This Island’s Godwin: Teorann’s Law

Godwin’s Law: The longer and more heated a debate or discussion becomes, the more likely it is that Hitler or Nazism will be used as a comparison.

Teorann’s Law: No matter the original subject area, it is possible to make any argument become about the partition/division of Ireland.

I’ve noticed over the years that there is no predicting a discussion about anything in Slugger’s below-the-line comments. The most tenuous links can bring a discussion right around to who took what from whom and when. This obviously isn’t an issue exclusive to Slugger O’Toole, you see it in the street, pubs, parks and anywhere else you care to look for it.

And now it has a name. Teorann’s Law. Godwin’s Law has been useful in curtailing such activity in discussions, nobody wants to be that person that goes to Hitler first. Equally, we should aspire in discussions to better than, “My great granda had his stuff stolen from your great granda.

The comments in this recent article are a prime example of how, seemingly out of nowhere, those grandas are being furiously debated one more.  It’s frankly a little impressive – hugely tedious – but impressive mental gymnastics and it happens time and time again.

People should also come with their own Teorann Score, sort of like a Golf handicap. It would make conversations more productive when meeting new people.

1=Expert at swinging conversations in line with Teorann’s Law

10=Hardly ever mention anything from the past that’s older than Oliver Bierhoff’s winning golden goal from the Euro ’96 final.


Me: “Hi, I’m Kris, nice to meet you. I have a Teorann’s score of 9.”

Dave: “Indeed nice to meet you too Kris, I am Dave, and I have  Teorann’s Score of 2, however I am accustomed to speaking with people who are comfortable spending every waking minute debating the events of long ago, perhaps we should not continue this introduction any further.”

Me: “A good assertion Dave, I have no wish to have my conversation curtailed by long dead arguments about long dead events featuring long dead people, I bid you adieu.”


Now wouldn’t that make things a bit easier?

Oh, and Teorann means ‘Border’.

, ,

  • the rich get richer

    It’s the English that done it…………

  • Thomas Barber

    Sounds like political creationism for planters.

  • Gopher

    My favourite was one of the contributors the other week felt embarrassed that because he British and so was a 17th century Regicide that is mentioned in every other Nationalist editorial he had to offer a lengthy explanation about his British and Irishness. He then mentioned a few fluffy “heroes” but forgot to thoroughly wiki them and the dark side of me did take great delight in mentioning that one had signed of on an action much the same as our Regicide. I did not have the heart to tell him Dresden and area bombing was also signed off with his approval.

    Going from Claire Hanna to partition is like a segment from a Gene Wolfe novel and probably a medical condition.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Does this mean that UKIP, Golden Dawn, La Front National, Alternative für Deutschland, the right of the Conservative Party, the British nationalists of the Labour Party, the Hungarian government, Donald Trump’s border obsessed supporters, Pegida, etc. etc. are all either Northern Irish or Irish?

    If so, then it’s clear those Irish passports and Orange sashes are being handed out a little too easily!

  • Nevin

    “Hi, I’m Kris, nice to meet you. I have a Teorann’s score of 9.”

    No. Really? Very sorry to hear that, Kris.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    I…
    I…
    I can’t even.
    I know it’s tough to accurately and truly convey emotion, emphasis and inflection through the written word, but I suspect this will come across as I intend it to.
    WHAT??

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    9 is treatable, 4 and below… terminal I’m afraid.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    We may need a Breslin’s law now.

    So my piece said that people on here and in our wider community often have an ability to turn any conversation into an argument of partition of Ireland/Northern Ireland and the origins of NI.

    And you Kevin, you ask if Trump, Pegida and Golden Dawn are therefore Irish or Northern Irish.

    nope. I don’t get it.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The point I am trying to make is that I think the groups I mentioned have their own “border laws” … the problem isn’t unique to the island of Ireland.

    Regardless of what problem happens in the UK, Germany, France, Greece, Hungary, USA etc. there is a common capacity to bring it all back to the border.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Ok. A semi valid point. I’m sure that somewhere there’s a Greek version of me, writing a Greek version of this article on a Greek version of Slugger O’Toole, complaining about how the Ancient Spartans took away my granda’s land.

    Hopefully, that Greek version of me is also encouraging people to not let every discussion digress in to who was right or wrong in the Peloponnesian war and which person’s granda had his giant wooden horse stolen by the others

  • Nevin

    According to a recent Brexit study this condition aka An Teorainn has flared up again.

  • Marty McCullough

    I cant believe people actually still listen to so called Political Debates. It must be an Ego thing. Who wants to be ruled by anyone who thinks Northern Ireland is anything other than a waste of time. Any true Scotsman would sell it of for £1

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    The WHO have said it can be treated with Proeurotics

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    A cynic might make a blatant reference to the notorious tightness of the Scottish people and that there’s very little they wouldn’t do for £1.

    Not me, I wouldn’t say that, I’m above it.

  • Tochais Siorai

    ‘Teorann’s Law: No matter the original subject area, it is possible to make any argument become about the partition/division of Ireland.’

    I know what you’re saying, Kris, but at the same time partition and its associated effects have an ongoing effect on the island and its development (the end of partition would of course have an effect too but surely not as long lasting).

    Things have improved dramatically with the end of the troubles and the advent of the single European market (Ahem!) but partition still hinders the place in so many ways and, in Northern Ireland, it has created an entity which has become the political equivalent of a fourth or fifth generation welfare dependent.

    I’m a 6ish. But definitely getting worse with Brexit.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    You know what else is having an ongoing affect on the island? The last ice age. The Romans coming to this part of Europe. The domestication of cattle. At some point though, the discussions of today don’t have to be entirely dominated by the topics of the past.

  • Mega Kensei

    Of course, if Ireland was never partitioned there’d be no need for any kind of law at all.

    I blame unionism.

  • Nevin

    Proeurotics/Proneurotics is a quack remedy, not a quick one.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I was aiming for a negative Teorann’s Number through reflecting the issue on others… how did I do?

    I’ll settle for a complex Teorann’s Number or even a quaternion one.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    I’m shocked it took 19 comments before that happened 😀

  • Declan Doyle

    Partition is not a topic of the past though is it? In reality it is a very current issue particularly in relation to Brexit which only happened a few months ago.
    However, if you are saying that we should be able to have a conversation on social, economic and political issues without lamenting ancient events I would agree.
    But try being a Shinner for five minutes. It is nigh on impossible to discuss anything without ‘gerry ate my hamster’ being slung into the conversation almost immediately.

  • Declan Doyle

    But the Romans have gone and whilst it sometimes feels like we are living in the ice age that too is gone. Both examples you give may have had an impact on the evolution of our society, but few people are functionally aware of it on a day to day basis.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Okay, Why now do I get the feeling you might give me an algebraic one because you couldn’t make out the relationship so obviously?

  • Tochais Siorai

    The Romans never made it to this part of Europe. Well, unless you count the neighbouring island.

    I’ll get me coat.

  • Nevin

    “This Island’s Godwin: Teorann’s Law”

    An tOileán; An Teorainn. Are these conditions/mindsets by any chance related? Are there other varieties?

  • Blue Hammer

    Ah well – we won’t get fooled again . . .

  • SeaanUiNeill

    On the subject of Romans, Tully tells us:

    “Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?”

    Simply put into English as “To be ignorant of the past is to be forever a child.” Simply wishing for something to go away and stop bothering us is seldom a useful or adult approach, certainly not if you are engaging with anything as pervasive as the influence of partition on all our lives. Sure, bringing every single wrong thing we suffer back to partition is overkill, but enough of what we currently contend with in our search for a civil society sources itself in the sequence of events that grew out of the hyperbolic reaction to the Third Home Rule Bill by influential vested interests in the north. Just how unimaginable partition was to even most Unionists in 1912 can easily be found by reading the contemporary debate from primary sources rather than inferring hindsight backwards. Partition was a pig no-one wanted at the beginning, and has come down to us with a heritage of violence and social injustice which “bidden or unbidden” is still very much encoded in how we think and act. A clear and adult appreciation of what it meant and how it has affected us is far preferable to simple repression, which, as even a cursory understanding of psychology will tell us, simply strengthens the hold of what is repressed.

    Mind you it would be fun to have the occasional debate where partition does not creep in…………….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “If you want to roast an Irishman, you’ll always find another to turn the spit”….not without help they didn’t…………

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    [[the end of that comment]]

    that’s all I ask for!

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Tacitus says otherwise.

    At least according to wiki.

    He didn’t tell me personally.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    I don’t even know anymore. Your score is Fibonacci’s Number.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    An undue focus or unwarranted reference to the border, I’d say so, aye

  • Gopher

    Gerry eating your Hamster would be a far more contemporary event and there is not a binding international agreement on the eating of hamsters until the majority of people decide otherwise.

  • Gopher

    One would be a start and if your taking requests Cromwell and the Famine would be good also

  • Mirrorballman

    I understand where you’re coming from with this but the “border” is a very important issue for many, many people in Northern Ireland which could/will have very serious implications for their daily lives in the not too distant future. Maybe in Belfast we seem to forget how important this is to people in border counties. Anyway..

    Though really can’t see why a post on the brilliant Ms Hanna ended up being a discussion on Partition. Maybe you should just be a bit more ruthless in applying the stay on topic rules for Slugger…. as it happens quite a bit these days..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Unhappy I, who can’t be silent and who will not lie….”

    Come on, Gopher, you are the boy who brought up Cromwell recently, not I, and when someone began to suggest that an Gorta Mór was a wicked English genocidal plot, no serious historian could let such a simplification of the real history go unchallenged. I am as unhappy as anyone about the habitual de-railing of pertinent comment on Slugger, but while I’d have thought that Carson was a complex enough character to hold most people on thread, would you really have wished that I let the suggestion that Lord John Russell and poor Charlie Trevellyan were genocidal monsters go entirely unchallenged?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Strong trading links evident in the archaeological record:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiberno-Roman_relations

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Its simply the difference between natural and contingent borders Nevin………..

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    And you, Gopher, have a Teorann’s Score of 3 right now.

  • Kevin Breslin

    A little off topic but I think I’ve been guilty of the “reductio ad titanicum” law mentioned here:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2012/03/30/i-hereby-invoke/

  • Kevin Breslin

    I should point out that Breslin’s Law is a legal group, that may sue you for copyright infringement.
    http://www.breslinlawgroup.com/

  • Nevin

    Seaan, neither sound terribly attractive.

  • Brian O’Neill

    I must admit my hand not hover over the delete button on that thread. Will discuss with Mick.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Delighted to agree with you over the unattractiveness of borders Nevin! Such a pity our friends over the water have ensured that we will perhaps have to firm up the contingent border we were all lumbered with in the 1920s………….

  • Chris

    Fibbonacci? Did his handlers call him Butterknife?

  • Jollyraj

    Are you giving an example to back up the premise of the post?

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Bravo!

  • the rich get richer

    I may have been sarcastic or hopefully some higher form of wit .

    Rescue me from my low form of wit please………………….

  • Skibo

    BB I try and stay away from the themuns and usns as much as possible. I am however open to a slanging match when people try to defend the situation we find ourselves in now and call it democracy yet totally forget our present situation was constructed on the very thing they find so heinous, ie terrorism and the threat of violence.
    I have become resigned to the fact that we are where we are and am prepared to accept that it can only be changed by democratic and peaceful means.
    On the Teoranns scale, I would consider myself a 5 but I stand to be corrected.

  • Nevin

    I’ve been around three score years and ten, Seaan, so I’d no say in that particular matter. I didn’t vote in the recent referendum as I found both options unappealing.

  • cu chulainn

    This discussion will go around in the usual circles, with the usual amoral contentions that if you steal something for a day it is a crime and if you steal it for 400 years than rather than being 146,000 times as bad rather it becomes a good thing. When people have this kind of amoral framework, debate isn’t really possible.

  • Jollyraj

    Not quite sure what you think has been stolen?

  • Katyusha

    Did the term “land confiscation” completely pass you by?

  • Jollyraj

    I’d say we also experience ongoing fallout from the waves of immigration from northern Spain way back well before even the Ulster plantation (though I’m not sure whether that predates the many back and forth flows between Ireland and Scotland) which brought in much of the genetic stock of those now considering themselves as the ‘original’ Irish. Don’t hear so much harking back to that on these pages. I wonder why that is.

  • Jollyraj

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts_G7ug7W9c

    Apparently so. I’m interested in ‘truth confiscation’, as well. Though we might be wandering off topic here.

  • Katyusha

    I’m Black Irish and proud. Hark back to it all you wish.
    We didn’t call our mythological history “The Book of Invasions” for nothing, you know.

  • Sprite

    Of course, if the 26 counties hadn’t left the union there’d be no need for any kind of law at all.

    I blame nationalism. (it’s fun this lol!)

  • Jollyraj

    Eminently sensible approach.

    The antecedents of the ‘black Irish’ had every bit as much right to come and settle in Ireland as the Ulster Scots had, every much as right of each wave of immigrant peoples right up to the present day Latvians and Lithuanians.

    And that is a healthy starting point for any discussion of present day politics. Which I think is rather the point of the original post.

  • Devil Eire

    I take it you don’t get Gene Wolfe novels.

  • cu chulainn

    What relevance has this nonsense video to the natter at hand.?
    Do you accept that the Plantation of Ulster was undertaken by evil looters on the heels of a murdering army?

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    You start with a 2.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    It’s happened again.

  • Gopher

    Yup the playing the ball rule should be extended to playing the ball in the same stadium

  • Gopher

    Nope the OP brought up Cromwell in that thread, I believe my response was more 21st century

  • Gopher

    Really, Gerry might have ate ones Hamster after 1996 that’s kinda moving the goalposts or in a hamsters case the wheel. If one does not understand ones own rule what chance anyone else

  • Gopher

    Not really my bag to be honest but I have been told the they improve. I’m taking a little light relief with Ian Kershaws Hitler at the moment before wading in with Severian again. Perhaps Slugger should have a Book discussion forum unless of course people would want to use it discuss “partition” on the road to Thrax.

  • Jollyraj

    No, I don’t accept that at – Did you not watch the video? I think it does rather deftly make a mockery of much of the mythology which is precariously underpinning the Irish Republican world view. Not sure what the name of the complete program was but definitely worth a watch.

    What particular part did you feel was nonsense?

    The relevance to this particular post is that we’d be better off not reducing every political discussion into a pointless debate about varying interpretations of what actually happened.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But you have the audacity to critique me for answering your comment by suggesting I stay off Cromwell!!!!! As I remember it, you’d felt that Old Noll was the source of all things good in Britian. One of those things he failed in would have been the abolition of the northern Plantation and the dispersal of its people across Ireland. His proxy Venables did however suceed in killing more planters in an afternoon than the Confederate Irish had managed over the previous decade. I am always amazed at the regard Cromwell seems to attract in NI, engendeded perhaps by other things than by this rather spurious career as a proto democrat with which you credit him.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Many a true word is spoken in jest……….”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh Gopher, I’d miss your contributions if it was!

  • Gopher

    Yes, but audacity would be too strong a word. And rather than rehash everything I posted in a thread about being embarrassed over Cromwell most of it in bemusement I will stop any further “effusion” Seaan.

  • Katyusha

    Spot on. The Ulster Scots are as much a part of Irish society as the multiple waves of migration that came before them – the Normans, the “old English”, the Anglo-Irish etc – and indeed afterwards. The removal of the power of British state from Ireland is a different matter, and doesn’t have any bearing on the fact that the descendents Ulster Scots are very much a part of Irish society and indeed would be a significant component of an independent Irish state.

    How come the other migratory waves from Britain integrated into Irish society, but the descendents of the Ulster Scots always wish to distinguish and separate themselves from something of which they are a part? Fabricating an identity around the union and the authority of the British state can’t be healthy, especially in the circumstance that the union comes undone.

    (I may not be black Irish – a term of questionable genetic accuracy – but it’s a useful example of how Ireland has been shaped by waves of migration. Our closest genetic relatives are from northern Spain, after all)

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Which raises the (awkward to some and convenient to others) question that United Irelandism™ has only recent historic precedent.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque
  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Not quite so cut and dried or black and white as you assert I’m afraid. At the risk of sounding um … nuanced, Jonathan Bardon’s The Plantation of Ulster could prove instructive (and no it’s not Unionist propaganda). The plantation was initially a disaster because those counties to be planted, Derry, Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Armagh and Cavan had what a marketing expert would call a very low take up rate. So much so that the planters were heavily outnumbered by the native Gael for quite some decades. In desparation many convicts awaiting the gallows were pardoned on condition they got sent here (Ireland’s own Botany Bay). What did for some of the the Gaels were the bans on traditional methods of farming and livestock rearing that required extensive tracts of land for roaming (creaghting). These native landowners (because they were landowners in British law) then mortgaged increasing portions of their own land to the planters to make up for the shortfalls in their incomes. Remember in the 1641 Rebellion (after the Plantation) the Gaels got it all back again. 10 years later Cromwell came and took his mercilessly bloody revenge and restored British Pax Romana followed by a significant famine in Scotland (1690 onwards) that forced more Scots settlers to come here than at any time in the preceding century for mere survival. Cromwell had already made sure that resistance would be thin on the ground some time before that but even his long putrefying corpse didn’t bring about that Scottish famine. Anyway it all worked out for Unionism in the end (who said history was over?) so of course an inaccurate narrative has stuck with both sides of an Teorann (political, imagined, real, religious, national, in the land of the fairies or cloud cuckoo land).

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    If one does not understand the basic rules of English grammar then what chance has one to communicate effectively?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    JR, its always useful to look into what someone is telling you about our history. Your video says that “the population of Ulster was the lowest of any part of Ireland, there were enormous areas where there simply were not any people at all.” Were you not curious as to why this should have been so?

    The end of the NIne Years war against Hugh O’Neill found “Hugh O’Neill… reduced to guerrilla tactics, fighting in small bands, as Mountjoy, Dowcra, Chichester and Niall Garbh O’Donnell swept the countryside. The English scorched earth tactics were especially harsh on the civilian population, who died in great numbers both from direct targeting and from famine.” :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Years%27_War_(Ireland)

    It was not a naturally empty landscape which the Plantation colonised, but a land reduced by a conscious policy of genocide through sword and hunger. I do not use genocide lightly, as my comments against such a term being employed in respect of the Great Famine in the nineteenth century should show. Far from being “mythology” Ben’s response is a very accurate statement of what transpired in the seventeenth century. The video you have posted is not a dispassionate history, but a string of facts which have been carefully selected to build a biased case, with other far more telling facts which conflict with the presenters case left out. This is what we’d usually call propaganda rather than history as it is understood by responsible historians.

  • Reader

    katyusha: How come the other migratory waves from Britain integrated into Irish society…
    1) A shared religious faith
    2) Lack of centralised state authority.
    3) Long intervals of loss of state control in Ireland.
    Now do you understand why the Ulster Plantation was different? In any case, the Ulster Plantation was reinforced by subsequent waves of immigration.
    Anyway – It’s not entirely true that the Anglo-Irish were fully integrated. In the end, a lot of them left.

  • Jollyraj

    “Spot on. The Ulster Scots are as much a part of Irish(sic) society as the multiple waves of migration that came before them – the Normans, the “old English”, the Anglo-Irish etc – and indeed afterwards. The removal of the power of British state from Ireland is a different matter”

    The British state has no power or authority over Ireland – Ireland being a sovereign country. The British state, of which NI is a part, naturally exercises authority over NI – and rightly so given that that is what the people of NI want.

    I think your “removal of the power of the British state” point is merely an updated-for-the-Pokemon-go-generation version of ‘Brits Out’. As fundamentally daft now as it was then.

  • Katyusha

    Ireland is also a big old island on the threshold of the Atlantic ocean, which you seem to have missed. Pretending that Northern Ireland is not part of it will get you nowhere.
    And it was also a unified political unit both as part of the UK, and as an independent state. “Ireland” did not suddenly condense out of the ether in 1922.

    The British state, of which NI is a part, naturally exercises authority over NI – and rightly so given that that is what the people of NI want.

    Always amusing to see that democratic principles only apply to NI being maintained, rather than when it was formed.

    I think your “removal of the power of the British state” point is merely an updated-for-the-Pokemon-go-generation version of ‘Brits Out’. As fundamentally daft now as it was then.

    You can think what you like, but the fact that British power has receded from a vast empire to the point where it doesn’t even cover all of the British Isles would suggest it’s anything but daft. i don’t know where you’re going with your “Brits Out” comparison as I’m not advocating that anyone be forced out, merely that we aren’t ruled from London by people who have little interest in us.

    What’s absurd is the creation and maintenance of a tiny outpost of British jurisdiction in Ireland, with no functioning economy to speak of, cut off from its hinterland and beset by sectarianism, relying entirely on handouts from central government, electing a handful of MP’s to Westminster to sit in a chamber where they will never even approach being in government, in numbers much to small to exert any power, and calling this a fair democracy. The structure of NI fails its people, and a lot of our community seems quite content for it to do so. But we are where we are.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    You both have a Teorann’s Score of 1.

  • Katyusha

    I don’t buy it, frankly. Does this “shared religious faith” include Catholicism and the Church of Ireland, but not Presbyterianism? Because the Ascendancy were Anglican, and they both ran the Irish state and were an integral component of Irish society. The earlier Irish rebellions were organised and instigated by Anglicans, so they at least saw Ireland as important enough to them to fight for control over their own affairs.

    The Normans came to Ireland in conquest, and spoke a different language (surely the biggest barrier to integration), but eventually assimilated into Gaelic Irish society.
    The Pale was an outpost of England in Ireland, where the Gaelic lords had no control, the use of the Irish language was forbidden, intermarriage with the native Irish was forbidden, and fortified against assaults from the Gaelic Irish. It was under direct control from England, so if English state authority was factor in Ulster, it would also be a factor here. If any place would have a siege mentality, the Pale would be it. But eventually these settlers assimilated into Irish society also, uniting with the Catholic Irish against the new Protestant Ascendancy.
    While many of the Anglo-Irish left after the war of independence (particularly wealthy landowners who had been burnt out of their estates), many stayed to shape the new independent state in which they lived. The Anglo-Irish had fought for an independent Irish state in the past and resisted Ireland’s union into the UK, which was supported by the Catholic church. They are part-and-parcel of Irish society. They never claimed to be “Leinster English” or anything to that effect to disavow their Irishness.

    So, looking at the Planters, against the other historic waves of migration, they were not particularly different from those that came before them. The idea that they were always, and will be, a separate people doesn’t look credible when you compare them to the groups that have made Irish society what it is today. The plantation is not significantly different to the settlement that took place before, and even then, the disavowment of their part in Irish society would appear to be a relatively recent development.

  • Katyusha

    You’re going to need to recalibrate that scale, BB, or else things are going to get mighty weird once we start talking about restoring the territories of the O’Neill, or transferring Louth back into Ulster, or Jacobitism..

    Did Conn O’Neill have the authority to accept the Earldom of Tyrone in the first place? Look, the score just went negative.

  • Gopher

    My apologies, I hope my struggles don’t annoy you too much.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    We had some genuinely interesting threads about two years back on books from “W[R]ite Noise”, under the bi-line “Slugger Seasonal Book Club”. Perhaps we could start some new threads with soccer:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Association-Football-Society-Pre-partition-Ireland/dp/1903688345/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1473932916&sr=8-4&keywords=partition+of+ireland

  • Tochais Siorai

    The Boers seem to have a similar myth about their Great Trek(s) i.e. that they arrived in lands that had never previously been occupied.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Alas, the Zulu at least remain to answer that one honestly. The greater number of the people of Conn Bacach mac Cuinn simply did not survive into the Plantation period.

  • Tochais Siorai

    How honestly the Zulu answer it I’m not sure as it was their territorial ambitions which cleared what is roughly now modern day Natal of the original non Zulu inhabitants and thus much easier for the Boers to colonise.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed!

  • Devil Eire

    Not really my bag to be honest but I have been told the they improve.

    Your reference is to TBoTNS, which is widely regarded as the masterwork, so I wouldn’t expect much ‘improvement’ after that. If you found it difficult (as your original comment suggested) then I would just comment that it requires repeated readings. Wolfe is playing tricks with an unreliable narrator and the setting itself can be confusing: science fiction masquerading as fantasy.

    Perhaps Slugger should have a Book discussion forum…

    On a note tangential to this forum, Wolfe’s collection of three linked novellas, ‘The Fifth Head of Cerberus’, deals with colonial/post-colonial themes.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Touché.