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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: (whorl) SS Stuff on a Monday
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 09:20:18 

Michael, no, your theory, attractive though it is (I love the idea of
embarassing vampires to death...), simply doesn't fit with many of the 
Narr's statements about the nature of the SotI. While pricking them in
the vanity might do any number of things to the Inhumi, causing them 
to become mindless leechagators is just _not_ a likely result.

Okay, now as to the utopia thing. There definitely does seem to be an
aspect of that in SS. Some aspects worth considering:

1) It's clearly a form of the Hero's Journey. 

2) If Wolfe is going to write a Utopia, it will be a Christian utopia
   -- which is almost a contradiction in terms, given the Christian
   belief that "this world" is radically Fallen and no true utopia is
   possible short of Heaven. But and counterweighting this we need
   also to remember that the word "utopia" comes from the Catholic 
   St. Sir Thomas More, and did not, in his hands, mean a "perfect"
   state so much as an optimal one. 

3) It's also in dialogue with several other things besides KSR's Mars
   books (which I haven't read, btw: are they really worth the effort?).

   a) Another three-volume hero's journey: Dante. Nell mezzo del camino 
      de whatever Horn finds himself all at sea (so to speak), lost. His 
      journeys lead him through Hell (Green), Purgatory (the Whorl), and 
      ultimately to, uh, well, that's where it gets kind of complicated...

      But there's also a political Commedia here, as the Narrator 
      journeys through hell (the theo-monarchies of OBW), purgatory (the 
      Italianate city-states of IGJ), and paradise (the democracy of Dorp 
      and the jolly quasi-anarchy of NV), only political "paradise" ain't 
      no paradise anyway, which leads me to point b.

   b) Another well-known SF political "utopian" novel featuring twin 
      worlds, where the Hero's Journey leads him to realize that political 
      utopia ain't going to happen? I refer, of course, to Le Guin's THE 
      DISPOSSESSED. (Btw, if we take it that this dialog is intended-- and 
      I think a strong case can be made for this -- then there is also an 
      implicit  dialog with Delany's [TROUBLE ON] TRITON.) 

   c) And, of course, it is in dialog with (and implicitly critiques, if 
      only by differentiae) the LONG and NEW SUN books.

I think I'll go take my medication now.


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