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From: Peter Westlake <peter@harlequin.co.uk>
Subject: Re: (urth) Report on the Gene Wolfe Symposium
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 13:04:19 +0100

At 11:15 2000-08-28 -0400, Nigel Price wrote:
>Grateful thanks to Jonathan Laidlow for organising, and to the English
>Department of the University of Birmingham for hosting, Saturday's Gene
>Wolfe Symposium. It was a fascinating day, and it was great to meet some of
>the British-based members of the Urth and Whorl lists.

Seconded! Ignore what Nigel says about mumbling and stumbling - his
talk was very good. It now seems the most natural thing in the world
for someone to use allusive neo-Platonic hierarchies for topical satire,
and I can't think why I didn't notice it earlier :-) All the papers were
very good, and I hope Jonathan's plan to get them published succeeds.
I'm impressed by Nigel's summary, too. Were you recording it, Nigel,
or just taking very good notes? I stopped writing things down when I
heard the papers were to be published.

Because Peter Wright was going to talk about The Fifth Head of Cerberus,
I finally managed to make enough time to read it while wide awake. Reading
before going to sleep, as I normally do, doesn't work for Wolfe! I finished
it on the train, half a mile outside Birmingham, so it was fresh in my mind
for Peter's talk. The only thing I would add to Nigel's synopsis is the idea
that Victor is in some sense free, though imprisoned, because he is no longer
part of either of the conflicting societies. (That isn't a very good way of
expressing it, I fear - are you here yet, Peter?) Since then I have had a
look at Robert Borski's "Cave Canem" website, and the contrast between the
two interpretations is quite marked. In one, VRT is a positive figure, even
becoming quite a good anthropologist, and in the other he's a crazed killer!
One problem I had with "Cave Canem" is that it fails to distinguish things
stated in the text from conjecture. It assumes that the cat is a shape-
-shifted Annese woman, for instance, which seems very unlikely to me.

On the way home I read "Strange Travelers", which was probably a mistake.
Reading "And When They Appear" when you're tired is not an experience I
would wish on anyone. I tried reading on in the hope of finding something
more upbeat ... well, most of you will have read ST, so you can imagine.

One small question about ST - in "Ain't You Most Done?", Tim notices a
strange day, "Grunday". I came across the same thing last night, as a
typo in the course schedules in "Death of the Island Doctor". Searching
the web just gives me lots of people called Grunday. Is it something to
do with the Sandman references that have been mentioned here?

Peter (Spectacled Bear).

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

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