(urth) Second hand books and Musings

O'Donnell, Tim (BOSI) Tim.O'Donnell at bankofscotland.ie
Fri Aug 29 06:15:18 PDT 2008


I hope all is well.

Living as I do in Ireland it can be difficult to get copies of Gene Wolfe's books.  So I was delighted today to be able to pick up a copy of Endangered Species as well as
two lovely editions of TSOTT and TSOTL from the 80s in my favourite second hand bookshop.  

So, in celebration I thought I would post two musings I had recently in relation to BOTNS.

There has been alot of debate on the lists in the last while about the exact moral nature of the Hieros.  It occurs to me that an indication of their true nature may be given by the fact that
beautiful faces are hidden behind horrible masks (which of course are also hidden behind masks).

The other thought I had was on Severian's recuperation and his experience with the Ascian in COTA.  In this passage (sorry, I don't have the book with me) he mentions how the Ascian is able to 
express just about any thought he wishes but also mentions the inherent predictability of much speech in his own language.  I wonder if this is commentary by Wolfe on one of his goals in writing?
In condensing fact, hiding important revelations in throwaway comments and playing on related words, names and concepts Wolfe shocks the reader out of passive reading.  No longer can we
assume we know how a sentence or piece of dialogue will end, we must interrogate every line and word for its true meaning.

Just some thoughts anyway, fire at will!

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