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From: matthew.malthouse@guardian.co.uk
Date: Fri, 6 Sep 2002 09:52:56 +0100
Subject: Re: (urth) Those chems

On 06/09/2002 07:24:02 Roy C. Lackey wrote:

>Look, I've acknowledged that Wolfe intended chems to be regarded as
>automatons pretty much on a par with humans. (The question of chem
>is one I'd rather not get into, but I seriously doubt the Vatican would
>it.) He goes out of his way to do it. But I don't start turning on the
>lights before entering a dark room just because I've read a ghost story,

I was (hic!) thinking about this - in general terms - last night on my way
home from the bar.  By alcohol  alone is the mind set in motion...

Actually I was think more generally that the depiction of the alien (vide
the comment about JWCambel's remark) is probably impossible because a
human writer for a human audience canot but produce a human concept.

Thought the next was that a very few writers get close.  C J Cherryh being
one who does so regularly; V Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky" manages
something akin by playing with the reader's perceptions (to say more would
be a spoiler I think).

And thought the last as that Wolfe _never_ does.  I don't think he even
tries to nor wishes to.

The not-human beings encountered in his work might be outre in form and
somewhat mannered in behaviour but from Baldanders to Marble are
comprehensible in solely human terms.

Whether analogy or parable or "just a story" Wolfe's work is essentially

So the lack of chems with chem-centric behaviours and motivations,
enjoying a uniquely chem-oid lifesyle (still less driving for a family of
cheap green retractables) isn't a surpise.



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