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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) A Pullman Car on the Wolfe Train
Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2001 20:30:51 

Dan'l wrote:

> No. Once is a joke. Twice might be jokes. Three or four times, let
> alone the dozens of things that have similar quasi-referentiality to
> our world For examplw: all the places with same or similar names --
> I could almost grant that if only as a conceptual "translation" to
> give readers a clear sense of the geography. But the titles of
> persons [various Oxonian titles], the references to historical
> persons [i.e., Manicheeism] ... the fact that the [European] culture
> of TGC's world is so _similar_ to ours, I suppose, is what bothers
> me most. It seems to lack a certain kind of inventiveness that I
> would hope would go into working out the ramifications of such a
> radically _different_ Earth.

Well, I haven't yet read TGC, but this is pretty common in alternate
history fantasy.  Canonical examples of worlds that would _really_
involve a lot less common names and history would include John Ford's
_The Dragon Waiting_ (which, for on-topicness, Wolfe has said very
nice things about, with justification) and/or the Randall Garrett
books.  Is Pullman doing anything different than that?  Restricting
the changes because you want the frisson of John Calvin/Richard
III/etc. in different roles in your world vs. people nobody has heard
of and who have no connotations seems like perfectly legitimate
fictional technique.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066

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

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