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From: raster@highfiber.com (Charles Dye)
Subject: (urth) Aquastors, eidolons
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 19:04:57 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

This is mantis, speaking to the Whorl list.  I've moved it over to Urth
for no better reason than that I'm more familiar with that work:

>Whoops--in my previous message, "coo coup/fish & fowl," I used the
>word "eidolon" when I should have used "aquastor" (even though I
>think that they might be used interchangably by the commonality of
>the Commonwealth, for my own sense of mental cohesion I like to keep
>them separate: "eidolon" as beam-to-the-brain ghost, and "aquastor"
>as physically manifested ghost of hologrammic silvery dust).

I tried to make this distinction myself once, and I came away with
the impression that "aquastor" and "eidolon" were two words for the
same technology, or perhaps just slightly different implementations.
I don't have the reference here, but I definitely recall Barbatus using
the word "tangible" to describe eidolons.  There's certainly room
for disagreement on this, but my interpretation is that aquastors
or eidolons are manufactured from locally available matter, held
together for a time by sheer force of mechanical will, and revert
(usually!) to the original material when the mind's control lapses.

The material used to construct aquastors should be finely divisible,
readily available, and ideally should have interesting electrical

>[Since "quaesitor" in early Roman times was a criminal investigator
>(mainly homicide, I think), I continue to wonder if "aquastors" are
>ghost detectives--that is, investigators of the living on behalf of
>the dead.  Or there are the "quaestors," deputies of magistrates,
>that grew through the years of the Republic from a population of two
>to forty until Augustus reduced them to twenty: this job was the
>entry-level magistry sought by ambitious young men.  In context of
>"aquastor" this suggests a hierarchy and government of the dead.]

This is so poetic, and so nicely reasoned, that it hurts me almost
physically to disagree.  But ... Michael, I think you've outwitted
Wolfe on this one!  Aquastors dissolve to mist when released.  If
you read "mist" literally instead of as a bit of poetic description,
you get a much simpler (but less beautiful) derivation for the word


("Mental cohesion?"  Punintentional?)

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