I had a chance to listen to your podcast on Trip, Trap - once again, nice voices, interesting points. There are a few very important things in this story that I think are essential to Wolfe's later fiction, and one of them is the creation of an objective reality which transcends the subjective viewpoints of the characters, which WE have access to. In this case, the frame source, 3 Billy Goats Gruff, informs who killed the Traki. Doctor Finch and Garth enter a spiritual space that IS MORE REAL than reality, and in it their subjective differences vanish and they become the third billy goat gestalt together, with none of the weaknesses they have apart. The warrior is subject to the influence of the Traki, but the scholar doesn't have the gumption to do what is necessary - so together they do. There is no liar here: they enter an objective spiritual communion that supercedes the subjective chasm that separates them and put aside the trap which is the I of ego. The evidence for this is the lack of stab wounds on the Traki's body: it is sliced, not pierced, because the sword lost its edge in the spirit world but not the "real" world - the spiritual is real, and objectivity found in communal resolve and action rather than in subjective misunderstanding. This is so intrinsic to Wolfe as an artist that I can't stress it enough, and is the reason I always classify Wolfe as distinctly not quite postmodern: he subverts the relative points of view over and over. They are always present but never final. I look forward to listening to more and hope to catch up soon. This story is key to that Catholic engineer's aesthetic: the objective is lurking behind everything, like a platonic (or neoplatonic) ideal, and the variations of subjectivity may temporarily separate beings from communion, but they are not ultimately true and valid. I think this is true of almost all of Wolfe's fiction. The Traki was vastly powerful in its psychic power, but it died as a lonely, pathetic troll under the bridge.
Hello, first time poster here. I have been following the podcast cover Fifth Head of Cerberus at work and in Episode 44, the Wrap Up, Brandon and Glenn briefly talk about Neal Stephenson's Anathem and how its use of leaves as paper could be a nod to Fifth Head. Glenn also says there are several Book of the New Sun references in Anathem. I'm a big fan of Anathem and read the Book of New Sun last year, but I'm at a loss of spotting the references. Can anyone help me out, or is this discussed in another episode?