From: "Roy C. Lackey"
Subject: (urth) Typhon vs. Pas Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2002 15:56:25 -0600 alga wrote: >The notion that Wolfe has borrowed, quite >successfully, from Gnosticism is that of the Demiurge (and I don't know why >some of you are making a Typhon/Pas split--Wolfe doesn't in his interviews). Regretfully, I think I started this whole Gnosticism/Demiurge debate a few weeks ago with my irreverent Whorl/Genesis comparison. Mea culpa. I am trying very hard to stay out of it. I don't recall those interviews, but Pas certainly started put as Typhon, so perhaps Wolfe does think of them/him as one seamless entity. However, as Pas, Typhon has somehow undergone a character transformation. By that I mean that Typhon in the NS always struck me as a cardboard villain, mindlessly evil in the way that the "bad" entity in some Stephen King novel is just expected to be accepted by the reader as evil, without resort to reason. His motives, when they can be determined at all, are arbitrary and insane; but are more often inscrutable. His behavior is so egocentric, so childlike in its lack of selfgovernance (e.g., masturbation in Sev's presence), that it's hard to credit such a person ever living long enough to rise to a position of power, much less as ruler of some sort of Galactic Empire. Some of those characteristics are evident in the digitized personality of Pas, but Pas in the LS books has become a more benign father figure. Even in the last volume, Pas has not been exposed as the evil tyrant we knew in the NS books. He is regarded as a wise, compassionate, all-father who sought a new beginning for mankind on new worlds. The _Whorl's_ cargo is apparently unaware of _why_ a new beginning is needed or desired; that is, they seem to be ignorant of the fact that Urth's sun is in decline, and that Typhon may, whether directly or indirectly, be responsible for that decline. If I may push the Biblical analogy further; Typhon, in the NS, seems to me as the God of the Old Testament, while Pas, in the LS, is more like the God of the New Testament. That is, many believers perceive the God of the Old and New Testaments quite differently. Though they may know, on an intellectual level, that it is the same God in both Testaments, the God of the Old is thought to be harsher, often capricious, while God in the New is perceived as more loving and kind. The analogy can be pushed even further. Silk, in the SS books, becomes a part of Pas, and Pas assumes to himself a part of Silk. God, in the New Testament, becomes Flesh, in the person of Jesus. Jesus, after completing his mission of redemption, returns to God in the mystery of the Trinity that is one. I'm not saying that Silk is a Christ figure, exactly, but there does seem to me to be a parallel. -Roy --