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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) On Track
Date: Fri,  8 Aug 97 20:45:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #4596281 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET03#


Since Joan Gordon wrote that stuff and I read it years ago,
even though I didn't remember it at the time, I also owe a nod to her
work in deciphering "Tracking Song."  But yeah, aside from mink
(which is a very interesting blend of bear/dog attributes, as well as
adding a ton of "sex appeal" associated with minks) the other animal
guesses seem off.  (Since sexual relations between minks is so brutal
as to render female pelts not usable for fur, this nails down the
issue of "brutality" re: comparing Mantru and Fishcatcher.)

Back to the Changeling reading being destroyed by the robots'
endorsement of Cutthroat as true human.  Maybe, maybe not.  Why favor
the robots without doubts?  Mantru says they can't tell the diff,
which is why they are always bringing him beast females.  Though
Mantru seems to be the dwarf king under the hill, we wonder if he has
any real power at all, since the robots have so much autonomy that
they behave in contrarian ways with impunity.  Is Mantru more than a
living idol?  Nevermind his dreams, what do the robots want?  It
appears that they want to pit creature against creature (Cutthroat,
Cim, and Ketin), either for vicarious bloodjoy of combat or perhaps
as initiation for Cutthroat (who will then see the world as
human/animal) whom they then pit against Mantru.  "Survival of
the fittest" as experiments administered by robots.

(There might be a hint that if Mantru did try to mate with a beast
woman, the robots would take this as a sign that he could no longer
tell the difference and they would kill him.  The robots have a
vested interest in the difference between human and animal.)

Robots who want what, exactly?  Maybe they just want human masters to
serve again?  (Or is this too much like the whole Hierogrammate
"the-created-create-the-creators" thing?)  Or are they making a religion
out of "humanity" which they aspire to become (Jonas-wise evolution),
making Mantru a sort of sacred cow until such time as a better
stronger cow comes along?  (If valid, this is both obviously flawed
as a church yet still touching in its own way.)

On to the names.  Here are a few stray thoughts I had: "Ketin"
reminds me of "etin," which is another word for "giant," and made
sense because Ketin was described as a giant; "Cim" would be
pronounced "Kim" on one side of the dividing line and "Sim" on the
other, but seeing it as "Cim Glowing" (based upon a plant or clouds
or something other than snow?) made me think of "Cimmeria," making me
wonder if "Cim" might be taken as "dark"; "Flashing Aa" (another wolf
female) well, "Aa" is consort to Shamash, fwiw.

Not to put too much into this, but "Red Kluy" (red) ("Cloe"?),
"Flashing Aa" (white), "Cim Glowing" (black).

Re: London's wolf and dog stories, yep, I agree with you.  And Gene
Wolfe merges that animal savagry with the all-to-human Lindsay
savagry to come up with something that says, at one level ala Kafka,
that nature's savagry is an absurd bureaucracy of pointless pain,
suffering, and death.  Crossing circuits, making readers say "Yow."


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