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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) Track-talk
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 1997 13:08:32 

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

Those names are NOT Cheyenne, Oneida or Lakota. I have put a query in for
Inuit. Call me nuts, and it will probably lead to nothing, but there's
something quite exhilarating about a webhunt that takes you into hitherto
unknown places---the web is still very poorly mapped despite all those
search engines, and judging from the links, one site frequently knoweth not
of another similar one. The quirkiness of homepages is another factor: I
got the Cheyenne info not from an official or university site but from a
chatty homepage. Who would have thought that one site is devoted to
aboriginal languages from all over the world, while another called the
Arctic Circle links Siberia, Iceland etc. to the Inuit cultures? Whee!

Beware the difference between robots and cyborgs; the Min are properly
cyborgs, while Roller, Bug and Dragon are robots. While you make a good
point about the Min  not always recognizing true humans, there's the nasty
staff, which by pulp convention (as shown by the behavior of the Min) can
be held only by a true human. And what about all my other little points on
the subject?---I'm sure I can dredge up more.

I think that all your observations on the Min are pretty much true. This
whole episode is so pulpy that it really has to be judged in pulp terms,
with all those ancient tropes. It's kind of fun, it adds liveliness to the
story as a whole, it's needed as part of the "what is a man?" exploration,
but what you see is what you get there. It gives Cutthroat a chance to make
decisions and act as a leader; it also wounds him, probably unto death
unless the Sleighers revive him as they did Fishcatcher. 

A couple of things the Britannica says about mink: "Few mammals are as
voracious and bloodthirsty...Mink are evil-smelling creatures, the stench
being produced by anal glands [cousin to skunk]" They do pair off. "The
female is of a savage disposition, and in captivity she often kills her
young when she becomes excited." There used to be a very large species, but
it became extinct about 1860. Well, so much for abuse and murder! Cim is
brown, not black btw.

Patrick, I hope your wife is feeling better. Tell her we're waiting for her
questions in the Whorl!


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