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Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 09:30:46 -0500
Subject: (urth) Why I don't like TBOTSS
From: Adam Stephanides 

It's not just the treatment of the inhumi; the more I think about TBOTSS,
the less I like it.  To be sure, there's a lot of good stuff in it, and I
myself have tried to make excuses for it in the past.  But overall, it's a
mess: full of "mysteries" which look more and more like sloppy writing the
more they're discussed, ill-digested pulp trappings, and long, tedious
descriptions of battles and politics.

And the more I think about it, the more Wolfe's failure to depict Horn's
relationship with Krait seems like a cop-out.  This relationship is, or
should be, at the heart of the book: it mirrors Horn's unhappy relationship
with Sinew, and it explains why he befriends Jahlee and other inhumi.  But
instead of seeing how Horn comes to think of Krait as a son, we get snippets
of pulp action and a melodramatic death scene.  Regardless of what Wolfe's
actual motives were, it feels like he didn't show the developing
relationship because he couldn't figure out how to make it plausible.  If
(as I once suggested) Wolfe was attempting, as with PEACE, to give us a
narrator whose "story" lies in what he fails to tell us, he has failed.
While Weer emerges as a convincing character, even though virtually every
scene we'd expect in a "life story" is missing, for me Horn never coheres as
a character.

I'm not suggesting, I hasten to add, that those who like it are deceiving
themselves or others.  But I don't understand the seeming consensus that
TBOTSS is a masterpiece, and equal to TBOTNS.  To me, TBOTSS seems more like
a parody of everything that made TBOTNS great.



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