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From: "David Lebling" <dlebling@ucentric.com>
Subject: (whorl) The Ending; Some Spoilers for _Engine Summer_
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 14:10:05 

> From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
> [Re: Merryn] But we did, I think.  Jahlee says she doesn't know who the
boy [Severian]
> is, and Merryn says "'He's my brother.  We're brothers and sisters, we
> witches and the torturers.'" (267)  There's a bit of ambiguity here, as
> words could be interpreted as meaning only that all torturers are
> to all witches; but if that's what she means, her answer is rather
> unhelpful.

Wolfe is kind enough to preserve some ambiguity here. The obvious reading is
that their guilds are brother and sister guilds. You may read it otherwise
if you choose, but don't think Wolfe is going to open his kimono on this
issue at this late date. He's fluttering his fan at you here.

One of the things about _Engine Summer_ (referenced later in the Digest)
that makes it a minor masterpiece (a Faberge egg, perhaps?) is that we will
never and can never know what happened to Rush That Speaks after the story
ends. This is, of course, true of every stand-alone novel or story, and
Crowley builds that into Rush's tale in a way that is truly poignant, since
Rush is both the teller and the subject of the tale.  The horror of Asimov's
Syndrome is that it means we ultimately find out about the rest of Rush's
life, or Severian's, or Hari Seldon's, in a way that tends to trivialize our
previous experience of the characters and the milieu.

> Huh?  The scene with Silk and Remora is the only scene that follows the
> wedding attack, except for the three-page Afterword.

Well, maybe I should have said is "once the wedding attack theme is
introduced," which happens somewhat earlier. My memory of exactly where all
these events happen is a little foggy, but frankly, the whole Dorp sequence
through to the ending didn't do much for me. The climaxes happen offstage
and are too like the climaxes of the previous volumes (yawn, Silk overthrows
another bad government; oops, he does it again; yawn, Silk defeats his
enemies by a clever trick; etc.) The "dutch" sentence structure was a bit
much, too. I found it far more off-putting than the pseudo-Scots that Pig

I don't want to be too negative. This was a series that I enjoyed and have
and will again reread. It could certainly have been outstandingly worse. At
least Severian didn't turn out to be the Outsider, or (pace Mr. Borski) Silk
an inhumu, or Green St. Anne, or any of the other horrors that have been
proposed on this list.

    Dave Lebling
    aka vizcacha

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