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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Another tangent
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 10:16:12 


Wolfe's political views are probably not easy to peg.  Wolfe talks
about his political beliefs in Nutria's interview
(http://world.std.com/~pduggan/gwjbj1.html#pol).

I would suspect that the closest classifcation would be as a
"conservative," but not in the usual American sense of the
word--despite what he says in the interview about freedom, I suspect
that Wolfe is not a libertarian, and he certainly has strong views
about environmental conservation, which would seem not to suggest
that.  I've read the phrase "baroque conservative" used to describe
R. A. Lafferty (and Mark Helprin), with connotations of a complex,
non-ideological political approach based strongly in religious or
metaphysical belief.  That might roughly cover Wolfe as well.


Wolfe's opposition to Vodalus seems similar to the opposition to space
exploration in C. W. Lewis' three science-fiction novels: space
exploration isn't so much bad in and of itself, but it certainly is
bad if we go about it with dreams of galactic empire.  THE FIFTH HEAD
OF CERBERUS suggests how Wolfe thinks we would likely end up behaving
in a populated universe (and based on experience on Earth doesn't seem
too far out, I'd think).  Vodalus clearly wants to reestablish
something like Typhon's world-spanning tyranny, which would certainly
"pollute the universe."  Clearly all space travel isn't bad
though--Severian's travels are ok, and there seems to be a positive
element to the remaining space travel by humans on the ship (although
many sailors turn to the side of Abaia and co.)  The passage at the
end of the first chapter of CLAW, which we've quoted recently,
suggests that Vodalus' aims are sinful in that he is trapped in the
past mistakes of humanity--it isn't the future or growth that is
originally sinful, but the endless repetition of evil patterns and the
rejection of divine guidance to something better: "That we are capable
only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin."


--
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
--
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~agroce

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



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