(urth) The Politics Of Gene Wolfe

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Tue Mar 17 10:08:56 PDT 2009

You are surely not as familiar with Wolfe's work as many of us, to the
extent that you are saying silly, obviously wrong things. I'd advise you
to go read the parts you haven't read and then come back: you can revive
the discussion if it is not still going on.


> On Mar 17, 2009, at 3:36 AM, brunians at brunians.org wrote:
>> A prominent feature of Wolfe's politics, which appears time and time
>> again
>> in his stories is his strong approval of the 2nd Amendment of the
>> United
>> States constitution, which recognizes the inherent right of the
>> people to
>> keep and bear arms, and his strong disapproval of the disarmement of
>> the
>> citizenry.
> I'm surely not as familiar with Wolfe's work as some of the rest of
> you. But I'm having trouble coming up with examples from Wolfe's
> stories which relate directly or indirectly to the 2nd Amendment or to
> the inherent virtues of weapon ownership.
> There are certainly many times when, in the course of the adventure
> story, that the hero wishes he had a weapon or is glad that she is
> armed. Certainly Severian would not be the same character without
> Terminus Est, nor Able without his skills as a warrior. But just as
> often I see weapons as negative or incomplete solutions, such as the
> welding tool in "The Death of Doctor Island", which gives only the
> illusion of dominance. The "useful tool" goes to people's heads and
> becomes a trap which distracts from a larger power (Severian's healing
> ability, Able's magic Valhalla powers, Dr. Island's ability to
> dominate minds.)
> Perhaps there's a common thread of power and the honest assessment of
> what you can do when others have power over you. There's certainly a
> lot of weapon-based power differentials (Vodalus has the gun, the
> others have axes.) But when I see the strong contrast in the New Sun
> of some people having energy weapons and others having blades, I don't
> think Wolfe is saying, "See, what a better world it would be if
> everyone had energy weapons." I see interesting ideas about the
> inevitable imbalances of personal power, and how it takes more than
> superior firepower to find a solution. Where is Wolfe stressing the
> importance of personal weaponry as a necessary step to being able to
> address these larger problems? Where does he talk about disarmament?
> (Maybe this is a Long Sun thing I will see when I read those?)
> Maybe you folks will be able to say, Allan, you've forgotten this bit,
> you've misinterpreted this bit, you haven't read this bit. For
> instance, I remember something (a bit fuzzily) from The Wizard Knight
> about Berthold and some villagers standing up to some bandits. I also
> remember something about armed peasants being hopelessly outclassed by
> professional armsmen. Sorry, I'd have to go search a bit to get
> something more concrete here.
> What I see more of is just the conventions of adventure-story plot:
> the hero, to differentiate him from the rest, sometimes has to take
> bold steps!
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