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Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 11:57:16 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) Roy's Notes on "Hour of Trust"

Roy Lackey wrote a solid message, beginning:
>I think mantis was on the right path to interpreting this story when he
>viewed the suicide-bomber tactics of the rebels as unacceptably barbaric. In
>the context of the story, I doubt that Wolfe's sympathies lay with either
>the de facto corporate government or the rebels. Neither side was "right",
>but one may have been more wrong than the other. Clio's final paragraph
>decrying the ethos of corporate America echoes Ben Free, who, I think, was
>expressing Wolfe's sentiments regarding the 20th century
>governmental/corporate stifling of individual initiative and freedom.

Roy went on to point out more notes on the title, saying that the "hour" in
question is pinpointed at the death of the three ken-kins; and supposition
of further infiltration of the corporates by Tredgold.

So Roy, I can see you position on this, but what do you make of the ending?
Does it seem "foreshadowed but still somewhat off" (in my first sense of
"Why would a mole go kablooie on they guy like that?") or does it make
perfect sense?

Roy wrote:
>None of the three ken-kins (is the hyphen
>there just because of the line break?) we are told anything about appear in
>any way noble or even well grounded in reality. They seem to have no common
>cause except a willingness to die and kill others in the process.

I agree completely: as presented at this stage in the story they are
clearly pawns being coopted, if not coerced, by the rebels.  Things are
different if one sees Clio's act as leadership leading by example.

Part of the problem in answering these questions is we don't see any of the
rebels: we see the ken-kins, who seem like something worse than
cannon-fodder, and we see masked Clio (and probably Tredgold) who are
higher up, but of nebulous category/rank. So we don't have a sense of what
the mass of rebels is like, what they want, what they are willing to do.

Roy wrote:
>Then there is Tredgold, who gets too much ink in the story to be ignored. He
>is the same age as Peters, but seems much older. He opens Peters' eyes to
>the realities of corporate life, and is at least partly responsible for
>Peters' change from a good corporation "yes" man at the beginning of the
>evening to the wannabe, boat-rocking corporate soldier at the end. (The
>irony is that Clio [who presumably is on the side of the rebels against the
>corporations] kills Peters when he continues to talk of making a difference,
>of exercising personal initiative to change the way corporations do things,
>right after lecturing him about what was wrong with corporations/big
>government--that they were mindless, bureaucratic entities who only wanted
>to preserve the status quo--which is what the rebels were rebelling against
>in the first place.)

While I agree about Clio, still I think she really is urging Peters to go
along with the flow of history, if you will, and if he agrees then she
would spare him.  (Then again, having writ that, I wonder if I'm still
attaching too much importance to Peters as a hero having any kind of effect
on his own fate?)
From her point, it is too late for the type of change you are talking
about: the revolution is in full bloom, the corporations are mortally
wounded (even if they don't know it yet), the tide of history has moved
onto whatever the rebels will do for their time on the stage (having won
the war it remains to be seen whether they succeed at the cultural
challenge or not).

Back to the telescreens: we are told that the one in the main room has no
curtain, and can only give privacy when it is turned off. We don't see
Peters turn off the screen in the bedroom (this also ties into the "did
they do the nasty or are they still just starting?" question). But then
again, are the many calls on hold (I envision each as a little window with
a face) able to see Peters even when they are on hold?

In any event, the sense that Clio's speech on corporate sloth is less for
Peters than for a rebel audience.  Yes, no, maybe, other.

Finally, Roy, which side do you think was more wrong?  Every example points
to the rebels, but that Ben Free ref . . . oh, I see: that ref is to show
Wolfe's sympathy to the rebels.  That they have a moral point (corporations
being stupid), but this does not entitle them to barbaric solutions
(suicide bombers).


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