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From: "Timothy Reilly" <treilly@ozemail.com.au>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest whorl.v010.n104
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 15:47:35 +1000

Adam Stephanides wrote:
> There is very little humor in OBW (a trait it shares with most of
> Wolfe's books), but a while ago Kieran Cleary posted one humorous bit.
> Here are two more
I always thought Horn's speculations on how the inhumi get from Green to
Blue (and to the Whorl) at pp 180-183 was intended humorously (not by Horn,
but by the reader seeing he's thinking himself into knots).  Certainly it's
hard to take some of the logic seriously, and it includes the elementary
error "[l]ight objects fall much more slowly than heavy ones" at p 181.  But
now I'm less sure - since this is not talking about a vacuum (the context is
dealing with re-entry heat) maybe it makes sense.  And Horn's conjecture
that the inhumi simply hold their breath in travelling the (still very
lengthy) distance between Green and Blue at conjunction is supported by
their survival when buried.

As for Wolfe's humor in other books, I actually thought there was too much
humour in TUNS, one of the reasons I'm ambivalent about it.  It seems to me
to detract from the grandeur of the preceding volumes to have Valeria
cracking puns about waves of gravity/dignity before she died and Tzadkiel
(right name? off the top of my head) fluttering about like Tinkerbell at the
Brooke Madregot.  And the Patera Incus character for one just seems to have
been put in TBLS largely for light relief; the same might be said to a
lesser extent of Master Xiphias, Oreb and Tick.  (Again I didn't like this,
but then I didn't like lots of things about TBLS).  I personally don't think
Wolfe's attempts at humour in general are very successful - puns seem to be
the order of the day!

On another subject, I notice on rereading OBW that Horn's first experience
of enhanced perception seems to occur shortly after he gets out of the pit:
from "that time forward" he sees things "as a good painter must" (p 228).
Soon after - apologising to Seawrack after raping her - "[f]or an instant
(only an instant) I had heard Silk's voice issuing from my own mouth.  I
tried to prolong it but could not" (p 247).  So seems likely, as has already
been suggested, that he has had some sort of download from Silk (or
"Pasilk"?) while in the pit - probably thereby resurrected as he does appear
to have died.


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

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