From: "Roy C. Lackey"
Subject: Re: (urth) Roy's Notes on "Hour of Trust" Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 20:26:25 -0600 mantis wrote: >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? It doesn't make sense to me either; as you have pointed out, if Clio is a rebel with the cause, she is more valuable to the cause alive than Peters is, dead or alive. The reactions of Donovan and Burglund to Peters' overtures make clear that the corporations' elite have no intentions of getting their hands dirty doing whatever was needed to insure survival of the corporate state. The corporations are therefore an evolutionary dead end. Contrast them with the bureaucratic state (the Library of Congress), the first law of which is survival, which continues to function while the world goes to hell around it, and does so without pay. >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. I suspect that the apparent lack of focus on the rebels' objectives is deliberate on Wolfe's part. Remember, this story had to have been written during the Carter era. It was in part Wolfe's reaction to the '60s, the liberal bent of which, and the various "protest" movements of, he probably had little empathy for or even understood. Post Vietnam, Watergate, Women's Lib, "free love", "save the whale", etc., the world Wolfe grew up in must have seemed to one of his generation devolving into anarchy, without fixed rules or boundaries. The opinions of a pimple-faced geek on the corner--about anything--were held to be as valid as any others, regardless of ability or experience. The rebel-without-a-clue syndrome writ large. >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). As you say, Clio perceives that the corporations will lose the war, so there is no good reason for her to kill Peters, if she is a mole. But is she? There is really no good evidence to suppose she is. To make sense of the ending, I think we have to look to the earlier examples of the ken-kins. As I said before, they have no unifying creed. Their reasons for 'sharing' their suicides vary from idealistic to religious to nutty to who-knows-what. The only thing each may have in common is trust violated in some way. What trust did Peters violate? That he hoped to rock the boat with change? Both she and he knew it wouldn't work. That wasn't it; her reasons were more personal. Could it be that Peters' actions belied his words, that history was being repeated? Clio had recently stopped being Lewis's lover; now she found herself in bed with his heir-apparent, and couldn't "figure out why". Exit stage center. >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? No, the callers can't see into the bedroom when on hold; neither can they be seen. "Then he hit Release, wondering if Tredgold had bothered to wait." (148) Adam is right; Clio exploded *after* having sex with Peters. The lights and, presumably, the vid screen were turned off. "He took her hand in the dark." (last paragraph) >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). Uh, the rebels seem to be worse, but there aren't any good guys in this story. -Roy --