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From: William Ansley <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Is it SF?
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 01:25:43 

At 7:57 PM -0800 2/14/01, Dan Rabin wrote:
>William Ansley writes,
>>I was also bothered by the impossibly large size of the (big)
>>godling. Wolfe should make up his mind, is he writing science fiction
>>or isn't he?
>Should he?  Or should he just write?

Well, of course, this question is unanswerable, since it boils down 
to a matter of opinion. But I will try to answer it below, 

There is probably no SF writer who has not made many blunders of 
scientific fact, whether noticed by his or her readers or not. But, I 
feel my complaint is valid. Wolfe makes enormous use of many of the 
tropes of SF. This leads to an expectation that he is going to "play 
by the rules" of SF. You may object that there are no such rules, or 
at least no universally or even widely agreed upon ones, but I think 
there is one rule that we may request that an author follow, a rule 
that goes beyond SF: self-consistency. (If you think this is an 
unreasonable request, then we must agree to disagree.)

Wolfe has pointed out several times in TBotNS that a giant human 
being beyond a certain size (a size which the godling in RttW is 
certainly beyond) would be unable to move and probably crushed to 
death by his or her own weight, unless this giant mitigated the 
effects of gravity by means of underwater buoyancy or microgravity.

So, my complaint really boils down to this: I am disappointed that 
Wolfe is displaying lapses of consistency between the New, Long and 
Short Sun books of which the matter of the godling's size is only one 

William Ansley
William Ansley

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