(urth) The Land Across

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Sun Mar 10 06:52:03 PDT 2013

From: Gwern Branwen 

> Synopsis:

> A novel of the fantastic set in an imagined country in Europe
> An American writer of travel guides in need of a new location chooses
> to travel to a small and obscure Eastern European country. The moment
> Grafton crosses the border he is in trouble, much more than he could
> have imagined. His passport is taken by guards, and then he is
> detained for not having it. He is released into the custody of a
> family, but is again detained. It becomes evident that there are
> supernatural agencies at work, but they are not in some ways as
> threatening as the brute forces of bureaucracy and corruption in that
> country. Is our hero in fact a spy for the CIA? Or is he an innocent
> citizen caught in a Kafkaesque trap? Gene Wolfe keeps us guessing
> until the very end, and after.

> I'm not sure why, but for some reason I thought that _The Land Across_
> was going to involve time travel or dinosaurs!

At least he can plausibly argue that cellphones, internet etc. are not available to the public in this setting.  
This is not a criticism of Wolfe – he has been criticised for ignoring such things in _Home Fires_ but in truth perfect communication is a plot-wrecker.  I suspect few novelists/scriptwriters etc. like what cellphones do to their mise en scene.
- Gerry Quinn 
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