(urth) Re: urth-urth.net Digest, Vol 4, Issue 17

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Tue Dec 7 22:10:50 PST 2004

Turin wrote:
>>Do the witches preform magic? Can anyone, even Severian with the post
facto white fountain explanation, be said to preform magic?  The same is
true of Typhon's hypnotism or the duel with the shaman.  This is an
important point because it blurs the lines between what seem to be easy
genre distinctions, scifi, and fantasy.  I don't know if there is any magic
in TBOTNS.  It obviously exists in the later series, but this is something
which I can't decide.  Is Wolfe reiterating Clarkes law, especially with the
heirodoles, are technology and magic for Wolfe, the same at a certain level
of complexity/incomphrensibility?<<

In LEXICON URTHUS, under the entry for "Magic in the Urth Cycle", Michael
Andre-Driussi writes:
[t]here is no "magic" in the Urth Cycle. As Gene Wolfe notes in a magazine
interview, "I view The Book of the New Sun as science fantasy -- by which I
mean a science-fiction story told with the outlook, the flavor of fantasy.
There are _no_ fantasy elements involved -- no "magic" in the fantasy sense.
There is time-travel, but that belongs to sf, not fantasy. There are
hypnotism, sleight of hand, and a few other things, but those belong to the
world of reality, if not the world of science." (_Thrust_ #19, 1983, p. 7).



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