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From: "Dave Lebling" <dlebling@shore.net>
Subject: (urth) "And When They Appear" and Other Stories
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2000 11:52:07 

Tony Ellis wrote:
> Both seem to be, among other things, rite-of-passage stories. They're
> about the bittersweet process of growing up and leaving behind the world
> of childhood with all its pretty lies.

I agree with Tony here. That was how "And When They Appear" struck me when I
first read it.  House advises Sherby to get in the freezer with his dead
parents: this is not subtlety!

I also agree with Alga that it's a sloppy story.  A lot of Wolfe's stories
set in the "real world" seem oddly disjointed to me.  The early one about a
counter-culture revolution against middle management comes to mind (um,
"Hour of Trust" -- just looked it up), and _There Are Doors_, which I reread
recently and enjoyed more than on my first reading.  (Though, rereading it,
it took a great deal of effort to take Laura's society seriously, especially
as it differed only in detail from our own. I know it's not intended as a
realistic story, but the biochemistry makes no sense: "massive immune system
shock," indeed! I guess no one there has ever heard of condoms or oral sex.
Wolfe should have just said, "it's magic." Tina the goddess doll was great,
though. She reminded me of Oreb.)

When Wolfe has some purely didactic point to make, he's not as careful with
the details, perhaps.  Though the details are always wonderful.  The last
paragraph of "Hour of Trust." Eek.  Maybe "wonderful" isn't exactly the

In any case, one of Wolfe's perennial themes is that being out in the world
isn't easy, being an adult isn't easy, making decisions isn't easy, etc.
"And When They Appear" presents this argument in a particularly repellent
way, but it's not that unusual, especially in his short fiction.

Characters in Wolfe books who have easy answers are almost always villains
(North in _There Are Doors_ comes to mind).

   -- Dave Lebling
       (aka vizcacha)

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

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