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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Poor Moly
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 20:51:53 -0600

Crush wrote:
>But in your verbose post, somehow you never addressed the fact that Silk
>says bio prosthetic technology was not available to Rose and Marble
>I realize there is a reason you missed it. 

I didn't miss it. Silk is a 23-year old mama's boy, a year-and-a-half out of
the seminary. His ignorance is encyclopedic. At that point in the story he
thinks old-time pictures and sounds that once came out of computer terminals
are really gods. He doesn't know that the Ayuntamiento is composed of chems,
that a lander is a spaceship, that Mainframe is a computer bank, that the
_Whorl_ is a mote in a vast universe outside. He knows nothing about women.
He was taught at the schola that black mechanics don't exist, along with a
lot of other nonsense that he lacks the intellectual wherewithal to question
until he has his nose rubbed in it, if then. He doesn't know any better,
because he is a product of his nurturing and, to quote Shaw, "thinks that
the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature". He learns
better, eventually.

He doesn't know, yet, that the _Whorl_ is a machine that is wearing out
rapidly, just like Marble. He thinks the malfunction of the 'seasons' is due
to the displeasure of the "gods". Within a week of the opening of the story
he learns a great many things that turn the foundations of his worldview
upside down. One of the things he learned was that individuals such as
Tarsier could, and did, provide customized prosthetics like those
demonstrated by Lemur--for a price. Chem servants didn't have the price;
they were de facto slaves. If Marble had had the gelt, she could have bought
new/refurbished parts. She didn't; she couldn't even pay for a welding job
on her severed hand. The same goes for bios. Notice that in the text in
question Silk laments the lack of prosthetics for Marble and Rose and "for
all the beggars who are blind or crippled". Beggars, Crush, beggars. Just
like the legions of poor bios in the quarter who can't afford to be treated
by a doctor. The wealthy don't have that problem. If wealthy bios need
prosthetics, they can evidently be found. Or do you suppose Silk was just
discriminating against the wealthy when he expressed his regrets?

I repeat; it was only in the last few decades that prosthetics became
scarce. They were not hard to find when Rose got most of hers, 40-50 years
ago. In fact, when chems were more common, they had their own "doctors". As
Swallow told Silk: "A doctor who specializes in chems should have one
[opticsynapter], but I don't know of one here in Viron." (LS4, 139) Chem
"doctors" were hard to find because their 'patients' had worn out and
'died'. Cause of death: poverty.

>Her "LIE" about being at the Sun St. cenoby since before humans came to
>Viron was made in front of Hammerstone and Hammerstone would have known if
>it weren't true of Moly. That's simply beyond debate.

Nonsense. Hammerstone wasn't there when the cenoby was staffed. He was a
soldier. Other than for periodic calls to active duty to pull CQ or in time
of war, he, like the rest of the soldiers, spent most of his life 'asleep'.
Think about it; his courtship of Moly was on-going when he last was ordered
to sleep, something over 74 years ago. Viron was stocked with people more
than 300 years ago. Given the 7-8 to 1 ratio of male to female chems he
claims, do you really think he wasted two centuries or more courting her
without popping the question?

>I maintain, I haven't really changed on this, that the "old hands" you
>mention are an intriguing mystery, but they affect not at all the two

Then I can say no more.



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