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From: David_Lebling@avid.com
Subject: (whorl) Patera Pike's Ghost
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 97 17:05:52 

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

I'm puzzled over the appearance of Patera Pike's "ghost" in _Lake_.

Silk hears Pike walking about upstairs, hears his bed creak, and sees
him in the bedroom.  Then Pike disappears (dissolve into mist, actually)
and immediately afterward Silk sees a smallish black shape which he
thinks is Oreb fly out the window.

Oreb, who as we have previously observed sees better than anyone, denies
being in the bedroom, and when Silk decides he probably jumped out the
window (being unable to fly yet), he denies that too.

Oreb is pretty reliable, so I don't think he's lying. Silk has a known
tendency to come up with an explanation for everything, and those
explanations don't always turn out to be right.

Did Silk see an inhumu (probably Quetzal?).  Are there any other cases
of such _observed_ shapeshifting on the part of Quetzal (or anyone else,
for that matter)?  Recall that we haven't even met Quetzal, though we
have seen Teasel attacked. Later in the story, Quetzal invariably
disappears when everyone's back is turned.

This is the only incident I can think of in the books that doesn't have
a rationalistic explanation, and it's also the only "supernatural" event
that isn't immediately explained away by someone. Silk in fact seems to
relish the weirdness, making a remark about the manteion being full of
"gods and ghosts."

Any thoughts?

     Dave Lebling

ps: I hope everyone else is having as much fun with this list as I am!

Questions or problems to whorl-owner@lists.best.com

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