FIND in
<--prev V30 next-->

From: James Jordan <jbjordan4@home.com>
Subject: (urth) Copperhead
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 13:39:01 

Having been away for three weeks, I now play catchup.
	I think the Lilith business is right. Of course, it is not in the Bible, 
and has nothing to do with Christian doctrine. (It's manichaean basically: 
Good Adam and Bad Lilith.) But the myth is around, in MacDonald, and Wolfe 
is familiar with it. It seems clear enough that the gadget switched an 
earthly copperhead with a parallel-universe Lilith, and then the NEW 
president with a NEW and unfallen Adam. Still president of the Garden, and 
the very image of God, this unfallen Adam pronounces a divine curse upon 
	No, this is not a post-fall Adam who still has much strength. This is an 
unfallen Adam who thinks the way God thinks, and does what God would do, 
and did do in Genesis 3.
	Boone has killed himself, and there has been a significant murder also (p. 
4). It seems clear that Boone has been getting it on with Lilith, and the 
murder is also connected to her. These, not Cain and Abel, are the two men 
who have died. Boone killed the other man; Boone was the murderer. As 
others have noted, the story of Cain and Abel comes after the Fall, and so 
it is not directly in view here. Indirectly, though, it is relevant: Abel 
challenged Cain for his sin, and Cain murdered him. We might assume that 
the murdered man challenged Boone for his adulterous relationship with 
Lilith, and Boone murdered him for that reason, though more likely Boone 
killed him in a jealous rage for having sex with Lilith (see below). The 
New President knows that Boone's note will say both that he murdered the 
man (which has been covered up by Rance -- implied) and also will tell 
about Jane Doe, so the note must be suppressed.
	Back to Cain and Abel: that's in THIS world, and Cains have been murdering 
Abel for thousands of years. That's the implied allusion. I don't think 
there is any allusion to a Cain and Abel in the parallel, unfallen world. 
All Lilith has in mind is Boone and the murdered man.
	I note some significant language on p. 3:
	Rance says, "Find who, Mr. President?"
	"Who the HELL do you think?"
	"Jane Doe?"
	"You're watching her, or you're DAMNED well supposed to be."
	"We are." Rance said.
	"A HELL of a lot of good it did...."
I think that's all the profanity in the story, which makes its presence 
here significant.
	Location: The action takes place in the west, not in DC. The NP says on p. 
6, "I'll be going back tomorrow, and when I get back I'll make a slot for 
you...." Going back where? To DC. Also, the five-hour trip of Rance & Co. 
gets them to the NP at 11:00 pm, while the NP's wife is back in Washington. 
Thus, the house and the hill are out west somewhere. It's near "Three Mile 
Woods" (p. 9), wherever that is (I don't find any such place on-line). I'm 
sure Wolfe had some Reason for this western location, but I don't come up 
with anything.
	More: the hilltop is near a meadow. There are two trees, one fallen. The 
fallen tree is the Tree of Life, which can be considered fallen in this 
world since we are now under the curse of death. The standing tree is the 
Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, associated with the serpent. Note 
the repeated reference to its leaves falling, and plug in the word "fall" 
and its larger meaning.
	Chronology: The spring trip back to the West, and the fall trip back to 
the West to watch football (p. 7) happened during the year of campaigning, 
not after the NP was inaugurated, yet that the NP was already president in 
the fall when he met with General Martens. But I don't think we have to 
imagine a parallel world or a disaster in the US. People burning things in 
Spokane is nothing more than the Los Angeles riots or the activities of 
environmentalists in Seattle -- nothing apocalyptic. I just think the NP 
had become president before his first run for office, and had been VP when 
the former president died or resigned.
	More: I don't see any reason to believe General Martens pushed any buttons 
before he gave the gadget to the NP. He found it right away, phoned the NP 
immediately, and the NP told him to bring it to him immediately. I think 
Martens did not want to give it up just because he suspected it was a 
dangerous alien device and either (a) wanted to keep it for study, or (b) 
wanted to protect the NP from blowing himself up, or (c) any combination of 
the above.
	I take "groose" as "grouse." At first I thought it was Lilith's complain 
against the unfallen Adam of her original world. He did not like her 
behavior. But in context, it seems to refer to Boone, and then to her 
rejection of him ("you will never grunt over me again"). Her rejection of 
Boone precipitated his suicide. What did Boone grouse about? Her relations 
with other men, including the man Boone murdered.
	The weird world the NP comes to is just the unfallen world, when human 
beings can still hear creation singing.
	Finally, I don't think we should try to read a lot of Clinton into this 
story. Like all of us, Wolfe can hardly avoid Clinton and his misbehavior, 
but there is no reason to think the NP is a serial adulterer, or that he 
wants to seduce Karen. He's just a fallen Adam, both in the sense of being 
a sinner and in the sense of being in charge of the world (as the president 
of the US is). The only dark hint I got was that perhaps he intends to have 
Karen killed, to clean up the mess: "I know you've done your best...I want 
you to understand that...no matter what happens tonight" (p. 5). I got this 
hint because Wolfe spends so much time on the conversation with Karen, 
which seems otherwise unimportant. The NP thinks to give her a post in 
Labor, and then says he'll make her an ambassador. What does he really plan 
for her, if anything?
	Thus, my take (for now).


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

<--prev V30 next-->