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From: Ranjit Bhatnagar <ranjit@best.com>
Subject: Long Sun Names
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 21:06:26 

[Posted from Whorl, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

I've been trying to figure out how various characters and other things
on the Whorl got their names.  I'll make a list on the web page if you
send your contributions.

Master Xiphias -- he implies that Xiphias is a kind of fish (in
Exodus, he misinterprets Moly as Mollie and jokes that it could be a
relative).  Turns out that xiphos is Greek for sword, which fits.  A
xiphias is probably a sword-shaped fish.

Azoth -- an alchemical term for mercury.  My best guess is that it's a
punning reference to Terminus Est, Severian's sword in the New Sun
books.  (Master Gurloes translated "terminus est" as "this is the line
of division," but I like to imagine Arnold Schwartzeneger translating
it as "I am the Terminator."  Anyway, the azoth is certainly a line of

Tussah - a kind of rough SILK, the word comes from Hindi for "shuttle"
(as in weaving).  I wonder if, besides the obvious Silk connection,
Wolfe was thinking of the space shuttles that would carry Tussah's
adopted son and his followers off the Whorl?  Eh, too oblique.

Talus -- either an ankle bone or a sloping pile of debris.  I can't
figure it out.  Any ideas?

Calde -- I've been told it's derived from the Spanish for "Mayor" (alcalde?)

'ishsh -- in Exodus, after Silk & Co have been captured by the
Trivigauntis, they're waiting to be taken up to the airship as soon as
they lower the "'ishsh."  What's that?

Chough -- is pronounced "chuff."  I had to look it up.  The dictionary
says it has red legs; Wolfe gives it a red beak too, but the cover
artists seem to have missed that.

Incus -- a bone in the inner ear.  (Patera Jerboa thought it might be
some kind of creature that sneaks around stealing eggs from nests.  (A
jerboa is a leaping rodent with a long tail.))

Quetzal -- a brightly colored Central American bird.  How did Quetzal
get on the Whorl, anyway?  Did he or one of his ancestors advise Pas
back on Earth, telling them where to find a habitable planet?  


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