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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Bad Horn
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 23:05:42 

on 2/19/00 5:43 AM, Allan Lloyd at lloyd@nexus.kc3.co.uk wrote:

A very good post, Allan.

> Despite my reservations about the conclusion of the Short Sun trilogy, I
> want to talk about something which Wolfe does very well in the books,
> namely the transformation of sinful Horn into saintly Silk. No-one seems
> to have remarked upon what a totally unpleasant character Horn is at the
> start of OBW.

I actually raised some of these points in a post entitled "Horn as
antihero?" (in the Whorl Archives, vol. 10, between a post dates 3/31/00 and
one dated 4/1/00), although I was not as hard on him as you are.  I talked
about Horn's betrayal of his family to Krait and rape of Seawrack; also
about his digging up inhumi to use against the Hannese, which I said could
be considered equivalent to biological warfare.

> He is a serial adulterer, (even before the affair with Seawrack if I
> read the clues right)

What are these clues?

> who sells the lives of Nettle and his sons to
> Krait to save his own life.

This gave me quite a shock when I first read it; but in Horn's defense he'd
been isolated and without food and water, and so was extremely vulnerable to
Krait's psychological manipulation.

> Horn is not a terrific father either. I'm sure all of us with teenage
> kids can sympathise with a father getting annoyed with sulky adolescent
> sons, but Horn actively hates poor old Sinew, even after he follows him
> on the long and dangerous journey to Pajoruco. He takes pleasure in
> shocking his son by showing his relationship with Seawrack. He suspects
> Sinew of wanting to kill him, and considers killing Sinew himself. He
> only makes some reconciliation with his son after the fighting on the
> lander when he is forced to admit that his son has some good qualities.

Horn does indeed have some sort of a complex about Sinew.  Otoh, the
dialogue on p. 368 of RttW makes it clear that Sinew is indeed troubled, at
least; it is not all Horn's imagination (though how much of it was caused by
Horn's dislike of Sinew we don't know).

> But worst of all is the savage and brutal rape of Seawrack. His excuse
> is that he was acting under enchantment from the Siren's song. (I don't
> see that standing up in a court of law: "Honest, Judge, she was asking
> for it. She sang at me.")

To be precise, it is Seawrack who says that the song excuses the rape
(unless Horn is lying, of course).  As Rostrum points out, Horn himself
takes full responsibility.

Overall, you've given me a lot to think about.  I would have to reread OBW
again with your points in mind to decide whether I thought your harsh
judgment was justified.

> And Crowley's "Daemonomania". Words fail me. Is there any discussion of
> Crowley's work on the web?

The urth list had a big discussion about Crowley a while back; but it was
before DAEMONOMANIA came out, iirc, and didn't say much about the other two
books in the sequence.  It was mainly about LITTLE, BIG, with excursi into
"Great Work of Time" and THE DEEP.  There's a Yahoo club devoted to John
Crowley, but it has very little activity.

If you're seriously interested in Crowley, get the Crowley chapbook mantis
recently announced on the urth list.  (I'll be posting more on it on the
urth list.)  Aside from anything else, it contains a seven-page interview
with Crowley himself in which he discusses in detail the thinking behind the
Aegypt series.

> I can't wait for the final novel in the sequence. Does anyone
> have any idea how long it is likely to be before he finishes it?

In the interview I mentioned above, Crowley says that "the last book ...
will be set in the present, 2002 or so."  Make of this what you will.

Before it appears, there'll be a standalone novel, already completed,
entitled THE TRANSLATORS.  There are conflicting reports on rasfw as to its
nature: Kevin Maroney believes it's "a science fiction novel with angels as
major characters" (I just realized that angels, or beings called angels, do
seem to show up rather a lot in Crowley's work--aside from the Aegypt
series, there are the angels in GWoT and the "angels" in ES), but another
poster quotes LOCUS as saying it's a mainstream novel.


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