Q-weapon and Photography

This is a work in progress from WikiAdmin 15:44, 27 February 2007 (PST).

Contre-jour emphasizes the outline of the man and the tunnel entrance. The ground reflections show the position of the man.
There's a persistent theme of photography in Against the Day — and the title itself is the English translation of the French term contre-jour ("against the day" or "against the daylight"). "Contre-jour" is also a photographic effect that refers to photographs where the camera is pointed directly toward the source of light, creating backlighting of the subject. This effect usually hides details, causes a stronger contrast between light and dark, creates silhouettes and emphasizes lines and shapes.

The "Q-weapon" (Q = Quaternion) is, it appears, a camera of some sort, that uses an eyeball-size icosahedron (see at right). And there actually are Quarternion cameras:
To make a camera you typically use three vectors: Position, View, and Up (or you may call them what you like). For a first person camera - which we will be using - we're only going to consider rotating the View vector. With quaternions we can rotate a vector around an arbitrary axis (same as with axis-angles) very easily. [1]

Photographic references in Against the Day...

p. 22

"As if the half-light ruling this perhaps even unmapped periphery were not a simple scarcity of streetlamps but deliberately provided in the interests of mercy, as a necessary veiling for the faces here, which held an urgency somehow too intense for the full light of day and those innocent American visitors with their Kodaks and parasols who might somehow happen across this place"

p. 72

As years went along, the film got faster, the exposure times shorter, the cameras lighter. Premo came out with a celluloid film pack allowing you to shoot twelve at a time, which sure beat glass plates, and Kodak started selling its “Brownie,” a little box camera that weighed practically nothing. Merle could bring it anywhere as long as he held everything steady in the frame, and by then—the old glass plate folding models having weighed in at three pounds plus plates—he had learned to breathe, calm as a sharpshooter, and the images showed it, steady, deep, sometimes, Dally and Merle agreed, more real, though they never got into “real” that far.

p. 80

Lately Merle had been visited by a strange feeling that "photography" and "alchemy" were just two ways of getting at the same thing — redeeming light from the inertia of precious metals. And maybe his and Dally's long road out here was not the result of any idle drift but more of a secret imperative, like the force of gravity, from all the silver he'd been developing out into the pictures he'd been taking over these years--as if silver were alive, with a soul and a voice, and he'd been working for it as much as it for him.

p. 114

Through a highly secret technical process, developed in Japan at around the same time Dr. Mikimoto was producing his first cultured pearls, portions of the original aragonite — which made up the nacreous layers of the pearl — had, through “induced paramorphism,” as it was known to the artful sons of Nippon, been selectively changed here and there to a different form of calcium carbonate — namely, to microscopic crystals of the doubly-refracting calcite known as Iceland spar.

p. 292

"Each carried a pocket Kodak with its shutter ingeniously connected to a small magnesium flashlight, so as to synchronize the two."

p. 383

"Federales've got photos, I've seen 'm." "Nobody ever looks like their 'mug,'

p. 417

I see them pointing something back at me — not exactly a weapon — an enigmatic object.

p. 454

It never occurred to him to question how this preoccupation had come about, whether by way of photography and its convergence of silver, time, and light or just with Dally out of the house finding Time so heavy on his hands that he was obliged to bring it a little closer to his face, squint at it from different angles, maybe try to see if it could be taken apart to figure how it might actually work. From here on, the alchemy, the tinkering, the photography would be relegated to day jobs of one kind or another. The nights, the flights and journeys proper to night, would be dedicated to the Mysteries of Time

p. 553

For the sunlight had to it the same interior darkness as the watery dusk last night — it was like passing through an all-surrounding photographic negative...

p. 557
"as if this mysterious Q-weapon were a common firearm and he hoping the seller would allow him a few courtesy shots" [Emphasis added]

p. 558

"A weapon based on Time [...] With a Time-weapon you could become the most feared person in history." (Obviously, a camera is a time-based weapon because it stops Time...)

p. 565

a crystal about the size of a human eyeball ... a true icosahedron"

p. 566

then already in such a crystal, implicit, embodied there, is that high planetary velocity, that immoderately vast energy, which someone has now come up with a way to couple in to ..."
On the other hand, if it were with someone who understood and appreciate it...
Double refraction appears again and again as a key element, permitting a view into a Creation set just to the side of this one [...] Within the mirror, the scalar term, with the daylit and obvious and taken-for-granted has always lain, as if in wait, the dark itinerary, the corrupted pilgrim's guide, the nameless Station before the first, in the lightless uncreated, where salvation does not yet exist.

p. 567
Kit gives the Q-weapon to Umeki

p. 751

Last stop on the line was Baku on the Caspian Sea, where he had the impression, though not the photographic evidence, of a very remote sandswept oil port, night in the daytime..."

p. 974
Kit runs into Umeki in Constantinople where she's posted to the Japanese embassy at Constantinople as a “mathematical attaché,” on some mysterious mission on behalf of the technical establishment of her country

Umeki meets Auberon Halfcourt in Constantinople and she was "fascinated"

p. 975
Does Halfcourt now have the crystal? "And so."

p. 1037

one day they'd need something that would turn infrared light to electricity, or double-refract it at a particular angle of polarization, and there, invisible under a pile of stuff accumulated since, would be the very item.
Merle ... took from a wall safe a brilliant red crystal, brought it over to a platinoid housing and carefully slid it into place. "Lorandite — brought out of Macedonia before the Balkan Wars, pure thallium arsenosulfide, purer quality than you can find anymore."

p. 1038

"Good thing I never had a snap of you — those fellows could've shown me everything you've been up to all these years."
Edouard Gevaert

It seems this gentleman is fictional. although there are some interesting, but tenuous, connections. Agfa-Gevaert is the current owner of the Wardenclyffe Tower facility which housed the Tesla Tower. Lieven Gevaert (1868-1935) was a Belgian industrialist who founded Gevaert & Co. which produced photographic paper, in 1894. The company specialized in "daylight" paper, which relies on the event of exposure of the positive image through daylight, as opposed to development paper which is based on a process of special manipulation with chemicals. (Are photographs "stolen goods"? "Unworldy go-betweens"?

Agfa (Actien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation) was founded in 1864 as a manufacturer of dies and stains. In World War II, it became part of IG Farben (prominent in Gravity's Rainbow). The Allies broke up IG Farben after the war and Agfa emerged as an individual company. And, well, there was a Dutch arms dealer named Edouard de Beaumont (1841-1895) who has a rifle named after him.

Yes, a stretch... Upon further reflection, I believe "Edouard" may name-connect to Eadweard Muybridge (Edouard was a variant spelling he earlier used) and his photographic experiments with freezing motion/Time. Also, possible connection might be to the 19th C. French photographer Edouard Baldus (1813-1889).

Is the Q-Weapon a ... camera? The device that Roswell and Merle show unlocks Time, animating the photograph. But is this the Q-weapon or a device that take photos produced by the Q-weapon and reanimates them? - See page 1036)

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