FIND in
<--prev V28 next-->

From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Ziggurat as Delusion or SF
Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000 11:03:27 

Dennis G. Berdanis asked some questions, I think I can answer a few:

>1.  What caused our future society to abandon men and only allow female
>births?  Would it be the traditional "Men destroyed the world and can't be
>allowed to do it again.  Women would never do that?"  That would explain the
>women's fear of men.  I believe there was a new Outer Limits episode a few
>years back that dealt with women experimenting with allowing men back into
>society in the future and deciding against it.  The handful of men corrupted
>the women, so no more were cloned.

Hard to say what precisely caused it--however, the idea is not new to Wolfe--
"In Looking Glass Castle" and "Many Mansions" both involve future female-only
societies.  In general, I think Wolfe's take on such societies is that they
are indicative of a terrible failure of humanity to deal with its nature.

>2.  Why would this future society of women be so prone to violence?  I can
>understand them robbing the cabin and vehicles to repair their ship.  Why
>would they be so determined to shoot anything they didn't understand?  Why
>would they force the twin to go to their ship and strip down then return
>her?  For her eggs as other's have speculated?

I think part of this is Wolfe's sly way of pointing out that men and women
all _that_ different:  the "Brownies" aren't pacifistic or over-trusting, and
their behavior (intentionally I suspect) calls to mind the paranoid and panic
stricken behavior of a lot of crews of crashed spaceships in alien territory
over the history of sf.  Remember:  presumably at some point, their society
CHOSE to eliminate men, so Emory is an almost mythical monster from the past
in their eyes.

>1.  Why did Emery keep saying the coyote was killed with a cyanide gun.
>What is a cyanide gun exactly?  How would he know it was killed with this
>type of gun unless he did it?]

I finally looked this up on the web.  I'd heard the term before and knew it
was some kind of animal trap, but couldn't remember the specifics:
"Also introduced in the 1940s was a revolutionary, deadly new predator weapon.
The "coyote getter" is a pistol cartridge-powered cyanide gun that shoots a
puff of deadly sodium cyanide dust into the mouth of any carnivore, omnivore,
or carrion-eater that tugs on its scented wick. On contact with the moisture in
the animal's mouth (or eyes, or wherever it hits) gas is released and the 
animal is gassed to death (or blinded). A highly effective killer, the coyote 
getter quickly gained widespread use. Eventually it was usurped by a newer 
model, the spring loaded "M-44" coyote getter, which is still used today. 
Over the years coyote getters have killed countless thousands of predators, 
non-target animals, and even a few humans."

Emory can tell because presumably the coyote is still beside the trap.  THIS
is, as far as I can tell, all that's involved in Emory's "killing" the coyote.
He taught it not to fear human smell and so it took the bait.

>3.  What were Emery's plans for the coyote.  I never understood, other than
>Wolfe symbolism, what plans Emery could have for the frozen coyote body?

He wanted to give it a proper burial, as with his son.  He felt (rightly, but
in a limited sense) responsible for its death.

It's (in part) Emory's empathy for the coyote and his feeling of responsibility
at its death that makes it hard for me to swallow the "Emory is damned" (see
Nicholas Gevers' "Three readings") interpretations of this story.  "Follow the
Wolfe" for me does not lead to Emory as delusional or evil.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066

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

<--prev V28 next-->