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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (whorl) Welcome Rostrum
Date: Fri,  6 Jun 97 16:34:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #0562550 from WHORL@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET#


Welcome aboard!  I'll try to answer a few of your questions, let's
see . . .

Re: light of ship's engines.  Hmmm.  Now I could'a sworn that what
Silk was seeing was the short sun "rising" over the "horizon" of the
spinning Whorl.  Silk makes the (quite Platonic, imho) leap of
associating the Outsider with the short sun, the big white fire that
fills him with fear.

Re: death of bird Hierax as being due to Mucor.  Interesting.  Might
tie in with the fact that Hierax is the one name that will scare
Mucor . . . then again, that fact might indicate that bird Hierax was
instrumental in keeping Mucor somewhat contained, i.e., bird was
a prison guard on behalf of the god (for real or just symbolically).

Re: voided cross of lower-case gammas.  Every "voided cross" picture
I've seen has been with capital gammas.  (Aside: the image I'm
referring to is the one used by the German Army during WWII.  Not the
swastika--true, this can be called a gammadion, but this form's other
name is "twisted cross" rather than "voided cross."  Rather than
swastika, I mean the "friend or foe" symbol emblazoned on airplanes and
tanks; just as a white star stood for USA, a bullseye stood for Britain
or France [depending on the colors], a lictor's axe stood for Italy,
a red star for USSR, etc.)  True, in order to make jewelry of this
form requires the addition of other pieces to hold the four gammas
together in such a way that the cross of the interior is still more
or less empty.

Re: gods and the powers they grant.  This is a tricky issue,
wondering how a Love goddess can be a War goddess.  It is clearly one
of the important puzzles of the series.  And, as we've been
discussing, it seems that there is give and take among the gods and
between gods and humans, etc., further blurring identities and

However, just as a fog cutter tonic, let's take the hard line: in the
Greco-Roman set up (and we all agree that the Whorl pantheon is
pretty Greek), Aphrodite/Venus is =never= a combat specialist,
though she doesn't avoid watching a war, especially if she kinda
sorta started it (e.g., the Trojan War).  Now Athene, she wears the
soldier's gear; and Artemis, she has the hunter's bow and violent
streak; but neither Athene nor Artemis is a Love goddess.  Division
of powers, by definition, separates the gods and goddesses into their
various niches.

(True, we can take the angle of "all goddesses are simply aspects of
The Goddess" or the staunchly humanist "all goddesses are simply
aspects of womankind," but such statements end in themselves or
tangential arguments <g>, so we'll skip it/them for the moment.)

Back to Earth: there are in fact goddesses of Love & War, but they
aren't in the Greco-Roman playset.  We have cases from the Middle
East.  But again, they are defined as such--they aren't War goddesses
who are taking night classes in kama sutra, for example.

But this presupposes a static system.  The only growth in character
we see in the Greco-Roman set is when young gods reach maturity:
little Hermes, cattle rustler and prankster, grows up into the god of
such things--no surprise there!

If what we are seeing on the Whorl is a non-static system, or a
system seeking stasis (equilibrium), then we are witnessing the
evolution of gods.  This pattern is reinforced by the progression of
Pas (Greek) into Tammuz/Osiris (Sumero-Egyptian)--the first role was
ad hoc, the second role was earned.

So Kypris may be evolving towards becoming a full blown Love & War
goddess, like Inanna (which would dovetail [heh] quite nicely with
Pas as Tammuz).  And there is =no= question that this Love Goddess is
a powerful, forceful, absolutely fearsome being.  Just ask Adonis!
Or Gilgamesh!  Or Robert Graves!

How I go on!


P.S. "Wolfe as an Infocom game designer," LOL!  (No offense intended,
vizcacha--I'm just imagining the parser: "I'm sorry, I don't know
what a DAGGER is."  Then the poor player tries to spell "misericorde"
correctly! <g>)


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