FIND in
<--prev V14 next-->

From: "Alice Turner" <al@smtp.emailserv.com>
Subject: (urth) abo profile
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 18:57:12 

Dan'l doubts that there any abos left---that's not surprising since all the
information we have about them is tainted. Early on, David says they're all
dead as part of the debate Mr. Million sets up. John V. Marsh (and I'm in
the camp that says that V. is for Victor--what else would it be for?) is an
unreliable narrator (and mythologizer). OTOH, there's VRT, who isn't
reliable either. Do we think that "A Story" was written by Marsch alone or
by the JVM/VRT amalgam? If it were placed last in the sequence, surely the
latter. As it is, still probably the latter. But it's still a kind of fairy
tale, not anything we can really rely on.

The stories about the abos do make them sound like fairies or brownies:
supposedly they shapeshift, their eyes are green, they cannot manage tools
(remember the fairies' aversion to "cold iron?"), they can sometimes
interbreed with men (lots of fairy wife stories, from many countries), they
have an affinity with animals, there are no relics or remains of them (we
see nothing but fakes, though both David and #5, as students, give good
reasons for no implements--though not for no bones).

On the other hand, the older Annese, like Mrs. Blount and the Culot
grandfather, speak of them as though they were around until fairly recently.
That "shovel test" (Orb 159) sounds awfully authentic, not made-up. VRT and
his mother do have green eyes as does JVM--bright green, a color never seen
naturally in humans (not by me, anyway, though I've seen pale greenish)--and
his mother did take him off to the back of beyond as a child, and she did
have a remarkable ability to change her appearance. VRT does seem to have a
sort of relationship with the creatures in the wild, though the ones that
JVM kills and eats seem to be real animals (could be why no bone remains).
VRT/JVM says the abos are animals and so is he, by half (Orb 227). In "A
Story," they seem distinguished from animals only in that they speak, not by
their actions. Liev's Postpostulate makes out that they are still in the
outback, though I don't think we have what we could call "proof."

I'm going to go with Liev's Postpostulate (clap if you believe in fairies!).
I don't think Veil's Hypothesis could possibly be true by evidence of VRT
himself. Assume that he really is half-abo, and that in some way I can't
pretend to understand, his personality has merged with that of JVM. Perhaps,
like his mother, he can change his appearance--that thick black beard would
help--but he also seems to have absorbed a good deal of JVM's learning,
vocabulary and curiosity (he knows what Mr. Million is, for instance, a
machine and tool if ever there was one, and about clones), and I find it
hard to believe that, as #5 accuses, he learned everything from books on
Ste. Anne. His physical abilities, however, have deteriorated. He can write,
but only clumsily (VRT started as half-human, and the JVM addition would
make him more so, I speculate), he can read books; the only physical thing
we actually see him do (I'm pretty sure) is to give #5 a card, though JVM
attests to his willingness and ability to do simple tasks around the camp.
Presumably no shovels are involved--though a half-human could probably
manage a shovel. Clumsily.

So we've actually seen how an abo or half-abo came to impersonate (or merge
with) a human, and the way he did was imperfectly. So imperfectly that #5
sees through it (though I'm damned if I know how). If Mr. Million ordered me
to argue the other side of the case, citing Veil, I'd point out that the
impersonation or merger was imperfect because VRT was only half abo.

So, as to Aunt Jeanine (yes, mantis, I'm addressing your point), well, there
just isn't any evidence other than the withered legs that's she's anything
other than what she is presented to be: a sister (of whatever generation) to
Maitre and #5, an aunt or great-aunt of David, the manager of a brothel that
has been run by her relatives for several generations on St. Croix, and, as
an amusement or sideline, "Dr. Aubrey Veil," author of a pseudo-scientific
hypothesis that she doesn't believe herself. Those legs don't seem like
proof of anything to me. There could be any number of reasons why they
weren't regenerated, including lack of money (or the fact that GW, the
author, loved the image of her floating along), and she seems to manage just
fine without them. Why wouldn't the key serve as evidence as a tool? Wolfe
tells us it has "an edge like a saw," just the sort of thing you'd expect
VRT to injure himself with.

And with that I'm exiting the Aunt Jeanine/abo controversy for good.



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

<--prev V14 next-->