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From: Charles Dye <raster@highfiber.com>
Subject: (whorl) 
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 1997 14:49:02 

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

This is from "Fernando Q. Gouvea" <fqgouvea@colby.edu> :

>DL> I'm puzzled over the appearance of Patera Pike's "ghost" in _Lake_.
>DL> Did Silk see an inhumu (probably Quetzal?).  Are there any other cases
>DL> of such _observed_ shapeshifting on the part of Quetzal (or anyone
>DL> else, for that matter)?  Recall that we haven't even met Quetzal,
>DL> though we have seen Teasel attacked. Later in the story, Quetzal
>DL> invariably disappears when everyone's back is turned.
>I think that's a very interesting possibility, one that hadn't ocurred to
>me. It's true that the ghost incident is one of the more mysterious ones in
>the series. The thing that's missing to make this a plausible explanation,
>though, is a reason: why would Quetzal be doing that? Why create an
>appearance of Patera Pike?

I came to a completely different conclusion regarding Patera Pike's visitation.
If you've read "The Book of the New Sun," take another look at the pivotal
Chapter 31 of "Citadel."*  Pike's appearance is perfectly compatible with an
"aquastor," even down to the dissolve-to-mist finale.  Master Malrubius even
implies that an aquastor would be able to wear a physical hat, for a time.
The generation of an aquastor seems to require the presence of powerful
computers nearby, in both space and time.  We know the Whorl has more than
its fair share of these!

Looking at "Calde" again, I was struck by the opening paragraph.  Wolfe has
Quetzal examining his own reflection in a silver teapot!  I had originally
pictured Quetzal as a Nosferatu-style vampire, but that doesn't work.  Wolfe
certainly knows the traditional restrictions on vampires; he uses them
repeatedly and to good effect in "Castleview."  Quetzal doesn't fit the job
description.  Rather, Wolfe seems to be comparing Quetzal to a snake of some
kind.  Quetzal tells the Adam-and-Eve story from the serpent's point of view.
What is Quetzal?


* If you haven't read the "Book", for God's sake do so -- but read it in order
the first time through!  Don't Even Think about reading the chapter mentioned
above before starting the series.

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

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