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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: (whorl) Echoes of C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 17:00:36 

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

When I first read Nightside, there were a couple of things that reminded
me of C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy.  

[Minor spoilers for Perelandra follow]

In the second book, _Perelandra_, the protagonist, Ransom, is in a
situation where it seems the Devil himself (or his representative) is
trying to do a Very Bad Thing and Ransom wonders why God seems to be
allowing it... 

  "Had Hell a prerogative to work wonders?  Why did Heaven work none?
   ...he was forced to perceive that his own coming to Perelandra was
   at least as much of a marvel as the Enemy's.  That miracle on the
   right side, which he had demanded, had in fact occured.  He himself
   was the miracle...If the issue lay in [God's] hands, Ransom and the
   Lady *were* those hands.  The fate of a world really depended on how
   they behaved in the next few hours" (Perelandra, p. 140-142).

This seems so close to Silk's formulation of the Outsider's revelation, "I
am to receive no help, because I am help" that I'm inclined to believe it
must have been an influence on Wolfe.

The connection thing is that, especially in Nightside when I thought he
was purely a villain, Remora's speech patterns reminded me a whole lot of
Withers from _That Hideous Strength_. 

Speaking of influences, people keep saying that Chesterton's Father Brown
stories are an obvious one.  It's been a while since I've read them, but I
just don't see it - other than that the protagonists are both priests, I
don't see any real similarities.  What am I missing?

I know Wolfe has mentioned that he is a Chesterton fan (and here let me
put in a strenuous plug for _The Man Who Was Thursday_, an amazing book),
but has he voiced an opinon about Lewis's works?


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