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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) Iron men
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 20:23:08 

    In URTH Sidero tells Sev how his (Sidero's) kind came to be. They
started out as glorified spacesuits for the sailors, becoming, as more
gadgetry and circuits were added, self-aware entities capable of independent
action. They are hollow because they were originally designed to house human
sailors. Because they are hollow they are lightweight. Sev calls them
androids and realizes that that is what Jonas had once been (chapter VIII).
When he carried Jonas from the Antechamber he was surprised at how
lightweight he was and speculated that it was due to his metal parts being
made of some lightweight alloy. Wrong. He was lightweight because the metal
parts were hollow, and the metal parts were made of iron, if not literally
at least metaphorically.

    In Greek mythology Sidero was female, not male. Sidero has two separate
meanings. One is "starry", the other is a prefix meaning "iron". Sidero
mentions two others of his kind, Hadid and Hierro. Al Hadid, also called
"Iron", is the title of the 57th Surah of the KORAN. Hierro is Spanish for

    Jonas means "dove", but whether this was his original name or not is
unknown. Jonas is very secretive about his past. He implies that he was a
crewman of a starship that crashed, the crew then scattering. Maybe so. But
his name invites comparison with his biblical namesake. Jonah disobeyed God
and took ship for Tarshish. God sends a storm in punishment, unnecessary
cargo is thrown overboard (Hethor knows about cargo) and Jonah too, as a
scapegoat, where he is swallowed by the "whale". Thus the origin of the term
"jonah" for someone who is bad luck. Jonas has a lot of bad luck. Was he
banished for some "sin", either by Tzadkiel or other agent of the Increate?
Jonas lost his left hand; Sidero lost his right arm and hand. This has
resonances with Jonah 4:11. "... persons that cannot discern between their
right hand and their left hand ..." It took Sev a while to figure out which
of Jonas's hands was the prosthetic.

    Further, it is Sidero who tells Sev: "We sail in and out of Time, then
back again. There is only one ship, the captain says. [Tzadkiel is the
captain] All the ships we hail between the galaxies or the suns are this
ship." Does this mean just what it says? Are the "Quasar", "Fortunate
Cloud", and Tzadkiel's ship one and the same?

    Is this all coincidence? I doubt it. The androids Sidero and Jonas have
become human, whether by accident or design, in all ways that matter save
the biological. Perhaps All Too Human, in the Nietzschean sense.


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

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