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Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 11:24:45 +1000 (EST)
From: David Duffy 
Subject: (urth) Re: 5HOC

alga wrote:
> Without following the argument very closely, let me suggest that with
> the Annese, GW references the fairy tradition--he is not alone among
> good sf writers to do so. Faries are flummoxed by "cold
> iron"--i.e.tools. They can sometimes shapeshift. And they have been
> known to interbreed with humans, as well has to kidnap human children.

And are polymorphic: short and ugly, taller and fair.

> Yes, of course there is the Australian "dreamtime," quite
> specifically.

It is the obvious link, given the "abo" terminology, which I think is
unique to Australian vernacular, but there is little material specific
to indigenous Australian traditions in "A Story".  The Dreamtime ended
long before 1788, though it is a nice conceit to imagining stopping
with the introduction of European time.  I think it is a nod to Bradbury,
not _The Exiles_ but a similar short.

Adam wrote:
> I can turn the question around, though: why, if Wolfe wants us to
> believe in prehistoric starcrossers and Shadow Children telepathically
> hiding the St.  Anne, does he put this information in a document
> entitled simply "A Story" whose purpose is unknown, and which is
> mostly fictional in any case (unless you believe that the oral
> tradition preserved all Sandwalker's words and thoughts)?

To be tricksy and ambiguous ;)  I can't believe anyone would be gullible
enough to believe Wolfe when he tells an interviewer Marsch was a shadow
child!  Unfortunately he is not so fervent a modernist as to provide
a key to his works cf Joyce (writing to mates to tell them what each
chapter of Ulysses is *really* about, and almost btw what David is
reading ;)).

Of course, we are allowed to have multiple worldviews simultaneously
"true" in this postmodern era.

_"A Story"_ is pretty Wolfean in its' equation of simplicity and godliness
versus the more technologically adept and nasty Mars(c)hmen, see the
epigraph from StJotC.  Aside from _VRT_, one could easily believe that
No. 5 wrote it:
1) killing and replacing a twin -- the twin in this case is the
other No 5 personality that runs things while the narrator is blacked out.
It is presumably been inculcated by the father as in

2) The castration, and nightly examination of dreams and visions by
Lastwind, a surrogate father.

3) cultural details: flails, ordeal by fire, mating with trees, drowning
to honour rivers, stone tools not being needed
4) Etruscans, Atlantis and Gondwanaland
5) Veil: in where did the slavery and cruelty come from -- Marshmen

David Duffy.

| David Duffy (MBBS PhD)                                         ,-_|\
| email: davidD@qimr.edu.au  ph: INT+61+7+3362-0217 fax: -0101  /     *
| Epidemiology Unit, Queensland Institute of Medical Research   \_,-._/
| 300 Herston Rd, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia  GPG 4D0B994A v


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