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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) The Play
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 1998 13:05:09 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

I think Nutria's analysis of the Play (which I'm not quoting, because it's
fairly long) is excellent, but suffers from too strict adherence to the
Bible. Using the Zoroastrian/Persian model has some advantages. First, at
least in the Zurvanite version, the great creator is Time itself, which has
no limit, no beginning nor end (this seems very New Sun to me). Second, as
in much heroic fantasy, which Wolfe is certainly taking off from (though he
goes a long distance), there are both Good (Ohrmazd, Ahura Mazda) and Evil
(Ahriman, Angra Mainyu) who do battle through creation. Third, Nod
(Gayomart, in the Persian, but just as Nutria says, Wolfe wants the Hebrew
link too) is an interesting figure who really does mirror Baldanders, the
primal giant from whose body and bones much was created. Fourth, the myth
includes not only Meschia and Meschiane (and there is no rib or apple or
serpent or sin or exile nonsense in this version), the parents of humankind,
but also Jahi, the outsider, who may fairly be said to stand for the undines
and all the creatures that are neither animal nor human but, as Borges put
it, "imaginary beings." And they are important to Urth.


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