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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) The Ghod and his Typo
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 16:58:55 

William Ansley wrote:
>Surely you can't believe that the fact that the "enchanted" sword in _The
>God and His Man_ is referred to as "Master" instead of "Maser" the first
>two times it is mentioned is anything but a (particularly annoying) typo.

Step one: even typos have entries, if only to note that they are typos
("Thadelaeus and Thalelaeus" in AE&2).  Step two: while I agree that a typo
is involved, unlike your(100-percent)self I'm only ninty-percent certain
this is the case (that is, both Master and Maser might be right), and even
granting a typo exists, I'm not entirely certain which one is correct.

(Actually, the reasoning probably goes the other way: if I =could= say that
one of the two was definitely wrong, then I would be 100% certain that
there was a typo.  Why should I believe Master at all?  Well, as you note,
it is used twice in a row, the first and second times: as it reads, "Maser"
is the one first suspected as typo.  Also, that the sword is named Master
feeds into my Elric sense of the story: it seems like the god really does
want the sword to master the man, judging by the endgame; yet the moment
the man is his own agent, away from the god, the magical master becomes a
mere techno-tool.  I hope we can at least agree that "master/servant" is a
large part of what the story is about?  Finally, I'm trying to remember the
important case where a seeming typo in a Wolfe work was actually a very
important detail of truth, but in my flu-addled week-weakened state [which
may ultimately be the source of all my confusion], all I can think of are
the real typos: the ones in EMPIRES OF FOLIAGE AND FLOWER, the ones in the
Easton Press Edition of SHADOW, the snakes eating hands instead of heads,
and so on.)

Further inquiry into the typo question might be rewarded by examining the
magazine version--fwiw, I checked both the hardcover and the paperback of

But yes, I do know what a maser is (thanks for spelling it out for others
who might not); and yes, I also made the azoth connection; and again, azoth
is a dingus of the Whorl rather than Urth, which sure is odd.

Not that anyone would be expected to know all this--I hadn't elaborated.

While Wolfe's work often has a positive attitude toward religion, we all
know there are cases much more sinister: "Alien Stones," maybe "Westwind,"
maybe "Eyeflash Miracles," etc.  "The God and His Man" would seem to be in
this group.
("Use of a German word" is also a trait of "Silhouette"; factoids-R-us.)

In relating "The God and His Man" to TBOTNS, the closest I can get is the
Temptation of Severian by Typhon.  Which is dead-on-target--it is just such
a small piece of the big picture that it seems odd to use it as an overture
for the whole.


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

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