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From: James Jordan <jbjordan4@home.com>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Fallible Narrators and Even More Fallible
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 09:21:16 

At 08:35 PM 6/10/2001 -0500, you wrote:

>Where is the religious ambiguity in TBOTNS?  Well, for instance, I think,
>almost certainly, that Master Ash's bleak and scientific outlook depicted
>part of that ambiguity.   Maybe, too, the notion visited in "Sword of the
>Lictor" that, if the universe had existed for an infinite time, all things,
>including angels, would have come into existence by logical necessity.  And,
>from my religious perspective, it's hard to imagine a more terrifying story
>than Melito's story from the "Citadel of the Autarch" of "The Cock, the
>Angel, and the Eagle", especially as that story was revisited and affirmed
>as true in "Urth of the New Sun."   The point is that within TBOTNS Mr.
>Wolfe himself generates an alternative religious interpretation of the world
>in which his story takes place, something that an atheistic would be much
>more comfortable with than a priest.  (Though there's also plenty of room
>for the priest's interpretation.)  To me, this ambiguity is most excellent
>and makes the work, not only uplifting (as would be a purely religious
>work), but also subtly frightening.


         FWIW, this is exactly and precisely what Roman Catholic James 
Blish does in his classic *A Case of Conscience.* Wolfe shares Blish's 
Thomism. Blish provides both a "nature" version of the story, and a "grace" 
version of the story, and only the "eye of faith" can see which version is 
the more "ultimate" explanation of events. It would not surprise me if 
Wolfe, who certainly knows Blish's work, would do the same thing.


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