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Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 21:46:08 -0500
From: "Stephen Case" 
Subject: (urth) Rereading the Short Sun

I got a summer job at the planetarium here in town, and it's given me a =
lot of time to read.  Over the course of the past couple weeks, I've been =
rereading the Short Sun books for the first time.  I'm almost done with =
Return to the Whorl, and I know they've probably been discussed to death =
on the list; but I didn't really get involved in the discussion much, and =
I thought I'd voice my thoughts now.  If you feel this has already been =
covered, don't respond.  Or direct me to the proper places in the =
(intimidatingly immense) archives.
     First of all, with all the talk that went back and forth around here =
a while back as to the merits of the books themselves, a rereading has =
firmly convinced me of my opinion. Whether or not the books bring up =
questions that should be answered and are not or are answered ridiculously =
vaguely, a rereading reminded me that I really love these books.  The =
characters, the conversations, the way Wolfe shows us what they feel in =
the way they speak.  One scene in particular that illustrates what I like =
so much about these books: Hound, Horn, and Pig are sitting in the ruins =
of Blood's villa.  Not only is the atmosphere soaked in the memories that =
we have from the Long Sun, but just listening to the characters talk to =
each other-- I love it.  Hound is so solid, a simple, good man.  Silk is =
showing through in everything Horn says.  And even Pig's dialect doesn't =
bother me.  It's a riddle trying to figure out what he says, but it adds =
weight somehow.  Maybe that doesn't make sense, but I didn't come out and =
say it as firmly as I should have earlier when all the discussion as to =
good/bad book was going around.  The Short Sun, IMO, deserves to stand in =
the ranks with Long Sun and New Sun.
     Okay, I KNOW this has been covered before, but again, just voicing my =
own thoughts.  Fel free to skip this whole paragraph.  When did Horn =
become Silk?  I think it was determined pretty surely that of course Horn =
is dead in the lander on Green and somehow his spirit is in Silk in the =
Whorl, sort of.  But it really struck me how Wolfe shows this transition =
in his writing, something that I think I missed in my first reading.  In =
In Green's Jungles and Return to the Whorl, I LIKE the narrator.  I really =
like him.  On Blue's Waters, I didn't.  Horn bugged me.  He was whiny and =
unfaithful and hated his son for what I still don't think was any good =
reason.  (This is still one of my biggest unanswered questions in the =
books: why does Horn hate Sinew so much?)  But after a bit through In =
Green's Jungles, I like the narrator. He's a good guy.  He doesn't just =
whine about trying to be a good guy; he is.  (And yes, this is the same =
good guy that's in Gaon in OBW, but I don't think we spend enough time =
with him there to really know him)  Even though he thinks he's Horn, =
anyone that's read the Long Sun and admires Silk as much as I do, sees the =
change.  Okay, this is probably very elementary to all you, but I caught =
it the second time though and enjoyed it.  Maybe that's what makes the =
difference.  The first time, I read each book as it came out.  The second =
time I read them all together, and they seem to flow much better.  Go =
figure. =20
     Anyway, this is my longest post to the list so far and I'm sure =
everything I've said is old news to you guys.  But there it is. =20

-Steve =20


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