In Cloud Atlas, the timelines are not only connected mystically through reincarnation and imagery of past lives (broad explanation), but directly via stories transferred over time.

  • Half of the slavery era biography is read by the WWII era composer.
  • The WWII era composer's letters and music are heard by the 1970's journalist.
  • The Oppressive Future's clone servant watches the adaptation of the 2012 publisher's escape from the nursing home.
  • The Post-Apocalyptic Future worships the legend of the Oppressive Future's clone servant and her recorded confession also appears.

There appears to be nothing connecting the 2012 publisher's timeline to any prior one, expressing how he (or anyone else in his era, for that matter) gained knowledge/experience from a prior era. I would suspect maybe he published the composer's letters (possibly given to him by the niece?) or the story of the journalist, but I must have missed it.

What connects the 2012 story to those which came prior?

  • 3
    A drawback of having three directors is that some details may get lost in the mix. It is not a single vision when the single vision of the book is translated to the screen through the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. Cracks in logic sometimes manifest when when a story is retold. Remember the "telephone game?" One person tells the person sitting next them a sentence and then THAT person tells the sentence to next person. And so on. Three people writing and directing a screenplay based on a novel is not optimal. (It all makes sense if you squint your brain.) fnord Oct 28, 2013 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


The publisher gets a manuscript of a novel called, "Half Lives: A Luisa Rey Mystery" by an author named Javier Gomez. This is the name of the boy in the Luisa Rey (1970's) section. Several times, the young boy says something along the lines of, "This would make a great mystery novel!"

As you can see in this video excerpt at 30 seconds, the publisher is reading the manuscript while resting in his room at the asylum. It goes by very quickly and can be easily missed without subsequent viewings or pausing on the scene.

  • @JoshDM Thanks for finding the clip - I couldn't come up with that or a screen shot in the time I had yesterday. Oct 29, 2013 at 17:03
  • I wouldn't have known what to look for if you hadn't answered. I searched against it to confirm you answer, was directed to the clip, played it and saw the point where it happened. It's extremely brief in comparison to the other instances.
    – JoshDM
    Oct 29, 2013 at 17:12

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