(urth) Urth Digest, Vol 163, Issue 10

Brian Doherty brianmdoherty at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 13:08:48 PDT 2018

> And while I believe in the discoverability of intent and the immutability
> of plot elements implied or explicit (Hamlet dies, urth literally becomes
> Green), sometimes it is necessary to let people read as they want to - for
> some, Wolfe really is just a fun read.
> Better to let people read as they want than risk the unenlightened fascism
> (as opposed to my enlightened, transcendent variety) of pushing definitive
> readings that are deaf to subtext (and I?m not talking about your readings
> at all here, Robert).

While I cannot be absolutely sure of this anymore, I think that nearly
EVERYTHING about what was "really going on" in BOTNS connected to time
travel escaped me nearly entirely on first and even second read, and
possibly made me kind of not enjoy URTH very much when it was new, and
to have never re-read it.

All sorts of actual facts about what was happening in the narrative
that I learned from fellow fans and secondary literature escaped me,
and still BOTNS was from first read til now in my top 10 favorite
reading experiences and one of VERY few books I felt compelled to
re-read. THese days I think I'd say I valorize SHORT and LONG more,
but still. At any rate, I know you can have Wolfe move you deeply
without getting a LOT of it.

That said, with the last decade of standalones, my lack of ability to
easily perceive basic "what is going on?" points have indeed NOT been
overwhelmed by other qualities, and while I still read them I don't
expect to love Wolfe's new works any longer. I lack the capacity now
to lay out why that did not ruin BOTNS while it largely does ruin more
recent standalones, but it's true.

Brian Doherty

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