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Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 23:10:47 -0400
From: William Ansley 
Subject: Re: (urth) Wolfe physics

At 8:05 PM -0500 8/18/03, Michael Buice wrote:
>On Monday, August 18, 2003, at 07:38 PM, Alice K. Turner wrote:
>>No, you haven't. It'a just a consequence of GW's having tried to cobble
>>several sf traditions together that sensibly shouldn't be cobbled. NS not
>>only has FtL effects, but the ship, through some post-Einsteinian doodah
>>that makes my head spin can get there before it started. LS has tradional
>>(in sf) generational travel, and seems pretty well thought out. SS has
>>instantaneous magic flights to other planets that hark back to Burroughs.
>>What's not to be confused about? Sometimes I think you guys spend a lot more
>>time than the author did trying to make sense of all this.
>IMHO, Wolfe "cobbled" rather well.  One of the many things I 
>appreciate about Gene Wolfe's writing is the way he deals with 
>science.  Since none of the major "authors" in the Sun universe are 
>scientists themselves, we're to expect some confusion in the 
>relation of the deeper workings of things.  I've always been 
>impressed with how realistic most of it seems, having been filtered 
>through the "lay-brains" of Severian, Horn, etc.  Ever read a 
>"popular" book on Quantum Mechanics?  I've yet to see one get it 
>right.  I've NEVER seen any science fiction in which it's down right 
>(that is, when people try to dig deeper than Severian ever does).

Michael Buice,

I'm with alga on this one. IMO the seams really show where Wolfe 
tried to sew the New and Long/Short Suns together. And I'm not really 
sure what the fact that Gene Wolfe is very good at presenting science 
from the point of view of a non-scientist has to do with his trying 
to combine too many disparate elements together, which I think he 
did, especially in Short Sun.

(BTW, did you really mean to put the H in your IMHO?  I'm sure you 
didn't mean to imply that you and only you have the absolute grasp of 
physics necessary to judge if it is used properly in popular science 
writing and SF, but you came across that way in your last two posts. 

William Ansley


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