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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Fairy Tale logic
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 12:09:44 

On Sat, 30 Oct 1999, [iso-8859-1] Nicholas Gevers wrote:

> To illustrate this: many Lupines feel that, as a work
> of SF, NEW SUN must be subject to scientific
> explanation at every stage. 
> But elsewhere,
> Wolfe's conceptual logic is implicitly magical, as in
> the intuitive symbolic construction of a fairy tale.

I agree.  I think this is one of Wolfe's tricks with TBOTNS.  On the
surface it looks like swords and magic fantasy.  As you read more
carefully, you're led to believe that there's a "scientific" explanation
for everything, but I think ultimately there's too much that can't be
explained that way: the relationship among Severian, the fountain, and the
claw, the nature of the Undines (and Baldanders, maybe), Severian's
dreams, as well as the things you mention (the mirrors, Typhon's weird
two-headed scheme). 

If TBOTN were straightforward fantasy, the various unexplaned wonders
could be dismissed as part of the genre, but by tricking us into reading
the book as science fiction, the wonders are more striking, perhaps even
questioning the adequacy of materialistic explanations for everything in
our world.


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

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