(urth) Damon Knight's The Man in the Tree

Jason Willard funesmem6 at msn.com
Tue Mar 15 18:10:39 PST 2005

I'm far from having read all of the Urth posts, so if I'm making an obvious point, forgive me.  I'm in the middle of cataloguing my books and came to The Man in the Tree by Damon Knight.  I got it a few months ago because I knew he was an influence on Wolfe, but didn't pay any more attention than that.  Apparently, the main character's name is Gene Anderson - which, with my rough familiarity with etymology, I'd break down as Gene Other Son.  Fitting, since Wolfe claimed Knight grew him "from a bean."  The back blurb reads: "A poet, a millionaire, a circus freak.  Gene Anderson was all of these and much more.  An incredible eight-and-a-half-foot giant, he had a power, a gift that enabled him to reach into other worlds and bring back miracles into this one.  He saw a magnificence in the universe that nobody had ever seen and brought the light of truth to man where only darkness had been.  But like all prophets, he was feared as much as loved - and hated by one tortured soul who was determined to see him die..."  Just from that I hear echoes of Peace and the New Sun.  The copyright is 1984, right after the original tetralogy of New Sun finished, so I'm curious what kind of give and take there is between the two...
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