FIND in
<--prev V12 next-->

From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: (whorl) What Happened? (re: "It's Mostly the Ending")
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 08:27:41 

Viz writes, viz:
> There are two major areas where the book as a whole lets us down
> on, and we've beaten them both to death, but I'll say again:
> a) we get the huge buildup on the secret of the inhumi, and it
> turns out the secret doesn't meet the expectations that the
> narrative builds up for it. We were expecting something more than
> we guessed in the first volume, but that was it.
> b) the fact that the narrator is Horn in Silk's body has been
> obvious since the first volume, so the climactic revelation that
> the narrator is Horn in Silk's body falls flat.

Some thoughts on this...

1. Mr Wolfe has been (dis?)informed over and again by reviewers 
both friendly and un that his texts are just too difficult for 
an sf audience; that nobody can reasonably eke out his intent
from the cryptons and gnomions he sparses out purloinedlettrishily,
and perhaps in response he has _underestimated_ his audience this
go, transparing the solutions so only a Piers Anthony fan could 
miss them.

2. Contrariwise perhaps this is a case of "Who killed the Comedian?" 
-- for non-Watchmen-readers, that would be a special kind of red 
herring, where the writer putts puzzles with clear solutions in 
plain sight so as to obscure the real puzzles. 
     If so, Mr Wolfe's use of the technique is different from Mr
Moore's: those who, like me, participated in the excited discussion
of each issue of WATCHMEN as it came out will recall that, long 
before the conclusion, we realized the ethical and philosophical 
questions the story raised were far more interesting than the 
murder mystery (which, however, contributed its share to those 
questions); here, the readers are caught up in the red herrings and
unwilling to recognize them as such. 
     Which is a shame. We've had some small discussion of what 
these novels are really about -- the nature of identity; the 
application or applicability of Christian soteriology to a people 
that have no chance of knowing (by natural knowledge) the Gospel; 
the possibility of salvation for "demons"; what Charles Williams
called the "Web of Exchange"; etc., etc., etc. -- questions, btw,
to which the questions of "who is the Narrator?" and "What is the
Secret?" are quite relevant, but in an almost reversible manner;
understand identity and know who the Narrator is, understand 
the Web of Exchange and know the Secret of the Inhumi.
     Granted these are more difficult to grapple with, especially 
after a single reading; granted, they don't appear at the raw 
plot/surface level the way the Comedian-problems do; granted, it 
will take years rather than weeks to tease them out of the texts 
at hand... still, aren't these really more interesting questions?


*This is WHORL, for discussion of Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun.
*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.moonmilk.com/whorl/
*To leave the list, send "unsubscribe" to whorl-request@lists.best.com
*If it's Wolfe but not Long Sun, please use the URTH list: urth@lists.best.com

<--prev V12 next-->