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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Roach on Mantis on Wombat on TBOTSS and fanfic
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 21:27:03 

on 6/21/01 6:33 PM, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes at ddanehy@siebel.com wrote:

> I would suggest that the idea of "a biography in novel form" would
> not occur to J. Random Bluvian (at least a JRB not too far removed
> in time from Silk, Horn, and Co.) ... the concept of "the novel"
> does not appear to be in their vocabulary. Made-up stories, yes.
> But I don't think the distinction between "fact" and "fiction" we
> make today, and which is constantly questioned by those pesky pomos,
> is a distinction inherent to our minds or the way we deal with
> texts. Writing a book about a real person or event and making up
> the details -- what's odd about that? Nothing;

>> If you are going to argue that TBOTLS is, within its universe,
>> (`"biography" is not the same as "fiction"') then by all means,
>> make your argument.
> I'd far rather argue that there is no evidence that this
> distinction exists in (that corner of) the Lupiverse. The
> Neither Horn nor his sprats seem to think that there's anything
> odd or wrong with filling in the details as best they can; they
> don't particularly try to hide the fact that they've done it,
> and go to some effort to explain how they've gone about it.
> They don't seem to perceive the modernist absolute distinction
> between "fact" and "fiction"; rather, they see a continuity
> running from "this is true because I was there and saw it,"
> to "I spoke to someone who was there," to "I heard about it
> from a friend" to "well, this is how it probably went down."

I think the distinction between "strict biography" and "biography in novel
form" does exist in the Lupiverse, although perhaps not in those precise
terms.  Evidence:

1) In Horn's "My Defense," at the end of TBOTLS, he says "Many of you [his
critics] urge me to tell the story in my proper person, relating only what I
saw, and in effect making myself the hero."  Presumably his critics aren't
saying they would find Horn's adventures more interesting than Silk's; they
want him to confine himself to what he knows is true, not what he
conjectures is true.  And indeed, Horn spends much of the rest of his
defense justifying his procedure in response to "criticisms and questions,"
implying that to his readers, if not to Horn himself, "making up the
details" does require justification.

2) In RttW the editors, summarizing the townspeople's opinion, describe
TBOTLS as "a chronicle, generally factual, of events prior to the founding
of New Viron." (398) [*]  So the editors are aware that the townspeople draw
a distinction between a "factual" chronicle (presumably one which would
confine itself to what its author knew about) and a "generally factual" one
such as TBOTLS.

3) In their Afterword, the editors state "His Cognizance could not reveal
the details of our protagonist's shriving; nor would we wish him to." (410)
The only reason for them stating this here is to explain why they themselves
did not describe Silk's shriving (and to put themselves one-up on Horn, who
in TBOTLS described Auk's shriving, even though he had no account of it (see
"My Defense")), which means that they themselves regard "making up the
details" in the absence of evidence as undesirable.

If I'm right, why are the editors so vague about how they put together the
main portion of their "re-creation"?  The obvious answer is that if they
went into more detail, it would be apparent how little of this re-creation
was actually grounded in fact.  And I would still argue that the editors
wrote the third-person sections not just to fill in gaps in Narr's account.
I believe that they had a specific agenda in mind.  While I don't fully
understand what it is, there's a clue in their insistence that Narr gave up
his search for Silk to give Pig his eye.


[*] That's a joke, son (one of the rare examples of humor in TBOTSS).  To
the New Vironese, TBOTLS isn't the story of "the greatest and most
extraordinary man" Horn ever knew, or the story of Silk's realization that
the Outsider is the only God worthy of the name, or the story of how the
Plan of Pas was fulfilled.  No, it's the prelude to the founding of New

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