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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) Ziggurat spoilers, or "The good company you keep"
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 13:25:19 

IIRC, it was none other than luminary Michael Swanwick, whose reading of
"The Ziggurat" included a significant nod to the sense of incest at the end
. . .


I have no hardcopy of the online discussion, so if anybody wants to follow
up on this you will have to talk to Swanwick by correspondence or at a

Point one: Where does Gene Wolfe's sympathy lie in the story?  Swanwick
says to use the standard "find the wolf" trick.  The wolf in this story is
the coyote.  Who killed the coyote?  Emory did.

Point b: Who killed the son?  Emory did.

Question Marquess: Why does the final scene seem like incest?  Because it
is incest--the "alien" is one of his daughters.  The allegations of incest
for the divorce were probably a lie, but as is so often the case in Wolfe
fiction, the lie has a terrible way of coming true in the end.

All together, iirc, this paints a feral picture of Emory: destroying his
better self the coyote, killing the rival his son, and marrying his own
daughter to "start over, doing it right this time."  Not unlike Baldanders,
in cutting himself off from the outside world (and/or God) in order to
persue megalomania; or the pirate scientist of 5HC; but in detail more like
several heroic Greek horrors all at once.

Granted, some may have a knee-jerk rejection of this reading on the grounds
that it applies the (flawed) "mass murderer" reading of PEACE to a
different Wolfe story.  But before you reject it too quickly, think again
on Swanwick, who is wise among Wolfe fans.  (I really wish he would write
some essays on Wolfe.)


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

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