not “have any personal agendas or desires”? (page 571).

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