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From: David Wells <adw@ovum.com>
Subject: (whorl) Horn's narrative biases
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 9:21:00 +0000

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

Mantis wrote:

> Re: Hyacinth as a nasty fighter when she needs to be.
>Fact is, she's just plain nasty whenever Silk isn't looking!

Says Horn, of course. Who, I would submit, is a particularly unreliable
witness in this case. All kinds of complicated sexual jealousy might be
likely to spring up between a horny (:-|) young man, his hero
figure and an older woman, his hero's lover and possessed of
supernormal/supernatural sexual allure. (Come to think of it, maybe
it _was_ a bit naughty of Hyacinth to use her goddess-like supersexuality
to seduce the virginal Silk, hence also stripping him, Delilah-like, of
his own (pseudo-)spiritual ability to talk with Gods. I can certainly see
why Horn might think so).
And, to add insult to injury, Hyacinth not only "stole" Silk from Horn,
but also abandoned him later. For what appears to have been a very
capricious reason - but again we only have Horn's word for this.

Random musings:
Sexuality. There's quite a lot of sex in the Long Sun, especially in
and some of it is explicitly homosexual in nature (lesbian soldiers and
transvestite spies). When I finished Exodus, one of my first thoughts was
that the sex in New Sun had been all, and unspokenly, heterosexual, and
I wondered if Gene was in some way making up for this. But, of course,
my memory was at fault. There's certainly lesbianism in New Sun, and
between fairly major characters, too. I think the only reason that this
seems important to me is that authors who never even seem to consider that
their characters might have non-mainstream sexualities often seem to be
very bad ones.

Horn's narrative bias, again. Horn's view of the inhumi seems particularly
interesting now we know the nature of the sequel. As I've pointed out
before, his description at the end of Exodus is wildly self-inconsistent.
After having told us over hundreds of pages how Quetzal managed to
pass himself off as a senior priest for over thirty years, he describes the
inhumi as possessed of only rudimentary subhuman intelligence (lower
than dogs, I think he says).
Assuming that this isn't a satirical comment on the  intelligence of the
clergy (<g>) it seems to leave the colonists with an interesting (and far 
unprecedented) prejudice-based military problem: they think that their
enemies are enormously stupid, while in reality they are at least as
intelligent as themselves...


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