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From: William Ansley <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) why the problem with astral travel?
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 23:30:02 

At 8:53 AM -0700 4/18/01, maa32 wrote:
>I really don't see why some are so distraught over Wolfe's use of a really big
>Godling or astral travel.  Severian's relationship with the new sun seems
>equally mysterious.  How can a man freely travel back and forth in time just
>because he has some affinity with a star?  without mechanical "SF"
>enhancement, how does Wolfe really explain Severian's connection?  How about
>silk's auto-resurrection at the end of Calde of the Long Sun?  I really don't
>think that access to the corridor of time is any different than travelling
>through space with a mental projection.  The sorceror in Sword of the Lictor
>is clearly a psionicist.  Is his mental fortitude any different than magic or
>astral projection?  Does a device or genetic alteration allow him to use his
>mental powers?  I don't think so.  According to A.D. + D., astral projection
>is a well established psionic ability, as is conjunction with another mind. 
>The godlings might very well be mechanical.  who cares?

I am one of those who complained about the "impossible" size of the 
godlings as not being "science fictional." You know what? You are 
right. This was a silly objection on my part, considering all of the 
stuff I have swallowed without complaint in other so-called SF. (Time 
travel, FTL drives and "Psi powers" are just the beginning.)

This however doesn't mean that I don't still object to the godlings' 
size or the astral projection. Neither of these things added anything 
essential to the story as far as I was concerned and both created 
confusion and loose ends (the godlings a little and astral projection 
a lot).

Now, I can only assume that both of these parts of the story are 
essential, since Wolfe wrote it and he is very careful about such 
things, and I am just missing the point. But I am not at all sure I 
am willing to give this series  years as some have recommended. I 
wouldn't have given TBotNS or Peace years of rereading if there 
wasn't some aspect of these books I enjoyed from the start. I am hard 
pressed to find this aspect in TBotSS.

I am becoming convinced that my problem with TBotSS is that it is 
Wolfe's most explicitly religious (long) work and I am an areligious 
person. If this is so, I don't think I am ever going to care for it 
more than I do now.

William Ansley

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