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From: Peter Cash <cash@rsn.hp.com>
Subject: (urth) swing low, sweet chariot
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 1997 11:54:00 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Alice Turner <al@ny.playboy.com> semaphored with her cilia:

> Rock (that makes you a chem; sure you don't want to be Roc?)

You have a PROBLEM with chems? And that's SERGEANT Rock to you, lady!

>I'm going to make one last attempt at nailing "Tracking Song," and then move
>on. Unlike Nutria, I do think it's a religious story, on one level almost an

Yes! I think you're definitely going in the right direction here; this
helps me. Could it be (dare I bring this up? Is this perhaps what you
were thinking? ) that Cutthroat is a christ-figure? He's been cast down
into the fallen world, to share the suffering of its inhabitants--and
ultimately to die into a new life. Too pat, probably.

>...until what may be the moment of his death, at which
>time the sought-for home appears. One may somewhat deplore the appearance of
>a winged being but, in a story by a practicing Catholic, one can hardly
>ignore it. 

If one reads this strictly as a science fiction story, then the sleigh
is a death-bed hallucination. It can't be where it is--it can't have
circumnavigated (do sleighs navigate?) the world in the time available.
Thus, it has to be an illusion. But if this is a religious, allegorical
story, then the sleigh is something more: it's a divine or angelic
vehicle, come to carry Cutthroat home. 

I have to resist the constant temptation to read Wolfe's stories as only
what they superficially appear to be: science fiction tales. 

Sgt. Rock

P.S. Do you really work for Playboy, alga?

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