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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) the points of it all
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 12:06:46 

Clifford Drane wrote:

>I see your point, and I think our ideas can co-exist. Yes, Sev promises to 
>record the stories (and we are reading them, so he came through on his 
>promise). But I'm not sure his promise was anything but a reaction to the 
>area being decimated and everyone waiting for his judgment being killed. If 
>they had lived, I think he would have judged (nice little sub-thread maybe - 
>who would he have chosen?). What strikes me is that they were all so caught 
>up in the storytelling, the consequences of the judgment to come - they had 
>alot invested in the whole thing - And it didn't truly matter due to the 
>attack. I think it shows us that nothing we care about, love, hate, etc. can 
>stop fate or chance (whichever way you prefer to look at it). Things can 
>irreprerably change or *prevent* an outcome - what's the phrase... coitus 
>interruptus? I could be struck dead by a meteor while typing this, just as 
>they were struck dead before the conclusion of the contest. The cosmos just 
>doesn't care.

Ah, but whether this is true or not, I think it's not at all consistent with
the theme of BOTNS--the judgement in URTH shows that all of the "loves, hates,
etc." we've seen in NEW SUN are, in fact, of cosmic importance--I think Wolfe
is one of the few science-fiction writers who personalizes the universe while
maintaining grandness of scale.  Wolfe has few Big Dumb Objects, but some 
amazing Big Smart Objects (Tzad's ship, Yesod itself).  Severian is special,
but he's also something of an Everyman character--the fact that his actions
are truly significant is, I suspect, meant to grant all human actions
significance.  Wolfe's stories tend to take place in an almost frighteningly
"caring" cosmos--"The Death of the Island Doctor" is a good example of this.
It is impossible for the characters in Wolfe's work to escape responsibility
and judgement by claiming indifference on the part of fate/the universe.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066

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

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