(urth) Wolfe at Readercon

Milton Jackson miltonwjackson at gmail.com
Mon Jul 20 16:24:10 PDT 2009

I'll tell you no such thing. You'll have to read the book to determine what
you think of what Wolfe does with Latro. One thing any Wolfe fan should know
is that Wolfe rarely gives a traditional resolution to his works. They are
often openended and incomplete in ways that would damage other authors'
reputations though. Wolfe is a writer who rewards both perception and
repeated delving into his worlds by his readers. If you expect the Latro
sequence to go from A to Z, then you're reading the wrong books. If you
expect a more Citizen Kane-style mode of storytelling filled with lacunae,
subtle hints, and endings that leave a sense of wonder rather than
completion, then you're definitely reading the right books. Others may
disagree with me, but my perception of Soldier of Sidon is that it
effectively brings the sequence to the closest thing to closure it needs.
Anything else, to me--unless superbly done (something Wolfe is quite capable
of)--would be meaningless windowdressing.

On Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 7:10 PM, <JBarach at aol.com> wrote:

>   Milton writes:
> > I think Wolfe's done all he can do with Latro short of killing
> > the character off. Althought Soldier of Sidon can't claim
> > the level of writing its predecessors had, it still was a fine
> > book and, I believe, a great place to end the story.
> I haven't read Sidon yet, but ... surely the matter of his memory-problem
> has yet to be resolved.  That is, I assume Wolfe didn't intend it to be just
> some weird feature that plays no role in the plot but that allows Wolfe to
> do some fun stuff with the narrative.
> Of course, that may have been how the idea originated ("What if I had a
> character who couldn't remember more than a day at a time?"), but it seems
> to me that Wolfe usually DOES something with those sorts of ideas.  As he
> says in one of his essays or interviews about writing, many people think
> they have a great idea for a story when they come up with an idea for the
> premise of a story or the opening of the story ("What if a guy couldn't
> remember more than a day at a time?").  But what is important is knowing the
> *end* of the story and how the story gets to it.
> So if Wolfe came up with this particular idea, it seems consistent to me to
> think that Wolfe had some idea of where he wanted to go with the idea.  It's
> not just a gimmick to allow, for instance, characters to deceive Latro
> because he can't remember that they were untrustworthy.  It's going
> somewhere.  The memory loss happened for a reason, and therefore it is
> something that is both resolvable and needing resolution.
> Or so it seems to me.  Now you'll tell me that all that stuff was cleared
> up in Sidon....
> John
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