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From: Ranjit Bhatnagar <ranjit@gradient.cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: (whorl) things 'n stuff
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 1997 12:09:12 

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

	Hey, anybody--how come Rose's door was smashed
	open/down at around the time of her death?  And 
	nobody fixed it?  Talk about surreal . . .

Is this a question, or a quiz?  I'm never sure!  :-)
Remember when Marble's brain popped a cork, her soup
dissolved into numbers and she went out the wrong door?  She
finally made it upstairs, and misjudging her strength put
her hand through the door.  

This scene-- and the one where Marble is haunted by a
memory, and a trunk, and a "cloud," and _Why don't you dust
it?_ -- are some of my favorites.  Wonderful and
disorienting how Wolfe can write the point of view of a
somewhat malfunctioning robot.  Bringing the reader into
someone else's daze is one of his signature effects.

	We struggle to define the Mission of The Whorl

I still favor Potto's explanation, as you put it: a two
hundred year (subjective) journey, one way, to establish a
colony for the glory of the Monarch.  Sounds like something
a monarch would do, like a bunch of them did on our planet
over the last six hundred years or so.  (Penal colonies came
later, after the first waves of I-Claim-This-Land-in-the-Name-of 
colonies, no?)  That Blue turns out to be a rotten place
doesn't necessarily mean that Pas had bad intentions.
Science fiction is full of stories of people colonizing
unpleasant planets.  Maybe the Blue/Green system was the
best Pas could get given his financial and technological
limits.  Maybe he bought or leased it from the Inhumi.  ("In
consideration for a fee of 1200 juicy bodies per year...")
Quetzal is the super, come up to make sure the new tenants
get moved in safely...

	(Imagine the culture rift on Blue between the
	generational colonists and the Sleepers!  Can't 
	wait for the Short Sun series!)

Yeah!  Hmm, in some Larry Niven novel or other, the crew of
a colony ship gets fed up at having to live through decades
of boring space travel when everyone else is sleeping
happily, so on arrival the crew sets themselves up as a
ruling class, controlling all the resources, before thawing
out the sleepers.

rock, on the condition of the Whorl:

Good points, on why the Whorl is breaking down -- cargo
ripping out the cards and so forth.  But I also imagine that
Pas and his engineers would've built the Whorl to last for
the duration of the journey and no longer -- budget
overruns, y'know -- and didn't expect it to be prolonged.
Hmm, another thing -- maybe the weather patterns were
designed to take the force of acceleration and deceleration
into account.  Now the thing has been in orbit for a few
decades, and the weather's all messed up.  I doubt that any
power on the Whorl has the resources to repair it, though it
would probably help a lot just pumping out the tunnels.

mantis, I can't see Mint getting mixed up in the Rose/Marble
confusion.  Any hints?


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