(urth) Souls'n'stuff in Wizard Knight

Andrew Bollen abollen at internode.on.net
Fri Dec 10 05:06:30 PST 2004

Been far too busy to really follow the interesting discussion on Wolfean soul dynamics here recently, but think it's worth pointing out that he is perhaps more explicit about some of these things in Wizard Knight than he is anywhere else. In Wizard, Mani at one point asks Able if his (Mani's) soul will survive death. No, says Able: the cat part of Mani will die utterly, and the spirit part will return to what it was before, something which "thinks it's alive", but isn't. The Mani personality is a fusion of spirit and flesh which will not survive the death of the former.

I think Wolfe believes (or at least he believes in his fiction) that the world is pervaded by Spirit which can infuse just about anything to form a Soul - blood-drinking reptiles, twigs & moss, machines, animals. But these Souls are not necessarily immortal. Humans are special, because human Souls are immortal. This presumably is by an act of grace from God. 

I don't pretend to any real knowledge of Chrisitian orthodoxy, but I don't see anything so far which calls for the Inquisition. Where Wolfe maybe does start to run the risk of auto da fe is in the way this act of grace seems to be available to lesser beings as well. When Able gives his blood to Disiri at the end of Wizard, surely it upgrades her soul to fully human-rated, presumably with the immortal feature included. She's no longer a construction of twig & moss, when viewed in her true form; she's a beautiful young woman. At the end, she's going to be allowed to go along with Able on his new assignment, presumably in Skai (or beyond?). Without Able's blood, she's the same as Mani: a "freakish" combination of an elemental, soul-less spirit, and some physical stuff which will eventually unravel.

I find it impossible to believe the same kind of thing is not intended, in time, for the inhumi in Short Sun. (And what about Marble?)

BTW, I know that Wizard Knight hasn't gotten a lot of cheers on this list, but I have to say that I think Wizard is excellent. 

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