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From: Matthew Freestone <matthew@matthewf.demon.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) cueing theory
Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 19:12:04 +0100

A few more random thoughts on "Cues":

>My current take on it is that the "bowling
>balls" are devils, or something of that ilk.  The not-so-young man's deal
>is very much like selling his soul.  
I tend to agree with this, though I don't see the bowling balls as
malicious: they just do what you want and assume you've thought about
the consequences - a little like the 'getting what you want' theme in
"Free Live Free".

>But this doesn't
>explain why the "bowling balls" perceive each other as "a fair young
>world, mottled by clouds and rich with life."  
I think this is because the story is about how all the characters
inhabit separate worlds defined by the cues which they pick up: we're
seeing the story largely from the POV of the NSY man, who picks up on
more and more dismal puns and whatnot as the story moves on (starting
with the goblin/gobbling confusion).
The bowling balls don't live in that world at all - in fact, the NSY
man's characterisation of them as bowling balls may come from his idea
of a series of cartoons on sports equipment.

>So I think that the bowling ball is Gene Wolfe, the second bowling ball is
>Nancy Kress (or you can choose your other successful and established writer
>whose mind is a "fair blue world, mottled by clouds and enriched with
>life"), the setting is a science fiction convention, and the n-s-y man is an
>importunate and not-so-bright fan who wants to become a writer but hasn't a
>clue. Er, cue.
I love this interpretation! Also it provides a sensible context for
something that's explicitly absent in the text: the environment of the
story. The bowling ball is described as being sat on a chair of massy
gold, and there's a reference at the end to a queue (pun?) of customers,
but that's about your lot.

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*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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