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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Ziggurat confusion
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 10:49:08 

	Just finished rereading Ziggurat, and some comments on the mooted "evil
Emory" interpretation.

At 12:11 PM 1/25/00 -0600, I wrote:

>	In case anyone does not get Alga's reference to Tamar, you can read it in
>Genesis 38. However, David's actual daughter was also named Tamar, so
>"incest" of some sort might be a possibility. The description of Ziggurat's
>Tamar as being from an eastern country would fit either, but fits the
>earlier Tamar better, since Emory is an American. If Wolfe had written that
>his Tamar was an American, then the allusion would be to the daughter of
>David; she would be of the same race as Emory, so "incest" would be a
>possibility. Since she is an outsider, from far away, the allusion is to
>the daughter in law of Jacob, whose father was a Canaanite.

	Wrong, Jim. Tamar is not her name, but the name Emory gives her, and he
explicitly calls the name that of Solomon's sister. Now, Wolfe-like, that
can also allude to Tamar's rape by her brother, and also to the earlier
Tamar, but first we have to deal with what is explicit. When she sees the
lion on Emory's pen, she hums "God Save the Queen." The lion is the Lion of
Judah, symbol of the tribe of Judah and of the Davidic royal house. In an
all-woman society, the king is a queen of course, but the allusion is to
Solomon. (Also to Jesus.) With this in mind, I want to see any hint of
evidence that Amnon's rape of sister Tamar is in view, or the earlier
Tamar's seduction of her father-in-law Judah. 
	As to who killed the coyote: Emory says that he was responsible for the
beast's death ONLY in the sense that he had tamed it, and thus it was not
prepared when it came against a human interested in killing it. I see no
hint that Emory himself killed it. 
	As to who killed Brook, the son: Where is there any hint that Emory did
this? True, by going back to the cabin, he might be seen as somehow
responsible, in a way analogous to the death of the coyote. But he was
asleep at the time the boy was killed. Where is there any hint of anything
	As for how "bad" it was to return to the cabin; well, remember that this
man is an engineer (Wolfe?) who has lost his business, and now sees the
possibility of getting hold of technology that will enable him to recover
his life. He's starting to live again, after only wanting to die. 
	(Where's the Wolfe? Emory is the Wolfe. He is the kind of person Wolfe is
or wants to be. Emory's comments to his daughter about God and lying are
pure Wolfe. I'll bet Emory's hostility to television is also Wolfe's opinion.)
	Now, if this story were written in the first person, say as a deposition
before a judge trying Emory for murder, we would be invited to consider
that the narrative is a succession of self-serving lies and distortions.
But that's not how the story is written. It is in the limited third person.
The narrator is Wolfe. I find no hint that Emory is evil, or insane, or
	True, he's flawed. He shacked up with Jan before marrying her, and that is
not Wolfe's value system. Emory admits to Brook that his motivation for
getting involved with Jan was selfish. But that's a "little" sin, committed
by a man who gives very good advice to his stepdaughter about lying, a man
who knows better, and is suffering for it.
	As for the women on the timeship being clones of Emory's women: Where is
there any hint of this? It involves a LOT of reading "behind the lines" to
come to this conclusion; to wit, that eggs were taken from the girl and
used to make clones that have come back in time. But in fact, the story
continually says that these Brownies are OFTEN coming back in time and
messing with people. Stealing eggs? Maybe. Stealing children? Well, that is
indeed mentioned. So perhaps the hypothesis is not completely amiss. But
where is the evidence that Tamar is herself a clone of the girl? (I cannot
remember which girl it is, so I cannot give the name here; my book is at
	Moreover, the intermediate color of the skin of the three future women
leads me against this hypothesis. They look like what you think of when you
think of a future wherein all the various races of earth have melded into
one. The daughters are American white girls. A clone of one of them should
look like that, not be brownish. Yet all the future women are brownish;
hence "brownies." How can they be clones of various white, black, and
yellow women of the past?
	I'm happy to be set straight on this, but for now I don't see it. The end
does not "feel like incest" to me. I don't know how you get that from the
	As I see it, at the psychological level, we have a man twice wounded by
adult women, and now wounded again by female children. He wants to die.
He's definitely estranged from women, as his comments, however judiciously
phrased, indicate. Then we have the three women, who are definitely fearful
and estranged from men. At the end, this man and one of the women come
together, overcoming their fear and estrangement. That, it seems to me, is
what the story is "about."
	It's also about a man gradually recovering from two horrible losses (his
business and his marriage). First he plans to kill himself. Then he begins
to see a possibility of forming another business. He also tames the coyote,
a "preliminary love" that is a stage toward his "taming" of "Tamar." (I
think the name is important in this connection.) Thus, the story is "about"
recovering from loss and finding a new life.
	I also wrote:

>	If you want to allegorize this story, and I'm not sure of this at all,
>consider the New Testament notion that the kingdom is being taken from the
>unworthy bride (the Jews) and being given to others (the Gentiles) -- a
>point made often in the Old Testament as well. (Gee, now I've got to reread
>the story myself and see if this works at all....) But before closing,
>remember that Luke 4 and other passages refer to various gentile women who
>were brought into Israel as "worthy gentile brides" and as signs that
>Israel was (at these times) judged unworthy because of (spiritual)
>harlotry. (Examples: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the widow helped by Elijah).

	Naw, Jim; this does not work. I cannot see enough to make this work.
Apologies for tossing this spanner into the works.
	It IS, however, interesting that the timeship is called a Ziggurat, and
there are also the references back to the Tower of Babel. Consider that at
that Tower (Genesis 11) we have a confusion of tongues, after which people
are estranged and can no longer work together. That does seem to be a theme
in the story. The women speak a different language, that may or may not be
future English. There is also the estrangement between men and women that
is the major theme of the story. That estrangement is overcome by love,
surprisingly and unexpectedly. Thus, the Ziggurat is destroyed in the end.
Babel defeated.


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

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