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Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 08:03:09 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) electro-torture of Urth

Jeff Wilson quoted and wrote:
>> Thecla (p. 239) correction, she did not exactly take her own life to
>>avoid another session with the revolutionary, rather, she did so to avoid
>>further torment by
>> the in-dwelling demon summoned by the device.
>	I think that this bears closer examination. Rather than a device that
>literally summons demons (just as the Book contains hierodules rather
>than literal angels), I think that the Rev is meant to be an
>electroshock device of fiendish refinement that divides the brain by
>damaging tissue electrically and leaves the non-speaking part greatly
>resentful of the trauma and perhaps envious of the speaking part.

In "Languages of the Dying Sun" (Damien Broderick's EARTH IS BUT A STAR;
also in NYRSF No. 149) I wrote something somewhat similar.  I was talking
about how Wolfe uses techniques to make common sf notions fantastical
(using old words for new things), and also making 20th century items very
strange (through reversals that employ magical thinking):

"In other words, the revolutionary is an electro-shock therapy device that
instils suicidal depression rather than removing the same. Such a thing
seems implausible, impossible; since we know that sane people are not made
insane by electrical shock. But a moment of magical thinking shows that
suicidal depression can be seen as an entity which cannot be destroyed, it
can only be sent away; so the twentieth-century machine is the 'sending'
device, and the torturers' machine is the 'receiving' device: mental
illness has been teleported to the end of history."

Well no, it isn't the same in fine detail as what Jeff Wilson wrote, but in
the category of
"looking-beyond-demons-toward-20th-century-medical-techniques" it is quite


booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
45 Lexicons left until OP!


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