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From: "Kevin J. Maroney" <kmaroney@crossover.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Word origins...?
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 14:51:59 

At 11:34 AM 2/24/99 -0800, Yann wrote:
>I apologize for changing the subject... but does anyone know the original
>source of the word "Alzabo". Is it a mythological beast, an alchemical
>allegory, or did Gene just make that one up? Curious.

It's a Romanized version of the Arabic word for "hyena", if I'm not
mistaken. The Alzabo was introduced as a replacement for the hyena because,
like the hyena, it laughs.

(Remember that most/all of the animal species of Urth except humans were
driven extinct at some point in the past, and the animals present in the
Book are alien replacements which approximate the original species.
Destriers aren't horses, they're alien horse-like beings. This is an
inversion of the standard sf cliche where an alien world is populated by
exotic creatures which are actually just cows and bunnies with different
names; here the Earth is populated by alien species which are *like* cows
and bunnies.)

Wombat, a.k.a. Kevin Maroney kmaroney@crossover.com
Kitchen Staff Supervisor, New York Review of Science Fiction

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

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