(urth) BSG Spoiler vs Wolfe

Thomas Bitterman tom at bitterman.net
Tue Mar 24 13:51:54 PDT 2009

On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 10:10 AM, James Wynn <crushtv at gmail.com> wrote:

> Enamel: In BSG people have (and don't have) sex for
>> all sorts of human reasons, and have all sorts of
>> human reactions. In Wolfe people apparently have
>> sex to show what bad people they are, and suffer for it later.
>  Wynn: That's ridiculous. Do you really intend to compare the
>> writing of BSG to Wolfe in favor of BSG?
>  Enamel: Yup.  In the case of male-female sexual relationships,
>> BSG beats the pants off of Wolfe.  The motivations of the
>> people involved and the effects the relationships have on
>> them in BSG are more interesting and realistic than what
>> Wolfe has shown.
> Wolfe doesn't typically set his scenes in "naturalistic" settings so I
> think you are comparing things that don't map.

BSG is hardly naturalistic.  Sci-fi (even the pulp sci-fi Wolfe uses for his
own ends) is still about people, what happens to them, and how they deal
with it.

> For example, while the sexual relationship between the characters in
> "Counting Cats In Zanzibar" is realistic, the setting is bizarrely
> unconventional.

Short stories should be left aside.  The sort of
character-development-through-a-sexual-relationship I'm referring to takes
more time than a typical short story has.

> But your original statement that "In Wolfe people apparently have sex to
> show what bad people they are, and suffer for it later" is simply not based
> on...well, anything that I can see..

Severian/Jolenta - Sev as date-rapist
Silk/Hyacinth - Silk loves unworthy woman, kills self over it
Baldanders/little boy - homosexual child molestation
Severian/Dorcas - it's his grandmother!
Able/Dsiri - romantic love points in the wrong direction, and he is less for
having it
There are Doors - have sex and die
Latro - he may have sex, but can never really have a relationship
Horn/Seawrack - she's a giant prawn!

There may be a pattern here.

> You are essentially ascribing to Wolfe the stated opinions of Incus.

St. Paul.  And I'm not ascribing them to Wolfe, just describing what I see
in his work.

> That's just nonsense. I started to list all the instances of Wolfe
> characters who are having sex with each other but it started to get silly.

Wolfe portrays characters that have sex.  That sex is not always
destructive.  Major characters in Wolfe novels, when they have "on air" sex,
have sex that is destructive and degrading, and the relationships it occurs
in is one of exploitation.  Said another way, Wolfe never seems to portray a
healthy, sexual relationship, one in which his characters grow or benefit
from each other.  Not untroubled, not happy-ever-after.  Just healthy.

> Some people in Wolfe stories have sex and it ends badly, but not because of
> the sex unless it was rape (and not always then). Certainly, no one's sexual
> relationship in BSG ended well except for Baltar and Six's.

In the end everyone is dead.  But for other good relationships:
Saul/Ellen Tigh - troubled, but ultimately happy, an interesting contrast to

There were some destructive ("bad") relationships, too.  That happens.
Wolfe knows that.  He just seems uninterested in portraying any good ones.

> If I were to ascribe a moral to sex in BSG it would be "sex invariability
> causes people to act treacherously or cruelly."

You've confused Wolfe and BSG.

> We like what we like. I wouldn't spend 2 minutes watching "Grey's Anatomy"
> or similar dramas regardless of how interesting (to some) or realistic the
> relationships are. Not my cup 'o tea. That's what the flashbacks in the
> finale reminded me of. They certainly didn't move forward or explain
> anything in the current narrative.

We agree - soap operas don't interest me, either.

>  [regarding the sexual scenes in BSG finale]
>> This reply is already too long, but don't forget Baltar.
> Did Baltar even have sex in the final episode? If not (and I'm thinking
> not) it a first.  Certainly, Baltar and Six's relationship was hardly less
> realistic than Wolfe's and, in general, its purpose was titilation.

Baltar starts out as very much as if Wolfe had written him.  His
relationships are based solely on the sex that his money and fame can get
him.  In the end he grows a lot through his relationship(s).  He is a better
man for them.  Which Wolfean protagonist can say the same?  Sev?  Silk?

> J.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.urth.net/pipermail/urth-urth.net/attachments/20090324/5bd05598/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the Urth mailing list