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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (whorl) RTTW spoilers: alga's complaints
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 20:16:01 

Putting aside the godling issue as the lesser, I'm still working on how
alga is bugged by Jahlee's death.

Aside about Twain: well, we might agree he had some authorial mishap there,
but the thing is that TOM SAWYER, with all its slickness, is still
considered a juvenile novel, whereas flawed HUCKLEBERRY FINN is literature.
And nobody talks about the other novel (or two?) that features these

Aside about RTTW's ending seeming to exhibit authorial fatigue. Oh, really?
If he were tired of the characters I'd expect a retirement of some sort,
happily ever after or simply dead--I'd hardly expect him to launch them on
a starship!

Now I know we are not talking about something as simple as a happy ending,
and yet the yearning for a happy ending might play a part.  Around these
parts we've had discussions among a few people with regard to TBOTNS, that
basically boil down to: "But =why= do all the people have to die as Urth is
flooded into Ushas?"  Some people are really, really bothered by this--that
the "victory" at the ending is so tainted by the megadeath, to the point
that it ain't really happy at all . . . and we have valid debates over
whether Severian is more anti-christ than saviour.

So I can understand a disappointment like that: the belief that somehow,
the hero was going to complete the quest =and= avoid the awful penalties,
but then the quest is finished and the consequences are worse than

Can you agree that the situation of Jahlee and Horn is like Jim and Huck
floating down the river?

Here's another analogy, this time from film: you liked "Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon" pretty well.  SPOILER WARNING!

As much as we would like a 100% happy ending to that fine film, after a
certain point we would be perfectly willing to accept a 50% happy ending
(i.e., the younger couple), yet even that is snatched away by a device
which seems quite arbitrary, raising all sorts of questions (nevertheless,
I have my theories, of course: mainly that she really =is= who she jokingly
said she was at the restaurant).  Now then, does this diminish the movie?
I certainly don't think so, and I doubt that you do.

Of course you are entitled to your opinions.  You don't have to like the
death of Jahlee--fwiw, I don't like it, but I see that it flows from what
came before it.  You think it perfunctory, and if it were written in the
3rd person authorial voice I might agree with you, but it is written by the
man who did it, and it is too painful for him to write any more than he
does.  It seems to me that the moment was an explosion, where Jahlee shed
her mask and was a vampire, and Silk, spiritual son of Pike the Vampire
Slayer, suddenly burst into violent action.  A side of the narrator he is
not at all happy about; an aspect which seems to betray all that he has
been working towards.


Sirius Fiction
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