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From: "Alice K. Turner" 
Subject: (urth) Gnostic Wolfe
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 20:25:11 -0400

Not answering anyone completely because it's just too hard to do multiple
answers on the Digest now (hi, Ranjit!) but Wombat asked why Middle Eastern
mythology rather than Hellenic or Norse? An easy answer would be that
neither ever had a goddess as fierce and treacherous as Inanna/Ishtar could
be, and that we meet in the series. (Though indeed the Celts had some.) But,
aha, that is a canard. The mythology, as Typhon/Pas planned it, is indeed
Hellenic. In Greek mythology nearly all monsters are female, though there's
an occasional male with eye problems, like the Cyclops or Argus--or Typhon
himself, whose problems were explosive rather than ocular. I think Wolfe
probably read Gilgamesh, if not other Middle Eastern myths, and got some
input into vengeful female deities. He certainly used the Gnostic Demiurge,
who was Middle Eastern, in another tradition. And the shorter works point to
some interest in Native American myth. But the Plan of Pas wrt the Family is
based strongly on Greek myth, particularly on Hesiod's account of who begat
whom: the children of Echidna and Typhon, with a borrowing or two from here
and there. There's a nasty sense of humor at work in the Plan of Pas as his
uploaded offspring act out their assumed roles, as if in a charade. Wolfe is
in no way sympatheic to Pas as Demiuurge.

So: Sophia. Wombat and I puzzled over the extended and rather out-of-whack
fictionally, baby Scylla sequence in the last SS novel, wondering if this
could be a last-ditch attempt to drag a Sophia figure in (sorry, Wombat, I
am paraphrasing, and possibly mis-phrasing). But, as he says, it seems
rather strained, whether or not this is true. And perhaps that is what is
meant by an anti-Gnostic view--because in my own view Sophia is an
extraordinarily sympathetic, if terribly mistaken, figure. And that is not
what Wolfe has given us, in either aspect of his Scylla.

Finally, interesting that this St. Francis's job is the slaughter of



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