(urth) 5HC question

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 26 04:46:14 PDT 2006

I agree with Jeffrey Lefstin that the Blue-Green theme found across Wolfe 
works should be seen as symbolic rather than factual.  That Earth is covered 
with water and life?  I dunno.

Gene Wolfe was asked by James Jordan: "Which of the following, if any, are 
physically (not in some merely literary or symbolic sense) the same planets 
as Blue and Green, in the same order?:

Ushas and Lune
Urth and Lune
Lune and Ushas
Lune and Urth
Two Urths
Two Ushases
Two Lunes

Gene Wolfe: "None"

I disagree with Jeffrey Lefstin's definition of "literature" as works in 
which "characters
and things are very often richly symbolic".  What do you call enduring 
classics which don't rely on symbolism and multiple subtext levels to engage 
a reader?  Aren't there many great works of literature which are such 
because they rely on an interesting story, interesting character  
development, witty dialogue or interesting historical context?  Why limit so 

Adam Thornton notes and asks:

>This also raises a troubling, to me, theological point, that exists  in SS 

>If the inhumu are merely what they mimic, and before the arrival of 
>humanity they are innocent >beasts, but after they bite humans they can in 
>most essential ways *be* humans....then do they >have souls?   If so, when 
>do these souls come into being?

Shape-shifting is a physical process.  A shape-shifter may physically 
imitate a human so closely as to allow interbreeding but that is only a  
material resemblance.  A soul is immaterial and must be acquired through 
Special Creation, right? (well, one part of the Bible suggests we don't get 
a soul until after death, but anyway...)

So an interesting question is: What about offspring of human and non-human?  
Is it possible to have a partial soul?  Or perhaps a contaminated soul?  I 
think Wolfe might be addressing this in BotNS.


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