(urth) Seawrack and the Mother

Marc Aramini marcaramini at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 23 07:50:39 PDT 2012

--- On Sun, 9/23/12, David Stockhoff <dstockhoff at verizon.net> wrote:

Yes, I had meant to include a passing comment on that as well. If the universe is double-sexed (dioecious?) like us, it must be either hermaphroditic or dyadic. Either way it must mate with itself to produce or create or even to become itself.

If it is single-sexed (monoecious), then I guess we're just supposed to forget about the missing sex. (In the same way, we're not supposed to notice that Eve's offspring either mated with others or mated with one another.) Which does seem like a step toward acknowledging that the universe is not like us at all, not at all.

And I think one of the motives of SF is to deal with this dual reality: first that we congenitally, helplessly want the world to shape itself to us, and second that it never will, and in fact (thanks in part to science) seems if anything increasingly uncaring. (For instance, the earth will not forgive us for global warming, nor is it likely to save us from it.)

I do think the manner of reproduction of life in Wolfe is intrinsically important, from Sev and Apheta's fecund white fountain coupling to the mating rituals of the inhuma, and that asexual means of transferring the self obsess both the cannibalistic analept of the Alzabo and other faucets of both new and short sun, but I do want to make one counterpoint to your final paragraph.
Wolfe, the spiritual engineer, is certainly not intrinsically opposed to science, but is rather critical in a psuedo-didactic way, critical of the final goals and motivations of man.  the little parable of a man who complained all his life that Pas had messed up the whorl - at the culmination, he faces Pas, and Pas asks, "so you could have made the Whorl better?"  "Yes, I reckon I could."  "That's what I wanted you to do, make it a better place." screams that humans and their desires and wants shape the world ... with nobility of purpose, the world actually becomes a better place.  To ascribe a cold callous naturalistic reading to Wolfe in the sun sequence has always seemed slightly skewed to me, and is my problem with the majority of Wright's criticism.  
Wolfe is not a naturalist; if anything he's an eclectic symbolist/spiritualist who embraces paradoxes.  Much more ideologically akin to a Hawthorne than a realist like Howe.  Thus, the world spiritually shapes itself to us each and every day.
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