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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Ziggurat spoilers, or "The good company you keep"
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 17:07:04 

Hmmm...  Yeah, I caught the Tamar reference--I hadn't thought of the
daughter-of-the-future possibility--but this is a clone of a step-daughter if
so, which IMO makes Emory considerably less responsible for incest than, say,
Severian.  I simply don't think the story presents things so as to suggest
that the incest (with the daughters) is real.

Yes, Emory kills the coyote--but acknowledges his own guilt, if you look
closely.  Certainly he's a <vastly> more ambiguously bad figure than
Baldanders (not that Wolfe doesn't give even Baldanders his devil's due).

It seems to me that Emory IS quite Weer-ish:  they share a kind of curiosity
that can lead them into error/disaster, yet also seems to serve as a redeeming
element (consider a Weer who DIDN'T hunt for the treasure with Lois, or an
Emory who said "hell, I'm not going back to my cabin with those crazies, let's
find a motel, son").  Both have a kind of wisdom that they often seem unable
to apply to themselves (note Weer's comment re: testifying about the abuse
to the "good twin"--his reference here to God makes me have trouble seeing
Emory as a cut-off-from-creation figure like Baldanders).  Emory's certainly
flawed, and his curiosity gets his son murdered, but he also seems to me to
have a considerable amount of author sympathy (in this sense I disagree with
Gardner Dozois' comments in the intro to whichever Year's Best SF he didn't
print "The Ziggurat" in as well as with Swanwick--Wolfe hardly ever portrays
a protagonist without massive, potentially deadly, flaws--but Emory has as
much underlying author sympathy with him as, say, Number 5 or Weer, I think).
In fact, I think one thing this story does is set up a situation where it
seems to be a possibility of a "lone man defending his cabin against invaders"
and then turns it inside-out--neither the man nor the invaders are purely
evil or wrong--both are trapped by misunderstanding and human nature--but the
end indicates that even in these cirumstances, after blood and pain, there may
be a possibility for something else, even if that's ambiguous, too.

"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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