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From: "Ori Kowarsky" <orik@sprint.ca>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v026.n007
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 19:48:45 

>Heh.  The reply I was working on to Ori has been made redundant by
>Jonathan Laidlow who summed up what I was trying to say with this:

I very much enjoyed Jonathan's post, thoughb I disagreed with him on the
same point I'm about to address below.
>Lewis, unlike Wolfe, was writing a sort of "literal continuation of Earth
>history" with the Narnia and Space Trilogy books.  The books speculate
>"What if there were other worlds?  Given what Christians believe, how

This is a very interesting point, and brings to mind Eco's "The Island of
the Day Before", where the characters argue about the existence, and
salvation, of beings on other planets.  I don't know if this book has been
mentioned before, but it's a lot of fun and is a great big jumble of ideas.

>I hate to break this to you Ori, but not only is TBOTNS not our universe,
>I'm pretty sure Wolfe made the whole thing up.

*Gasp*  But what about that post-historic first edition I bought from Mr.
Gold at "Books of Gold"?

>Seriously, Wolfe's playful appendicies where he talks about translating a
>manuscript from the future are a kind of parody of the attempt to fit
>Wolfe's story into our world's history.  They serve to highlight the fact
>that Urth is a fiction, that this is a story about stories.  Again see
>Jonathan's post for a better explanation.

Where I disagree with you and Jonathan is that I believe that by inviting
the reader to conclude that there is a future-history timeline connecting
Earth to Urth, Wolfe creates a fictional universe which has interpretive
implications as the result of its recent and far-flung history;  within that
fictional universe, it is fair to examine whether certain interpretations
are consistent with the events described in the text or not.  TBOTNS may be
nothing more than the avatars of certain ideas or concepts bumping into one
another, but I think enough care and craft has gone into creating realistic
settings, characters and narrative to justify asking whether certain ways of
looking at the story can be justified by its content.


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

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