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From: "Kevin McGuire" <kmcguire@itw.com>
Subject: (whorl) Monitors, Landers, Green and Blue
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 00:43:14 +0000

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

With regard to Ron's monitor question (which quite frankly echoed my 
own...) - I understand Wolfe's explanation, but this behavior seems, 
well, a little out of character for the glass monitors, and what I 
had taken them to be.  My understanding was that the monitors were 
data gathering tools of Mainframe, each with its own (limited) subset 
personality, though capable of communicating and sharing info with 
each other.  Questions monitors handle in the BOTLS seem mostly 
"where is so and so?" though clearly they observe lots of stuff.  

Here's what is sticking in my craw - the monitor, apparently on its
own (possibly in conjunction with mainframe, but wouldn't this
involve Pas or the sprats?) observes that Q is inhumi, and that Q
has persuaded the occupants to choose one planet over the other, and
is so mistrustful of Q/inhumi that it reverses the decision of the
Cargo it had originally asked, and once it has decided this, it
doesn't inform the Cargo of their new destination (they find out by
looking out the window).  This implies a lot more initiative and
synthesis than I had given the monitors credit for.  So, does Silk
and the rest continually underestimate the monitor's powers (a not
unreasonable thought) or is the monitor in the lander a bit
sharper/more independent?  Or was there a Monitor Directive #305 -
"If an inhumi says left, go right,"?

The latter seems to me unlikely, in that from what Wolfe has said in 
the various Q&A sessions, the Whorl was launched without any 
knowledge of the inhumi presence in the Blue/Green system.
Kevin McGuire    |"Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than
Philadelphia, PA | when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right"
                 |    --Laurents van der Post

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