(urth) Re: Increate on trial

David Kirby dbkirby at pressroom.com
Thu Mar 31 15:08:34 PST 2005

James Wynn wrote:

> Personally, I've come to like the idea of a "futuristic novel" set in a 
> vast distant future that occurs in the staggeringly distant "past" (if 
> that's the proper word for something that occurs beyond multiple 
> iterations of the collapse and rebirth of Time). 

Actually, I like the idea, too. There are, uh, cycles within the Cycle,
and this idea undergirds the vastness of that proposition.

> Its just the sort of 
> twisting Wolfe does all the time with his stories and characters. Maybe 
> he didn't think of it until later but I don't find it especially 
> undermined in the text (even the quote David Kirby mentioned since the 
> Bang-Gnab theory Wolfe is playing with was similar to the parallel 
> universe concept of String theory). I don't see it as a plot hole at all.

 From what I've read on this list and its now-deceased "sister" list, 
it's also like Wolfe to say things that undermine conclusions that are 
reasonably reached from basic readings of his texts. I suspect he does 
this on purpose, to keep us digging, but that may be giving him too much 
credit; he certainly enjoys readers' reactions to puzzles and "Easter 
eggs" he places in the texts. Even if he does think everything is 
crystal clear.

And despite what I recall being the ascendency of the Bang-Gnab theory 
in the early '80s, when NEW SUN was first published, doesn't current 
thinking have it that the universe won't "Gnab" on us, won't continually 
expand, but will reach a state of (very desolate) steadiness? That's the 
assumption of Brian Greene's 2004 book, THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS; it is 
likely based on 2003 ideas and data, but I don't recall seeing anything 
more recent.

So maybe Wolfe *thought* he was correct when he talked about (or 
"translated") the Bang-Gnab theory, but our (*cough,* *cough*) *vastly* 
superior knowledge of the cosmos renders that assumption incorrect.

(I'm sure you're aware, by the way, that the parallel universe concept 
of "hard" physics dates to the 1950s, quite a while before string theory 
  came along in any form.)

       -- David

"It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future."
== Gene Wolfe, Shadow of the Torturer
                          David B. Kirby, dbkirby at pressroom.com

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