FIND in
<--prev V25 next-->

From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) The Nature of the Aborigines of St Anne (again)
Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 15:11:53 +0100

Mitchell A. Bailey wrote:

> I myself when I first read 5HC pondered the possibility that the Shadow
> Children were the evolved offspring of pleiomorphs and the abos were
> descendants of human colonists. I belive that the evidence, apart from
> what the Shadow Children say about themselves, more convincingly
> suggests the converse.
My primary objection to this is artistic. If the Shadow Children really
are the descendants of space-travelling humans, why is that fantastic
truth handed to us on a plate right from the start? Why is the "wrong"
explanation raised at the climax of the story? That's not how it's done.
You build to a revelation. You feed your reader the wrong explanation
first, then surprise him with the truth. Look how we're set up to think
that Number Five is Maitre's son in the first novella, or that the
person writing in jail in "V.R.T." is still Dr Marsch.

I'm also struck by the way the Shadow-Children-as-indigenous theory is
raised not once, but twice. The Old Wise One first says "we were mostly
long, and lived in holes", casting a shadow of doubt over what we've
been told earlier, and then -later-, on a different occasion, "we were
always here". Such reiteration suggests to me that we're being told
something significant.

> The explaination I would offer is basec on the fact that, as you say,
> the Old Wise One at the time this remark was made was being generated by
> one lone Shadow Child, Sandwalker, and a tenuous contribution from every
> other Shadow Child band on St. Anne.
<next post:>

> Guess I better own up to a goof: when the OWO makes that statement there
>   are still three Shadow Children of that band remaining with Sandwalker.
As you say.

>  ...Contrast this with the
> Old Wise One's manner when the Shadow Child band was intact earlier, at
> which time he was more knowledgable and confident of his viewpoint and
> beliefs.
Which is just why I don't believe him. As you yourself say, the Shadow
Children have "inflated" egos and "a poor grasp of reality", and each
one is "part of a telepathic mental continuum". We are also told that
they have the power to pick up the "songs" or thoughts of those around
them, and amplify them. They tell Sandwalker, for example, "we are
taller than you, and stronger". We should trust the Old Wise One, when
these are the ones generating him?

One more thing. When the Old Wise One confesses that he is confused, he
goes on to talk of an indigenous people, and a second, star-travelling
race, our "Atlanteans". The first "heard the songs of the second and
sent them out again", which is to say, they had a strong telepathic
ability right from the start. If Sandwalker's people were the indigenous
people, why is it that the Shadow Children are the ones with the
telepathic ability?

> My impression of the contact accounts Dr. Marsch recorded in his journal
> in "V.R.T." were more likely with pleio-abos than Shadow Children. It is
> strongly implied they only occured in daylight...
Well, Mary also says "one night Pa killed three", arguing that the same
creatures she saw were also active at night. But I'm mostly persuaded by
her "...the children, the little ones, you know", which sounds like
classic Wolfean hiding-the-truth-in-plain-view.

>  ...and the last one
> remembered by Culot's grandfather in particular was alone and
> camouflaging itself.
I don't think that was what was being described. We're initially told
that the creature looked "sometimes like a man, but sometimes like the
post of a fence" which certainly sounds like the fabled Annese
shape-changing ability, but then Wolfe immediately has M. Culot correct
himself, saying "sometimes like a man, sometimes like old wood." We're
also carefully told that M. Culot senior liked to express his contempt
for the way other people failed to see properly, by being economic with
the truth. Now, why go to all this trouble? Why prime us with all this,
unless there is more going on here than meets the eye? I think what M.
Culot senior was really saying was that this creature was gnarled and
twisted like old wood, which sounds like one of the Shadow Children to

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

<--prev V25 next-->