Talk:Cloud Atlas (novel)

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Sonmi "near future"?[edit]

Is it made clear how much time has passed? It would have surely had to be a good few generations for Korea to be in a state where people (the union members) grow up not knowing who Buddhah is; that I know of no totalatarian state has ever wiped out knowledge of what went before that well. I imagined it about 100 years from now; which is fairly near as history goes, but I think "near future" might be misledaing A Geek Tragedy 16:52, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed reference to the band by the same name.[edit]

"Cloud Atlas is also the name of a very talented, but as of yet, unsigned band." Maybe if the "very talented" band known as Cloud Atlas had a page, there could be a disambiguation link to the page, but the fact that there is a band by the same name and the opinion that they are talented are off topic. Finesttiger 10:42, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Second halves[edit]

"Except for the second half of "Letters from Zedelghem," each story ends with its protagonist finding the second half of this story, which is then printed after it." Actually, this is true also for "Letters from Zedelghem," -- Luisa Rey receives the packet of letters from Sixsmith's neice. And in "Letters," Frobisher finds the last part of Ewing's diary propping up a leg of his bed. Am I missing something? adamrice 20:27, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

"Except for the second half of "Letters from Zedelghem," each story ends with its protagonist finding the second half of this story, which is then printed after it."

I don't think this is true. Frobisher finds the second half of Ewing's Pacific journal propping up the leg of his bed in Zedelghem. In turn, Frobisher's second batch of letters are found by Louisa Reye. I don't, however, recall Ewing reading/watching the events of other chapters. Perhaps this should read "Except for 'The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing'...", however, I don't know how accurate that is either. Can anyone recall a true exception to the rule of finding the second halves of stories? Rob 18:01, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Second halves (cleared up)[edit]

The two above comments questioning the comment regarding "Zedelghem" and it's continuation into "Pacific" are quite right. Quoting from the final letter in "Letters From Zedelghem", halfway down page 489:

"Along with this letter and the rest of the Ewing book, I've made arrangements..."

Frobisher has attached the rest of the Pacific Journal (as well as the Cloud Atlas Sextet score) to his final letter. It's very clear that the Zedelghem story is meant to be perceived from Sixsmith's point of view, i.e. the intended reader of the letters, so it follows that Sixsmith would read the rest of the journal after the letter. --AstarothCY 08:47, 15 September 2006 (UTC)


For some reason, the orison makes me think of the ansible. There's something similar about the words that I can't quite put my finger on. Kelvingreen 00:13, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Motifs v. Themes[edit]

I don't believe they are synonymous, so I'm reverting that edit. Motifs are frequent occurence of small and similar things, such as the tatoos or the word "Hydra," as well as incidental scenes, concepts, or ideas. Themes are, rather, a dominant subject area the work explores through its use of plot, character development, and structure. Thus they should be separated. If you have better reasons for combining them, by all means--I'd be interested to know. Perhaps the section should be better split up that way. Macman202 (talk) 16:19, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

I've deleted both sections for lack of sources. It looks like original research anyway.
Jim Dunning | talk 03:27, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Connections section looks like original research[edit]

I tagged the Connections with other works section for clean-up and citations. It's like one run-on sentence, but I hesitate to fix it till sources are provided for all the "connections" listed there (otherwise it's probably an editor's analysis. I'll start hunting around for some sources.
Jim Dunning | talk 17:08, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

well it's clearly stated in the book Black Swan Green. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:25, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 1[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was page not moved in light of the recent additions to the disambiguation page. —harej (talk) (cool!) 18:39, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Cloud Atlas (novel)Cloud Atlas — A two-item disambiguation page has been created at this page's original location of "Cloud Atlas", to disambiguate it from "a compendium of cloud types"; this links to List of cloud types, which doesn't actually use the term "cloud atlas" in its text.

Given that Mitchell's book seems to be the primary use of the term, and that there are unlikely to be many other articles with the same title (there are rumours of a film, but I think that's all), I suggest moving it back, and adding a simple hatnote to the top of the article saying "For the compendium of cloud types, see list of cloud types." McGeddon (talk) 20:43, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Support. This is the only article with the title "Cloud Atlas". No need to disambiguate. Jafeluv (talk) 08:10, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Support. I'm not even sure the hatnote is really necessary in this case. Station1 (talk) 21:00, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
That's not the case. I did a title keyword search for "Cloud Atlas" on the LOC link provided, and see only two books besides Mitchell's titled Cloud atlas (by the South Africa Weather Bureau, and Platt). There is also one A cloud atlas, one The cloud atlas and Cloud atlas; an artist’s view of living cloud, but nowhere near 147 or even dozens. The 147 must include things like Edwards' atlas of Cloud County, Kansas. But even if there were dozens, the relevant fact is not a single one has an article on WP, much less needs to have an article title disambiguated. Station1 (talk) 05:41, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Hm. Sounds like the title search Station1 did returned only the English titles; many in my list were in another language and "cloud atlas" was in the translated title. --Una Smith (talk) 13:53, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Una Smith does have a point: there's probably several books titled Cloud Atlas around. However, let me explain why I think this is not relevant to this discussion. The disambiguation guideline says that "Disambiguation is required whenever, for a given word or phrase on which a reader might use the 'Go button', there is more than one Wikipedia article to which that word or phrase might be expected to lead." That is, there needs to be at least two Wikipedia articles which could be searched for by the term "Cloud Atlas". List of cloud types, in my opinion, does not qualify, since the words "cloud atlas" are not even mentioned anywhere in the article. The only Cloud Atlas article we have, therefore, is this one. That's why I think the article should be at the undisambiguated title. This may of course change when another article by the same name is created (if the subject of that article is considered to be of comparable notability to this one), but until then, this page should be at Cloud Atlas. Jafeluv (talk) 06:47, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be silly require an admin to move the page when there is good reason to expect the page will have to be moved back again. --Una Smith (talk) 13:53, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's all that likely that this page will have to move, even if another Cloud Atlas article is created, because this one might still be primary topic. Jafeluv (talk) 16:30, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I have written a new article to move to Cloud atlas as soon as the disambiguation page is moved back to where it used to be and where it belongs: Cloud Atlas. Also note there is another novel. --Una Smith (talk) 17:02, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Nice work! Don't worry about the dab page, just move your article to Cloud atlas and add a hatnote to Cloud Atlas (novel). There's no need for a dab page if there are only two items to disambiguate. Jafeluv (talk) 17:13, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree. The new article can be pasted to cloud atlas right away. It's not a proper name, so takes lower case. This article can still be moved to Cloud Atlas with an upper case A, and a dablink hatnote added to each article. Station1 (talk) 17:26, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I know that the guidelines allow disambiguating titles by capitalization only, but I think it would be clearer if this page stayed here, and Cloud Atlas redirected to cloud atlas. With the hatnotes in place, both articles will probably be found by readers, and I don't think it's all that unlikely that someone looking for a cloud atlas will type in the capitalized title unintentionally. Jafeluv (talk) 17:34, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
But in that case the novel would be primary topic and the new article would be the one to take the qualifier. Station1 (talk) 17:48, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
As I said before, there are other books called Cloud Atlas and one of them is the International Cloud Atlas which is important in meteorology and in the history of science. A "cloud atlas" is a general kind of reference source, but "Cloud Atlas" (capitalized) is ambiguous. So the disambiguation page (now at Cloud atlas) should be at Cloud Atlas. --Una Smith (talk) 18:53, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I have never seen the 2004 novel. According to Nebula Award for Best Novel, the title is Cloud Atlas: A Novel. --Una Smith (talk) 19:34, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
And as I said before, it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever if there are other books named Cloud Atlas (I agree there are two or three, I don't think very notable). It only makes a difference if there are any other articles on WP titled "Cloud Atlas", and there aren't; and there aren't likely to be in the near future unless someone wants to make a point; and if there were, this article would still be the primary topic for the title "Cloud Atlas". I'm sorry you haven't seen the book but it's still the first thing to pop up in a Google web or book search and this article gets over 5,000 views per month. Station1 (talk) 22:08, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Assuming for the moment that only books with the exact title "Cloud Atlas" belong on a page named Cloud Atlas (dab or otherwise), that rules out this novel. Its exact title is "Cloud Atlas: A Novel" [1][2]. --Una Smith (talk) 23:53, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
(outdent) This has nothing to do with what belongs on a dab page; it is often appropriate for similar but not identical titles to appear there if it can reasonably help readers navigate among articles. It might be reasonable to include "International Cloud Atlas" in a "See also" section of "Cloud atlas (disambiguation)". What we're concerned with here, however, is solely the actual article title based on WP naming conventions, especially WP:PRECISION#Minor spelling variations if you plan to create an article about generic "cloud atlases". "A Novel" is the book's subtitle, which is generally not used as part of a WP article title unless necessary for disambiguation (see WP:NC-BK#Subtitles). Disambiguation of the article title itself is not necessary in this case, but if it were "Cloud Atlas: A Novel" would be a better choice than "Cloud Atlas (novel)". Station1 (talk) 03:19, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Station1, you mean move Cloud Atlas (novel) to Cloud Atlas: A Novel? Sounds good to me. --Una Smith (talk) 18:31, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
No, I mean what I actually said: "Disambiguation of the article title itself is not necessary in this case...". The rest of that sentence was a hypothetical. Station1 (talk) 22:30, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
"Cloud Atlas" does need disambiguation, because that is the title, formal or informal, of more than one notable cloud atlas. Several of the early ones are notable because they were color reproductions of photographs. Some people bought them not because they were cloud atlases, but because they were cutting edge technology. I am astounded Wikipedia doesn't already have articles about them. --Una Smith (talk) 23:19, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
My copy of the book (paperback, Sceptre, London 2004) is just called Cloud Atlas; nowhere is it Cloud Atlas: A Novel. Maybe Random House chose a cover design with a lot of cloud photos, then added "A Novel" to prevent people from confusing the book with a real cloud atlas. Humphrey Jungle (talk) 16:35, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

The disambiguation page is growing (see version) and so is the new article. Let us please close this requested move so that the disambiguation page can be moved back to Cloud Atlas and the article can be moved to Cloud atlas. --Una Smith (talk) 16:30, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

That disambiguation page is currently disambiguating between this novel, some novels and other works without articles, and the "cloud atlas" page at User:Una Smith/sandbox (which we shouldn't actually be linking to, yet, from the main Wikipedia space). So we've only got two actual article subjects being disambiguated; Mitchell's novel, and the meteorological term.
Under WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, the award-winning novel seems to be "much more used" than the term for a meteorological reference; I'd suggest that you create your article at Cloud atlas (meteorology) and have this linked from a disambiguation hatnote at Cloud Atlas. If Ichiyanagi's and McAdie's works eventually have articles created, then we should create Cloud atlas (disambiguation) and hatnote that from whatever the primary topic is at that point. How does that sound? --McGeddon (talk) 16:47, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
How do you judge that the novel is "much more used"? --Una Smith (talk) 17:15, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Just butting my head in here from WP:METEO. There is no reason in my opinion to object to a disambiguation here. Bringing up page views is a pointless argument; people aren't necessarily looking for this page! Maybe they wanted info on cloud atlases in general and got this page instead.
  • The way I see it, there are three current schools of thought:
    1. An article Cloud atlas on cloud atlases in general, a Disambiguation page at Cloud Atlas, and this page moved to Cloud Atlas: A Novel (or stay where it is).
    2. An article Cloud atlas on cloud atlases in general, a Disambiguation page at Cloud atlas (disambiguation) or Cloud Atlas (disambiguation), and this page moved to Cloud Atlas.
    3. An article Cloud atlas (meteorology) on cloud atlases in general, a Disambiguation page at Cloud atlas, and this page moved to Cloud Atlas.
  • I find myself siding with option 2, as arguments above seem to have weight that this is the most notable subject with the title, but someone typing non-caps would probably be looking for a general topic, not this title. I am neutral on the first option, but I am opposed to the third option, because, as I said above, someone typing cloud atlas with no capitalization is likely looking for information on the topic of cloud atlases. -RunningOnBrains(talk page) 18:00, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


Continuing the conversation from above; Mitchell's 2004 novel has won several awards and is described in the article as being "among the most-honored works of fiction in recent history". From what you've said in User:Una Smith/sandbox, the pictorial cloud atlases seem a mainly historical tool, mostly printed and used in the 19th century. I'd suggest that in the 21st century, for the average Wikipedia reader, the title of the popular novel will be more well-known; Google searches aren't overwhelming, but back that up to some extent (167,000 results for "cloud atlas", 73,000 for "cloud atlas -david mitchell"). --McGeddon (talk) 08:57, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

One cloud atlas, the International Cloud Atlas, has been in print for over 100 years, in multiple languages. There are dozens of cloud atlases on the web. Re the novel's notability, keep in mind Wikipedia:Recentism and Wikipedia:Reliable sources. The majority of hits on Google Scholar and Google Books do not refer to the novel. Google Books "cloud atlas" 758 "cloud atlas" vs 754 "cloud atlas" -"mitchell" so only 4 hits on this novel. --Una Smith (talk) 16:32, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Notice of requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was Casting vote: A previous move request was closed "no move" 2 days ago. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 05:06, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

David Mitchell on the BBC's World Book Club[edit]

A chance to ask questions to improve this article! David Mitchell will be talking about Cloud Atlas on the BBC radio programme World Book Club. You can submit a question by emailing or using the form on the World Book Club homepage. If you wish to be part of the audience for the programme, recording takes place at 15.15 on Tuesday May 4th, 2010 at Bush House, London. EdQuine (talk) 21:08, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Recording of David Mitchell talking about his book ‘Cloud Atlas’ will now take place tomorrow, Wednesday, 5th May, 2010 at 10:15am at BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, WIA 1AA. BBC Broadcasting House is about five minutes walk from Oxford Circus tube. If anyone is in London tomorrow morning and would like to come, could you email us to let us know as soon as possible please on Many thanks. EdQuine (talk) 17:11, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Requested move 2[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No consensus to move. Vegaswikian (talk) 02:30, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Cloud Atlas (novel)Cloud Atlas – The article title does not need to be disambiguated especially if it is treated as the primary topic with "Cloud Atlas" redirecting here. Per WP:PRECISION, "Cloud Atlas" can be treated as distinct from "Cloud atlas" or "cloud atlas". I can provide some examples (though related to film): Pulp Fiction, Panic Room, and Source Code. Naturally, we can make sure that a hatnote is used to ensure full navigation of all similar articles. Erik (talk | contribs) 16:45, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose weakly. Cloud Atlas and Cloud atlas can be used as distinct article names; but I see no particular point to doing so, and if the present situation gets one reader here directly, we benefit. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:20, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Cloud Atlas" should redirect to International Cloud Atlas, where "Cloud Atlas" is listed as an alternate name. (talk) 06:17, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
    • Why? This article gets over 40 times the pageviews of International Cloud Atlas. Station1 (talk) 18:29, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
      • "Cloud Atlas" redirects here, so that's not all that helpful. I'd point to the decision of "Avatar", which was determined to be a Hindu religious concept, instead of the film or computer avatar, even though both those terms are more common. "International Cloud Atlas" is more encyclopedic than this novel. (talk) 04:30, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

"Except one"[edit]

I don't believe that any research bears up the notion that all of the characters "except one" are reincarnations of one another. Listening to the interview cited, Mitchell (who speaks with a degree of indecision at all times, thanks to a largely well-handled stammer) is frequently led and interrupted by the experienced presenter, Harriet Gilbert. He is talking about the comet birthmark when he is interrupted by Gilbert, who comments that she very much likes the character who he has just mentioned (Cavendish). Cavendish undoubtedly has the birthmark which is supposed to be the sign that the characters share a soul; I believe that the comment was leading up to the idea that all six characters have the birthmark and share a soul, but that Cavendish does not consider his birthmark to be "comet-shaped." His ex-lover had compared it to a turd. I would like to change the main text, but I wait on any suggestion that all six are not the same soul (which Mitchell seems to be suggesting everywhere else, including in the same interview). Bear in mind that I am researching this, but have not found any evidence that Ewing has the birthmark. If anybody is not a part of the reincarnation cycle, it is him, but Mitchell was definitely about to mention Cavendish in the quote given as support. Pippin4242 (talk) 18:28, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Kyle82374 (talk) 03:37, 22 September 2011 (UTC) I agree, the "except one" is a minorty opinion and has no backing evidence. I removed the "except one" from the article Kyle82374 (talk) 03:37, 22 September 2011 (UTC) kyle82374, Sept 21 2011

Of course, there's the question of that Luisa and Cavendish would have been alive at the same time, and the observation that Meronym has the mark in the sixth tale, rather than the protagnist Zachary. However, I tend to consider author statements as being 'word of God', so I'll just accept it here. -- (talk) 02:28, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

"Linking Themes"[edit]

Kyle82374 (talk) 03:47, 22 September 2011 (UTC) The end of the second paragraph in the "Linking Themes" section reads, "This ascent and descent is both the actual and symbolic heart of the novel." The sentence is not referenced, and is a subjective of a statement from the opinion of the sentence's author. I am deleting the sentence.

Moved old comment from Cloud atlas[edit]

Right, we're missing the biggest point of all about this book and it's overall message. Why is this article so fixated on literary style? The constantly recurring them of "the will to power"is completely ignored even though it's the most critical aspect of understanding the book. Each story is a microcosm of power and its effects on each life contained in the story... the self-manifested, existential threats posed to a civilization that establishes an essentially predatory nature for itself and its institutions is necessarily a danger to itself and will, in the end, destroy itself. This is the writer's overarching message and it's the final flourish at the end when Ewing is recovering from near death in Hawaii that drives home the entire novel: there is hope because of the power of belief that shapes our actions and our behavior. If you believe the world is screwed up and going to hell, then that's probably what's going to happen. If enough people believe that it can and will get better and that people shouldn't submit to a power hierarchy of greed and lust for more and more control over people and resources, then it will get better. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 07:56, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

You are entirely correct. I don't think this was deliberate so much as a need to expand the article beyond its current state. However, it must also be said, that the literary style is a vehicle for the theme. Viriditas (talk) 05:24, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Half-Lives plot summary[edit]

"Sixsmith expresses to Luisa, by telephone, his concern that the Seaboard HYDRA nuclear power plant isn't as safe as they advertise it to be" This isn't true. There is no indication that Sixsmith ever makes the phone call. In fact, it's implied that he didn't make the call. Luisa expresses suspicions that Sixsmith is concerned about safety, if he had told her it would be fact, not suspicion. Also, she only learns of the report when Isaac Sachs mentions that he helped work on it. Again, if Sixsmith had made the call he would have mentioned the report. Anyway, either confirming or denying the phone call is speculation as it's never described in the novel, so I've removed "by telephone" from that sentence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Luisa Rey[edit]

Some of the characters appear to be very loosely based on real people. Luisa Rey, for example, has a lot in common with Karen Silkwood. These kinds of similarities are covered by reliable sources and should be added. Viriditas (talk) 11:07, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

Below section was tagged for original research in 2010. Feel free to reinsert the below material with appropriate references. DonIago (talk) 20:05, 24 March 2014 (UTC)


This article is generally good but needs some clean up to abide by the WP:MOS for novels. The two main issues I see are: 1. The plot summary is far to long and contains snippets of interpretation. 2 The themes section contains no sources. The novel lends it self to endless speculation on the meaning and linkages between stories, but ALL analysis needs to be cited to a notable critic. Ashmoo (talk) 16:46, 29 June 2014 (UTC)