Trying to decide which Wolfe short story collection to buy: The Best of Gene Wolfe or The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories (or another one, I think I saw at least one more available on my Nook). I already own The Fifth Head of Cerberu s (all three novellas), so I don't need that included. I'm currently listening to the podcasts about The Death of Doctor Island . Recommendations? Pro or con?
I think there has to be something more sinister going on ashore. The robotics technician is pretty obviously murdered. How does someone cut his wrists "almost to the bone" and then hang himself or vice-versa? Missing the big drop-off in the canyon could be explained as a genuine error, a recent tectonic event (though you think someone would mention that), or deliberate lying by the administrator. Maybe I've been too well trained by the last four years to take anything at face value. Could Jacova Angevine's book's title Waking Leviathan be a reference to the power of the state, related to Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan ? Several parts of this story talk about state and non-state power like nuclear weapons.
For the second time since the beginning of Elder Sign, I didn't read the tale, but just listened to the episode (it had to do with not finding a cheap version of the story and already having a REH-book, which I didn't like very much, though it wasn't bad). But the recap and discussion were clear enough. I really liked the episode, although the tale wasn't weird. And though ethics of a tale have been discussed earlier in Elder Sign, they hadn't been discussed at this scale. It was interesting to compare medieval chivalric literature with 'modern' chivalric and 'post' chivalric; and old, less old and new views on ethics (and gender) when talking about murder, justice and the (not) divine status of human beings. I love the work of Alan Moore, who was one of the first persons in 'pulp' fiction to make a point of the questionable status of the hero (esp. in Watchmen). I think since postmodernity took its place in culture, there isn't a serious chivalric hero anymore in the Solomon Kane sense of the term. There are of course those revenge-and-violence types of things, like the Tarantino movies (Kill Bill), to which I personally have a love-hate relation: they give bad example, but it depends on the viewer how to interpret this I guess (though I fear it can make violence/resentment seem excusable for angry, thrill seeking people). Postmodernity indeed shows the thin line between ethics and arbitrariness, and the rise of uncertainty what to do as a not-divine human. I do think this existentialist questioning is not only there in noir, but also in new weird (esp. Thomas Ligotti) - so there we are back to weird fiction still ;-) And though this episode wasn't on storytelling, it made me think on how to treat the ethical questions of the protagonists in my own writing, so I thank you for that also.