(urth) The Guild's Revolutionary

David Duffy David.Duffy at qimr.edu.au
Mon Nov 23 20:54:29 PST 2009

On Mon, 23 Nov 2009, James Wynn wrote:

>>> not much supporting it beyond Utlan's blindness. Borges is a great writer, 
>>> but other than "The Book of Imaginary Beings" which cites the Baldanders, 
>>> I haven't noted much influence from him. Of course, that might be due to a 
>>> deficiency in my Borges knowledge.
>> Father Inire echoes "The Book of Imaginary Beings" section on fauna of 
>> mirrors.
>> Borges has:
>> "the Fish was a shifting and shining creature that nobody had ever caught 
>> but that many said they had glimpsed in the depths of mirrors...The first 
>> to awaken will be the Fish. Deep in the mirror we will perceive a very 
>> faint line and the color of this line will be like no other color."
> Look, I'm not saying Wolfe hasn't read Borges, nor even that he doesn't like 
> him. Nor that he hasn't drawn from The Book of Imaginary Beings. I know he 
> has (even though he has apparently disparaged that little book somewhat).

I was just addressing:

"I haven't noted much influence from him."

> I'm 
> speaking specifically of Master Ultan. It's a cool little concept to say "Oh, 
> Wolfe had Borges play that role." It'd be neat to find all my favorite 
> authors on Urth. But if Ultan wasn't blind, no one would identify him with 
> Borges either by his looks or words.  And so essentially the argument is that 
> Ultan=Borges because Ultan is a blind librarian. But Palaemon is blind too, 
> right? Who is he? So where is Vance? Don't you think he deserves to be here? 
> Or Chesterton?

One might argue that the choice of a fantastical South America is due
to reading Borges, rather than Chesterton or Vance.  And how would one
recognize the latter two, as opposed to a blind librarian in a labyrinthine

But yes, I would agree that there are no completely definitive 
clues to identifying models for anyone in the books. Even Neil Armstrong ;)

Cheers, David Duffy.
| David Duffy (MBBS PhD)                                         ,-_|\
| email: davidD at qimr.edu.au  ph: INT+61+7+3362-0217 fax: -0101  /     *
| Epidemiology Unit, Queensland Institute of Medical Research   \_,-._/
| 300 Herston Rd, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia  GPG 4D0B994A v

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