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From: "Jim Henley" <supplanter@highclearing.com>
Subject: RE: (urth) Another tangent
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 10:57:09 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: urth-errors@lists.best.com [mailto:urth-errors@lists.best.com]On
> Behalf Of Jim Russell
> Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2000 6:22 AM
> Basically its this; What would you guys say is GW's 
> political stance? What is he, where is he coming from?
> Obviously he is not particularly left wing ('Particularly' 
> is probably too tame a word, now that I think about it), 
> but would you say that he is right, or rebublican or 
> democrat or what, really?At the moemtn I only really know 
> what he is against, not what he is for.

I would say Wolfe is a Catholic conservative in the mold of his heroes like Chesterton. Because he is a _religious_ conservative, he makes more conscious shows of sympathy for the poor than conservatives are assumed to have these days. Also, like his Savior, Wolfe seems to be comfortable in the (imaginative) company of whores and thieves. I've never been able to get behind interpretations that link any given prostitute in the Wolfe corpus to "the Whore of Babylon" or whatever, because it's so obvious that Wolfe _likes_ his (fictional) prostitutes, and makes them likable to us, too.

Worth noting as a token of Wolfe's _social_ conservatism: that story-whose-title-I-forget in Strange Travellers that people have compared to Delany - the story-within-a-story about the archaeological expedition that ends with the drug overdose. This story's style really _is_ Delanyesque - it reminds me especially of "We in Some Strange Power's Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line" and "Driftglass." And yet the action of the story amounts to a _critique_ of Delany's themes. (Wolfe's theme boils down to "Drugs are bad for you." The theme of a real Delany story would be "Drugs are good for you.")
> Also, how do you feel about the antipathy expressed towards 
> Vodalus intentions - to send man to the stars again. Is 
> Vodalus problem that his method is suspect, or is Sev (or 
> GW himself) being completely negative about man's 
> technology and space travel? I appreciate the 'bringing 
> original sin to other worlds' argument, and the 'quest for 
> balance' reading of the novel (which I tend to agree with), 
> but nevertheless I find this desire not to succeed or 
> achieve wierd. I can see that Vodalus intentions inevitably 
> contradict the idea of acheiving balance between the 
> natural (mythic, folkloric, etc) and the technological that 
> Cyraicia talks about, but I am interested in how people 
> think this works in relation to the rest of the work. 

I don't think it can be that Wolfe's view is contra space travel per se. For one thing, he says that the future he imagined in the book began as "What happens if we just stay in place right here on earth and stagnate until everything runs down and runs out." At some point the background mutated into one where humanity is bottled up, but the original impulse is in line with the Dark Future If We Stay Put imagined by the most gung-ho space enthusiasts.


Jim Henley
NAS Revenue Assurance
703-793-4080 voice
703-793-4194 fax

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

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