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andrew smash
Jun 26, 2006

smooth soul

Which glimpses of the future do you mean? I remember something that could qualify the green man's future but not the other.

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Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003


Fallen Rib

Master Ash - the dude in the house from a future where the Earth is freezing over and being evacuated. It's strongly implied that that is not a very likely future, though, because Ash fades as he gets further away from his house.

BuckarooBanzai
Dec 2, 2004

Wherever you go, there you are.

Slippery Tilde

Neurosis posted:

Yeah, you're right about the name in that post. I suppose what leads people to theories like the one I posted above was that the name is both that of a god and a saint. It's been so long since I read the discussion of that name that I can't remember how it properly ran.

That's an interesting take. I'm sure it's not an accident that the spoilered name was both a real person and a figure from Roman mythology. Might then that person (in the BoTNS) been both? Perhaps at one time a human, and later something else?

edit: realized said character wasn't a god in the pantheon, changed post accordingly

BuckarooBanzai fucked around with this message at 02:37 on Mar 14, 2012

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003


Fallen Rib

That's what I said is a possibility in the spoilered theory - although I didn't realise that the name was such a strong hint . Palaemon left the Torturers at some point. The theory was that that Palaemon never returned to the Torturers. This is supported - if I recall correctly - by some remarks by a person at the front lines of the war with the Ascians, maybe one of the Pelerines' orderlies I'm not sure, that make young Palaemon sound very different from how he later appears. Instead, the Palaemon that returned to the Torturers was in fact Ossipago.

Neurosis fucked around with this message at 02:44 on Mar 14, 2012

Xenix
Feb 21, 2003


Hels posted:

I'm hoping some of you all can elaborate on some "holy poo poo" moments you had while reading.

It's not a huge one, but one of my favorite holy poo poo moments was when Severian is in the Perelines camp and he is talking to one who used to live in Nessus. She tells him about watching a strange duel between men with flowers and it clicked with me how completely and utterly set up Severian was to die in book 1, all because of a sword.

edit: It is actually significant as it obliquely supports the idea that Severian has at the end of Citadel of the Autarch that there were many lives that Severian lead. Something intervened in this life to keep him from dying in the many ways he died in his other lives (such as drowning in the river in book 1)

Xenix fucked around with this message at 16:52 on Mar 14, 2012

Deltron 3030
Jul 23, 2006

I submit that you took that baseball, stashed it in your unusually large vagina, and walked right on out of here!


Just finished Book of the New Sun a couple days ago, pretty awesome.

It's so detailed yet so unpredictable that I can read 2 pages and feel like I have been reading for a really long time.

One thing that kinda bothered me is how Severian loves or at least lusts after (and often bangs) almost every female character in the book. Maybe it has something to do with growing up isolated with all dudes but it seemed a little excessive.

I'm definitely planning to reread the series in the nearish future, sounds like it is worth it.

Deltron 3030 fucked around with this message at 03:57 on Apr 2, 2012

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.


Deltron 3030 posted:

One thing that kinda bothered me is how Severian loves or at least lusts after (and often bangs) almost every female character in the book. Maybe it has something to do with growing up isolated with all dudes but it seemed a little excessive.

It's possible, even likely that he's lying about how much sex he's had. Keep in mind that in the one case where he almost certainly did, and where he was definitely in love with the woman in question (Thecla) he goes out of the way to gloss over or omit mentioning it until the Thecla-personality part of him confirms it.

Tuxedo Catfish fucked around with this message at 04:49 on Apr 2, 2012

Womyn Capote
Jul 5, 2004




I just finished BotNS, and just started on Urth. In my opinion, this is the greatest example of science fiction in the English language, and probably any language since English is the best anyway. Seriously though, it was so amazing and I'm going to read it again right away, this time using the lexicon.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Man, don't do that. You'll just run it for yourself. Move on to Short and Long Suns, and discover the mysteries for yourself instead of relying on Andre-Driussi and his wacky theories.

Mozi
Apr 4, 2004

one step done and another begun


Nap Ghost

I've been working my way through TBotNS and just got to Citadel. When I first started reading the language was definitely off-putting, in the "this guy likes his words way too much" sort of way, but after a while you really get into the flow of it. It's hypnotic; after a while, I notice my inner monologue shaping itself after Wolfe's writing style. And while the story can be boiled down to something pretty simplistic, at least for the first half of the book, there are so many fascinating little asides and moments of introspection that the book is transformed into something unique. For instance, I bookmarked this passage when I was reading Sword. Severian is coming down out of the mountain, but more than just describing the scenery, Wolfe goes even further.

Sword posted:

Just as I had not known my weakness, until I saw the boats and the rounded curves of the thatched roofs of the village I had not known how solitary I had been since the boy died. It was more that mere loneliness, I think. I have never had much need for companionship, unless it was the companionship of someone I could call a friend. Certainly I have seldom wished the conversation of strangers or the light of strange faces. I believe rather that when I was alone I felt I had in some fashion lost my individuality; to the thrush and the rabbit I had been not Severian, but Man. The many people who like to be utterly alone in a wilderness, do so, I believe, because they enjoy playing that part. But I wanted to be a particular person again, and so I sought the mirror of other persons, which would show me that I was not as they were.
This is just one of many passages that I just can't imagine seeing in any other fantasy novel. So good.

As an aside, for some reason this novel reminds me of Dhalgren, but I haven't read that in a long time so can't give many reasons for that. Something about the atmosphere seems familiar.

Womyn Capote
Jul 5, 2004




The biggest problem I have with getting into the other books is that they aren't on audible...

BuckarooBanzai
Dec 2, 2004

Wherever you go, there you are.

Slippery Tilde

Tuxedo Catfish posted:

It's possible, even likely that he's lying about how much sex he's had. Keep in mind that in the one case where he almost certainly did, and where he was definitely in love with the woman in question (Thecla) he goes out of the way to gloss over or omit mentioning it until the Thecla-personality part of him confirms it.

Why do you think he's lying about the amount of times he's had sex? Can anyone cite more specific examples of Severian's lies? Other than the omission that he was sleeping with Thecla I mean.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.


BuckarooBanzai posted:

Why do you think he's lying about the amount of times he's had sex? Can anyone cite more specific examples of Severian's lies? Other than the omission that he was sleeping with Thecla I mean.

I don't have any specific evidence, or if I had it was when I read the books months ago. It just seems like a reasonable assumption when the text itself tells you that its 16-year-old(!) narrator can't be trusted, that he hasn't actually slept with virtually every woman he's met.

The whole series reads like self-aggrandizement by someone smart enough to realize you have to get shown up once in a while to stay believable. He can bring people back from the dead, but it's totally the Claw, not him! (Only it turns out he's actually the Conciliator himself.) He's no great master of combat, but he defeats everyone who fights him man-to-man... except the two-headed imperial demigod, because that would just be silly. (And then he outwits him.) His looks are unremarkable and he belongs to a despised social caste, but every woman he meets wants to jump his bones. But his love for Thecla is pure! (Oh wait, it's the one sexual relationship he's had where he wasn't overwhelmingly in control.)

I mean, sure, maybe I'm reaching here because I was told ahead of time to look for bullshit. I just wouldn't believe this story if Severian were a real person telling it to me, and I don't have a clear enough picture of the "there are many Severians being killed and replaced by clones and everything is being manipulated by aliens stuff to know whether and how much of his absurdity it explains.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

and if it's a lie, terrorists made me say it

You've also got to realize that at the time Severian is writing BotNS, (minor spoiler) he's more-or-less the God-Emperor of Urth, writing an account of his ascent to glory. Of COURSE he's going to embellish his sexual conquests. There's also the idea that being a Torturer and all, some of his relations may be somewhat coerced, or at least not as consensual as he'd have us believe. I've always suspected this strongly with (3rd book spoiler) the official's wife in Thrax who he seduces and then helps escape the city, particularly after the reveal that Sev was supposed to execute her.

BuckarooBanzai
Dec 2, 2004

Wherever you go, there you are.

Slippery Tilde

Neurosis posted:

Palaemon.

There are some theories that he is actually Ossipago, sent to watch over Severian. This is hinted at by the fact Palaemon has some kind of ocular apparatus in place of regular eyes - and there is something peculiar about Ossipago's eyes, though I can't recall exactly what. I think it's in Urth of the New Sun. There's also the fact that Ossipago's role seems to be something like that of a carer - his name strongly hints at it, anyway, since it refers to a god responsible for skeletal development or something like that. Some theories run the Palaemon that left the Torturers is not the Palaemon who watches over Severian, and that Ossipago has assumed his identity.

It's been a while since I read these theories so I could be mixing some things up, and there's probably more evidence than I'm remembering.


Just wanted to add on a reread I realized there's another character mentioned with a name that is both historical and in the Greek Pantheon. Paeon the "honey-steward" of the old autarch. He also, apparently, told the old Autarch of Severian's coming.

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


Just ordered Book of the Long Sun. I have Shadow and Claw but found it really hard to get into, so I'll have to revisit BotNS at a later date.

After reading his wikipedia page (and this topic) its clear that Wolfe is heavily influenced by his Catholic faith, much like Tolkien. I enjoy decoding religious and cultural references so I can't wait to jump into his work.

Womyn Capote
Jul 5, 2004




Radio Talmudist posted:

After reading his wikipedia page (and this topic) its clear that Wolfe is heavily influenced by his Catholic faith, much like Tolkien. I enjoy decoding religious and cultural references so I can't wait to jump into his work.

I have noticed that a lot of the names of the greatest powers/forces/beings in New Sun come from the Kabbalah tree of life.

Womyn Capote fucked around with this message at 00:18 on Jun 7, 2012

Carly Gay Dead Son
Aug 27, 2007

Bonus.


I've only read BotNS and UotNS, and as a result of my poor google skills, I accidentally read on URTH.net that (new sun/long sun spoiler maybe?) Silk is or becomes Typhon or something crazy like that. Is this just one fan's wild speculation or something that is fairly clear to most people after reading New and Long Sun in their entirety?

Lex Talionis
Feb 5, 2011


Martin Van Buren posted:

I've only read BotNS and UotNS, and as a result of my poor google skills, I accidentally read on URTH.net that (new sun/long sun spoiler maybe?) Silk is or becomes Typhon or something crazy like that. Is this just one fan's wild speculation or something that is fairly clear to most people after reading New and Long Sun in their entirety?
The spoilered text is a reference to a theory about the Long Sun books, but it's just a reference...by itself it doesn't come close to explaining what is a pretty involved business. It's not something that is even remotely obvious after a single read of the books. My guess is that most people reading them the first time might not realize that (name from your spoiler) Typhon is in Long Sun at all (I was "spoiled" about that much from that mailing list, I believe).

That said I think that as Wolfe theories go, this one is fairly well attested. It's not way out on a limb like Borksi's meticulously researched but (IMO) extremely improbable theory about the role of heirodoles in New Sun.

Incidentally I think I would argue it's really not possible to spoil Wolfe's books. For one thing, just because Person A says something happened doesn't mean you will agree. For another, as an author he's very much about the journey, not just the destination. The first chapter of Book of the New Sun tells you he becomes Autarch in the end. Gee, spoiler alert! But that doesn't really spoil anything, does it? For those of us who enjoy New Sun, that enjoyment comes from the language, the mood, the style, and the sense of hidden depths. None of that can possibly be spoiled, IMO, because it vanishes once you summarize the text instead of just read it. Those of you who have read New Sun can see if you think these possible "spoilers" would have really impacted your enjoyment:

Dorcas is really Severian's grandmother!
Little Severian dies!
Severian is really the Conciliator!
It is possible that from the beginning Severian had some presentiment of his future! (Just kidding. I think.)

It's true that some people enjoy the puzzle quality of Wolfe's work, but given that most of his truly interesting puzzles have uncertain solutions and how much more his work has to offer, I don't see it as a big issue. More than any other SF/F author, Wolfe intends for his work to be reread, and there's no bigger spoiler than a first reading.

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003


Fallen Rib

That particular theory is pretty close to iron-clad. But as Lex Talionis said, knowing that won't hurt your enjoyment of the books at all.

Disappointing egg
Jun 21, 2007



Neurosis posted:

That particular theory is pretty close to iron-clad. But as Lex Talionis said, knowing that won't hurt your enjoyment of the books at all.

Really? I thought the theory was Silk is a clone of Typhon instead, or is that what you're talking about?

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

HEY LITTLE SIDNEY WANT TO SEE MY CANNOLI?


Disappointing egg posted:

Really? I thought the theory was Silk is a clone of Typhon instead, or is that what you're talking about?

Yeah, I thought Pas was Typhon, more or less. His personality uploaded to Mainframe (like the other Gods) when Typhon launched the starships back in his time of BotNS. I get that Silk was genetically engineered, so I assume the theory is that he was more or less a clone of Pas/Typhon?

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003


Fallen Rib

My understanding was more that the Silver Silk entity seen in Return to the Whorl is some kind of amalgam of Pas and Silk. This would be in keeping with Wolfe's whole thing of pagan gods eventually merging with worship of the one true God. It would also mirror the identity merge we saw with Horn and Silk, with Silk supplanting Horn. I can't remember the evidence with complete clarity, it's been a couple of years since I read it. One of the bigger hints being Silk's dream of his head and Pas' being tied to the same body. There is another big one somewhere in there that I can't recall at present.

PateraOctopus
Oct 27, 2010

It's not enough to listen, it's not enough to see
When the hurricane is coming on, it's not enough to flee


The theory isn't that Pas is Typhon; Scylla comes right out and says this in Lake of the Long Sun, so that's fact. There's a theory on the Internet that Silk is a clone or offspring of Typhon; as near as I can tell it's based on three pieces of evidence that are pretty circumstantial when added together, but it's very hard to tell with Wolfe. A) Silk and Typhon are both blond, though this is incredibly well-hidden. Typhon's hair color only becomes apparent if you notice that the head on the left is described as blond in Sword of the Lictor, which is the head that speaks in Urth. B) The bit with Kypris showing Silk a vision of Pas, wherein "one of the heads was Silk's." This is pretty ambiguous--theory proponents insist that this is a vision of what Pas actually looked like, but it's just as easy to read it as Kypris showing him a vision of what could be, i.e. his own personality being joined to Pas. Considering that he receives this vision after Kypris tells him to imagine what it would like to be Pas, I favor that reading. C) Typhon insists that his face be transferred with his consciousness into new bodies--that's why he had his head grafted onto Piaton rather than just replacing Piaton's brain with his own. He insisted that his subjects would only submit to his continued rule from body to body if they could continuously recognize him. Since Typhon planned to somehow leave the Whorl to rule the colonies as himself, and since the "gods" of the Whorl are able to transfer their consciousness into living creatures, it's not a stretch to imagine that he would store some of his own genetic material to be revived at the time of their landfall in order that he might transfer into it. As far as I know those are the only bits of evidence. In The Book of the Short Sun it's confirmed that Silk did in fact consent to upload his mind into Pas, thus becoming the central consciousness of the Whorl. Personally the Silk is Typhon's clone theory seems incredibly circumstantial to me and I'm not sure what the point would be if it were the case, but then Wolfe himself has said that Blood's father was Patera Pike, and the evidence pointing that way is all incredibly obscure, so who knows.

PateraOctopus fucked around with this message at 04:06 on Aug 22, 2012

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

HEY LITTLE SIDNEY WANT TO SEE MY CANNOLI?


Oops, I forgot about the Short Sun books and haven't read them yet

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003


Fallen Rib

PateraOctopus posted:

The theory isn't that Pas is [/spoiler]Typhon[/spoiler]; Scylla comes right out and says this in Lake of the Long Sun, so that's fact. There's a theory on the Internet that Silk is a clone or offspring of Typhon; as near as I can tell it's based on three pieces of evidence that are pretty circumstantial when added together, but it's very hard to tell with Wolfe. A) Silk and Typhon are both blond, though this is incredibly well-hidden. Typhon's hair color only becomes apparent if you notice that the head on the left is described as blond in Sword of the Lictor, which is the head that speaks in Urth. B) The bit with Kypris showing Silk a vision of Pas, wherein "one of the heads was Silk's." This is pretty ambiguous--theory proponents insist that this is a vision of what Pas actually looked like, but it's just as easy to read it as Kypris showing him a vision of what could be, i.e. his own personality being joined to Pas. Considering that he receives this vision after Kypris tells him to imagine what it would like to be Pas, I favor that reading. C) Typhon insists that his face be transferred with his consciousness into new bodies--that's why he had his head grafted onto Piaton rather than just replacing Piaton's brain with his own. He insisted that his subjects would only submit to his continued rule from body to body if they could continuously recognize him. Since Typhon planned to somehow leave the Whorl to rule the colonies as himself, and since the "gods" of the Whorl are able to transfer their consciousness into living creatures, it's not a stretch to imagine that he would store some of his own genetic material to be revived at the time of their landfall in order that he might transfer into it. As far as I know those are the only bits of evidence. In The Book of the Short Sun it's confirmed that Silk did in fact consent to upload his mind into Pas, thus becoming the central consciousness of the Whorl. Personally the Silk is Typhon's clone theory seems incredibly circumstantial to me and I'm not sure what the point would be if it were the case, but then Wolfe himself has said that Blood's father was Patera Pike, and the evidence pointing that way is all incredibly obscure, so who knows.

On his deathbed Wolfe will confess Robert Borski was actually a pseudonym he used to publish the truth behind his puzzles and I will burn my collection of Wolfe books in disgust.

PateraOctopus
Oct 27, 2010

It's not enough to listen, it's not enough to see
When the hurricane is coming on, it's not enough to flee


I can't stress strongly enough how much people should stay the gently caress away from Lexicon Urthus, Solar Labyrinth and any other books written about the New/Long/Short Sun series. For every bit of insight you get into the work itself you'll get ten outlandish theories insisting on intricately crafted networks of hidden subplots that, if extant, would add approximately jack poo poo to the text. Wolfe's both a writer and a reader, and he wrote these books to be read, not to be unlocked by an elite cadre of true believers. Enjoy the books, think about them, form your own opinions, and keep Borski and Andre-Druissi as far from your house as you can. And only visit the Urth.net mailing list if you've ingested a poison whose antidote is pure unrefined batshit.

Carly Gay Dead Son
Aug 27, 2007

Bonus.


I'm currently working my way through Long Sun, having recently finished Urth and BotNS, and it's interesting how much of inversion of/reaction to BotNS it is in terms of religious content and tone. I have been thinking a lot about New Sun in terms of Wolfe's Catholicism, mainly regarding Severian's connection to Christ. I think I picked up on a lot of the connections pretty immediately, but I recently had my mind kind of blown when someone completely unfamiliar with the work pointed out the play on words in the loving title: New Sun / New Son. Not that the concept surprised me, but the "New Son" thing seems to really drive home the sense of a continuation/rebirth of aspects of our own culture. Is BotNS Wolfe's attempt to rationalize his new faith? Is Severian's path supposed to literally explain how and why Jesus did all the Messianic stuff he did? Or is it all just sci-fi fun and games with heavy religious themes and biblical parallels? I could see it going either way, but I think the former would be way more interesting. Any input, Wolfegang?

Carly Gay Dead Son fucked around with this message at 18:17 on Aug 3, 2012

Juaguocio
Jun 5, 2005

Oh, David...


Thread back! Good thread!

I just finished Return To The Whorl today, and I had a question about the ending. What was the significance of the passage from the Chrasmological Writings that Remora showed Horn/Silk? Is it as simple as the reference to "hyacinth" awakening Silk's memories within Horn, so that he finally understands that they have become one being? There are times in Horn's narrative where he seems perfectly aware that he is Silk, which is why his emotional response struck me as odd. Or maybe it was at that moment that the full weight of Hyacinth's death returned?

On a related note- was Silk about to commit suicide when Horn's spirit was transferred into him? Does this explain the Neighbor's statement about one living man existing instead of two dying ones?

drkhrs2020
Jul 22, 2007

by Y Kant Ozma Post


Popular Human posted:

You've also got to realize that at the time Severian is writing BotNS, (minor spoiler) he's more-or-less the God-Emperor of Urth, writing an account of his ascent to glory. Of COURSE he's going to embellish his sexual conquests. There's also the idea that being a Torturer and all, some of his relations may be somewhat coerced, or at least not as consensual as he'd have us believe. I've always suspected this strongly with (3rd book spoiler) the official's wife in Thrax who he seduces and then helps escape the city, particularly after the reveal that Sev was supposed to execute her.

How about how he actually rapes Jocasta while on the boat after becoming serious with Dorcas? They go on a lovely boat ride and he decides to help himself to her, not even bothering to hide it, so Dorcas starts weeping as soon as she sees them. In Urth he even says "Some people might call it surprise sex, but I maintain she wanted it"

Yeah, Severian was/is a piece of poo poo to the women in his life and gets karmic retribution when tracking down Dorcas.

BigSkillet
Nov 27, 2003
I said teaberry, not sandalwood!

I could've sworn there was a Gene Wolfe thread at one point prior to my reading BotNS, but figured it was only fitting if I were misremembering something related to his books.

For further Wolfe reading, my library system has all three Short Sun books but only two from Long Sun. Is it possible to read and enjoy Short Sun without having read Long Sun beforehand? I try not to get roped in to multi-volume genre series, but I think I was completely sold on reading another from Wolfe by the point where Severian pushed a two-headed corpse out of a mountaintop lair carved to look like one of its heads.

PateraOctopus
Oct 27, 2010

It's not enough to listen, it's not enough to see
When the hurricane is coming on, it's not enough to flee


Juaguocio posted:

Thread back! Good thread!

I just finished Return To The Whorl today, and I had a question about the ending. What was the significance of the passage from the Chrasmological Writings that Remora showed Horn/Silk? Is it as simple as the reference to "hyacinth" awakening Silk's memories within Horn, so that he finally understands that they have become one being? There are times in Horn's narrative where he seems perfectly aware that he is Silk, which is why his emotional response struck me as odd. Or maybe it was at that moment that the full weight of Hyacinth's death returned?

On a related note- was Silk about to commit suicide when Horn's spirit was transferred into him? Does this explain the Neighbor's statement about one living man existing instead of two dying ones?


He is definitely aware of the fact that he's in Silk's body--he essentially comes right out and says it in In Green's Jungles--but up until Remora reads him that passage, he's under the impression that that's all it is: he's Horn transferred into Silk. With that passage he realizes that he has (somewhat willfully) misinterpreted everything that's come before, and that he's been Silk the whole time. Horn has been dead since before page one--he died on Green, and the Neighbor he encountered essentially pulled a fast one on him in order to grant his dying wish of finding Silk and bringing him back to Blue. As I understand it, what actually happened was that the Neighbor essentially uploaded Horn's memories into Silk so that the latter, while remaining himself, would believe himself to be Horn for a while and essentially be tricked into following his own trail back to Blue. The Neighbor's "I will transfer your soul into a dying man" line was basically there so that Silk would subsequently have that memory and assume he was now Horn in Silk's body. Couple that with the heavy implications that towards the end Silk essentially loathed and considered himself a failure--he was very likely attempting to slit his wrists when he got Horn's memories--and we can see why he would leap at the chance to be someone else for a while. There's a passage in the final book where either Hoof or Hide describe Silk as viewing everybody else as rough and dirty like Oreb but loving them anyway--the chance to "be" Horn gives Silk the much-needed opportunity to allow himself to be just a rough and dirty human, rather than the holy messenger he's striven his whole life to be.


drkhrs2020 posted:

Yeah, Severian was/is a piece of poo poo to the women in his life and gets karmic retribution when tracking down Dorcas.

Yeah, he's a straight-up rapist. It's clear on the first read that Severian is intentionally white-washing his life in an effort to create a "historical record" from his position of power, but on subsequent ones it becomes brutally obvious that the guy is actually a legitimate monster.

BigSkillet posted:

Is it possible to read and enjoy Short Sun without having read Long Sun beforehand?

No, it is definitely not. Short Sun is close to labyrinthine even when you have read Long Sun; I can't imagine what it'd be like without it.

PateraOctopus fucked around with this message at 01:31 on Oct 25, 2012

Carly Gay Dead Son
Aug 27, 2007

Bonus.


Nice to see this thread revived or whatever claw of the conciliator joke I could make.

I'm having a bit of trouble getting through Long Sun. Right around when Gene drops those big ol' pro-life bombs was when I started to feel leery about continuing. Does it get worse? And by worse I mean more politically Catholic.

Juaguocio
Jun 5, 2005

Oh, David...


BigSkillet posted:

For further Wolfe reading, my library system has all three Short Sun books but only two from Long Sun. Is it possible to read and enjoy Short Sun without having read Long Sun beforehand?

No. Short Sun will make absolutely no sense to you unless you read Long Sun first.

PateraOctopus posted:

He is definitely aware of the fact that he's in Silk's body--he essentially comes right out and says it in In Green's Jungles--but up until Remora reads him that passage, he's under the impression that that's all it is: he's Horn transferred into Silk. With that passage he realizes that he has (somewhat willfully) misinterpreted everything that's come before, and that he's been Silk the whole time. Horn has been dead since before page one--he died on Green, and the Neighbor he encountered essentially pulled a fast one on him in order to grant his dying wish of finding Silk and bringing him back to Blue. As I understand it, what actually happened was that the Neighbor essentially uploaded Horn's memories into Silk so that the latter, while remaining himself, would believe himself to be Horn for a while and essentially be tricked into following his own trail back to Blue. The Neighbor's "I will transfer your soul into a dying man" line was basically there so that Silk would subsequently have that memory and assume he was now Horn in Silk's body. Couple that with the heavy implications that towards the end Silk essentially loathed and considered himself a failure--he was very likely attempting to slit his wrists when he got Horn's memories--and we can see why he would leap at the chance to be someone else for a while. There's a passage in the final book where either Hoof or Hide describe Silk as viewing everybody else as rough and dirty like Oreb but loving them anyway--the chance to "be" Horn gives Silk the much-needed opportunity to allow himself to be just a rough and dirty human, rather than the holy messenger he's striven his whole life to be.

This makes a lot of sense. There are numerous moments in Horn's narrative where someone addresses him as Silk and he corrects them, but he never really seems sure of his answers in these situations. He also slips up and refers to himself as Silk sometimes. Most telling, though, is the final line of the Remora chapter. After Horn/Silk reads the passage, Remora says that Horn did not fail, and Horn/Silk is referred to explicitly as Silk, which is (I think) the only time this happens.

Beyond sane knolls posted:

I'm having a bit of trouble getting through Long Sun. Right around when Gene drops those big ol' pro-life bombs was when I started to feel leery about continuing. Does it get worse? And by worse I mean more politically Catholic.

What are you referring to here? Wolfe's Catholicism certainly permeates his writing, but I can't recall him ever taking an overt stance on anything like this.

Carly Gay Dead Son
Aug 27, 2007

Bonus.


Juaguocio posted:


What are you referring to here? Wolfe's Catholicism certainly permeates his writing, but I can't recall him ever taking an overt stance on anything like this.

I was referring to a bit on the second to last page of Lake of the Long Sun: "Yet Pas's seal had been disturbed many times; [Silk] himself had scraped up the remains of one such seal. Embryos, mere flecks of rotten flesh, had lain among the remains of another. Was Pas's seal to be valued more than the things it had been intended to protect?" Am I misinterpreting this?

PateraOctopus
Oct 27, 2010

It's not enough to listen, it's not enough to see
When the hurricane is coming on, it's not enough to flee


Beyond sane knolls posted:

I was referring to a bit on the second to last page of Lake of the Long Sun: "Yet Pas's seal had been disturbed many times; [Silk] himself had scraped up the remains of one such seal. Embryos, mere flecks of rotten flesh, had lain among the remains of another. Was Pas's seal to be valued more than the things it had been intended to protect?" Am I misinterpreting this?

Yeah, I think you're misinterpreting it a bit. This isn't a pro-life statement, it's a statement against empty ritual. The fact that the objects in question here are embryos isn't a huge part of this passage's importance--it's mainly Silk realizing that the Vironese faith put more emphasis on the literal doctrine of leaving the Seals undisturbed than they did on thinking about why the Seals shouldn't be disturbed, and rejecting that doctrine. Embryos in the Whorl were incredibly valuable because they ensured that the breeding population would never fall below replacement levels--no matter what cataclysms occurred on the interstellar journey, Pas gave them all a backup so that they could still have a sustainable population base when they reached the Blue/Green system. However, the letter of the doctrine became more revered than the logic that led to the doctrine being in place--"Don't disturb my seal, because you might gently caress up the embryos that are your backup in case you near extinction levels" became "Don't disturb my seal." More emphasis is here being placed on respecting the symbolism of the seal than on the rationale for that symbolism's existence in the first place, and as Silk observes the major error in this scriptural logic--if you disturb both the Seal and its contents, you're only going to be chastised for the part with no practical application--he distances himself further from the Faith he was raised in. He doesn't yet know what the deal with the embryos is, but he's realizing that no sanely-ordered universe would place more emphasis on a lock than on the thing behind the door. I don't know if Wolfe is personally pro-life or not--he's vocally Catholic, but he's also incredibly non-dogmatic--but if this was (and I really don't believe it is) intended as a pro-life statement, that sentiment doesn't crop up elsewhere in the series.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



BigSkillet posted:

For further Wolfe reading, my library system has all three Short Sun books but only two from Long Sun. Is it possible to read and enjoy Short Sun without having read Long Sun beforehand?

If those two books are Litany of the Long Sun and Epiphany of the Long Sun, you're good to go as they are collected editions and cover the whole series.

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003


Fallen Rib

Wolfe has made one unambiguously pro-life statement, which was in An Evil Guest. He alludes to post-natal abortions being legalised in the US.

Otherwise I have found his Catholicism pretty inoffensive.

PateraOctopus
Oct 27, 2010

It's not enough to listen, it's not enough to see
When the hurricane is coming on, it's not enough to flee


Neurosis posted:

Wolfe has made one unambiguously pro-life statement, which was in An Evil Guest. He alludes to post-natal abortions being legalised in the US.

Otherwise I have found his Catholicism pretty inoffensive.

Still haven't read that one. Bought it when it came out, still on my shelf. I understand it's tied up with Memorare somehow--is the connection terribly explicit?

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Klyith
Aug 3, 2007

GBS Pledge Week


PateraOctopus posted:

However, the letter of the doctrine became more revered than the logic that led to the doctrine being in place--"Don't disturb my seal, because you might gently caress up the embryos that are your backup in case you near extinction levels" became "Don't disturb my seal." More emphasis is here being placed on respecting the symbolism of the seal than on the rationale for that symbolism's existence in the first place,
Given who Pas is, I think it could be that it was always just a dogmatic absolute without explanation. Don't touch my seal or else, Old Testament style. Silk is beginning to reject that in favor of more rational thought about his relationship with God / the "gods". Which would be an interesting addition to Long Sun's religious journey: not just the element of Pagan to Christian change, but also Old to New Testament.

Neurosis posted:

Wolfe has made one unambiguously pro-life statement, which was in An Evil Guest. He alludes to post-natal abortions being legalised in the US.
It's an easy guess that Wolfe personally feels that abortion is morally wrong. Where he falls on the political pro-life spectrum, it'd be hard to say. In an interview, about his politics: "I am now in the unhappy position of finding no one that I agree with."

quote:

Otherwise I have found his Catholicism pretty inoffensive.
Wolfe is a author-missionary, but he doesn't want to forcefully convert you. He wants you to convert yourself. It's like he's trying to encapsulate the religious experience itself and preach it, rather than specific theology or Catholic doctrine. This sometimes goes to weird places for a Christian writer; like Latro in the Mist portraying the greek gods and Wolfe saying that he believes that those gods were, at the time, real entities.

A good rule is that if you think he's giving you instruction or telling you what you should think, you're misreading it. The only people that would have real problems with religious content in Wolfe's books are the Reddit atheists that think all religion is bad and people in it are stupid.

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