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Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002 18:22:14 -0600
From: Jeff Wilson 
Subject: (urth) electro-torture of Urth

>      From: 
>           Michael Andre-Driussi 

> Jeff Wilson quoted and wrote:
> >> Thecla (p. 239) correction, she did not exactly take her own life to
> >>avoid another session with the revolutionary, rather, she did so to avoid
> >>further torment by
> >> the in-dwelling demon summoned by the device.
> >
> >       I think that this bears closer examination. Rather than a device that
> >literally summons demons (just as the Book contains hierodules rather
> >than literal angels), I think that the Rev is meant to be an
> >electroshock device of fiendish refinement that divides the brain by
> >damaging tissue electrically and leaves the non-speaking part greatly
> >resentful of the trauma and perhaps envious of the speaking part.
> In "Languages of the Dying Sun" (Damien Broderick's EARTH IS BUT A STAR;
> also in NYRSF No. 149) I wrote something somewhat similar.  I was talking
> about how Wolfe uses techniques to make common sf notions fantastical
> (using old words for new things), and also making 20th century items very
> strange (through reversals that employ magical thinking):
> "In other words, the revolutionary is an electro-shock therapy device that
> instils suicidal depression rather than removing the same. Such a thing
> seems implausible, impossible; since we know that sane people are not made
> insane by electrical shock. But a moment of magical thinking shows that
> suicidal depression can be seen as an entity which cannot be destroyed, it
> can only be sent away; so the twentieth-century machine is the 'sending'
> device, and the torturers' machine is the 'receiving' device: mental
> illness has been teleported to the end of history."

A superb inference, Mantiss, and I see no reason it could not have been
part of GW's thought on the subject. 

I rather think that if true,  some information from the original
sufferer should be transferred to the receiving victim in the process,
perhaps as false memories or mannerisms or other personality traits.
There is not much evidence of this transfer, but there's not really much
opportunity to have seen it, either. The eyelid-peeling, lip-tearing
compulsion may be such, as the other prominent psychotic in the BOTNS,
the woman who made children into furniture, displays similar obsessive

Jeff Wilson
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"If your SecOp can see you, so can the enemy." -Cpt Law


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