(urth) Are old questions OK?

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 20 11:52:52 PDT 2006

Scott K asks:
>What's the general reception in these rarified Wolfe circles of the Borsky 
>book, "Solar Labyrinth?"

I've heard venom and derision heaped on Borsky by some members of the old 
guard from here.  I applaud him for daring to raise a lot of questions about 
BotNS and publish outside the confines of this list.  My main complaint 
would be that he didn't stick around in here long enough to debate some of 
his ideas and stay open to correction and/or refinement.

I've seen others single out the example that bothers you the most, "i.e. the 
Navigator was JFK."  I'm too young to remember the Kennedy funeral, but I 
appreciate Borski's guess because nobody else ever, that I know of, has the 
slightest clue what "the Navigator" story (told by prisoners in the 
antechamber) was about.  It is incomprehensible to me that Wolfe meant 
nothing by it...or that it is a red herring.  The best working hypothesis 
gets my vote until something better comes along.   If Borski and Wolfe saw 
the same video clips of the JFK funeral then, maybe that's it.

I'm also accepting of this hypothesis because it fits a theme of 60's pop 
culture references I think I see in BotNS which include the movie Swiss 
Family Robinson, TV shows Gilligan's Island and Lost In Space (all 3 based 
loosely on Robison Crusoe), facelift surgery, drug culture and of course 
Neil Armstrong on the moon.  Anyone else see others?
(I reject another proposed candidate:  radiation warning /fallout shelter 
signs because I think the identification was based on an incorrect 
interpretation of the term "teratoid symbols".)

Personally I think Borsky wasn't comprehensive enough in trying to identify 
Severian's family members but way waaaaay too aggressive in applying 
cryptonymic analysis to make hundreds of very hard to swallow links between 
just about everything and everybody in the story.  But once again, I'll 
praise him for having the gall to publish his ideas and increase the 
involvement of old and newer Wolfe fans.


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