From: "James Wynn"
Subject: RE: (urth) Heavy Hyacinth Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 16:18:24 -0500 Nutria declares We can always fall back on thematic rather than literal associations. If the name Hyacinth is also a pointer to Apollo, this relationship stands without her having to be a male. (Look, Silk is NOT going to be a homosexual, or engage in homosexual acts. Not in anything by Gene Wolfe.) Crush responds: Excellent point that Hy does not HAVE to be male to be thematically connected to Hyacinthus. Of course, there are myriads of heterosexual love affairs of Apollo's that Wolfe could have chosen. As for whether Wolfe would *never* have a good-guy protagonist engage in a homosexual act - one might axiomatically assert that he wouldn't have such a character wander from woman to woman having casual sex (ala Severian). But I agree that *Silk* is not homosexual. Incidentally, I do "rescue" a priest from closet homosexuality by identifying Incus as female - and since closet homosexuality is a malicious stereo-type of priests, I doubt Wolfe would coddle it. But the homosexual argument is moot in this case because a chem is not human. Their "sexuality" is not mammalian; it is only modeled on human roles. "Male" or "Female" roles for chems is no more applicable for humans than male and female electrical connections. When Jonas becomes human he choose to be a human male due to his love for Jolenta not due to a sexual preference in a mammalian sense. The machismo aspect of Typhon's culture (exemplified in the requirement of a physically hale male heir) caused all the chem soldiers to needlessly be "male"- and this causes the plight of the chems. I reiterate that if Hy is a male chem, it does not make her relationship with Silk homosexual. That is not the "taint" in their love-making. Personally, I consider very impressive plotting that IMO Wolfe wove the homosexual undertone of the Apollo/Hyacinthus story into the Silk's love affair without making Silk homosexual (in ANY sense). Nutria elaborates: Similarly, the fact that her name can also be that of a rock can point to the need for human beings to "reach down" and rescue "lesser" humans, in this case chems, without Hy's actually being a chem. We get the same theme in Short Sun, where the humans must live in such a way as to redeem the inhumi. Crush responds: Excellent point again, that Hy can be "associated" with chems without having to be chem - for example she is associated with Marble in the parallel Crone-Nymph-Maiden triads (Marble-Rose-Mint = Hy-Chenille-Nettle). She could play the crone as does Marble without being a chem like Marble. Still, (perhaps this comes up in the Short Sun books) I didn't note the theme where the chems need special rescuing. They aren't slave labor in Viron, they have full legal rights as persons. I was actually surprised to see so few of the chem army (or any chems except Marble) following Remora to Blue. I agree with you that chems are persons. The discussion about taluses with the brown mechanic directly rubs out all significant distinction between the psyches of chems and bios. As for Oreb and Tick, I'm not sure. Both of them were purchased at different times for a sacrifice - one by Silk and the other by Hy. I don't recall any move to free the animals in the market. There is the loyalty of Oreb in his hostility to Tick (for being a Trivigaunte spy who eventually betrays Silk's meeting with the Ayuntamiento), but quite often the motives seem limited to the basics (food, survival, etc.). As for Silk's despondency being due to Hy's unfaithfulness, I have been assuming that occurred *after* Silk's discussion with Horn - on the trip back. The Mantis' additional explanation of the being the "lie" being due to help from Kypris - that's a good rationalization but, gosh, I like mine better -- it seems to pull Silk's entire explanation together. On that point, I never imagined Hy was a chem until I read that conversation on the airship - up until that time, I was merely perplexed by their relationship. Sure I knew her name could be read as ambivalent - just as Chenille's and Villus' can -- but what did it mean?. Like you I had lots of theories about how she was connected thematically to chems - particularly Marble. But after Silk's despondency, the chem theory seemed to answer all my questions (while adding the problem of explaining the flags to the contrary). It answered for me why their relationship, Hy's behavior, and everyone's reaction to the relationship seemed "off". If it never seemed that way to you, then I doubt you'll be compelled by anything I say on this subject - I myself came to this explanation begrudgingly. Nutria gushes ;-): I say you've advanced the discussion, but thematically, not as regards the "literal" "facts" of the narrative. Crush responds: Well I'll happily take what I can get. Thanks. :-D --Crush --