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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: LB: Drugs, escapism, and cycles
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2000 23:09:57 

Nutria wrote:

> [alga wrote]:
> >And Alice is not a drug user at all (oh, she may have inhaled once or
> twice, but who hasn't?).
>         There was some kind of reference toward the end of the novel that George
> Mouse, Smokey, and the two sisters were getting high in Mouse's apartment.
> Maybe I mis-read that. I was taking it as a "first step down a risky road"
> motif. As I said, I wrote my post because I was very unsure of my take on
> the novel.

That was one of George's false "recollections" when lost in the forest;
and even within this delusion, George is the only one who is high (and
it's Franz, not Sophie, who is the fourth person present).  So it
doesn't prove anything.  On the other hand, IIRC George at one point
gives Smoky and Alice a present of high-quality hash, and there's no
indication that she finds the gift unwelcome.  So it seems likely that
Alice was a recreational drug user.  I for one don't hold it against
her, and I doubt that Crowley does.

>         2. More generally, it appeared to me that GWoT has a certain theme, and
> that taken at face value, LB seems to run in the opposite direction. The
> caution would be: If you reject the real world and look for a world of
> fantasy, escape, irresponsibility, etc., you may well find it.

Value judgments aside, I don't think this is accurate as regards either
GWoT or LB.  The secret society in GWoT weren't trying to escape the
real world, they were trying to improve it, misguided as their efforts
may have been.  And it seems no more justifiable to accuse the
Drinkwater clan of "looking for a world of fantasy, escape,
irresponsibility" than to accuse the Christian whose eyes are fixed upon
Heaven of the same thing.  To the Drinkwaters, the world of the Tale is
realer than the "real world."  (And of course, within the book it's not
fantasy at all.)  Of course, you can argue that the Drinkwaters' heaven
is a false one; but that's a different issue.

> And you may
> think you like it. But in fact it will be a tiny world, a world without
> real meaning or future, and you will be reduced to merely two-dimensional
> characters, like cards in a deck.

Personally, I feel the same way about the ending (even aside from the
ambiguities I mentioned in my earlier post).  I much prefer Smoky's
quiet heroism, Auberon and Sylvie's love, and even George's cheerful
hedonism to all the future fairy-tale exploits  of "Titania" and
"Oberon."  Whether Crowley feels that way, I don't know, even after
rereading the ending.  Crowley's vision is broad enough to embrace
_both_ sides.

mantis wrote:

> But have you [alga] abandoned the
> "multiple worlds within" theory for the much more mainstream "fairy
> oneworld"?  Because clearly the family has =replaced= the fifty-two odd
> fairies that inhabit that place at the beginning of a cycle: wars and
> accidents reduced the fairy population down throughout the age (we are
> told, iirc) until it is near some unspecified "magic number target" (this
> is my hunch), at which point it is time for the musical chairs . . .

No, fifty-two is the number of fairies now.  ("A Parliament," Book Six,
Chapter Two).  There were originally many more. And if the number of
Drinkwaters who go "in" is indeed fifty-two, which seems likely
(fifty-two being an important number in LB) this casts doubt on the
"cyclical" theory.  So does the assertion, which I seem to recall being
somewhere in LB, that the number of doors between worlds is declining
over time.

> Where did all the "old" fairies go?  They went "in" to the next level,
> where the population limit is much lower!

This, it least, is definitely true (except for the part about the
population limit).  We see it happening at the end of "Come or Stay"
(Book Six, Chap. Five). 

> It seems that the intersection/interaction of this world and the next is
> rather like the conjunctions between Blue and Green: cyclical, recurring,
> eternal.


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