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From: Doug Eigsti <d.eigsti@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: (whorl) Ask Gene Wolfe
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 22:10:26 +0000

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


	It is a daunting proposition to boil down all the variables and 
uncertainities from the Long Sun into just one question. The Whorl is 
nearly as grand and unsearchable as our world, peopled with characters 
toiling away in their quarter oblivious to the grand gambits of unseen 
forces above. Part of the mystique of the series is the mystery. If I 
know Gene Wolfe, never met him, he will not give away anything he 
deems important in an answer to a direct question that he has evaded 
in 1400 pages of fiction. Such things, it seems, are meant to be an 
exercise for the reader. I almost feel guilty in hoping that his 
answers are as elusive and diffuse, and delectible, as his text. I am 
reminded of LeGuin's THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS where one must take 
exacting care in drafting one's question else risk getting an 
unexpected answer. None the less, the offer is irresistable. Here's 

	As has been lamented in these postings the publicized link between 
the NEW SUN and LONG SUN turns out to be tenuous when all is said and 
done, Typhon/Pas being the only common character. (Scylla seems only 
to share the common name). 
	My search for a more robust connection lead me to the story told to 
Severian by Cyracia of the "race of ancient days [that] reached the 
stars, and how they bargained away all the wild half of themselves to 
do so, so they no longer cared for wind...love or lust...songs or any 
other animal things they believed they had brought with them out of 
the rain forests at the bottom of time-though in fact, so my uncle 
told me, those things brought them." (SWORD, Ch.VI, p. 38, paperback). 
These machines later tried to restore the "wild" thoughts to men, in 
order to destroy them, by introducing "artifacts of every kind, 
calculated by them to revive all those thoughts that people had put 
behind them because they could not be written in numbers". (SWORD, Ch 
VI, p.39, paperback).
	The necessity for having living cultures on the Whorl segregated in 
city-states, isolated by topographical barriers fortified by Chem 
armies programmed to be mutually hostile in order to dissuade an 
organized revolt against Mainframe seems to be an overly complex means 
of transport, considering that Typhon obviously had access to 
"sleeper" technology (Mamelta). My question, in a roundabout way: Was 
the live cargo of the Whorl only put on board to preserve the "wild" 
half of mankind so the Typhon/Pas entity could establish a vital human 
vassal state on the destination world, or did the Inhumi require the 
"wild" parts to satisfy their blood lust?  

aka Doug Eigsti

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