(urth) urth Digest, Vol 26, Issue 12

Kieran Mullen kieran at ou.edu
Mon Oct 16 12:25:17 PDT 2006

> ------------------------------
> Message: 9
> Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 13:00:27 -0400
> From: Daniel D Jones <ddjones at riddlemaster.org>
> Subject: Re: (urth) The Death of Doctor Island Movie
> To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
> Message-ID: <200610161300.28204.ddjones at riddlemaster.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain;  charset="iso-8859-1"
> On Monday 16 October 2006 12:55, David DiGiacomo wrote:
>>> I always thought that the trio of IDD, DrOfDI, and DofDrI was the  
>>> most
>>> accessible and visual of GWs works and would make an facinating  
>>> triptych
>>> of short films. Hopefully this will not be awful and they'll make  
>>> two
>>> more.
>> I agree that The Death of Doctor Island is accessible in terms of
>> understanding the plot, but I also find it to be one of Wolfe's most
>> disturbing and offensive stories.  I can't imagine what a mass  
>> audience
>> would make of it.
> Care to expound on why you find it offensive?

I am not David, but I can write why I find the story disturbing:  an  
innocent young girl is brutally murdered in order to salvage one  
mentally disturbed adult male,  drive an innocent boy catatonic,  and  
manifest the more useful subdominant personality in the boy.   This  
is all based on some utilitarian calculus:  the low probability that  
the girl will be cured, the preference for the subdominant  
personality in the boy, the chance that the man will be cured.   It's  
the cold sacrifice of one life to improve another's life.    But I  
think that's the type of death offered by Doctor Island, and this is  
the point of the story.

What if the Island is wrong in its prognosis?    Is that much worse  
than its being right?

I'm not sure I'd call that offensive, but it is disturbing to me.

Kieran Mullen

P.S.  It's been a while since I read the story.

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