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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Rostum & Nutria
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 1997 09:46:15 

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

On Mon, 8 Sep 1997, Kevin J. Maroney wrote:

> Anyway, I think it's pretty clear that the Outsider is both God and a burst
> blood-vessel in Silk's head. 

Is there any evidence other than Crane's speculation that Silk burst a

> While it is true that the Outsider shows Silk
> many things that Silk could not possibly have know, remember always that
> _The Book of the Long Sun_ is a *composed* text, written by a human being,
> who wants to make it look like Silk had a real revelation.

Kind of like the Gospels.  What I was trying to say in the post that
caused Mantis to put my name on this thread is that I loved the way Wolfe
presented a story with strong evidence that God exists, but then makes it
clear that the story is narrated by people whose trustworthiness we need
to evaluate for ourselves.  Do we think Silk's story contains hagiography,
or are Horn & Nettle giving us the facts as best they know them (and how
well do they know them)?  It seems to me that you have to take their story
on faith in much the same way I take the Gospels on faith. 

But then to have Wolfe say in an interview that the Outsider really is God
is sort of like me having a vision from God telling me the Gospels are
authentic.  It might be nice if it happened in real life, but it kind of
ruins the ambiguity for me when Wolfe does it, closing off interpretations
that Wolfe had taken great pains to allow in the story itself.

Perhaps I can take Wolfe's comment to mean that *he* believes Horn and
Nettle's (and Silk's) story, but that I need to decide for myself.

As for the title of this thread, I didn't really think I was disagreeing
with Nutria so much as making a follow-up comment to something he said.
I'm sorry  if I came across as antagonistic.


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