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From: "Alice Turner" <akt@attglobal.net>
Subject: (whorl) Clute's review
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 23:59:29 

He does make a number of petty mistakes, but I tend to be tolerant of those
(knowing how many of these are routinely caught by fact-checkers and
copy-editors in any professional venue, which this is not). What seems worse
to me is that the summaries of the other series seem so very, well, summary.
And confusing--not to us, but to a neophyte. If I hadn't read the series, I
wouldn't see here the slightest reason for doing so. This does not seem to
me a useful way of doing a review (and I have done many reviews, over many
years). It simply is not serving a reader to toss in a garbled, portentous
(and pretentious) sentence like "In the end, though, so overwhelming is
Wolfe's capacity to transform the tacky quiddities of genre into meditated
vision, it is perfectly clear that Severian is far more than the secret son
of a hidden Dad: for he is Apollo, and he is Christ." That may be true,
every phrase of it, but for a neophyte the sentence is so awful and the
attitude so lofty--he is not *explaining* the series in a kindly way, and a
good review is kind, not to the author necessarily but to the reader--that
the mind retreats. Wha???

I really like Clute's SF Encyc (haven't read the fantasy one). I think it
insightful, impressively inclusive, well thought out, and, yes, kindly
overall. I assume his mind-set was different, that he was writing for the
masses, that he felt that he needed to approach his material on the most
basic level. And I know that he admires Wolfe. But I don't think he has done
him a service here.

URL: http://www.scifi.com/sfw/current/excess.html


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