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Date: Wed, 01 May 2002 09:13:08 -0500
Subject: Re: (urth) Uncollected Wolfe
From: Adam Stephanides 

on 4/28/02 1:52 PM, Robert Borski at rborski@charter.net wrote:

> And those of you who have started to think of GW as a cranky
> old man may be less than pleased by the sermonette at the end. ("In the
> century we are just now closing out, we ordinary men and women have been in
> much greater danger from our own governments than from all the criminals in
> the world.")

I'm one of "those," but I have to admit Wolfe has a point here, at least if
you consider only death.  The number of people in the 20th century killed by
their own governments, or as a result of bad policies (i.e. famines) would
certainly be in the tens of millions, which might very well be greater than
the number of people killed by "ordinary criminals," though I have no idea
what the actual figure would be.

> "A Fish Story." Is the key to understanding this short short to be found in
> the name "Rob Salmon"? (Or something like that--can't find my F&SF with the
> story at the moment) I.e., do ghosts return to the place they're "born" too?

I found this one pretty impenetrable myself.
> "The Night Chough." Almost no one agreed with me that this story supported
> my early notion that Scylla was riding Oreb and several people nearly
> self-combusted insisting this could not be so. It will therefore be
> interesting to see how the story reads now that the Short Sun trilogy has
> concluded.

I didn't read this one until after Oreb's possession by Scylla had been
revealed, so I don't recall the arguments; but it seemed to me that the
story made it clear that *something* was "riding" Oreb.  Knowing that it was
Scylla didn't add anything to the story for me; but then I've never been
much taken by the possession stuff.

> "Petting Zoo." Agree with mantis to a point--the story does seem like a
> Calvin-comes-of-age fable, except that the last paragraph also ominously
> suggests that mankind no longer rules the Earth, robots do.

I only read this once, and not closely, but I took the last paragraph as
meaning that the Earth is now ruled by the nanny-state, which has tamed free
and "wild" men like the protagonist had been as a child.  (I'm speaking from
Wolfe's perspective, not my own.)

> "The Walking Sticks." Dave Hartwell, despite being kind enough to mention me
> in the intro, gives away a plot element I would have preferred learning in
> the story itself.

Not that you don't see it coming a mile away.

> Otherwise agree with Dr. Nick, in that it's rather
> unoutstanding.

"Unoutstanding" is putting it mildly.



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