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From: Dan Parmenter <dan@lec.com>
Subject: (urth) Do I have to use a grip on you mama?
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 07:07:13 

From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>

>Stinky the First (ne Reechy) aka Ymar the Almost Just was a torturer
>autarch. And I'm not sure what you mean by a RNA transfer (especially since
>in all likelihood Palaemon isn't human).

>As most of us are well aware, all the aliens in the New Sun series have
>mythic, as opposed to saintly, names. (Father Inire's is a little hard to
>discern, but it's Abraxas.) Three characters, however, have names that are
>*both* mythic and saintly:
>Paeon/Palaemon (who are the same entity), and Merryn. 

>All three of the above, I'm arguing, are cacogens attempting to pass as
>humans, and all wear very lifelike human masks. Only their eyes reveal
>their nonterrestrial origin; this is why Palaemon wears an optical device
>for a disguise, just as Merryn wears a mask (this also accounts for why
>Merryn looks the same as the time she did when Sev the toddler ran an
>errand to the Witches Keep. And it's all right if witches have spooky

Merryn's apparent agelessness could easily be explained by other
means: in fact, she and the Cumaean are the very characters who tell
us what's available in Urthly cosmetic surgery.  Merryn (I believe)
even implies that they know how to do some of these things, which
would fit in well with their seeming roles as both intelligence
operatives and keepers of obscure knowledge.

As for Palaemon, I don't buy your hypothesis, though I admit that my
reasoning is mostly at the "gut" level.  As I've suggested before,
Severian has several predecessors, only some of whom happen to be
different versions of himself.  The "forces of good" had it in mind
that a torturer might be the one to bring a new sun before Severian
came along and Severian himself plays a role in disseminating the
idea.  Palaemon went through some of the same experiences Sev did
(being exiled, having some adventures with a cool sword) but proved to
be a bit of a cul-de-sac, new sun-wise.  Indeed, I believe I've even
argued that Palaemon could almost be a candidate for the "Severian" of
Gene Wolfe's proposed novella (discussed in OTTER) that evolved into
BOTNS.  Somehow, my intuitive sense of literary appropriateness is
better served by Palaemon being human, a teacher/mentor for Severian.

Barring these "intuitive" arguments, perhaps I need to find examples
of characters with mythic/saintly names.


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

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