FIND in
<--prev V204 next-->
From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: RE: (urth) Wash Post article on Wolfe: correct URL
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 08:53:10 -0700

I agree with Rostrum, that was a really nicely-done "intro to Wolfe," 
especially for the (presumed) target audience of folks with no more 
than a casual knowledge of or interest in SF. 

It's worth noting, that I have generally suspected Wolfe (and especially
these books) of being particularly opaque to non-SF readers. He uses the 
rhetorical battery of SF so freely and so extremely that I wonder if 
someone with no real experience in the reading of SF might find him very 
hard slogging indeed, might indeed find it nigh impossible to decode.

But anyway ... I want to question the explicit linking of 5HC to the
"Sun" books. (BTW, I like the term "Briah Cycle" and even agree that 
this is the term that should achieve general currency, but will still 
probably use "Lupiverse," for personal and selfish reasons). They are 
_thematically_ linked, certainly, and you made that case mighty well;
but I question how well it serves as an entry point to the Lupiverse
-- for two reasons:

First, and less important, because I'm pretty sure that it does _not_
take place in the same universe as the "Sun" books. I would be hard
put to explain why, but there it is. Certainly it lacks any explicit
intertextual links with the universe in which they take place.

Second, and far more important, because in many ways 5HC is the _most_ 
difficult of Lupine texts. I mean this both in terms of "style" and

It's an incredible puzzle-box, but one that does not even tell you up 
front what the puzzles _are_; you have these three novellas, and they 
seem to be linked somehow, but when you first go through the texts, 
it's hard to even see what questions to ask to find the links. And the 
language of 5HC is the most explicitly and exclusively stfnal of all 
Wolfe's novels; the reader is forced to do a huge amount of rhetorical 
unpacking simply to make plot-sense out of the individual texts (and 
this is particularly so in "A Story," which is precisely the part that 
looks simplest on its surface). Then, too, 5HC is unremittingly 
_depressing_, possibly the hardest book to tolerate, emotionally, that 
I have ever read. 5HC emphatically should _not_ be given to people who 
are considering suicide (when the rainbow is not enuf); the only bit of
hope I see anywhere in it is actually external to it, the fact that a
human can and does ask these questions means that maybe, just maybe, we
can find better answers to them...


"And if a bird can speak, that once was a dinosaur,
 and a dog can dream, should it be impossible
 that a man might supervise the construction of light?"


<--prev V204 next-->