(urth) Palgrave History of Science Fiction (Eric Bourland)

Ab de Vos foxyab at casema.nl
Sat Mar 17 18:59:27 PDT 2018

Roberts is also disparaging to Wolfe fans because he thinks they do more 
wrong than right by delving deeply into 'the matter of Wolfe'. My own 
impression is he used Wolfe as a  good example for his general thesis on 
the origin of SF and the dialectic between science and religion. I don't 
think he personally thinks Wolfe is a great writer because his treatment 
lacks the enthusiasm of treatments of other writers.

Op 17-3-2018 om 17:26 schreef Marc Aramini:
> He also says that attempting to explore the symbols creates more 
> textual insecurity (something I wholeheartedly disagree with - 
> sometimes the only closure is symbolic, and wolfe’s use of symbols is 
> surprisingly precise even in late work -see Julius smart, his orange 
> association (Naranjo) and the Marid naranj, for example - 1 to 1 
> symbolic representation) and that comparisons to Proust are erroneous 
> - wolfe rips off so many lines from Proust in New Sun it isn’t even 
> funny. Is an intentional science fictional treatment of involuntary 
> memory triggered through scrumptious chatelaine flesh rather than a 
> madeline  not enough?
> many are not equipped to deal with Wolfe’s symbols, I suppose (like 
> that memory palace of Latro where the symbolic manifestations of the 
> gospel writers just happen to appear, mixing so well with the pagan, 
> with three camels approaching from the south. That’s not truly 
> ambiguous symbolism- it is very precise in its implications).
> On Saturday, March 17, 2018, Marc Aramini <marcaramini at gmail.com 
> <mailto:marcaramini at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     I just ordered the Kindle version of the Palgrave History of SF
>     and am glad that Wolfe takes up so much space. I love what he has
>     done with Wolfe because it creates a rich discourse (contra me, of
>     course, though Roberts might never know it) ...  I only had time
>     to skim it, though at first glance I have a completely and utterly
>     opposite take on Wolfe compared to Roberts (and all academics
>     poisoned by post-Northrop Frye developments, confused by the
>     nature of the very words they use).
>     He states that to try to solve the puzzles and fill the spaces in
>     Wolfe risks missing the major stakes, and that as Long and Short
>     Sun develop, the ambiguity of New Sun is overturned by the
>     enlightenment of The Outsider and the undeniable existence of Ah
>     Lah (Silk's enlightenment is artificial and has a physical cause -
>     though the will of God is done regardless - in many ways higher
>     powers are far more prevalent in Severian's abilities and
>     autonomous resurrections, given the red herring of the claw,
>     powerful only for its association with him, though the soul is of
>     course a real thing in all of the series).
>     These are my absolute statements about Wolfe, which don't tend to
>     agree very well with what Roberts is saying, though I am glad he
>     says them in a public resource that will be read:
>     There is nothing of the postmodernist about Wolfe save a mask. He
>     mocks and undercuts postmodern subjectivity by creating
>     objectively solvable puzzles at every turn - we do not have to be
>     caught up in the character's false impressions because we are
>     external to the system. These objective details include history
>     and creed. Sometimes the only way to understand certain events
>     involves symbolism, however.
>     Those who do not solve the puzzles as the text directs cannot
>     often fully understand what Wolfe is getting at and risk following
>     their own agenda. (See Peter Wright's championing of Marsch and
>     the abos in "Confounding the Skin and the Mask" on Ultan's Library
>     as one example where a colonial agenda is pushed at the expense of
>     the text's connotations, blaming humans for the violence between
>     abo tribes before they ever arrive on Ste. Anne.)
>     If we all knew everything, then we would see how profoundly
>     connected to tradition and objective reality Wolfe's works
>     actually are. When all information is available to us, the
>     strangeness is no longer strange at all, just an extension of
>     patterns existing in our reality. (The caveat here is who knows
>     everything? Well, when you want a job done right ... who can
>     straighten what Wolfe has writ crooked?)
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