Week 2: パノラマ島綺譚

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Week 2


Start Date: October 30th
Previous Part: Week 1
Next Part: Week 3


Week Start Date Chapters covered End Page Kindle LOC Kindle % Page Count
Week 2 Oct 30 4-6 35 ? ? 15

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun! :durtle:


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Early in chapter 4


What. No. Why would you assume that?

Edit: I tried to look up 奸智 and the first result was the sentence from this book :joy:

This chapter (4) took me a bit longer than the previous ones, for some reason.


Did you also read this one while brushing your teeth?


I tried, but only read through ~1/3 by the time I was done.


With the way chapter 4 was going, I was hoping to have a grave-robbing scene for Halloween. Alas…

Not major spoilers but kind of gross: I originally assumed the バーソロミュウの大虐殺 that’s mentioned in a quote as a horrible thing like being buried alive was St. Bartholomew being flayed like how he shows up in statues wearing his skin like a robe, but I googled it and I guess it’s actually about the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre.
That seems like such a weird reference to me in context… But I guess that whole quote is a strange abridged paraphrase of the beginning of Poe’s story, and Poe mentions it in a list of other real events that were horrible. Ranpo cutting it down to just one puts weird emphasis on it, I feel like.

I’ve noticed Ranpo tends to project a much wider degree of having read 19th century genre fiction than I can ever hope to live up to… I strongly get the impression he’s read absolutely all the Poe he could possibly get his hands on and generally expects you to have done that too. Makes me wonder, come to think of it, if any translations were printed in 新青年, the magazine this was coming out in.

I thought though the quote you were posting was going to be:

そして、これ (being buried alive?)が屡々、甚だ屡々、この世に起っていることは、少し物の分る人には否定出来ない所である。

I feel like I don’t 分る that many 物 but the notion that being buried alive occurs not only 屡々, but 甚だ屡々 is I think to me, safely 否定できる :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
I mean… I hope!


Ah! That would make sense in that case. I had no idea about the context in which that book was published.

Haha, I can see it. However, I have also heard of it happening (and it was a plot point in one of the books I read last year, too), so I’m one of those people who 分る a little too many 物. (That being said, I’m talking about the context of medicine from more than a century ago)

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Short version: yes. At least about translations in general (so I think there is a high probability that included Poe).

Long version with digressions

Source for all the things below - introduction by Mark Schreiber to the English translation of “The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows”.

  • answer to the rodan’s question (Hirai is Ranpo’s real name)

  • about the fact that apart from translating, adapting foreign stories was also a thing

  • also how this mimeograph even worked

  • and I really wanted to share this bit about how the very first translation of Ranpo into English went

Also thank you @rodan for checking St. Bartholomew thing, because I also totally misunderstood it while reading the translated version. :grin:


I didn’t find the time to write a proper comment on chapter 5 and 6, and I don’t think I will have more time in the near future, so

Chapter 5:

Author: he found out everything he needed to know in like 24h. But I won’t go over the details. Let me, however, elaborate greatly about his disguise genius.
Me: what? Wait! How did he find out anything in that period of time in a place he doesn’t know? Doesn’t that include periods when people are asleep? Did it break into people’s place or something? How does he know all those skills?
Author: nobody cares spongebob meme.

Chapter 6: ah, and, of course, he is also a great swimmer despite doing nothing all day. That’s a smart way to pretend you have died though. He can then use that to get rid of the body of 菰田 by throwing it in the water later, and people will just assume it was him.


Chapter 8 has a clause in his maneuverings that just goes 鋤を始末して which made me similarly kinda wonder for details… I suppose Ranpo is interested in meticulous devious plans mainly for their deviousness as opposed to their meticulousness :sweat_smile:.

If you’ve got a grisly and unwavering obsession, the gumption to execute a convoluted plan to try to fulfill it, and the almost other-worldly luck and skill required to procure all the resources needed for it, often off-screen, you too can become a Ranpo character!


*gasp* could it be my destiny? I do not have the required obsession, but what if I made “becoming a Ranpo character” my obsession? So, first, let me procure off screen a time machine…


Come to think of it, by reading books about Ranpo characters you’re technically fulfilling the first step of reading books about your burgeoning grim obsession!

This could be dangerous. Try to stay away from armchairs, or mirrors, or odd beckoning coincidences so unlikely this dark path can be naught but fate, or anything that could be remotely construed as a womb metaphor.