(urth) BSG Spoiler vs Wolfe

Thomas Bitterman tom at bitterman.net
Wed Mar 25 09:51:23 PDT 2009

On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 5:00 PM, John Watkins <john.watkins04 at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 4:51 PM, Thomas Bitterman <tom at bitterman.net>wrote:
>> 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
>>>  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.
> That's not how I read Silk/Hyacinth, Severian/Dorcas, Able/Dsiri or There
> Are Doors (although to be honest I have no clue what was going on in that
> one.

I must admit I felt that way through large chunks of Long/Short Sun.

> Silk makes a Christlike action chasing after Hyacinth instead of going to
> the lander,

Silk/Hyacinth is Hosea/Gomer retold.  I think the desire to retell this
story outweighed any consideration of characterization.

> and Able's relationship with Dsiri is redeemed and transfigured by his gift
> of blood.

Thereby implying that this relationship needed to be redeemed and
transfigured.  In a "standard" chivalric story the romantic/courtly love of
a woman transforms and refines the brutish warrior into the gentlemanly
knight.  Wolfe inverts this idea - his hero is in a base relationship with a
base creature.  The only hope comes from a one-sided act of charity.  This
is not a complex relationship - it is Dsiri sleeping with Able to get

> The idea of a male priestly or godly figure sacrificing himself for a less
> worthy female figure may be misogynist in the sense that Wolfe is repeatedly
> chosing it to symbolize the relationship between Christ and humanity when
> other symbols are available,

Very nearly my point.  Wolfe always seems to choose to portray romantic
relationships that are unhealthy, destructive or otherwise just awful.  He
is capable of deep, interesting character development in so many other areas
but romantic entanglements leave his characters flat.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.urth.net/pipermail/urth-urth.net/attachments/20090325/8ec4e603/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the Urth mailing list