When there’s not you are probably well on your way to apophenia.” is what Cayce Pollard’s father’s advice was to her. On your way to the Apophenia. Strange that he should say that because in most mystery novels the detective is much more likely to say, “I don’t believe in coincidence.” But then this was a science fiction. A what would happen if? Extrapolating us towards some inner understanding of the future and hoping we wouldn’t get trapped by apopheniabefore we figured it all out. Of course, at first I thought I had simply mis-read the word, then I re-read, and yes, it still said, apophenia.
Meanwhile, I feel there was/is a message in the somewhere that talks to our current world. The novel is immersed in the imagery of 9/11 and so are we still tangled in the web of thoughts and activities that event brought. It is as though we all temporarily imploded and slowly but surely we are finding are way back to who we thought we were before. Which is what happens to Cayce by the novel’s end.
But there is one element of the story that is relevant to us and it lies within the meaning of the title – Pattern Recognition – to what the company Cayce works for uses her skills to do. She is by some process left unexplained a person who carries a capability to recognize whether a new product will be viable in the marketplace. Her sensitivity so pronounced that she must wear label-less clothes, and avoid the marketplaces for fear of blacking out. So she lives on the edge of things and thus provides us with a view of what our marketplace looks like. Million of replicates competing for our dollars, a Super bowl of sales pitches, a TV show of the best commercials, and a consumerism run rampant in the service of the corporations that manipulate our economic lives every minute of every day. I don’t know, does seeing this meaning mean I am suffering from apophenia?