(urth) An Evil Guest: tone, and clones

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Mon Jan 4 01:16:32 PST 2010

> That there are so many explanations, each equally bad and
> consistent, bothers me a lot. But enough about clones!

Or time travel or both.

At Dragon*Con, Wolfe said,
"Cassie loved Bill Reis and at the end of the novel she goes to Woldercon to 
look for him."

After a re-read, I'm convinced that Pavlatos is Casey years later. Sharon 
Bench described the boy Chase healed and his mother as "a little piece of a 
man she loved and lost." It is entirely reasonable to conclude, based on 
that, that Rian is the result of Casey's trip to Woldercon, and the meaning 
of Wolfe's summation. I'm skeptical, however, about that last part. Rian 
could be Chase's son and the Bench's reference could to the "man" could 
refer to him. But this is a Wolfe novel, so they are probably the same guy 
somehow, right? But that's impossible. It is impossible, right? Anyway, all 
this suggests that Bench knows all about Pavlatos and that is why she 
doesn't want Casey to approach her with the information given her.

And then there's glamours, shape-changing, and inscrutable, contrary 
agendas...but enough about Gideon Chase.

But, yeah, the death of Reis is frustrating. As is Gideon's occultation 
after Cassie goes to the island. As is, to a lesser extent, Margaret's exit 
from the story. The whole execution scene stinks. I refute the possibility 
that it as it appears, but I can't really explain what is going on instead. 
This is common with Wolfe, no? But I don't think even 'The Book of the Short 
Sun' has a world that seems so inviting and interesting, yet presented so 
incomprehensibly.  I'd read it again to try to connect more dots if I 
believed it would be fruitful, but I don't. Not without more stories based 
in this world.


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