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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: the Ziggurat
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 20:52:20 

Wow, Borski. You make an interesting case. I guess it just does not make
sense to me, without something a lot more explicit. From what I can tell,
your interpretation assumes the "maximum delusion" view that Mantis set out
for me/us. Maybe not, but if not, I see even more problems. I'll try to
	First a bit of response to Mantis. I do think Emory is partially modeled
on Wolfe. That does not mean he is a "good Wolfe." The family of clones in
*Fifth Head* aren't "good Wolfes" either. So, even on the "max del"
reading, Emory would still be a Wolfe, just a bad one. On a conventional SF
reading, which I still think is right, he's just a flawed Wolfe, like Wolfe
	Now, to interact with interaction:

At 04:33 PM 1/28/00 -0600, RB wrote:
>My two centavos worth on "The Ziggurat" controversy, most of which plays
>off of Nutria's rather interesting interpretation.
>>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.
>I think that for all intents and purposes that Tamar _is_ her name--at
>least it's the only one Wolfe provides via Emery, his viewpoint character.
>To therefore ignore the connotations of both incest and sexual assault
>associated with that name may be shortsighted.  

	Maybe, and that's a point possibly in your favor. I still can't buy it,
but more on that below. I guess on your take "Solomon" is Emory, so that
the relationship is hinted at as incestuous. But that's really a stretch,
without better indications of the overall presuppositions of your reading.

>>When she sees the
>> lion on Emory's pen, she hums "God Save the Queen." The lion is the Lion
>> 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. 
>Two alternate points here. The lion emblem identifies where Emery picked up
>the pen he's using--the Red Lion Inn--and in alchemy, the red lion refers
>to the philosopher's stone--the technical version of which Emery brings
>back from the ziggurat. At least Emery hopes the magic dish will help him
>wrest gold from his tragedy. 
>As for "God save the Queen," I thought this was possibly meant to function
>as a nod to the most famous vanished historical community of North
>America--the colony at Roanoke Island, and whose first firstborn child,
>Virginia Dare (named after Elizabeth Regina), disappeared along with
>everybody else, just like the frontier settlement Brook mentions on p. 309.
>(See the movie: "Croatoan: the Brownie's Revenge.")

	Well, I'm happy to grant this, and you may be right that these two are all
there is. It is surely Wolfean to have multiple allusions, so I'll keep my
suggestion in the mix for the nonce.

>>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. 
>Again, I believe you're being too literal here. No, indeed, Emery does not
>literally kill the coyote, but he sure does so figuratively, by
>encouraging/bribing it to disregard its natural fear of man. Wolfe uses
>this idea of "safe distance" a number of times in the story. "Come here,"
>Emery shouts, when he first sees one of the alien women. Later, when she
>and her partner breach that distance, it leads to their demise. Also note
>how Emery repeats several times, "Boys here, girls over there." Given the
>charges of incest leveled against him, this seems the safest and most
>practical thing to observe, yet look at how in the very last sentence,
>"Very gently, [Tamar's] fingers closed over his." Once again, distance has
>been closed and it will lead to dire consequences.

	My reading also takes the distances into account, but as being closed
through healing, not in horror.
	Now, I'm assuming that your reading (or the Max Del reading) goes like
this: When Jan threatens to take Emory to court, he (subconsciously?)
decides to kill her and the twin who does not ask forgiveness. 
	But what does this entail? Well, if the future women are really just the
three women in his family, I can see that the shouting woman on the
videoscreen (?) would be Jan, and then he kills one of them in a fight. But
then, what is the stuff about driving them to town? On the max delusion
reading, how do we sort out what happens, even maniacally, and what does not? 
	At this point, it makes more sense to me that the three future women are
real brownies, and that their threeness is a literary link to the three
women already in Emory's life. One is larger. They threaten him. One shouts
at him. Etc. But for me this does not indicate that they are the same
identical persons, one set in real life and one set in a maniacal delusion.
They are just parallel.

>> 	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"
>> 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
>> 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
>> remember which girl it is, so I cannot give the name here; my book is at
>> home.)
>> 	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
>> 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
>> 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?
>The women and the twins appear very similar physically. To wit: "What had
>they thought of Jan, a woman almost a foot taller than they? Jan with her
>creamy complexion and yellow hair? Of Aileen and Alayna, _girls of their
>own size, nearly as dark as they_, and like as two peas?" (p. 318) Also, in
>talking about the chimney descent, Emery comments: "He could not have done
>it, and neither could Brook, if Brook were still alive, but the twins could
>have done it, and these women were scarcely larger." (339) The twins, being
>eleven, could well be near their full height. And why, if not to match up
>skin colors of twins and aliens, would Wolfe have their father be
>dark-complected, when, any other color if he were not attempting a
>parallel, would be perfectly fine, if not expected? 

	But the third alien is also brown, right? And Jan is not. This seems to me
to establish only a parallel, not an identity. (And I have found that their
father had "swarthy good looks," so that is indeed established for me now.)
Sure, the twins are "matched up" with the future women, but why does that
indicate that they are the same, or clones? It is just another parallel, I

>> 	I'm happy to be set straight on this, but for now I don't see it. The
>> does not "feel like incest" to me. I don't know how you get that from the
>> text. 
>One last note in this respect: Alayna is the twin who tells Emery she has
>refused to lie about his having molested her. But we never hear what Aileen
>has to say in this regard; and it's Aileen that both has the doctor's
>appointment Jan mentions (shrink? gynecologist?) and who winds up kidnapped
>by the aliens. 'Aileen,' however, and 'alien' are formed from the exact
>same letters. Surely, this is not a coincidence, but Wolfe tipping his hat
>as to the origin of Tamar, the once and future daughter of pedophile Emery

	On my reading, Emory is guilty only of "rocking and kissing" them. That
might be a double-entendre, but is not evidence of anything other than
affection. Now, Jan may herself believe, or have convinced herself, that
Emory molested them. But why agree with her? She may be a somewhat decent
woman, and there is indication of this. But she appears to be making a
stereotyped charge (as Alga noted), which she may or may not have convinced
herself of. 
	As for the Aileen/Alien parallel: well, I can see it, but what does it
mean? It seems to me no more than another allusion to the distance that has
come between Emory and women in general. Women are alien.
	I'm trying to get into the Max Del reading. Okay, why does Emory kill
Brook? Because he thinks his son might have a TV in the car, and he hates TV? 
	What is the visit to the Ziggurat? A visit to the hotel to murder Jan and
the girls? Pure imagination? Can a visit to a hotel/motel be "seen" by a
maniac in the way Emory perceives his visit to the Ziggurat? I cannot see
	I have to say that as I reskim parts of the novella, I can see why one
might read it this way, but only if one comes to the narrative with a lot
of suspicion. I still see lots of problems. The future women appear before
Jan and the kids arrive, and a burn appears on the back of a chair on the
porch. Is this also imagination on Emory's part? How do we account for
that? And, to repeat Alga's question, who stole the axe and rifle, or was
this only a maniacal delusion also? 
	Emory thinks one of the differences between men and women is that woman
have a fairy-tale view of love. So on the Max Del reading, it is actually
Emory who has moved into a fairy (brownie) tale. Would that be the view? My
take is that men and women are not so different as Emory supposes, and that
this is actually part of Wolfe's point.
	Now, maybe you're not taking the Max Del view, but then what? We've got
real future women. So who murders Brook? What evidence is there that Emory
killed him? His mooted lack of emotion could be because he's stunned. He
actually prays to God that it not be so. He does not look all that
unemotional to me; just stunned. That part of the story seems quite right
and realistic to me. It could be Maximum Delusion, I guess, but it seems
far better to read it as real. If the future women killed Brook, then they,
not Emory, are the authors of the violence in the story.
	And on a "real SF" reading, then we're back to Emory's driving Jan and the
girls to safety. Not an indication of a bad person. And EVEN IF Tamar is
somehow supposed to be a clone, she is only the clone of a stepdaughter,
and so marrying her is not incest. 
	I remain very unconvinced of this reading. I think it's too clever by
half. But with Wolfe, you never know (unless he tells you), so write back
and take me to pieces if you can!


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

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