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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: Jonas's memories; Time's Arrow
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 09:46:48 

Robert Borski,

First, the counter-digestive process--I believe you that it is in TIME'S
ARROW, but it isn't all that rare a notion: from secondary sources I have
been led to believe that PK Dick's COUNTERCLOCK WORLD does it; and from
first-hand reading, Lewis Carroll's SYLVIE AND BRUNO probably takes the
prize as first (1889).

(For the curious: the process begins as the little girls use forks to draw
meat from their mouths; when their plates are full, they hand them to the
adult, who carves the slices onto the roast . . . all the way to the meat
being carried backwards to the butcher shop.)

On to Jonas.

Good idea to parse Jonas's memories.  We have, at least:

1) Jonas's first-hand experience (which can be divided up all sorts of
ways: before the crash, after the crash; etc.).  But we've said before that
"Jonas" is the post-crash name, so already I've hit a snag here.

2) Jonas's "book learning" which seems to have taken place on a/the ship,
and involved Lewis Carroll's THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (reference to the
White Knight), probably augmented by some history books.

Then again, it becomes very complicated to introduce talk of Miles, since
that opens another can of worms.

Granted: when there is a larger theory in mind, then obviously "all
elements that agree with the larger theory are agreed with; all elements
that disagree are disregarded."  So if the larger theory assumes that Miles
= Jonas in a certain combination (i.e., Jonas the hijacker of Miles; Miles
the prosthetic elements of former Jonas; or Jonas trifold combo of Miles
and robot and robot's prosthetics; etc.) this branches out into assumptions
about the nature of the Claw, the phases of posthistory, the
destination-point of mirror travel from Briah, etc.  Ripples going through
the entire "reading" or version of the text. All of which can be covered,
or not, in a larger theory; but as isolated elements, shorn or innocent of
any connection to conscious larger theory, they are like pebbles . . .
hmmm, which makes a larger theory like a statue.  I like that!  So we can
look at the statue and say, well I like it or dislike it overall, these are
the things I like best about it; ah, but pebbles--what's there to say?

Now then, if we are back in the antechamber, again talking about Jonas, the
central mystery seems to me to be: what is so upsetting to Jonas?  It seems
to be something(s) that the prisoners told him, rather than just an
upwelling of empathy for their terrible situation.  Why does he seem to
take it so personally (again, moreso than just an empathetic surge along
the lines of ". . . and I'm in the same situation as these poor bastards, I
might as well be one of them")?  Why does he become so panicked?  (This is
before the attack by the exultants.)


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

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