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From: "Tony Ellis" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Tony's Ellis Island
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 12:17:19 +0100

Dan'l wrote:
>H'mmmm. While interesting, this ignores two things.
>First, that _all_ the names in the list are of mythical or fictional

Only if you ignore something yourself: the not-insubstantial continent of
Africa, which is also in the list the Old Wise One gives.

>Second, that all the names in question were coined in the last three
>thousand years or so.

The Old Wise One has pulled these names out of the minds of passing starship
crews. Check out the speech preceding the list of names, which begins "We
came here either recently or a long, long time ago." He says that when the
Shadow Children try to remember the name of 'their' home, they "hear also
the mind-singing", ie pick up the thoughts of, passing starship crews, and
"these thoughts come into our songs." The next sentence is the list of

So. The Shadow Children know that 'their' home is somewhere long ago and far
away. They find some pretty names for places long ago and far away in the
minds of passing starship crews that seem to strike a chord, so these are
the ones they come up with.

>.it places directly in your court, or the court
>of anyone who wishes to say (as you did on Tuesday)that "all of 'A
>Story' should be taken literally," the question of _why_ we should
>consider VRT in this account any more literal than any other Wolfe

Because, m'lud, VRT isn't telling his own story.

We can suspect the narratives of Latro and Severian, because it is the story
of their own lives that they are telling. They have a vested interest. Horn
may or may not have fibbed in TBOTLS, but it is in TBOTSS, where he is
telling his own story, that Wolfe makes it blindingly obvious that he is
editing the truth.

It is in 'V.R.T.' that Victor tells his own story, it is there that he
actually plays the role of a Wolfe narrator, and it is there, sure enough,
that he lies like a trooper. But in 'A Story' he doesn't have the Wolfe
narrator's motivation to lie, because he isn't telling his own story.
Telling the story of Sandwalker falsely won't get him out of gaol, and we
have no reason in any case to believe that it was written with his gaolers
in mind.

Something that reinforces my belief is the fact that when his narratives are
suspect, Wolfe makes this quite obvious. Horn and the narrator of Seven
American Nights openly confess to lying. In 'V.R.T.' we have whopping great
big clues like a change of handwriting. But there's nothing internal to 'A
Story' to suggest that it is unreliable (that I'm aware of), and externally,
in the other novellas, we get the confirmation of many places and events,
suggesting that, instead, we should view this as a story that really


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