FIND in
<--prev V15 next-->

From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) A Solar Labyrinth
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 09:42:20 

On Sun, 5 Jul 1998, Sean Whalen wrote:
> When I saw the debate about A Solar Labyrinth, I reread it, keeping
> the previous discussions in mind.  It seems to be about books (or
> fantasy books), rather than television.
> At the beginning, the narrator says that few mazes are now built, and
> those that are are built of cheap and unoriginal material.  This seems
>  to be a comment on the quality and number of enjoyable (or SF/F) books.
> The things that the maze is built of are the elements of the setting,
> plot, etc.  The shadows that the people must traverse and that change
> with the sunlight represent the story of the book as it is read.
> Successfully completing the maze means you have understood the message.
> When adults get stuck in the maze, it means that they cannot
> understand the message of the story.  Children, if they get stuck,
> know that they can just walk away and come back to it to try again
> (they can stop reading and read it again, no one can no everything
> about a story upon first reading it).

This is my favorite reading of the story to date.  So if mazes in general
are SF/F, then the Solar Labyrinth is Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.  Making
Mr. Smith into Wolfe himself.  But what do you suppose the Minotaur
corresponds to?  And what of the famous "sinister element"?

On Mon, 6 Jul 1998, Peter Westlake offered:

> The Minotaur hides in the shadows. But at noon, there are no shadows.

Oooh!  That lit a bulb in my head, although it may be a dim one.  The "at
noon there are no shadows" has an eschatological ring to my ear. 

Whereas now some things are veiled in shadows, when the New Sun fully
appears, we shall see clearly, be set free from the labyrinth, and the
secrets hidden in the shadows will be exposed for all to see.  Or evil
hidden in the shadows will be exposed and wither in the light. 

Only problem is that I don't see how this fits with the theory that the
maze is Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.  Surely Wolfe doesn't imagine we're
awaiting the Day of Resurrection in order to finally learn Hethor's true


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

<--prev V15 next-->