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From: Damien Broderick <damien@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Subject: (urth) dog stars
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 11:23:01 +0000

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

alga said:

< Please, for the heathens among us, review the 14 stations of the cross.>

EB gives `Cross, Stations of the':

the final events of the Passion of Christ

1.  Jesus is condemned to death
2.  he is made to bear his cross [I do hope there's not an ursine pun there]
3. he falls the 1st time
4.  he meets his mother
5.  Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross
6.  Veronica wipes his face
7.  he falls the 2nd time
8.  the women of Jerusalem weep over him
9.  he falls the 3rd time
10.  he is stripped of his garments
11.  he is nailed to the cross
12.  he dies on the cross
13.  he is taken down from the cross
14.  he is placed in the sepulchre

[15.  40 days later he is taken away in the Great Sleigh]

One can readily derive perverse correspondences.  In the 6th day, for
example, C. meets Cim, who has done murder by striking Fishcatcher across
the face with an endieva wand.  

Since posting my first message, I have read the full discussion in the
archives, and my mind is reeling with the brilliance of the hermeneutic
work done so far.  While I had seen the animal allegories at work, the
bird-like creature killed and eaten at the opening and its sacral double at
the close, I lacked the North American details to fill out the schema.
Wonderful to see it done (or at least begun so superbly).  

mantis said:

< Way back when (deep in the archives?), I was arguing that the
world of "Tracking Song" was Mars-like if not Mars: the lesser
gravity, the two moons.  I also thought that the sky mirror was
really a sky mirror, put there in geostationary orbit by the space
beings to reflect more sunlight onto the apparently ice age-locked
world in order to warm the surface and melt the ice. [etc]  >

An orbiting solar mirror was my own first reading, but I'm still not
convinced.  If such a device were being used to focus sunlight and thus
melt an ice-locked world, wouldn't its virtual image of the sun be
*brighter*, rather than resembling the sun `but dimmer'?  (The real sun,
seen earlier, has not melted the snow so drastically.)  C. sees it `near
daylight', so is it always there at that latitude but masked by the
brighter daylight of the true sun, as the moon can be?  But then the
additional insolation would not be marked enough to have a significant effect.

I suspect most of mantis's orbital dynamics objections are on the money,
but some of this might lose its force if the beings involved actually *are*
much smaller than we are - are, indeed, almost as small as their ancestral
stock.  BTW, the quite small asteroid Ida has a moon.  On the other hand, I
suppose the proximity of a planetary primary (whether Jovian or not depends
on the size of the satellite, no?) would disrupt any such subordinate
moons.  But again, these might be (probably are) orbiting craft of the

A final crude suggestion: might the cutthroat mark be the faint scar of a
head surgically connected to a different body?  More Moreau.  The
ambiguities of C.'s status.  His mediating role.  And so forth.

Damien Broderick

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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