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From: Peter Stephenson <pws@ibmth.df.unipi.it>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re:Jesuits/Devils
Date: Sun, 06 Jun 1999 16:42:35 +0200

Patri10629@aol.com wrote:
> The Greys were in fact exorcised in 1979 in a private ceremony at the Dallas 
> Hilton.
> They are Whites now.

Don't you mean `they're still Greys, because there's nothing wrong in being
grey, of course, but they have a much more fulfilled inner life now they
have been purged of their anachronistic, stereotyped attitudes to
terrestrial species?'

> And don't think, Sir, that simply dropping a vowel or two from your name can 
> hide your True Identity.

But isn't it cultist to have negative attitudes towards someone just
because their father may (or, of course, may not) be an inappropriate role

While I'm posting, is it OK if I mention something Wolfe-related?  (Now I
have to try and get my tongue out of my cheek, but it's lodged there so

I read `The Sparrow' recently, and a couple of comparisons with Wolfe
struck me.  The first is more or less the one that has been discussed ---
Wolfe's religious outlook is so much more subtle; you're not being beaten
with a stick marked `Theology' every few pages.

The second was on the subject of aliens and alien worlds.  I was
disappointed in `The Sparrow' to find that the world didn't strike me as
properly alien at all.  It's the sort of place which a hundred years would
have turned up along an uncharted tributary of the Amazon, rather than in
another star system (and this is probably grossly unfair, but I have this
vague feeling it could even have worked better that way).

Then it occurred to me --- Wolfe's alien's somehow aren't that alien
either.  But in his case it seems to me deliberate.  In his blurring the
boundary of fantasy and science fiction, his aliens are somewhat like his
undines etc.: slightly altered human beings for a universe which is somehow
slightly changed from ours.  That goes in `Cerberus' too --- and there
perhaps there are hints that he doesn't think his aliens are so alien
either.  It even goes for inhumi, which disguise themselves as human ---
the differences are more the sort you'd expect in a work of horror rather
than SF.  Perhaps that's another clue.  There's a scene where Severian is
confronted by the hierodules, and they show him that they're wearing
horrific masks under their benign ones, apparently just to play on human
fears about aliens (hope I've remembered that right).  Wolfe's aliens are a
personification both of our search for higher meanings, and our fears of
finding our own darker selves at the end of the search --- which brings us
back neatly to the subject line.  (Trite, or what.  Sorry.)


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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