Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 11:15:48 -0600 From: "Charles Reed"
Subject: (urth) Quetzal On Urth? Howdy everyone. I have some thoughts that I'd like to share regarding when Quetzal came on board the Whorl, especially in regard to how Gene Wolfe seems to approach his writing. Last week, Crush posited the following: > ... even if Typhon did not know the target > planets were full of blood-sucking monsters > (and I never imagined he did) it does not mean > he wasn't manipulated by Quetzal on Urth. And > based on Quetzal's statements in LS3:1 (Slaves > of Scylla) that still seems probable to me. Further, Don Doggett added the following: > The thirty years bits all refer to things that > have happened inside the Whorl and they all > hinge on one idea, namely that Quetzal somehow > entered the Whorl from Green or Blue thirty > years ago. An easy way around that is to say > that Quetzal has been on the Whorl from the > start. Nowhere, to the best of my knowledge, is > the lifespan of an Inhumu given in the text. > For goodness sake, Jahlee was buried underground > for months without nourishment . . . I guess the idea of Quetzal being on board the Whorl from the beginning bugs me more than it should. There are other theories floating around that I don't agree with but that I can stomach because they at least seem to be within the realm of possibility because their positions can be argued from the *text*. Examples of such theories include the Blue = Ushas theory, and the theory that it was Severian who appeared to Horn in the pit. But the Quetzal-on-board-from-the-beginning theory is different. I see how the text doesn't refute such a possibility -- and I've looked for something to refute it with -- but that's not the same thing as support. As much as I would like to avoid extra-textual support for my ideas, I'm going to offer as back-door evidence the following quote from the Nick Gevers interview with Gene Wolfe ( http://www.sfsite.com/03b/gw124.htm ): -------------------- Q: Why did you choose in Short Sun to have your characters cross over into the milieu of New Sun? In particular, do the meetings of Horn/Silk and Severian have a decisive impact on the destinies of both? A: Because the books would have been lame if they had not. Once you see that Pas is or was Typhon, and know the Rajan can travel by astral projection, he's got to do that. There's a wonderful bit in the Roger Rabbit movie nobody seems to get. Roger goes around with handcuffs on his wrists for half an hour. Then he pulls one hand out of the cuffs and does something with it, and sticks it back in. Bob says, "You mean to tell me you could get out of those whenever you wanted to?" And Roger says, "No, only when it's funny." That is a profound expression of the the law that governs all writers and performers. The audience doesn't have to think about that, but writers are bound by it. If there's a gun on the wall in Act I, it must be fired before the end of the play. Etc. -------------------- OK. Think about this. If Quetzal or other inhumi had been on Urth influencing Typhon or other government officials, I think Gene Wolfe would have let us know. More than that, according to the above quote, I think he would have felt bound -- at least artistically but perhaps morally as well -- to let something of such a relationship be seen. In other words, if the inhumi can travel to Urth (as has been suggested of Quetzal) then they've *got* to do that. We would hear stories of them on Urth, see one flying in the distance, observe people who don't eat, can't run, and lick their chops when someone mentions blood. Something. Some indication. But there's nothing. No indication whatsoever that any of the inhumi have ever been on Urth. (The SS astral-projections don't count because, for one, they're not physically there and for two, they're not inhumi when they're there -- they're fully and completely human.) Further, if it's only one single inhumu (Quetzal) that made it to Urth, how did he get there and why can't others come too? He has to have been there physically -- not astrally. That is, he had to have traveled there on some kind of ship. So who built and launched such a ship and where is it now? If Quetzal was slick enough to influence Typhon about where to point the Whorl, surely he would would have been slick enough to redirect the hypothetical Urth-bound ship to Green (with it's "cargo") thereby avoiding the need to go to Urth at all. I feel like I'm ranting, and I apologize. I just can't see any textual support (which again is not the same as the lack of refutation) for the idea that any inhumi ever visited Urth. Is there any? Charles --