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From: "Jim Henley" <jlhenley@erols.com>
Subject: RE: (urth) modernism
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 22:14:03 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: urth-errors@lists.best.com [mailto:urth-errors@lists.best.com]On
> Behalf Of Jim Jordan
> I add this (depressing) thought:
> 	Wolfe's writing may be so complex, and so dependent on the
> tropes of SF,
> that he will never make it into a "canon." It is hard to imagine non-SF
> people reading it and thinking much of it, save that it is "weird and
> well-written, but what on earth is he talking about?"
> 	Anybody have anything more positive to put out against
> such a negative thought?

Quite the opposite: My good friend Frederick Pollack is one of the
country's finest poets. He has two booklength narratives from Story Line
Press (THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS) and no less than three even better
manuscripts in the drawer. And because his work, while densely
high-modernist and shot through with what I would cussedly call approved
marxist twaddle, makes such heavy (and striking) use of the tropes of
science fiction, literary people for the most part have no idea what to
make of it.

It's like Delany said, some people won't read sf, some people can't. They
just have no idea what the hell is going on, however intelligent they may
be and however perceptive about other kinds of writing.

On a related note (who will "survive"), I have to demur from what seems to
be the list consensus. We are already at the point where "posterity" ain't
what it used to be - it is so relatively cheap to reproduce writing that
"the test of time" is ceasing to mean much at all. Consider that two
potboilers of the last century, Chesney's _The Battle of Dorking_ and
Saki's _When William Came_, can be readily purchased in the Oxford Popular
Fiction reprint edition. What sticks in my mind is that Agatha Christie was
precisely the sort of author that someone like Harlan Ellison (or Raymond
Chandler FTM) said wouldn't be survived 10 minutes by her work. But you can
get almost any mystery she ever wrote without going to any trouble.


 "Here's a song that you can sing
       by which to do the measuring"
              -- Elvis Costello, "45"

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

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