I have good news for you, Glenn and Brandon : you have at least one French listener. Very good job you are doing with your podcasts, except that if Brandon could speak a little more slowly, it would be still better (for me). I really admire your professionalism while you know the audience must be so restricted, especially when you address such impenetrable matters like Sonya, Crane Wessleman and Kittee (I'm very fond of Storeys from the old hotel but certainly not this one). I know keeping all the time a high standard quality when you even don't know if there is someone to hear you in the whole universe is a hard task so I congratulate both of you because you achieve to do this. I wish you good luck and a vast audience (but it could take some times yet before your podcasts become famous) and I listed your site in my blog’s favorites, which could provide you with a couple more listeners. PS: the thing about Brandon's diction was a joke.
Despite the pandemic & its habit-altering ways, I found time to sneak in a few podcasts, and listened to these. God it's great to hear your voices again! My favorite observation was the idea that this was a 'man against nature' story. This, to me, captured the surface moral approach of the story: it reads, at least initially, as if Wolfe took a deliberately detached view: people (the now-masters) did such-and-such, and this was the response. Neither the original action (which is essentially, as Marc Aramini says, eugenics) nor the response (killing people) is a good one, but Wolfe's tone seems oddly non-judgmental, particularly about the latter. I think it falls into the category of: if you give people only bad choices, they'll take bad choices. Yet there is judgement here, and I think it's against the masters, and for Paul. To be sure, Paul is a murderer; but it feels as if Wolfe gives him a pass for having no choice. You say at one point in the discussion that the humans seem to like killing for food, but I don't see that, at least not as the main motive: it's not clear to me that there's much other choice—life in the rural areas is unsustainable; in the city is only genetically altered organisms (the policeman & the trees are all we hear of that aren't masters—so liking it seems to me to be a case of making a virtue out of a necessity. So I think Wolfe's detachment is that of recognizing the necessity, and giving Paul a pass for it — in a fallen world, he might be saying, one must do bad things if put in a bad situation. So why is Paul still good? In a word, love. The name, I contend, is more than simply a version of the french Loup (although yes, that too: Wolfe creates polyvalent stories, after all!). It's also a reference to Paul. But not his life, necessarily (maybe that too, I'm not fresh enough on the New Testament to say), but his theol0gy. One of Paul's most famous lines, surely, is "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I think that's why he's Paul: to remind the reader that the greatest is love. Which Paul has. You mention several of these signs in the story: the masters are pointedly not-married, and seem to show little signs of loving. Emmitt says that "even a bad man can love his child": which is to say, love can redeem even a bad man. And Paul does love — in particular, he loves Janie (and vice-versa, as her tears indicate). Indeed, his love for her sets him apart in particular from the masters: they were created by eugenics. But Paul loves someone who a eugenicist would dismiss — Janie can't speak. Marc Aramini, in his write-up, quotes an interview with Wolfe: " I was trying to get the reader to think about the real nature of love between man and woman. In the first place, the girl in “The Hero as Werewolf” is retarded and cannot speak. And, secondly, in the end she has to damage very badly the man she loves in order to set him free. I think I was trying to say, first, that you must not think that the person you love has to be a whole lot like you in order for that love to be real and working. And second, that we all, if we are going to be honest, have to hurt people in order to do them good. We have to tear away parts of them in order to do them good. " The have-to-cause-pain-to-help is a familiar and important theme in Wolfe's theology, one we have seen many times, and one he expresses explicitly in nonfiction (the stand-out instance being his discussion of Christ as a torturer, and his various theodic justifications for pain, in The Castle of the Otter ). But the other note is key here: Janie is retarded and can't speak. Paul loves her anyway. His love for her, and hers for him, redeems them both, and sets them apart from the foul genetic supremicism of the masters. Paul is a hero, not because he goes on a hero's journey, but because in the bleakest of worlds, in which he is cast, he is able to maintain the ability to love. Despite being, not a werewolf, but a werwolf: a man to be feared as a wolf is. Two minor points: I definitely read the policeman as a genetically engineered dog, as Glenn did. I read the "ghost houses" not as intentional traps, but as houses that Paul gets trapped in that he thinks are traps. They are, in fact, just abandoned houses, with complex electoral systems that Paul is unable to work, not having the knowledge or training. Why are they abandoned? For that, I'll take the "they're leaving for the moon" theory, which I hadn't thought of but seems to fit very well. It was great to start to catch up. Hopefully I'll find time to reread & listen to "Forlesen" before the end of the year. Stay safe, everyone.
I just read the story by Marquez and listened to the podcast episode. For me it's one of the most interesting episodes, because it exactly pointed to what I'm struggling with as a writer (and I think as person as well). I thank you for the discussion about how magical realism, urban fantasy and weird fiction relate. I often try to work out what the difference is. When people ask me what I write I say something like 'Yeah, a sort of horror, but not exactly horror, but more something like urban fantasy or magical realism or weird fiction. Depends on the story also.' But the thing is, I don't know what I write. Because of your discussion I'm know able to put my different stories better into different categories or crossing-overs. Of course, it isn't important in itself, but it says something about how I treat the weird element in my writing. As I was brought up in a very scientifical/rational family/milieu, I always had the feeling that there was something missing in the story about how the world works. I never became religious (though I was on the verge of studying philosophy), but I think the idea of the 'great splendid human race' able to know and explain everything always stroke me as naive. (In that sense I was a bit like Lovecraft I think.) Consciously and unconsciously I asked myself the question of how to treat the weird, the unexpected, the unexplainable (if it is out there or just as fictional construct) into a thematic question in my writing. To be short: listening to this episode gave me the instruments to think on using this theme in my writing in a more conscious way, and this tale of Marquez also helped me with that (or better: the discussion of this tale). As to the child in this story: one of my own stories is about a child who discovers that all parents lie, and that animals, plants and even adults are made in factories, and lifeless things and products grow on trees. I belief that kid doesn't imitate the ways and ideas of the adults, but I'm not sure if this kid is innocent in the Blakeian way also. I honestly don't know why I wrote that tale. But whatever... Thank you for the great discussion! It helped me a lot.