George R. R. Martin

Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Fri Jun 28 14:07:42 EDT 2002

Kathleen asked...
> >
> > The framing device is one of the best bits of it, I think.  Because it
> looks
> > like just a device, until you find out that it's actually part of the
> whole
> > overarching story (I don't think it's a spoiler to say that; it becomes
> > apparent reasonably early).
> What's the framing device??? (Everyone seems to have read this but me).

Okay, a framing device in fiction is where the main story is set within a
"frame" of, say, someone telling the story to someone else.  Or someone
writing to someone saying "look at this neat manuscript I inherited"
(followed then by the main story as the manuscript).  It was quite popular
in the 19th century, IIRC.  The only example I can think of offhand is that
bizarre Gothic novel, "Melmoth the Wanderer" (I *think* that title is
correct!) - you can find an abridged version of it at Project Gutenberg.  It
starts off with this guy getting deathbed instructions from his uncle about
a manuscript and a painting - including, of course, Do Not Read The
Manuscript.  Naturally, he reads the manuscript, and it forms most of the
rest of the story.

(You may know all this already, but I'm covering it just in case you, or
someone else, doesn't know what a framing device is, in general!)

In "Ash", specifically, the book is presented as a new biography (based on
new translations and researches) of Ash, a medieval mercenary captain - a
new biography which is being supressed.  The framing device involves the
correspondence between the purported author of the biography and his editor,
and an archaeologist friend of his.  As for how all of that is part of the
story...well, you'll just have to read the book! :-)

> And while I've worked out frex and IMHO, what does ISTR mean?

I Seem To Recall.  Similar to IIRC (If I Recall Correctly) and AFAIK/R (As
Far As I Know/Remember).


Until the sky falls on our heads...


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