FIND in
<--prev V29 next-->

From: akt@attglobal.net
Subject: (urth) Mostly Crowley
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 23:49:04 

 From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>

OK, semi back-off:

> Alga wrote:
> >They are not poles; they are complementary. Smoky is terribly
> >he is chosen (though he is far to modest to envision himself this
> >Without him, the Tale could not be told. Look, this is a trope of
> >Crowley's: The ordinary decent man finds himself in extraordinary
> >circumstances, and, without believing at all in the situation which
> >others seem to think merits action, agrees to do what is asked of
> >to do his duty. It is the existential situation in a fairytale
> >Not only Smoky, but Rush who Speaks (from ES) and Pierce Moffit (from
> >the Aegypt series) are heroes of this sort, and I think that Loren
> >Casaubon from Beasts started out this way, though he sort of dribbled
> >off (like the book). But to reiterate, JCs guys do their damn duty.
> >is their task, their quest, and because they take up that burden,
> >willingly or not (Smoky is willing), the world whirrs.
> Not that this will change alga's mind, but I'll list a few apparent
> contradictions or exceptions.  SPOILERS for JC fiction to follow.

> THE DEEP: the Visitor does not do his duty.  IIRC, once he finally
> out what his duty is, he decides to personally question his maker
> than going back and doing his duty post haste).  Everybody else is
> looking out for "number one," except for the Just--aye, there's your

Agreed. This book does not fit any sort of later JC pattern.

> BEASTS: a case might be made that many of the characters do not want
to be
> manipulated by one power, but don't mind being manipulated by another
> power, or they want to do the manipulating themselves (Sten, maybe;
> definitely).  Difficult to define "duty" in this case, although an
> answer would be "doing whatever Reynard wants you to do."  (Rather
> being one of the Just.)

My point was only that Loren may have been an early idea of this figure.
But the fact that JC does not *do* anything with Loren (so wastefully!)
seems to me to indicate that he had not yet intellectualy articulated
this idea.

> ENGINE SUMMER: Rush-as-we-know-him does not do his duty, rather, he is
> a rape victim who has just been violated for the umpteenth time.  Was
> his "duty" to leave Little Belaire?  It didn't seem like it: rather,
> wanted to follow his wayward girlfriend, and nobody could (even try
> talk him out of it.  Was it his duty to become a saint?  That makes
> sound like "fate" or "destiny"--and we don't know that he became a
> anyway.

Well, yes. But it does seem like something he had to do, just as Smoky
had to follow Alice's directives for the wedding. I wouldn't argue hard
for this, though it does seem to me that Rush is a little bit of a
prototype for Smoky.

> LITTLE, BIG: I won't argue here, since Smoky does due his duty, as you
> But I will argue again for the creepy side of the family's translation
> the next world as being very much in the tradition of cult members
> their "duty" by drinking the cyanide-laced kool aid.  There is a
> quality to the ending.

Not if you rejoice (as I do) in the sort of translation effect,
whereupon they move on to a new and probably quite lovely phase. The
truly joyous description of DA as Dame Kind seems to me to make this a
parallel but even transcendent event to the wedding at the beginning of
the book--I don't see creepy.

> GREAT WORK OF TIME: here is a case where the hero (Denys) does his
> and then comes to feel that the results are so horrible that he has to
> betray the organization and the Empire in order to undo the whole
> (That whole "being one of the Just" thing again.)

You're the expert here--I never invoked this.

> AEGYPT: at some point in DAEMONOMANIA, Pierce has a very JC hero
> (which of course is true of all of the AEGYPT series) and thinks about
> hard he has tried all his life to avoid all the powers that have tried
> manipulate him . . . then again, without giving anything away, Pierce
> himself is seeming less like Smoky Barnable and more like George
> Not to say anything against George Mouse!  Everybody loves him!  He is
> practically the co-star of LITTLE, BIG.  Still, there is a difference.
> you know what I mean you are ahead of me. <g>)

To say anything here is to invoke DAEMONOMANIA, which you and I have
read, but I don't think anyone else has. So we have to cool it. (But I
love George Mouse too, that incestuous old creep.)

In response to Nutria:

> > Dumb me, no doubt, but a mystery left in my mind from Engine Summer
> >that the people never seem to eat any food and seem to be sustained
> >entirely on St. Bea's Bread smoke. Okay, okay, allusions to marijuana
> >maybe. But as this is an SF tale, something other than magic must be
> >work. Rush and his buddy seem to last a whole winter with no food, in
> >trance.
> > I'm sure someone has this figured out. So do me a favor, whydoncha,
> >lemme in on the answer.
> >
> Not that this is a final answer, of course, bfwiw I thought the
> was to hashish rather than marijuana.  And "hash" is the name of a
> foodstuff, too.
> As for the sfnal rational, the stuff was brought back by an
> probe.  Like you said before, mana from heaven.
> The winter they spent in a trance, that was due to a different
> wasn't it?  (Probably one of the daughters of medicine: those four
> pots.  One was birth allowance, one was lighten the load, one was near
> immortality)  Because the St. Bea's Bread was something they smoked
> or four times a day, no big deal; but that winter in the treehouse was
> something different for Rush That Speaks, iirc.
> Go Ask Alice, I think she knows.

Why, Ratty, have you never spent winter in a trance? No, I don't believe
it! OK, yes, I can sort of explain this without reference to the text,
though I will do my scholarly duty if pressed.

JC is making a drug joke, as he makes many through the book--it is
without doubt the druggiest book I have ever read, including others,
supposedly mainstream,  that were touted in the 60s and 70s. I've
forgotten (without looking up) the specifics of the four pots, the
daughters of medicine, but the effect here is to cause hibernation, just
like bear hibernation. I don't think that's so weird.

Honestly, Ratty, I am perplexed by your reactions both to this book and
to LB. The sort of mellow and amused side to the drug culture (by which
I do not mean sinister drugs) of the era can't be possibly be so foreign
to you unless you are from another planet (which of course is possible).
I think of you as a savvy reader. It's a comment on the times Why does
it upset you so much? (Not snide, honestly interested.)


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

<--prev V29 next-->