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Subject: RE: (urth) King Jesus defense
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 09:55:35 -0700
From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 

Dan (Doggett):

You wrote,

> Your primary contention seems the easiest for me to refute ...

I do not feel certain what, precisely, you consider my "primary=20
contention," but as you do not (to me) appear to address (what=20
I consider) my "primary contention," allow me to make it explicit:

First, I agree that G.W.'s basic working method involves what=20
you call "supersaturating ... with ... many ideas and references."=20
He seems nearly unique in the degree of this; I know of only two=20
(SF) writers who come close: Theodore Sturgeon and A.E. van Vogt,=20
who however do this in very different ways -- mostly ideas, far=20
less references.

Second, I certainly do think it reasonable to perceive=20
similarities between NS and KJ. However, as I said in my previous=20
post, "This kind of surface connection can be found between almost=20
any two rich and complex works of narrative literature" -- and,=20
I would add, _especially_ two works which clearly play off the=20
same basic template, in this case, the received story of Jesus the=20
Christ. I think it might constitute an interesting exercise to=20
compare NS with, for example, Dostoevski's THE IDIOT. On the other=20
hand, I don't think it would prove all that interesting to compare=20
NS with Heinlein's STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, though it uses the=20
Jesus-template rather extensively ... which probably says something=20
about how I perceive the richness and complexity of SiaSL.

Third: But and however, given that one can find such similarities=20
and connections between two such works, it does not follow that
the later-written in any way reworks or shows influence from the
earlier-written, in some sort of _post hoc ergo propter hoc_ way.
Thus my concern for a "smoking gun:" either a direct reference to
the earlier work (either internal to the later work or in some
external comment by the work's author), or else some complex of
details that we can't plausibly call it a "coincidence," a random
isomorphism in how the two writers treat similar material.

My "primary contention," then, is that -- even if I grant every
one of your points -- they constitute neither such a reference=20
nor such a complex of details, leaving the question of whether=20
KJ might help us to understand what Wolfe is doing in NS open at

That said, I probably erred in the directions of "pointless"
and/or "misleading" in disputing your specific details one by



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