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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (whorl) A couple of points
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 08:30:27 

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

On Tue, 2 Sep 1997, Kevin J. Maroney wrote:

> Second, I have a question about how long the _Whorl_ was actually in
> flight, and have not been able to find any discusson of this particular
> piece, nor is my memory of the text good enough to confirm it. Sometime in
> the portion of the novel in which Rose/Marble sees the airship, she thinks
> about how long she's been around, and comes up with an answer of three
> hundred years. Then she realizes that she must have misplaced a decimal
> somewhere. 
> Does anyone else have any memory of this? The dilapidation of the _Whorl_
> is much more credible if it has been in flight for 3000 years. Certainly
> the engineers of the _Whorl_ would not have designed a ship that would be
> completely falling apart less than 10% beyond the expected travel-time of
> the ship?

Some points that might explain the condition of the Whorl after only 300

1)  When Silk meets the woman in the tunnels who had been in suspended
animation, I seem to remember her making some comment to the effect that
the "cargo" had had their memories tampered with, which would explain how
knowledge of the Whorl's nature had expired.

2)  For some reason, people are using as currency computer cards that are
necessary to run the Whorl.  Vital components may have been raided by
people in search of "money."

3)  The children of Pas have "killed" (or at least temporarily disabled) 
him, apparently so that their toys (the people) won't be able to leave the
ship.  They may have dammaged the ship in their battle with him, or
purposely sabotaged it to keep people from leaving. 

4)  The Whorl may be set so that the sun starts to fail when it reaches
its destination so that the colonists are forced to disembark.  Or maybe
Pas, knowing that he was being hunted, in addition to saving bits of
himself in various places, set the sun to self-destruct so that even if he
was killed, his children couldn't keep the colonists in the ship forever. 

Does anyone else agree with the idea that bioengineered people like Silk
and Chenille were originally intended to be permanent host bodies for Pas
and his children so they could continue to rule when the colonists

When Kypris shows Silk the picture of Pas, with Silk as one of the heads,
I asked "which head"?  Is this a picture of the original plan where
Typhon's "head" rules Silk's body?  Is Kypris turning it around, offering
to download Silk's personality and use Silk's "head" to rule the partially
assembled Pas program?  I wouldn't be surprised if she did that with or
without Silk's consent and that in the next series we find that "Pas" is
now an amalgam of Silk and Typhon.


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