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From: David Duffy <davidD@qimr.edu.au>
Subject: (urth) Re: Realism, SF and F.
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 13:37:40 +1000 (EST)

All this discussion reminds me of the not-to-be-got-into-here arguments
about science fiction v fantasy v magical realism v fabulation v whatever
whatever.  Wolfe is a science fiction writer, even when he writes about
the fantastic or supernatural, in creating the illusion that the events
described in the narrative *could* happen.  That is, he tries to make us
believe the underpinnings of the world of the story are the same as our
own (back to suspension of disbelief).  I guess a certain type of ghost
story might be one model (James, how about Hodgson).  Wolfe has written
a few of *those*. 

Another example might be the _Soldier_ series.  His Classical world feels
pretty real to my imagination (not much different to Urth really), and he
claims to believe the gods were literally active in it.  All his
*speculations* are based on particular premises, for which he provides
evidence in a playful way eg reality of Amazons.

Part of the rules of the game is that both the allegory and the surface
story must be completely self-consistent, especially if one is creating
puzzles.  Wolfe does bother to make up plausible reasons for what happens. 
So we are allowed to argue about androids -- I think Jonas is made of
highly advanced light materials, but is not hollow.  The Ship of UotNS is
not the only vehicle that has ever undertaken star travel (we have the
Whorl as one counterexample), and Jonas's knowledge seems to date him to a
much earlier period (perhaps conventional relativistic processes have
brought him so far forward in time).  If he is the Tin Man, who's the 
Cowardly Lion? (And has anyone mentioned _Of Mice and Men_ re Baldanders 
and the Dr?)

| David Duffy.                                                    ,-_|\
| email: davidD@qimr.edu.au  ph: INT+61+7+3362 0217 fax: +0101   /     *
| Epidemiology Unit, Queensland Institute of Medical Research    \_,-._/
| 300 Herston Rd, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia                v 

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

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