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From: "Andy Robertson" <andywrobertson@clara.co.uk>
Subject: Re: (urth) Nerd? Artisan? PEACE!?
Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2002 08:20:56 -0000

----- Original Message -----
From: "maa32" <maa32@dana.ucc.nau.edu>

> I cannot agree with you on your characterization of a nerdy celibate,

I wasn't talking about Wolfe's private life at all, but about the type of
fictional character he is comfortable with!   (and maybe this is a good
point to resolve that we will stay away from any discussion of Wolfe's
private life).

But yes, he is a Nerd.   Nerd calleth unto nerd, yea even across the oceans
of space.  I can tell.

Nerd power!   Nerd Pride!!

    --- *** ---

Seriously, he is a man whose energies primary flow into his craft, not into
mastering others.

This again is characteristic of what he means by "the settled customary
goodness of the Shire".   That it is only in a society whose politics is
quiet - where political forms are fixed and settled by custom, and absorb
only a small fraction of the energies of men - that such men can thrive.

This is why he wrote rather unconvincingly about Severian, who genuinely
enjoyed power and domination, but much more convincingly about Silk - a man
who would rather have remained unimportant and small.

> especially from PEACE.  Weer molests an underage girl!

Weer is a batchelor who has missed the love of his life.    His occasional
sexual adventures are miserable and unsatisfying.

That underage girl with her "magic ring" is one of the saddest and most
accurate portrayals of promiscuous femininity I have ever read (and yes,
I've met older women exactly like that, even slept with them)

> He calls sex
> absolutely ordinary, going on all the time.

Compensation because he isn't getting any

> Come on, all Wolfe's females are
> close to hookers (some are sympathetic hookers).

Good point.  But repentant evil is always easier to portray than sympathetic
good. Mary Magdelene comes to mind.

> I think that Severian's
> interior monologue is a good representation of an aggressive man (and
maybe a
> sexually violent man) because, let's face it, he doesn't think about it
> much, he just does it, and I think that is pretty realistic.

I will expand slightly

In my experience aggressive people are usually fundamentally logical people
who fight because they have to or gain advantage from doing so.   They are
not incapable of making constructive alliances or of affection.    They are,
in fact, normal.   Hildegrin is a good example, well portrayed.     Auk is
another in the same mould.

However, Severian was a picture of someone far more complex than that.  He
is not  simply moderately violent by inclination or practical necessity - he
is a man trained into lethal violence from birth, and trained *not to feel
anything when he performs violence* from birth.

It is very hard to make such a person convincing, because we have no echo of
their interior life within us.   All of us have been in childish scuffles at
least.  None of us have ever been Torturers.

Wolfe did as well as he possibly could, by making Severian utterly hard and
cold, and obviously badly damaged, psychologically.    With Silk, Wolfe
portrayed someone far closer to normality, and correspondingly more

    Andy Robertson

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