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From: douge@nti.com (Doug Eigsti)
Subject: Re: (whorl) Patera Pike's Ghost
Date: Sat, 25 Jan 1997 07:09:22 

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

> [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
>      (david_lebling@avid.com)

	I would put Pike's haunting in the same category as the "asomatous
travel" Mucor performs. On page 62 of LAKE Silk ruminates to Oreb on the
supernatural. Here he groups the manifestations of "gods and ghosts"
together, including Kypris, Pike and "all the rest".  Strangely he rejects
Mucor's cavortings as supernatural, preferring to classify them as being of
the devil. So, to Silk, things supernatural would be pertaining to the
gods. What "all the rest" encompasses he does not elaborate.
	I would eliminate the appearances of the gods in Sacred windows
and glasses. These are technological marvels, granted indistinguishable
from magic, that have a "natural" explanation. Mucor, Pike, Quetzal and
perhaps Silk's uncanny abilities would fall into the supernatural, in
spite of the conclusions arrived at by Silk. Silk has a pawn's 
whorl-view, he is not privy to the machinations of the Marvelous Brass 
Chess Playing Automatons that inhabit mainframe. 
	How do you suppose Horn sees things? Is he intentionally
misleading the reader by having Silk come to the wrong conclusions time
and again?

=Doug Eigsti=

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