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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Re: Forlesen Follow-up
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 09:08:55 +0100

Rostrum wrote:

> My own thought (and maybe this is all you were saying and I missed it) is
> that these details are merely allusive.  Wolfe is trying to make us think
> of a hellish, mechanized, inhuman society (and to make us consider to what
> extent our own society is influenced by these forces).  I don't think
> we're supposed to decode that Forlesen is "actually" damned or imprisoned
> in a computer 

Absolutely. The story is allegorical, and to collapse it down to a
single, mundane "this is what is -really- going on" explanation is
greatly to diminish it. I don't see -any- evidence that this is the
interpretation Wolfe wants us to make.

> Prion, your observation that the story seems to occupy more than one day
> is interesting and makes me want to go back and check and see what I
> think.  To be honest, my first reaction is to wonder if that isn't a typo!
> It seems so central to the story that it be a single day, that Forlesen be
> born, spend a day confusedly /in medias res/ and then die.

Agreed, again. Which sounds the more satisfactory: "Forlesen: the story
of a man lives his life in a day" or "Forlesen: the story of a man lives
half his life in a day, goes home, has his tea, sleeps, then lives the
rest of it the next day"?

> I think the spelling "ours" for time units is just an elegant way of
> making a word that is easily recognized as a time period, but is different
> from an hour. 

Here I disagree. I have always assumed that this is another of the
story's many puns. The tone of the how-to-live-your-life manuals
Forlesen reads is very dictatorial, reflecting the dehumanized,
corporate world he's living in: Don't speed. Don't be late to work.
Don't turn left out of your driveway. "ours" is a way of saying your
time doesn't belong to you, either. It's "ours."

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

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