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From: John Regehr <jdr8d@cs.virginia.edu>
Subject: (urth) some comments
Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998 22:01:07  (Eastern Daylight Time)

Hi all,

About a week ago I ran across the archive for the Urth list.  Four
somewhat daunting megabytes later, I've finished reading it, and I'm
impressed.  You people have picked up on a lot of things that I missed
(and I recently completed my third reading of TBotNS).

For several years I've recommended TBotNS to friends and
acquaintances, in the same way that I evangelize the rest of my
favorite books.  Although several people have read it, none have
become what I'd call Wolfe fans.  This seems odd, since these have
been intelligent and literate people who generally enjoy the same
sorts of books that I do.  So why would Wolfe appeal to such a narrow
audience - is it just because he places so many demands on the reader?

Many Wolfean books have been discussed, but let me throw out a few
less obvious ones that haven't:

Paul Auster's _New York Trilogy_ contains three haunting and surreal
novels about alienation, confusion of identity, and the inadequacy of
words.  They're gripping enough that I read each in a single sitting.

Cormac McCarthy's _Blood Meridian_ is a violent story about a band of
bounty hunters on the Texas/Mexico border during the 1850s.  McCarthy
is an amazing writer, and this book is more than a Western in much
that same way that TBotNS is more than SF.

Richard Powers's _The Gold Bug Variations_ is about a librarian who
gets involved with an ABD art history student who works with a man who
was a promising researcher in genetics 30 years earlier; their story
and his are told alternately.  Calling TGBV Wolfean is a bit more of a
stretch than the other two; I do so based on its focus on puzzles and
ciphers, its intricate plot, and because of the slight twist at the
end that changes how we look at the book.

Finally, I feel compelled to add to the recent thread about good comic
books.  Besides the previously mentioned works of Moore, Miller,
Spiegelman, and Gaiman, I would highly recommend DeMatteis's
_Moonshadow_, Matt Wagner's _Mage_ and _Grendel_, and the Hernandez
brothers' _Love and Rockets_.  Although I'm a huge fan of L&R, I
picture the others as being more to Wolfe fans' tastes.


John Regehr | regehr@virginia.edu | http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~jdr8d/
grad student | Department of Computer Science | University of Virginia 

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

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