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From: Patri10629@aol.com
Subject: (whorl) More Whorl Mysteries
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 14:47:39 

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

The Long Sun Books are full of puzzles and mysteries--that's part of their
power and charm, I think. 

But after having read the series three times I remain mystified/intrigued by

1. What purpose did the tour of the Talus factory serve? It happens late in
Exodus and seems to lead nowhere--a battle plan that didn't pan out? I wonder
what others make of this scene...

2. In the same scene why does Oreb cry out in apparent fear/anxiety at
something disturbing that is happening "off screen? I think he says something
like "No! NO!" Huh?

3. What is the deception/lie of Maytera Marble which so distressed Silk near
the end? Is it ever made explicit?

4. Has anyone else gotten the impression that all the political maneuvering
and intrigue, strategems and plots, temporary victories and reprieves--a
large portion of the Long Sun story, in fact--amounts to nothing? It's as if
"the best laid plans of mice and men..." As if the true purpose and meaning
of the whole whorl is unknown to its occupants until the last 100 pages. All
this futile spying and scurrying, useless battles and needless bloodshed,
border skirmishes and diplomatic bargaining--what a joke! Perhaps this
triggers Silk's despair--the dawning realization that His Story wasn't about
saving his Mantion, wasn't about overthrowing the government, wasn't even
about making Peace or saving the whorl--his people and himself have been
pawns of a larger scheme--Pas's or The Outsider--Perhaps he's not sure. And
perhaps that's why he despairs.

It seems to me a very religious, if not downright Christian take on the true
history of humankind--that there is a larger, more profound divine plan
hidden beneath the trivial parochial concerns of humans.

It annoys me a bit--but that's part of the pleasure of Wolfe's work, too.

Patrick O'Leary


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