Forum Posts

marcaramini
Apr 22, 2019
In Gene Wolfe
Just wanted to say marsch’s certainty of the cat and the boy being together is suggested to be almost telepathic because it is via the shadow child field of the cat which has caught both victor and marsch in its web, thus the 00—00 page break when the cat shows up to show their new gestalt link.
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marcaramini
Jan 29, 2019
In Gene Wolfe
So even though it hasn't been broadcast, you guys are familiar with my take on the Shadow Children/ Abos as far as their distinct speciation and reproductive cycle. I caught up with the podcast and one of the things that I think is implied somehow in the book, as impractical as it is, is that if the shadow children are originally from Earth, they are probably the fey changelings that once haunted earthen tales rather than standard human beings - and that the kind of evolution we are talking about to get the reduced Shadow Children is not generations but millennia. My take on their belief in their own humanity has been one of empathic telepathy: they can encounter the humans in space and begin to lose their own sense of identity in mind to mind contact. However, the idea that David has at the start of Fifth Head, if one were inclined to give it any credence, would suggest that the shadow children came long ago and evolved quite distinctly from the humans that will soon visit the planet again. As you know, I think of them as parasites and the second novella as a metaphor for a personal history in addition to the historical work it does. But the mechanism for such transportation makes a lot of assumptions about ancient Earth and interstellar travel, even if the Shadow Children were always somewhat ephemeral.
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marcaramini
Nov 30, 2018
In Gene Wolfe
You knew it was coming: the full rationale for my belief that Mary Pink Butterflies is a typo lies in the edition history. the original Scribner features several obvious typos used in the Orb edition which were corrected in the 1976 Ace edition (perhaps Wolfe submitted his pre-Scribner copy edited manuscript to Ace or actually made changes). One of these areas is the infamous moment in VRT where a huge creature weighs ... fifteen pounds. Marsch struggles with it and wonders how he could get it all on his mount. The Ace edition is the only one that gets that right at 1500 pounds. The ace edition says Many Pink Butterflies. I feel it is the definitive version. also, the abo girls have three names, the first of which is usually an adjective. Seven girls waiting, Cedar branches waving, etc. and while Pink butterflies is slightly different, as we will discuss in our wrap up, I think all men being named John has NO religious relevance, only metatextual Import. The story is about what happened to John V Marsch metaphorically, so of course all men are named John - it is all about him, a veiled personal history as well as a cultural history. Many Pink Butterflies also tells us about something in the first and third novella, the many flesh looking butterflies saturating the text, just as cedar branches waving warns us to look out for the trees, who are clearly doing something. My faith in the ace edition compels me.
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marcaramini
May 24, 2018
In Gene Wolfe
I really loved this episode. great discussion on the theme, and I think Brandon is on to something in regards to Antonio’s objecthood: the masculine objects valued for the work they can do, the feminine for their sexualization. that’s way more interesting than literal puppethood on the part of the narrator; i have come to view his box as metaphorical for the obsession to which he is a puppet (that final question then becomes - I trust you understand what you are a slave to, as I cannot understand the thing which drives you as a person (or have failed to confront my own obsession).) the neglect of people in the obsessed artist’s life is resonant with Wolfe’s own prolific nature - His daughter Teri recounted at the Nebula Award ceremony how very hard he had worked all of the time, even writing when he took the kids to the pool, writing every day, etc. greatness comes at a real personal cost. I have really felt that the podcast keeps getting better and better! The exploration of the theme in this one was profound. at the Fuller Award Ceremony in 2012 a really cool singing performance of this story was put on, featuring the song ”coin-operated boy”. the organ was the giant room in which the audience sat, and the organist seemed a virtuoso to me, capable of playing several orchestral pieces on only one instrument. extremely apt in terms of displaying mastery over an art that seems impossible to the onlooker.
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marcaramini
Apr 10, 2018
In Gene Wolfe
Thanks again for having me on the show! I wanted to wait until this came out to repeat something we touched on in personal correspondence after recording - the significance of the Noah imagery ... given what we have to work with, that deal with Boyd at the end for UBI almost seems like a New Covenant, as was made with Noah, so that the people would not be destroyed again. Otherwise I dont know what else we can do with that Noah imagery- it might have been more present in the original draft in the second half, but then, who can straighten what editors have made crooked?
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marcaramini
Nov 26, 2017
In Gene Wolfe
I had a chance to catch your House of Ancestors episode. I don’t view this story anywhere as negatively for a few reasons. one involves the genre - this is an internal landscape - there is no consequence of Joe’s time in the dna building because it has successfully erased his need to enter and be fixed in the first place, like psychological time-travel magic. Wolfe isnt writing a realistic SF story here but a genetic fable. The experience still transcends time and fixes whatever predisposition to the death wish Joe, his ancestors, and his baby would once have had. wolfe has some controversial views regarding lamarck that the field of epigenetics (like environment turning on certain genes) has brought to the forefront again. if there is a reality to Joe’s experience in the helix, its shape has a weird resonance with his own genetic material, an imitation whose ”damage” fixes the problem in Joe. wolfe uses oddly scaled models as weird literal stand-ins for what they represent in his fiction frequently. there is definitely some genre-blurring in this tale that I think makes complaining about its unrealistic components a bit moot.
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marcaramini
Nov 06, 2017
In Gene Wolfe
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.
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marcaramini

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