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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) 5HC: outline of reading
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 98 05:14:00 GMT

The First Big Twist Goes like this:

We read "The Fifth Head of Cerberus" and say, wow, great story.

We start the next one, "`A Story,' by John V. Marsch."  We think, oh,
wasn't he that anthropologist from Earth who blundered into the truth
in "The Fifth Head of Cerberus"?  Neat, now we get a new tale from a
character that was relatively minor.

Oh look, it is one of those warm 'n' fuzzy noble savage romances,
thinly fig-leafed as anthropologically derived.  Well cool; if we
keep our filters on we might be able to figure out where the facts
are.  And peer into the full bore "many different abos before humans
came" scenario.

At the end we say Gee, that was a creepy story after all.

Then we read the mishmash of "V.R.T." and learn that:

(1) A boy (abo or human or "half-breed") killed Marsch and took his
place on an expedition on Sainte Anne (where "A Story" was set).

(2) We never saw Marsch in "5HC," we only saw the boy impersonating
Marsch. (And Number Five was right when he seemed most wrong.)  So we
revise elements of our reading(s) of "5HC."

(3) The story by Marsch wasn't by Marsch, it was by the boy
impersonating Marsch.  And thus it is less the anthropological
romance that we initially thought it was and more like the deranged
fantasies and coded confession of a psycho murderer.  So maybe there
really =are= no abos--the potential "truth" content is shot to hell.
We revise our reading(s) of "A Story" drastically.

(4) We never knew Marsch, but we can know him through what remains of
his journal.  And there, with all this talk of artifacts of stone
being real or forged, amid all the clutter of abo yes, abo no, abo
high, abo low, there are the ruins of the circular temple with tree
rings going back long before the French landed.  Not a breath is made
(IIRC) in suggesting how this temple might have been faked (in
contrast to the stone tools).  Yet their physical presence is a rather
powerful indication that =someone= was living on the planet before the
French came; that they were sophisticated enough to know the days in a
solar year, to plan and build a temple of living trees (ceder trees,
which puts us back in the ancient middle east, Humbaba and Ashtarte)
as a sort of woodhenge (no, I'm not making that term up).

The fact that the ruins are there, just as the informants said, also
gives strength to the idea that the sacred cave really exists, too.
So we have to revise our reading(s) of "A Story" again, bringing the
fantasy back to a level approaching some sort of anthropological
reconstruction, which of course was our initial reading.

(5) The boy as Marsch was arrested for the murder of Number Four,
which he didn't commit.  The authorities know it, too.  But we know
and they probably know that he is guilty of murdering Marsch, so he
deserves to be where he is.

These then are the grosser details and the initial loop the loops,
twists, and sudden retroviruses contained within 5HC.


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

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