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From: "James Jordan" <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) PEACE: geography and interviews
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 15:42:30 

From: "Alex David Groce" <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>

> The other difficulty with using Wolfe's interviews is that, while they
> are useful in a general way, Wolfe is, I think, intentionally gnomic
> and tricky.  Recall the answers to the question list for LONG SUN, and
> the fact that THE CASTLE OF THE OTTER did suprisingly little to clear
> up some things about NEW SUN (it gave two different explanations of
> where the idea came from, for Pete's sake).

    I think that's often true, and I wondered what kind of interview I'd get
from him when I did it. But, he had been very forthright in letters to me
previously, had thanked me warmly for my use of his writings in my own
theological work, and had also said kind things about one of my books that I
sent him.
    And, in the interview, he seemed almost always to be very frank and
open. At one point, I noticed he became coy, or seemed to. This was when I
asked about Severian's adultery with the angel in *Urth of the New Sun*
(Apheta? was that her name?). His smile indicated to me that I'd missed
something. Maybe that at this "time," Severian's wife was long dead? At any
rate, I got the distinct impression that he was giving very straight answers
to my questions. He had earlier written to me that he was disappointed at
how many people did not understand Severian (i.e., making him a "Christ
figure" instead of a "Christian figure," a man struggling with his
sanctification to become more Christ-like), and I got the impression he was
trying to "set the record straight."
    At any rate, obviously I can never be sure if he was always being
completely straightforward, but I do have the strong impression that in my
interview, at least, he was.
    Without being critical of any other interviewer, I think Wolfe assessed
me not as an "SF" interview, whether "literary" or "groupie," but as a
"fellow Christian" interviewer, and responded somewhat differently.
    I also wonder if earlier interviews are more coy, and later ones more
straightforward. I tend to think that the Silk narrative is something of an
answer to those who got the Severian narrative wrong. (Not that any of us
have got it RIGHT!)

James B. Jordan
(Interview is at Paul Duggan's Wolfe website)

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

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