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From: "Nigel Price" <nigel.a.price@virgin.net>
Subject: (urth) Hamilton Academicals
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001 00:32:27 +0100

In "To Nigel", P Morris wrote:

>>I realise this group is composed of "Wolfe fans" and also "Wolfe
>>professionals", (I count myself among the former, but not the latter)

Two distinct groups of contributors? What a chilling thought...

No, no, it may appear that way sometimes, but I'm sure it's an allusion.
We're all fans really. If I've been more than usually pompous recently, I

>>But why are you wasting your time...

Because my real jobs currently (Beta testing software, compiling a
concordance to a new translation of the Bible, researching employment issues
among Swiss bankers, writing a video script to train shop managers for a
national chain of hardware stores) are nowhere near as much fun as
discussing Wolfe, whose works I admire and adore in equal measure.

>>...slamming Hamilton for, I guess, lack of
>>seriousness, lack of artistry, philosophic shallowness etc????

And there was I thinking that I was praising him to high heaven and trying
to persuade everyone to read him! I didn't spend the summer reading the
3,600 pages of "Night's Dawn" and then rush straight onto "A Second Chance
at Eden" because I thought Hamilton was bad. He's not, he's brilliant,
absolutely brilliant. His books are exciting, horrifying and funny by turns,
and tremendously gripping. I think I may be slightly in love with the
heroine of the series, Louise Kavanagh, and finally leaving the crew of the
starship Lady Macbeth behind was almost like a minor bereavement!

>>Anyone who has enjoyed both Hamilton and Wolfe can immediately see they
>>trying for two entirely different outcomes.  Hamilton is an "adventure"
>>writer.  You can see that in his lively if somewhat silly "Mindstar"
>>He is interested in exploring future tech, arranging a sweeping narrative,
>>and resolving a somewhat interesting problem (the possession)
>>Wolfe, as we all know, is interested in religious-philosophical issues,
>>working out long, subtle jokes...

I agree completely with what you say. The amazing thing as a Wolfe fan,
though, is the way that Hamilton uses many of the same themes and raw
ingredients which Wolfe uses, but succeeds - wonderfully - in making a
completely different type of book out of them. That's why I originally
thought that it might be worth mentioning Hamilton on the list. Then I got
back from holiday, and found that the subject had already been raised.

>>..that attract the interest of the professional
>>unravelers such as yourself.

You flatter me. I'm a failed academic who earns his living as a hack writer
and consoles himself by pontificating about his favourite SF author. It's
mostly harmless, if occassionally tedious for the other list subscribers.

>>You seem to be blaming Hamilton for not being like Wolfe.

Well, that was certainly not my intention. What I was trying to explore is
how he can use similar tropes while being so very different.

>>Face it, there's only one Wolfe.

Indeed. My very favourite author.

>>I count myself among one of his greatest admirers.

As do we all, I suspect. Sometimes, Wolfe writes so well that he simply
takes my breath away.

in deepest, darkest Minety

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

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