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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: RE: (whorl) Fallible Narrators and Even More Fallible Copyists:
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 17:07:03 

And more of Mr Friedman:

> I should probably mention that _Ada_ is alternate-
> history sf, with a little stefnal fun about the
> technology of "Anti-Terra".  (Pace Nabokov and some
> Nabokophiles who would undoubtedly say, undoubtedly
> have said, that _Ada_ is a parody of sf, far superior
> to [what they think is] the naive and limited genre it
> parodies, and does something quite different with sf
> elements from what [they think] the genre does.)

To respond to that I'd have to know (or at least make
an educated guess at whether Nabokov himself was familiar
with/skilled at the kind of reading SF requires. From
what little I know about him I can't begin to make a guess.

I'd be willing to hazard a guess, though, that most
Nabokophiles haven't that level of experience/expertise
with decoding SF rhetoric.

Regarding my term MF:

> Or "mainstream"?

Well, yeah. I used to include that. (And I also used to use
the longer term BLMF, for bourgeois literary MF, but I 
decided a long time ago that the first two terms weren't
very interesting to me.) I still do, sometimes, but I no
longer believe that the term "mainstream" has much meaning
-- it might be used to describe any of a number of things,
including "fiction approved of by literary academics,"
"fiction that doesn't go into any of the marketing categories
like SF and mysteries and, yes, fiction-for-the-literary-
academics," "highly-mimetic [i.e., 'realistic'] fiction," or 
even "bestsellers."

But that there is _a_ _mainstream_ is unlikely, just as there
is no longer _a_ _mainstream_ American culture -- if there
ever was. 

> > I think Tolkien's intent is exactly opposed to
> > Wolfe's; Wolfe,
> > as you note, casts doubt on his "translation" simply
> > by _making_
> > it a translation; Tolkien seeks to grant his
> > subcreation a greater
> > sense of historicity and "reality" by an apparently
> > similar (but
> > functionally quite different) tactic.

> "Cf." abbreviates the Latin for "compare and
> contrast". :-)  

Oh. Actually, that's one I _thought_ I had glerked
from context, and so never actually looked it up.
Apparently I hadn't glerked it all that well.

> I agree with you about Tolkien, but I'm not sure
> I agree about Wolfe.  Maybe he was locating 
> _TBotNS_ (et seqq.) in an sf tradition that I
> don't think began with Tolkien, 

Well, JRRT himself wasn't operating in any tradition
of the SF/F genre qua genre; I gather that late in
his life he read a bit of "that American SF," but 
don't believe he ever read enough to locate his own
work in any of its "traditions," and certainly not
as far back as the '40s. 

But, yes, Wolfe himself was certainly operating in 
the conventions of SF/F. That tBotNS is in part an
homage to Vance's "Dying Earth" is just a starting

> and providing a socket into which we could plug the
> bit about sealing the manuscript in a coffer and
> casting it adrift on the seas of space and time.  

Possibly. I would tend to believe that, yes, that image
came before the "apparatus" of tBotNS, and that the
apparatus was intended to interact with that image.
Someone else pointed out "Wolfe's" claim to have seen 
some buildings of the post-historic period (what would 
you call that -- pre-ruins?). I suppose that the existence
of this "Wolfe" in tBotNS implies a translating "Wolfe" in 
the rest of the Lupiverse texts; assuming that Wolfe was
consciously aware of this and intended us to be (though,
if so, why he didn't make comments about translational
difficulties in _these_ texts is a question worth asking), 
this adds to the levels underlying the "what actually 
happened?" experience.

> > > Why is there a k in "Duko"?
> > Because "Duo" would sound dumb?

> *hands on hips* You know perfectly well what I meant.
> If those four cities have Italian as their high
> tongue, why a k and not a c?

I don't think it's Italian, I think it's "Italian," if you
see what I mean -- the same way that some of the words of
Vironese are Spanish and some are sorta-Spanish-ish? Or,
contrariwise, since some of the Vironese words turn out to
be South American Spanish, maybe it's some Italian dialect?
(Do, or historically did, Sicilians use a different 
spelling from Romans? Or Tuscans, maybe?)


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