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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Tracking dust
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 1997 22:43:26 

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

Mantis writes:
>The Evil Staff.  Again, it reminds me of the avern, the way it comes
>to life and actively tries to kill.  But now I notice that Terminus
>Est also acts alive, shifting when lifted, leaning when lowered.  I
>was going to contrast them as two artifacts, the one the magic boon,
>the other a cursed thing . . . but at the moment I'm caught by how very
>similar they are.

	Isn't the explanation for Terminus Est that it contains a liquid metal
(mercury?) that causes it to be lighter when raised, and to come down hard?
Perhaps it is analogous to being alive, but alive? Correct me if I'm wrong.

>Likewise the "coldness" and "life-power drawing away" quality of the
>evil staff finds an unexpected analog in the Claw of the Conciliator,
>which, after all, causes Severian to feel cold whenever it performs
>its little tricks because it is feeding off his bodily essence in a
>most vampiric way ....

	Well, perhaps better is Mark 5:30, where Jesus fells power leave Him when
the unclean woman touches the wing of His garment.


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