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Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 11:50:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Straight 
Subject: Re: (urth) revelatory message/converting dislike

On Sun, 26 May 2002, Michael Andre-Driussi wrote:

> My question to William and anyone else who cares to answer is this: Have
> you ever received a revelatory message about a disliked Wolfe fiction that
> made you "see the light" and revise your dislike of it?  More than once?
> What were the fictions, what were the revelations, to what degree did it
> change your dislike (how many levels did it rise up--did you actually come
> to like it?), and how long ago was it?

This has happened to me several times, not just with Wolfe.  I guess I'm
just particularly dense.

Urth of the New Sun - I disliked this because I had too many wrong
interpretations about the New Sun Quartet and it went totally against
them.  After spending some time reading this list and going back through
the whole series again I enjoyed all of them more, and the difference was
probably greatest for this book.

I think the most important insight I had was simply to let Wolfe take me
where he wanted to go and show me what he wanted, and enjoy the
ride.  Once I got over not having the plot do what I thought it should do
and not getting to see the scenes I thought I wanted to see, I really
enjoyed what was actually there.

I didn't much like 5HC the first time I read it either, but after getting
some hints from this group on how it all fit together, I went back and
enjoyed it quite a bit.  (Still my least favorite Wolfe, but I did enjoy
it the second time through).

I can't say how much these differences are from insights from the list and
how much is just from giving the works a second read, but I think both
were involved.

As for the Short Sun books, I loved them the first time and the second
time.  Yes they have problems, and leave some of my desires unsatisfied
(I'm not sure Wolfe's has a satisfying and coherent idea about what the
"Secret" is, and I'm not wild about the ending), but what is there is



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