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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Nix X
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 23:38:31 

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

At 09:35 AM 6/19/97 -0400, you wrote:
>[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]
>I want to object to a creeping assumption in the last few posts, that
>Severian is Christian. Wolfe may be [is] Christian, it's possible that the
>Short Sun books may move in a Christian direction, like a good deal of the
>Cordwainer Smith or C.S. Lewis work, and Severian himself may be "a form of
>the Outsider," but that doesn't make him a Christian as I understand it. An
>avatar of Christ, maybe, which is a little different.

Dear Alga,

	I don't want to get into an Alga-Nutria war, but once again I need to
bring in Gene's own statement, to me, that Severian is not a Christ figure
but a Christian figure. That's from the horse's (pardon, wolf's) mouth. 
	Now, the difference I see between the Severian and Silk novels is that we
see Silk's religious trauma directly, while very rarely do we see
Severian's faith in action. I don't recall any point of conversion for
Severian, and he certainly is not a "good" Christian. (Recall how he can't
wait to commit adultery once he gets on The Ship!) Gene's explanation to me
when I asked him about this is that Severian comes from a horrible
background and is trying to overcome it, and at some points either doesn't
know better, or backslides easily. That was the gist of his reply. 
	I have not re-read the Severian series since my interview with Wolfe
(which is available at Paul Duggan's site, though I don't think those
questions are in the interview), and so I cannot point to specific passages
that hint in this direction. 
	Frankly, when I first read the four original Severians, I decided that
this was a closed gnostic universe, and that Severian was an antichrist
(like the clones in Fifth Head). Wolfe was not happy with that at all when
I wrote him about it. That's how the discussion got going. 
	So, Alga, I guess you and I both need to re-read and try to see what we
missed the first time(s).


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