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From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Re: Dualism and Horror
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 09:55:46 

Tony Ellis wrote:
> > Perhaps out of the simplistic version of it--I think there are some good
> > writers who still make use of the concepts.  Even a supremely ambiguous
> > like Robert Aickman (my favorite) often suggests, in his quiet way, that
> > something is evil--the dog in "The Same Dog," or Mr. Millar in "Meeting Mr.
> > Millar" or Parliament in "My Poor Friend." 
> Now that -is- interesting. I was actually thinking of Aickman when I
> wrote that! He's one of my favorites too. But for me he's very much a
> writer of supernatural horror, rather than evil. The dog in "The Same
> Dog" or the father in "The Stains" scare -me- because they seem
> representative of an alien, unknowable universe, rather than "evil". I
> don't know what Aickman's religious beliefs were, if any, but the
> impression I receive from his books is of a fundamentally pagan
> worldview, where "good" and "evil" are labels for things we don't
> understand rather then absolutes.

Ah.  I would tend to agree that they represent an unknowable universe; I've
always wondered what exactly Aickman's beliefs were as well (I've never managed
to get ahold of a copy of his autobiography...) other than a passionate belief
in England's inland waterways (which is parodied in "My Poor Friend").
However, an unknowable can be implicitly evil or good, I think--I would say
there are moral judgments very quietly hiding in a lot of Aickman's
stories--it's because they are hiding that they are so convincing...  I think
that the haunting statement in "Larger Than Oneself," (roughly--don't have the
book with me) "They got what they wanted; as in the end we all do," has moral
overtones--David Hartwell seems to agree, and placed it in the section of THE
DARK DESCENT that deals with stories about good & evil.  After all, Christian
thinking suggests that in this state both good and evil are to some extent
unknowable--"now we see through a glass darkly."  And a story like "The Houses
of the Russians" strikes me very much a good/evil tale, in a Christian sense.
While "The Real Road to the Church" would be touching on the Mystery in Good.
Not that I'm saying Aickman's a C. S. Lewis of the spooky or anything--I'm not
at all sure from his fiction what his beliefs were, but I'd say he makes use of
good and evil and even very Christian ideas about them at times.
	Hmmm...  Probably boring the daylights out of the non-Aickman reading
public on the list.  Although if you like Wolfe, you should give him a try.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - John 8:32
Alex David Groce (adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu)
Senior (Computer Science/Multidisciplinary Studies in Technology & Fiction)
'98-99 NCSU AITP Student Chapter President
608 Charleston Road, Apt. 1E (919)-233-7366

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

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