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From: "James Jordan" <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Parkroads (the new Suzanne Delage)
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 10:51:22 

    I have no idea, other than once again an homage to Borges.
    Some things that come to me though, which may be totally offbase:
Possibly this is another of Wolfe's "Christian" stories, in some sense. As
in "To the Seventh," we have a move through six to seven, which in "To the
Seventh" has to do with reaching the eschatological sabbath (death/heaven).
The allegorical elements in "To the Seventh," however, are pretty obvious.
Here they don't seem to be (not to me, and assuming there ARE any!).
    Also, the notion that the family's original home, which they have left,
is "the same as" the Golden Mountain Land (in some sense; the reviewer hopes
it is not), correlates nicely with leaving the original Garden of Eden and
going to the New Jerusalem, which in some sense is Eden restored and also
transformed -- the same and not the same.
    One would think that the ship would be, in some sense, the Church, and
its demi-god captain, in some sense, Christ. But that does not seem to work,
unless we assume that Chang/Christ is empowered to "put people through hard
times" and even put them under judgment. Possibly. That's a Lupine theme
elsewhere, but Chang did not strike me as very close to a Christ figure. See
    When the six reels (the six days of history) are put in the correct
order, then the nature of the as-yet-nonexistent seventh reel will become
apparent. When we understand history, we shall understand eschatology also.
The seventh reel may already exist, in some sense, as the sabbath already
exists in a limited way for human beings in the midst of history.
    Now, a westward movement being the course of true history is not
uncommon, and journeying to the west as a picture of eschatology is all over
the place, from Arthur to Tolkein at least. But here the people are moving
in the opposite direction. Adam was cast to the east of Eden, and Cain moved
further east after murdering Abel. So, perhaps the characters, in their
eastward movement, are making a big mistake. The ship, then, would be an
anti-Church, and Chang would be an anti-Christ. They characters need to turn
around and move westward, back toward their original home, which will turn
out to be a glorified Eden, the Golden Mountain Land.
    Perhaps the fact that Chang appears large and like a demi-god, while his
passengers appear small, is another sign of a reversal of Christianity.
Jesus became small that we might become large; as the early Church put it,
God became man that man might become (a) god. Those who would be great among
you must be like me, said Jesus, and become the least of all. The
triumphalism of Chang and the humiliation of his passengers would be a
reversal of this principle.
    But maybe this is all wrong. In the Memoirs of Severian, we find that
lots of people out in space are named Chang, and we can assume many are ship
captains. Maybe this story is somehow an allegory of the New Sun books!
    Well, that's for what it's worth. I'm certainly not invested in it! But
maybe this will stimulate someone else to a better read.


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

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