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From: "Mooncalf" 
Subject: (urth) Just finished BotSS
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003 20:47:47 -0400

Hi everyone, just signed up to the mailing list today. Have been reading
Wolfe off and on for several years now but only now got around to the Short
Sun series and wound up finishing RttW a few days ago. Ever since then i've
been searching the web looking for reviews and such...out of curiosity to
see what other people thought of it but also to see if it might shed some
light on some of the more mysterious parts in the book/s.

Well once i arrived here i went back in the archives and read through many
of the responses, beginning when RttW first came out and working my way up.
Have to admit i was a bit disappointed at first by some of the disappointed
reactions and, to that end, i wish to thank Marc Aramini in particular for
his posts (though actually i came across him initially via his review on
Amazon and only later found he posted here) for i think his amazing theories
added much to my appreciation of the books - i.e., instead of wondering if
some posters were correct that Wolfe had lost his touch or had lost interest
in the series and therefore things didn't hold up very well upon close
examination, i came away thinking just the opposite was true and that RttW
was one of his deepest, most rewarding books yet.

As to my own impressions...well the odd thing about reading this series is
that it took me a while to get into each of the books. In RttW it took the
longest, and at somewhere between pages 100 and 150 i started to despair
that i would ever get into it. Thankfully something clicked after that point
though (perhaps i finally got the "hang" of Pig's dialect ;) and i found
myself totally mesmerized once more by the style of writing and by the story
itself. And that story, to me at least, seemed in large part to parallel how
we (humanity in general) moved from belief in pagan gods to a belief in one
true God, a God worthy of worship. It seemed as much a search for finding
and bringing back the Outsider as it did for finding and bringing back Silk.
I got more out of the books than just that, of course, but i think that was
the aspect of it that fascinated me the most.

Anyway, even though i've read through a lot of the posts here over the last
few days i still have a few questions/points that i haven't seen addressed
yet (although i easily could have missed them since there was so much to go
through...and you'll have to forgive me for being imprecise at times but i
checked the books out at the library and only RttW still remains with me to
help refresh my memory).

1. Is Scylla able at some point after inhabiting Oreb (perhaps due to
proximity to the Neighbors or to the Narrator or due to the astral
projections or all three) to transfer copies of herself into others? I
wondered about this because of a couple strange observations made by the
Narrator. One, when he suddenly blurts out that he feels bad for Beroep
right after answering a question about Scylla - so did Scylla possess
Aanvagen, who at first was described by Beroep as somewhat less than
intelligent, but who during one of the courtroom scenes seems suddenly quite
competent? Two, when the Narrator emphasizes the strange reaction that
Marble had when she can see again, exclaiming "Oh, Scylla!". Did she become
possessed right then and there? Oreb was present during that scene and,
according to the Narrator, became alarmed and flew off soon afterwards due
to Marble's wild dancing. Also, at the very end when someone writes Good
Fishing repeatedly, that sounds like something Scylla would say...so another
person possessed by Scylla?

To me this would make sense with regard to the question of why would Scylla
so willingly seek out her own death. If she had copied herself into others
however then it seems she wouldn't mind so much killing off one of the

2. Also what is the "apparent" age of the Narrator? During the first two
books i got the distinct impression of an old man which i found curious
since Silk wasn't much older than Horn. In IGJ there was one scene (though
perhaps i misread it) at Inclito's dinner table where i believe someone says
that the Narrator is the oldest one there, despite the presence of a woman
who is the grandmother of a 15 yr old from her 4th marriage. Yet in the 3rd
book the Narrator appears to be in his 40s, since at one point he talks to a
shopkeeper who is described as over 40 (which i take it to mean in his 40s)
and who says that the Narrator is about his own age (was this a clue put in
to suggest that maybe there is something going on age-wise that needs
looking into?).

I've thought about this and so far the only thing i can come up with is
based upon Marc's theory that Horn goes into Babbie. Let's say then that
when Horn and Silk merge that not only do their spirits combine but that it
also somehow affects the age of Silk's body (combining their ages as well?).
Now if that's the case i'm not sure why no one on the Whorl remarks about
Silk's sudden aging. Maybe it wasn't so sudden after all and instead was
more of a gradual process in terms of outward appearance, such as his hair
turning white or whatever, and only when he returned to Blue for a while did
it really start to become noticeable. And so by the time he leaves Gaon at
the end of IGJ he appears an old and wizened ruler (if indeed that is how he
appears and not a mistaken impression on my part). Then if Marc's hunch is
correct and much of the Horn essence moves into Babbie during that strange
scene at the very end of IGJ, perhaps the aging effect reverses starting at
that point.

(As an aside, could it be that another clue to Babbie/Horn is that when
Babbie attempts to speak during the Astral Projections he says
"Huh-Huh-Huh"...maybe he's trying to say Horn? I know for instance he says
Huh-Huh-Huh when he points to his mouth that one time. Indicating the
missing horns or else trying to say that Horn is inside him?).

3. Finally, i have to say i agree with most of Marc's other theories as
well. Particularly Blue being Urth. That would give a sort of symmetry to
the trilogy (a trilogy in the sense of each series being a single book
divided into various parts). Plus that way an implied but - for obvious
reasons - unused title of the Short Sun books would be The Book of the New
Urth. Again that gives the whole thing a nice symmetry to my way of thinking
and it is a nice way to wrap up a trilogy by returning to where it all
began. More than that though, it's just the sort of puzzle and implied title
that i think would appeal to Wolfe.

Another reason i believe this theory rings true is because of the
intentional misdirections. The most blatant of which (that i can recall
offhand) is near the end where the Narrator says he would be willing to go
outside and point out the star of the Red Sun Whorl to Juganu. However even
if we were to suppose that Blue isn't Urth i still don't see how the
Narrator would have any idea which star it might be. In my opinion at that
moment he could have cared less about the actual location of the Red Sun for
all he wanted to do was draw Juganu's attention away from Green and was
using every psychological ploy he could think of to do so...even if it meant
going outside and pointing at any old star and essentially saying "there,
now stop thinking Green and start thinking Red". A related misdirection
might be when someone (Hide?) says that the constellations don't look the
same from the Red Sun Whorl. But since they could see the stars in the
daytime that could account for seeing different stars and different star
patterns. Or so i would guess.

And yet another reason that i like this theory is that it gets rid of the
awkward instantaneous astral traveling through light years of space, which i
know some people had trouble with. Mainly though it just seems to fit well
with the "trilogy" and to me it gives it an added layer of depth and more of
a feel of completeness to it.

I was going to end off there but i remembered one more thing...

4. Just how much is Mucor involved behind the scenes in the Short Sun books?
Any indication that she plays a bigger role than we've been led to believe?
Also what leads the Narrator to describe her as seeming to be like a great
general (or something similar) in OBW? LoL, i have to admit that at the time
i toyed around half-seriously with the idea that maybe she possessed the
narrator at that point and wrote the description herself.

Anyhow i guess that about wraps things up.

Take care,


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