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From: "William H. Ansley" <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: (urth) Iron men forever?
Date: Sat, 8 May 1999 23:45:07 

"Nicholas Gevers" <potto@webmail.co.za> wrote:

>A welcome change from this increasingly
>rusty topic of the iron men; shouldn't we move on to other threads,
>like whether Severian's guild cloak is made from tussah, chenille, or

I'm afraid you're forgetting something: Rust never sleeps!

Earlier "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net> wrote:

>>But I learned many years ago that
>>religious arguments are fruitless. Believers believe because what they
>>believe cannot be proven, else it would not be a matter of faith.

And I replied:

>Perhaps this applies to nonreligious arguments as well. It seems to in this
>case. So why did I bother adding another round to this debate if I think
>it's fruitless? I have to support my faith, don't I?

I am now going to violate an article of faith on this list, that Gene Wolfe
never makes a mistake. A corollary to this belief is that every paragraph,
phrase, word, letter and bit of punctuation Wolfe puts on paper is of
cosmic significance.

I think Gene Wolfe blew it when he wrote the "Severian getting into the
Sidero suit" scene. It is riddled with inconsistencies. Well, I suppose
that's putting it too strongly; it's too short a scene to be riddled with
anything. But the descriptions of the size of Sidero, direct and implied,
*are* inconsistent, as I think my and Roy C. Lackey's analysis of the text

Am I being unfair? Probably. No author's prose should be expected to
unfailingly stand up to the scrutiny we put Wolfe's through on a regular
basis. The fact that his so often does is one more testimonial to his skill.

Am I missing the point of this list? No, I realize that putting Wolfe's
words through the wringer is a large part of the point (and the fun) of
this discussion group. But I do get weary, from time to time, of someone
making some outrageous claim about one of Wolfe's works and justifying it
by saying "Wolfe would never have mentioned (or repeated) so trivial a
point if it didn't mean that I am right and everyone else is wrong." Or,
"The fact that Wolfe never mentions this means that I am right and everyone
else is wrong." (I should have said above: "every paragraph, phrase, word,
letter and bit of punctuation Wolfe puts *or doesn't put* on paper is of
cosmic significance.")

Am I aware that I am setting up a straw man here? Perhaps I am, but I think
some posts on this list have come perilously close to my examples.

Do I realize that I am merely indulging in more pointless nitpicking? Well,
that's for everyone else to decide, isn't it?

William Ansley

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

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