From: "Tony Ellis"
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Tony's Ellis Island Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 12:17:19 +0100 Dan'l wrote: >H'mmmm. While interesting, this ignores two things. > >First, that _all_ the names in the list are of mythical or fictional >places. Only if you ignore something yourself: the not-insubstantial continent of Africa, which is also in the list the Old Wise One gives. >Second, that all the names in question were coined in the last three >thousand years or so. The Old Wise One has pulled these names out of the minds of passing starship crews. Check out the speech preceding the list of names, which begins "We came here either recently or a long, long time ago." He says that when the Shadow Children try to remember the name of 'their' home, they "hear also the mind-singing", ie pick up the thoughts of, passing starship crews, and "these thoughts come into our songs." The next sentence is the list of names. So. The Shadow Children know that 'their' home is somewhere long ago and far away. They find some pretty names for places long ago and far away in the minds of passing starship crews that seem to strike a chord, so these are the ones they come up with. >.it places directly in your court, or the court >of anyone who wishes to say (as you did on Tuesday)that "all of 'A >Story' should be taken literally," the question of _why_ we should >consider VRT in this account any more literal than any other Wolfe >narrator? Because, m'lud, VRT isn't telling his own story. We can suspect the narratives of Latro and Severian, because it is the story of their own lives that they are telling. They have a vested interest. Horn may or may not have fibbed in TBOTLS, but it is in TBOTSS, where he is telling his own story, that Wolfe makes it blindingly obvious that he is editing the truth. It is in 'V.R.T.' that Victor tells his own story, it is there that he actually plays the role of a Wolfe narrator, and it is there, sure enough, that he lies like a trooper. But in 'A Story' he doesn't have the Wolfe narrator's motivation to lie, because he isn't telling his own story. Telling the story of Sandwalker falsely won't get him out of gaol, and we have no reason in any case to believe that it was written with his gaolers in mind. Something that reinforces my belief is the fact that when his narratives are suspect, Wolfe makes this quite obvious. Horn and the narrator of Seven American Nights openly confess to lying. In 'V.R.T.' we have whopping great big clues like a change of handwriting. But there's nothing internal to 'A Story' to suggest that it is unreliable (that I'm aware of), and externally, in the other novellas, we get the confirmation of many places and events, suggesting that, instead, we should view this as a story that really happened. --