From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes"
Subject: RE: (urth) Re: What abos? Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 14:21:37 -0700 Jerry observed that: > Victor wasn't clumsy. According to Marsch, he was an excellent > camp cook (which must involve using knives, spatulas, etc.), brilliant > with ropes, and capable of pounding tent pegs with a rock. He just > couldn't write in the normal way or shoot. Or start a fire. Actually, here's a weird interpretation of 5HC: Suppose we presume that _everyone_, in all three novellas, is actually telling the truth -- as he sees it, for his or her own reasons? Sort of a reversal of the "unreliable narrator" tactic. Does this create an unworkable set of contradictions, or can these all be reasonably attributed to the differences between their various perspectives? There's a quote on my old ACE edition from (I think) Ursula K. Le Guin (btw, has anyone else read the new Earthsea novel? I'm about halfway through it and I think it's the best thing she's written in many years) to the effect that 5HC is a fictional dramatization of the uncertainty principle. Okay, so what does that mean? Does she mean it the way a physicist would mean it, i.e., that there is an absolute limit to how much you can know about something and if you make one aspect of it more certain you make another aspect less certain? Or is she referring to the all too common social scientist's misreading of the principle, the idea that "[the presence of] the observer affects the outcome/results of the experiment?" I suspect that she actually means the former. Though Le Guin is not a hard science fiction writer, she has repeatedly (and especially in THE DISPOSSESSED) shown that she takes the trouble to understand the hard sciences, even if she chooses to override them (i.e., the way just about everyone overrides the hard sciences by allowing FTL communication and/or travel); I'm reasonably sure she wouldn't make the error of the latter. But then what does she mean? My initial thought is that she's saying that the more closely you look at any given aspect of 5HC, the more some other aspect(s) will go out of focus. So you can develop a theory of the whole book that doesn't get too detailed, or you can develop a theory that explains any given aspect of it in a completely satisfying way but doesn't fit with some other aspect(s): in short, no complete theory for understanding 5HC may be possible. Does this ring true? I fear it may. --Blattid --