FIND in
<--prev V3 next-->

From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Digest urth
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 97 16:33:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #1324261 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET02#


I've been reading TBOTNS again, gathering up all sorts of strange new
threads . . .

But to get back to your words on the Fish elements in the Botanical
Gardens of Nessus.

First there is Severian's interrupted telling of Thecla's tale of
Father Inire's Fish, the magic mirrors, and girlish Chatelaine
Domnina.  The girl is real (disturbed by her own reflections in the
magic mirrors), the Fish is becoming real (image precedes
existence), Inire is a master "fish hunter" and uses fisherman's terms
in describing the process.  Inire also points out that the Fish is the
first creature to manifest in the mirrors.

(Tangent: when Severian enters the jungle hut he waxes philosophical
about "changelings" being polar opposites--the hut being a bower of
light compared to the Matachin's prison of darkness.  This is
important because it presages the Hildegrin/Apu-Punchau encounter,
but it also gives a datapoint on what "changeling" means to Wolfe [re:
story of that name].)

Second, the next chapter has Isangoma's interrupted tale of somebody
else fish hunting.  This time the Fish is real, the girl's face on
the mirror-like surface of the water is illusory, the fish hunter is
thwarted.  Another angle (as in "angling"? <g>) of interpretation in
comparing these two stories might be that "the next creature to
manifest in the mirrors, after the Fish, has the face of a woman" (which
certainly works well later on, when Severian opens the Book of Mirrors
and sees the butterfly woman swimming through space).

We get one chapter to digest this, and then the third installment,
very brief.  Hildegrin refers to Dorcas and Severian as "the girl"
and the Fish she caught.  Whoa!  Severian is the Fish; Dorcas is the
girl; both are real; the lake is a mirror-like surface dividing two
universes (living in air/dead in water; or living shore/avern shore);
Dorcas' husband is the fisherman, this time clueless.

An interesting progression using very few elements.


<--prev V3 next-->