Pre-narrative Briefings formed part of the linking material of The Book of the Enemy. Each was a briefing in the form of a quote of varying length from a person or document, chosen to accompany the following story.
Of the nineteen parts, two were written by Michael Simpson and Lesley Brakken, and the remaining seventeen were written by the anthology editor Simon Bucher-Jones and attributed to fictional individuals. Biographies for these individuals appeared interspersed among the real author biographies at the end of the book; several of them were referenced within the corresponding briefings.
Summary of Briefings[edit | edit source]
Content of Briefings[edit | edit source]
Initial Briefing[edit | edit source]
Fifth Wave agents were exposed "to aspects of The Enemy's anderenseelenallein" (uniqueness and singularity) and the metabriefing forms a narrative out of these experiences. The agents are recovering from contact with The Enemy, so are stored orthogonally in time and relive the experiences they had prior, sharing memories with other agents in the same state.
Briefing A[edit | edit source]
Irma Ebbinghaus states that The Enemy is not a world, or a species, nor are people consistently of The Enemy. Rather, you must ask who benefits, those who create or those who consume, and the most sinister belief is that things not only could have been different, but might still be different. Of course, this is only the representatives of The Enemy. Behind that is, instead, a different kind of entity, a different experience of what it is to be.
Briefing B[edit | edit source]
The Oracle of Shakespeare talks about how art can show things that cannot be stated through words, how Gods and metaphors help us think about the world in different ways. It suggests that in the future, if the capacity for the appreciation of art is removed from the Great Houses the accommodation foreshadowed by the Utterlost Accords may be reached.
Briefing C[edit | edit source]
Michael Simpson comes out and compares the Great Houses to the Whig party, or, specifically, to having a specifically Whig view of history. Faction Paradox challenges this, disrupts the metanarrative, but at the same time depends on them so as to subvert them. The Enemy is the cold light of day of reality, the fact that the Great Houses aren't the center of the universe. The Great Houses being what they are, only have the way of thinking that this is an attack and that it's intelligent, and treat it as an enemy.
Briefing D & E[edit | edit source]
Irma Ebbinghaus and Entarodora agree that listening to records obtained from Faction Paradox in understand the enemy is important, yet disagree on how much emphasis to place on them, with Irma seeing them as suspect, and Entarodora viewing them as valuable pieces of insight from a viewpoint outside your own.
Briefing F[edit | edit source]
Robert Scarratt observes that comedy, not a massively important part of the Houses' culture, still was important to that of the humanic cultures, and so would pop up in briefings from time to time.
Briefing G[edit | edit source]
An excerpt from the Writer's Yearbook, 2019 worries about what it will look like when neural nets begin to actually write better than humans, and if humans can actually understand what they will create. It also asks what sort of monsters these neural nets will create to rival dragons and Nosferatu.
Briefing H[edit | edit source]
Scarratt states that as members of the Great Houses have always upheld themselves to be beyond the ravages of time, the type of encounter with the Enemy most disturbing to them is what humans term "body horror".
Briefing I[edit | edit source]
Entarodora says that instead of looking at the differences in the briefings, you need to look for what the briefings are not saying, cannot say. If this is what can be expressed, what is the inexpressible actually like?
Briefing J[edit | edit source]
A poem is replicated in full.
Briefing K[edit | edit source]
Xenaria Who Survived states that you can fight what you can understand, but not what is ineffable, and so they speak of it in metaphor in fear that it might be unable to be understood.
Briefing L[edit | edit source]
Marko Marz, from his book Retroeconomics and Timeschism for Dummies, discusses the collateral impact of the War from an economic perspective, and how the New Spiral Order suggest that every sapient has the ability to travel in time or none do.
Briefing M[edit | edit source]
Malachi Yarrow, in The Missing Hour Occupancy – Hauntings of the Channel Islands recounts that on the isle of Jersey there is a villa with a sculpture of a peacock. A missing hour exists from the change in timezone as the island changed hands between the British and German, and the despairing spirit of Nazi soldiers waiting silently in the labyrinths below is still felt by the island to this day.
Briefing N & O[edit | edit source]
Aphorisms of the Enemy: The Book of Lies has a series of quotes taken from it, while the Infancy Gospel of Grandfather Paradox has a section wherein Grandfather Paradox talks about how it would be more fun if events weren't linear, but out of order, or all at once, and the lesser species aren't so lesser after all.
Briefing P[edit | edit source]
A Psychiatrist recounts that a patient is suffering from paranoid delusion, that they think they're in a hospital suffering from PTSD after taking part in a 'War'. Various accounts are given of multiple things they've done in said War.
Briefing Q[edit | edit source]
Another poem is replicated in full.
Briefing R[edit | edit source]
Professor Gen Volst of the BlackSky institute informs his colleagues that their institute is broke, and proposes a new experiment, entangling particles not only in space but in time. Furthermore, he suggests, that they use this to entangle details of lottery numbers backwards in time in order to buy tickets.
Briefing S[edit | edit source]
Post-Narrative Briefing[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Scarratt rejects the term "lesser species" as pejorative.
- The Utterlost Accords are mentioned.
- The Great Captains were House Military heroes in the War in Heaven.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Pre-narrative Briefing Q appears between R and S. This is fixed in the ebook version.
- The pre-narrative briefings were followed by one "Post-Narrative Briefing", the final part of Subjective Interlock.
- In November 2017, Simon Bucher-Jones posted on his blog a cut excerpt from The Book of the Enemy. In it, the series of briefings is said to address "the essential problem of ENEMY IDENTIFICTION".
- What Gen Volst is suggesting in our world is physically impossible for a myriad of reasons, not least of which that he suggests entanglement can transfer information faster than light, which is a violation of the no-communication theorem, a mathematical impossibility.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- Irma Ebbinghouse notes that agents of the Enemy are referred to as "Reps". (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5)
- Robert Scarratt is "now definitely" dead. (PROSE: The Brakespeare Voyage)
- Powers that are not the Enemy, but have tried to take advantage of the Great Houses' paranoia, include the Mal'akh "hoping for a little payback"; (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, The Book of the War, et al) "the end-point summoned into the City of the Saved"; (PROSE: A Hundred Words from a Civil War, God Encompasses) defectors from the Sixth Wave; (PROSE: The Book of the War) a progressive timeship; (PROSE: Toy Story, AUDIO: The Shadow Play, et al.) and xenophobic mutants in personal war machines. (TV: The Daleks, et al.)
- The ideology of the Great Houses is compared to the Whig political party. The man with the rosette, one of the four surviving elementals, specifically wore the colours of the Whig party when the War was over. (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, The Gallifrey Chronicles)
- Xenaria is considered a war hero and has been given the honorary title of "Xenaria Who Survived." (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5)