(urth) Urth Digest, Vol 63, Issue 5

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Tue Nov 10 15:23:47 PST 2009

I believe that TWK is Wolfe's speculations as to what might become of a
decent and relatively innocent young man of Celtic and Germanic descent,
who is not a Christian or, indeed, particularly religious, after he dies

It is cast in the form of a letter from beyond the grave.


> I was fortunate enough to read TFHoC first, as far as novels. I started
> noticing Wolfe as a writer of short stories.
> I sympathize with the complaint that the narrative of TWK is harder to
> follow. The universe in which it occurs is at least as complex as
> TBotNS's, having several levels as well as time "travel." Not many smart
> and literate humans would be up to the task of coherently telling such a
> story. And on top of all that, Abel seems to be from the "real" world,
> which is of uncertain relation to the several otherworlds.
> I think the illusion of "reality" is much better sustained in the Sun and
> Whorl. That is to say, (1) it's more science fiction than fantasy and (2)
> it seems to take place in "our" universe, so at least my expectations were
> higher in terms of coherence. I approached those texts thinking, "Make me
> believe!" With TWK, I simply thought, "Wizards! Knights! Giants! Oh my!"
> Reading TWK, I spent the first book wondering whether elves, dwarves, and
> orcs were going to show up---how far was Wolfe going to take this
> Mabinogion or Morte d'Arthur? Another way to put it is that basic
> relationships (such as geographical or temporal) seem less important, more
> flexible than in Sun and Whorl. And Abel doesn't try very hard to help us.
> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Mon, 9 Nov 2009 20:18:59 -0600
> From: "James Wynn" <crushtv at gmail.com>
> To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
> Subject: Re: (urth) Wizard-Knight sucks, or,	is there any scholarly
> 	research on it?
> Message-ID: <0BBF4DDCD1B34379934AD0C15DE19953 at eMachinePC>
> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1";
> 	reply-type=response
>> > Maybe Abel really is dumb and illiterate, but it was  sometimes
>> difficult
>> > to follow the narrative because Abel is a bad  storyteller.
> Well, honestly, the part about being a bad story-teller is true of
> Severian,
> as well (to the extent that it IS true). The Book of the New Sun was the
> first Wolfe story I'd read. I told the guy who recommended it that I
> thought
> Wolfe was a great creator of worlds but only a so-so writer. Then I read
> The
> Fifth Head of Cerberus and decided that --based on the two novels-- he was
> the best science fiction writer I'd ever read. But the "weaknesses" in the
> story-telling in TWK (if they are weaknesses) are the same as those in
> TBotNS.
> J.
> ------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Urth Mailing List
> To post, write urth at urth.net
> Subscription/information: http://www.urth.net

More information about the Urth mailing list