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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Tracking mud
Date: Mon,  4 Aug 97 21:23:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #0311931 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET02#


By "Pamiguka" as gophers, I believe you are thinking of "Pummanga"
the burrowing animal who is only seen or referred to as dead.  The
Pamigaka don't live underground, they live in a brush lodge.  Their
interest in wisdom is another detail that makes me think of
foxes--and prairie dogs, while they might fit North American
eco-sense, aren't tundra animals.  (Actually, now I think the
Pamigaka are probably boars.  Another sacred animal, you know, like
the one that gets Adonis?)  But this is quibble kibble.

Mimmunka as a lynx, yes, I'm sure you are right on that one (though
his role is like that of He Who Laughs, aka hyena, in "The Tale of
the Boy Called Frog").  Ties into Agia's holdout weapon that she uses
to scar Severian's cheek in Vodalus's presence--'member?

(Hoo boy, I feel another essay erupting . . . "Guardians of the
Threshold" . . . down, down!  Down, damn you!)

Now then, no more looking back--on to directions you dictate!

In the middle.  This really does seem to be a naturalist's
observation: animals stick to the sides (hiding), humans go to the
middle (increase visual range, increase visibility, avoid the
dangerous animals lurking in the bushes).

The whole Min underground empire.  This is =very= interesting.  In
terms of TBOTNS we have the mine at Saltus, Mount Typhon, Vodalus,
the averns, the dwarfish tallman riders of Ascia and Ceryx the
Necromancer of URTH all at once.  (Plus, as you say, hints of Long
Sun--"Min" might very well be short for "mineral."  Note the stone
flowers Cutthroat sees underground are "kluy," the name of his
wolf-mother, "Red Kluy"; and that Marble/Rose ain't much different.)

(I think the communion-like ration cubes are bullion.)

Paul Duggan's analysis of the tallman riders as dwarfs standing on
the shoulders of blind giants is definitely on target here.  Mantru
(what a Lindsayan name!) is a fat dwarf who wants to resurrect true
man or at least be on hand when the humans return.  Vodalus as Doctor

One parallel that struck me in particular: the robot giant (later
named "Roller"), who seizes hero, a journey to the head (in this
case, riding on top of Roller's head), food denied . . . this is very
much like Severian's first encounter with Typhon.  First there are
robot giants; then there is big Typhon who grabs Sev and jumps into
boat; they ride up into Mount Typhon's head; where Severian sees food
behind glass but cannot get at it (Tantalos motif).

Those staffs you call Elric-like (good point, but I took them as
Lindsay-like, along with the weird bow weapons, the chair weapon, and
the endieve wands).  They are also like rod of aaron vs. pharoah's
staff, fwiw.  Like Lindsay's hero, Cutthroat leaves these weird weapons
behind at every stage.  (Of course it also reminds me of John
Crowley's work in this vein, particularly BEASTS and ENGINE SUMMER,
but I know you haven't read these.)

(Moorcock is so vehemently anti-Catholic/anti-Christian that I find it
quite interesting how his work intersects with Wolfe and Crowley via
what we might loosely term the Gnostic Vector.  Though in Moorcock's
case it is probably more Theosophical.  It's quite touching, in a
way--you won't see Jack Vance doing that, for example, and ERB shied
away from it as well.)

I insist that the story is rather dream-like.  Unless you know of
Lapplanders who rig leather sails to ice-running catamarans and go
sailing across snowpack!  (Sure, the =shaman= rides his leather-skin
drum through the sky . . . )  But yes, it seems to be the Planet of
Moreau in one reading.  (Hey, are you gonna write up something for NYRSF?
You could even do it without mentioning Cordwainer Smith, I betcha!)

I'd bet that Wolfe wrote this specifically for IN THE WAKE OF MAN
based upon that title, rather than just turning in something he had
already written.  With "wake" being used as trail of ship and
funeral, of course.  (The ear to ear "birthmark" of Cutthroat is not
necessarily a cut but more likely imho a rope burn.  Mark of Cain?
Cane of Mark?  Lucifer?  Tarot Card No. 12?  Well anywho, recollect
how they strangled ol' Apu Punchau just to keep him from leaving.)


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