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Date: Mon, 6 May 2002 15:30:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Straight 
Subject: Re: (urth) 5HC: Shadow Children in the Lupiverse?

On Sun, 5 May 2002, Tony Ellis wrote:

> So what _does_ the reading that 'A Story' is pure fiction contribute
> to 5HC? I'm open to persuasion, but I have yet to hear anyone come up
> with a plausible explanation as to why Wolfe should want to waste one
> third of a novel with a section in which we are expected to understand
> that nothing we are told happens actually happens.

I'm undecided about whether 'A Story' is "true," but I'd like to take
issue with your idea that it would be a waste if it weren't.

1.  It's an entertaining novella on its own.  Maybe not the best Wolfe
ever wrote, but it could have been published by itself, and then the
question of how it fits with the rest of 5HC would be moot.  It wouldn't
be any more fictional than anything else Wolfe has written.

2.  If it's meant to be a fabrication of one of the characters in 5HC,
then that should tell us something about the character who wrote it and
perhaps something about others in the novel.  Wolfe is often much more
interested in getting inside the heads and hearts of his characters than
he is in satisfying our curiosity about events.  To Wolfe, the question,
"What sort of story would this character make up?" might be much more
interesting than the question "What really happened in the past on these
planets?"  If you were an alien wanting to understand humanity, would you
rather read all of our history books, or all of our works of fiction?

See also the storytelling contest in _Citadel_.



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