Hey guys, great episode as always. I have talked with you guys a few times on Reddit, as I said there this is actually the first episode that I have read the story before the podcast episode of it came out so I get to participate in the discussion as it is going. I look forward to your discussion episode, but I wanted to get out some thoughts ahead of time, I have also, of course, read what Marc Aramini wrote about this wonderful little story so I will address that too.
- Are we on the moon? This point stood out to me, and while I think it might be possible I do think there is a pretty strong case to dismiss it in the text itself, namely Emmit. As you guys pointed out he actually lived through these changes and is still concerned about nationalities, and the Pendletons were a family of farmers with presumably some history too since there are branch families essentially. On the moon, I imagine someone being German would be a bit less of a concern, and the farming that Emmit is describing just does not fit with the story necessarily being set on the moon for me. I do still think it is important, and it won't be the last time for Wolfe to do something with the moon being transformed either. Rather I think it might have something to do with the classic werewolf mythos, as the moon changes (due to this becoming possible because of the genetic engineering) people are transformed into wolves which is essentially what happened in this story to the "humans".
- Evolution vs Devolution(?) I think that in this story Wolfe is very concerned about the progress we are making and what is being lost because of that. Emmit is kinda tragically holding onto lost ideals while he and the rest of the werewolves have essentially regressed into pack animals who are more in touch with their animalistic side (emotions) and the masters with their reason and intellect. I think that Wolfe is warning us about losing people like Emmit while we are sailing ahead (this is something I also see in his writing about LotR which I highly recommend checking out actually) and the little things, as we progress things are being lost too. What makes the werewolves heroes? They live in defiance of this new society and while they are bad men they love their children so to say. I do think (and believe Wolfe does too) that the situation is more complex than that, after all the heroes are werewolves that kill people, and the masters seem to have a fascinating society too that I wish we got some more insight into.
- Gene Wolfe was actually a werewolf, we know where his sympathies lie at least. He found a subtle way to brag about it in his writing leaving us only clues, but it is definitely there. And he kept getting away with it too!
Anyways, I look forward to the discussion episode you guys are going to have, this is a very dense tale and there will be a lot to talk about I just felt like adding my 5 cents too. The worldbuilding is amazing and I would have loved to see The Hero As Werewolf the novel or something as well. I cannot wait until next week to hear your thoughts, especially the part about the Jungle Book!
Just for clarity since I haven't followed along with the show weekly before. When do the episodes usually go up? This one said it was planned for the 31st but it was already up during the 30th according to my time.
If you think Wolfe is a wearwolf, check out his story "Innocent."
Welcome to the forum! Housekeeping first: the episodes go out to podcasting services every other Tuesday. That's something we're able to automate, but I can't automate posting it to our website, so I usually do that over the weekend so I don't forget -- so if you're listening via the website, you can usually get the episode a few days early (but don't tell anyone!).
I love the idea that Gene Wolfe was in fact a real-life werewolf(e). I don't see any evidence to disprove it, so it must be true!
We talk about whether we're on the moon in this discussion episode, but neither of us championed that position. I thought about it just to make for more exciting radio, but I just can't see any way to support it.
I like your idea, too, of seeing the two types of people in this story as a separation of the emotional and the rational, a kind of id and superego, maybe. I do wonder, then, if Wolfe is suggesting that we need both parts to be whole, to be really human, as in the classic Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within" (written by Richard Matheson, who I brought up in another context in this episode).