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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (whorl) Moly, Tartaros
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 18:21:02 

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

Molybdenum (Moly) is the real name Marble had before she took orders.
Magnesia (Maggie) was Hammersmith's sweetheart's name, and she pretends for
a while to be that person though she is not by nature a liar (see Silk on
the airship roof talking to Horn). She reverts to Moly on the trip to Blue.

> But to give you the workout that you deserve . . . if Pas is just a
> puppet, then who is fighting Echidna, and how, and why?  If Tartaros
> can't use images because he's blind, then Tartaros cannot be the
> puppetmaster, right?  So an accomplice, like Kypris, or, oh
> Thelexiepeia (I got this new theory about her . . . I'm sure you can
> guess), or maybe Kypris and Thel together.  Anyway, okay, we'll say
> for the sake of your theory that some non-Tartaros agency does that
> whole Punch and Judy, Pas and Echidna act on the wide screen tv for
> the Cargo's viewing pleasure and edification (IV, 204-205).  If Pas
> isn't real, then what are they using against Echidna?  And why didn't
> Tartaros do any or all of this before, in the last few decades? (Or is
> the Echidna in the Echidna-fighting-Pas scene a fake, too?)

Whew, that *is* a workout! One at a time: Tartaros is wiping Echidna out of
Mainframe but it takes time. He can't use his own image, but he can pull
the strings (manipulate the data) for the Pas image. Kypris is sort of an
ally, but I'm pretty sure it's he who pulled them at the first two Pas
theophanies we actually see (first, just after he leaves Auk for the first
time in a week and, second, the Pas/Echidna/Pas thing when what's left of
tough old Echidna makes a last-ditch effort---I won't speculate on the Q
theophany). I don't think there's a shred of evidence that Thelx (or your
beloved Sphygx) is even alive any more (though she could be brought back).
What are they using against Echidna--hey, Tartaros is something of a
hacker, hadn't you noticed? Why didn't he do it before? I think it had to
do with the repairs Mamelta made to the ship, and also with his connection
to Auk.

I think that answers everything. The flaw in the argument is that Kypris,
and seemingly only Kypris, is able to operate on some local screens (never
in a manteion, you'll notice, and the only one for sure is Hy's) *before*
the Mamelta fix. But Q answers that flaw at one point when he says she's
been running ever since Pas died and that they've never caught her. "They"
seems to refer to the gods, but it could also refer to the technicians who
shut down the theophanies for Q in the first place. Probably both.

I think the sleeping bios are technicians and pilots, not beauty queens and
hunky hunks. If they happen to be good-looking, hey, that's a plus.

> Not to be mean or too flip, but we don't know the real name of a lot
> of characters and gods (sure, Pas is Typhon, but is Tartaros Erebus
> [<g> at alga for firming up this one, too, with Tartaros Rex!],
> and who is Echidna?).  Maytera Marble might be the major symbol of
> why we don't.  If you can figure out how Mint gets melded into the
> identity Marble/Rose (as happens toward the end of EXODUS), then maybe
> you are on the path.

Now mantis, you know I get impatient when your lineage gets too
literal---Wolfe has more imagination than that. But surely, surely you have
noted a connection between the malevolent Hera of The Odyssey, the
malevolent Juno of The Aeniad (sp) and our own beloved Echidna. And I don't
think Tartaros is Erebus at all---that's a grim joke having to do with his
blindness, as both Potto and Scylla tell you. He seems more like a blind
Daedalus (and we meet him in a labyrinth, heh, heh--oh mantis, is your
button blinkin') or Hephaestos, Daedalus's patron. Hierax is the god of
death (and there isn't a shed of evidence that he still exists either).
Mint is NOT melded into Marble/Rose. Jeez!
> The situation is very convoluted.  For one example, the issue of Marble's
> lies is complicated by the fact that the one lie we know most about
> doesn't seem like much of a lie.  That is: she "lied" that she had
> posed for the goddess in the painting that hangs on the wall.  Then it
> turns out that the artist's mother posed, and the chem maid (future
> Marble, in whole or in part) stood in for her.  So she =did= pose for
> the goddess, though not for the face of the goddess.  This is a
> =lie=?  Yumpin Yimini!

Her lie, dear mantis, the one that upsets both her and Silk, is about her
name. See above. Many a lass has lied to catch a good-looking soldier.
> 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...

Of course. And with any other writer I'd never question the legit-colony
theory. But Typhon is so awful in NS and the gods (at least Scylla and
Echidna) are so awful in LS and Wolfe is so sneaky that ya jus' never know.

And I completely agree with you (rana) about the weather system being
hopelessly, irreparably screwed up, which necessitates exodus no matter
what lies without.


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