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From: "Andy Robertson" 
Subject: Re: (urth) TBOTSS and colonialism
Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 18:30:19 +0100

----- Original Message -----
From: "Adam Stephanides" 
> (I'll refrain from comment upon hartshorn's excursus into real-world
> politics.)

Comment freely, but only where relevant to Wolfe's work

> What Wolfe is essentially doing is
> biologizing evil, which is a dangerous thing to do whatever one's
> intentions.

Wolfe is not biologising *human* evil.   If he did I would read with
interest, mind you.  But that is not relevant here.   He is not talking
about a different human race, but a different species.

> And depicting the relations between groups in terms of
> "evolutionary rivalry and conflict" to the death is also dangerous, given
> this century's history.

A good writer writes about reality, not avoiding what is "dangerous".

> > Now let's really, really,  stir this one up.
> >
> > Inhumi = jews?
> Actually, if the inhumi are indeed modelled upon any real-life group, my
> guess would be the Palestinians, given Wolfe's post-9/11 remarks that the
> U.S. should give Israel a free hand, and given the Exodus theme in TBOTLS.

I doubt it, given the m.o. of the Inhumi.    They are not a race of peasants
being displaced, but rather a race of cunning psychic manipulators and

I do not of course imagine Wolfe has any thought of drawing an analogy with
real-life jews, but it does seem to me that there is something of the
*legendary* picture of the Jew in the inhumi.   Shylock.  Wormtongue.  The
evil counciler.

> Yes, I can see the resemblance of the inhumi to demons.  But they are also
> an indigenous species on a colonized planet, whether Wolfe intended to
> a colonial novel or not (and I agree it doesn't read like one).  And
> it seems quite dangerous to me to depict what is, in effect, a race as
> compelled by its nature to be evil.

The whole point of Wolfe's writing *is* to depict such a race, and then give
it the agony of having a human soul and *perceiving* that evil *but still
not being able to renounce it*.

> Once again, I am not claiming that Wolfe himself is racist, or intends to
> promote racism, or that reading TBOTSS would make someone a racist.  But I
> am saying that the philosophy Wolfe's portrayal of the inhumi seems
> to convey is one that can easily, and has in the past, fostered racism,
> whatever Wolfe's intentions.

Unquestionably Wolfe does not believe that the differences between human and
Inhumi can be erased by any amount of goodwill or environmental
manipulation.   They are genetic and unchangeable by any human power.

The whole point of the book is to show Silk, a saint, attempt this
redemption *and fail*.

    --- *** ---

Look, fiddle-faddle PC about "racism" is far, far,  below understanding what
Wolfe is attempting.

The whole moral point is that there *is* a vast biological difference.

Love may perhaps redeem the most evil human being.

But in the Lupiverse love must try to redeem something far worse - an

If the inhumi were not intrinsically evil, intrinsically far worse than the
worse human being, **this would have no meaning at all**.

There is this attempt to extend the matrix of human love to the inhumi, and
there is its failure.

If the ihnumi were just human beings in drag, neither the attempt nor its
failure would have any special meaning at all.

Surely, surely, you must see this?



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