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From: eli+@gs211.sp.cs.cmu.edu
Subject: (urth) Re: ENGINE SUMMER: Why? (fwd)
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 17:09:08 

(fwd of the message that only Adam got.)

Adam Stephanides wrote:
> Michael raises an important question: why have Rush tell his story?

I like your sharpening of this point, and I think your theory -- that
it's to extend the host's Rush experience by keeping Rush stable -- is
well supported, especially considering the amount of evidence
available.  (Let's ignore the meta answer that Rush's telling his
story constitutes the book.)  A possible variant is that being Rush
telling his story is what the host is after.

> and she replies "Only to see...to see how strong you are.  I mean
> whether the story will change, depending on who..." [ellipses Crowley's].
> But her hesitant speech here, which is not at all typical of her, makes me
> suspect she is being evasive.  And in any case, her explanation is weak:
> with 298 copies of the story on file already, the angels should know how
> much variability there is in Rush's story without needing a 299th.

The 299th recording wouldn't tell them much new about variability, but
more than that, it's not apparent it would tell them much new at all.
I agree the angel's being shady, but I can't see what the real answer
would have to be to sound convincing.

Um.  You know when you go... bungee-jumping or something?  And they
offer you a videotape of your jump, as a souvenir?

> The other clues fit in with the suspicion aroused by this one.  Near the
> start of the fifth facet of the second crystal, Rush asks "Do you know this
> story better than I do?" and the angel replies: "Go on.  It's not for my
> sake you tell it."

The variant on your interpretation: it could be that Rush's telling is
for the host's sake, but not because Rush breaks down without it --
instead, because the Rush experience that the host is after is the
experience of telling the story.  Of being a truthful speaker.  ("We
are truthful speakers too", indeed.)  Well, to be precise, the memory
of that experience.

I do think that 2.1 "Go on with your story; it's less confusing.  It's
best just to tell the story beginning to end--that's something we know
about you." does support your variant better, but it could mean that
the host is after a "truthful speaking" trip rather than one about
tangled identity games.

> I began with, the angel told the truth in the first sentence.  They record
> the sessions with Rush to see how strong Rush is, literally: to make sure
> they aren't putting more strain on him than he can endure.

Hmm, expand on this for me?  How do the recordings let them do this?

> Michael will probably be pleased that I'm arguing, not only that the angel
> knows in advance that she will be inflicting pain on Rush, but that she lies
> outright to him (no truthful speaker she!).  But in partial extenuation of
> the angels, if the sphere is just a recording, and so feels nothing, then
> the only entity really suffering is Rush's host, who knew what he was
> letting himself in for.

I feel like there's another person here, a Rush-in-the-host.  He's
doing the suffering.  The host will come back later and take the
memories.  There's certainly a lot of pain tangled up -- my reading
was that David's use of "rape" was in reference to Rush's pain here,
and Michael's recent use was to the host's.

When Rush gets his letter from Dr. Boots: "And then there came the
time that I must tell you of, but can't; the time when Boots was
there, and I was not.  When I was not in Rush that Speaks, and Boots
was; when Boots lived; when she was Rush and I was not; when I was not
at all."  (A precise description of the(?) mystical experience,
according to traditions that interpret it as possession by an Eternal,
but I bet none of them ever figured the Eternal was a stray cat.)
Doesn't sound like the host is there at all.  But in that case the
host didn't remember anything afterwards, while in this case he will.
Whether that makes a difference is a psychological question too deep
for me.

Tangentially: after the letter, there is a distinction made between
"Rush" and "I".  For months, if I remember right, until the
`confusion'?  I wonder if the Rush-sphere has this effect, or only
Boots, or whether the lingering depersonalization is a drug-anecdote
without general implications for the physics of the story.

More tangentially: _ES_ mixed with Hoban's _The Medusa Frequency_
forms an admirable confusion.

says the Kraken, the giant squid in that netsuke with the girl and the
giant squid, Orpheus.

Is there a story of me? I asked myself.  Am I in it?

     Eli Brandt  |  eli+@cs.cmu.edu  |  http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~eli/

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

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