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Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 14:42:38 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: (urth) The Waif, A Traveler, and Shields of Mars

--- Nicholas Gevers  wrote:
> Various notes about GW short stories:
> I was asked for my comments on "The Waif"--well, this
> is what I said in the February LOCUS:
> "...Decidedly more weighty is “The Waif” by Gene
> Wolfe, that author at his magnificent subtle best, a
> tale of superstition and religious repression in a
> rustic post-holocaust community. A young boy acquires
> a doppelganger from among a transcendent branch of
> humanity that might as well be the Fairy Folk; he is
> persecuted; and the final intersection of two worlds
> is deeply shocking, part of an acute critical take on
> faith that is doubly interesting coming from such a
> resolutely religious writer."

At first I didn't know what you meant by the critical take on faith, but
you're thinking of Bin's trust in Ariael and the townspeople's beliefs
about consorting with the Flying People, right?  (And the teacher's
explanation for why they hate the Flying People was so absurd that I
didn't see how even the kids could believe it.)  A reversal of the Long
and Short Sun books, where respect for superior beings is a good idea,
even if they call themselves gods.  I saw it more as morality: Ariael uses
Bin's best feelings against him.  The way he played on Bin's emotions
reminded of the way Krait played on Horn's, to somewhat different--even

Did Ariael have any other purpose than to cause what he caused?  Why would
he want to do that?  Just for fun?

"Bin" is presumably the future version of "Ben", but any takers for it
also being an alteration of Ban Ban Ca-Caliban, to go with Ariael?

Jerry Friedman

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