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From: mary whalen <marewhalen@yahoo.com>
Subject: (whorl) (urth) Origin of abos
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 11:00:11 

This is Sean Whalen (prion).

I've been thinking about FHC, and I think that I can modify my
previous ideas to fit in with what I now think happened.

Humanity originated on Sainte Anne, gained a large amount of
technology, and left for Earth.  Either the shapeshifters on the
planet were unrelated to the humans, or else they were some form of
humans who stayed behind and had or gained this ability.

The humans on Earth may have mated with the native hominids.  In any
event, their technology was either destroyed, lost, or became confined
to a small group (Aztecs, Illuminati, whatever your paranoia of choice
happens to be).

Some group of humans gained greater technology or used what they
already mostly had to leave Earth and at least some, if not all,
arrived on Sainte Anne.

The shapeshifters saw them, and some of them took on their forms
because they were impressed with the technology, and some stayed the
way they were before.  The ones who changed forgot that they had ever
been shapeshifters, probably because they imitated the human minds to
some degree as well (Wolfe may have wanted to indicate that souls are
linked to material form, or something, instead).  They might have just
liked living as humans and never changed, then not have told their

The humans found out that a plant on Sainte Anne had attributes that
they wanted to experience, became addicted, and as a result of this
addiction changed into Shadow Children.  They might have changed
because of the chemical effects of the drug, or as a result of
Lamarckism.  They also gained telepathic power (the manipulation of
empty space) and used it to keep other humans from coming to the planet.

The shapeshifters retained their imitated forms, and went about life
without any technology, which they had never had.  They begin to lose
the use of shapeshifting (through Lamarckism) because they never use
it.  They don't notice, because they never use it, and they don't even
know that they have it.  They might also have lost the ability of tool
use in the same way, if they had gained this from the humans they
imitated.  Some primitive culture develops, and some live in the
hills, some in the meadowmeres.  They eventually only have enough
shifting ability to change basic appearance, and regrow limbs and
things (poorly).

Eventually, the French came.  Modern humans become aware of Sainte
Anne.  They Hillmen and Marshmen may now realize their shapechanging
ability, possibly from being told by Sandwalker.  They mostly hide,
along with the Shadow Children, and modern humans take over the planet.

Here's why I believe this.  The first, and, I feel, fairly minor,
point is that Sainte Anne and not Earth is the original place of
origin for humans and possibly others.  I think this because of the
Garden of Eden imagery and symbolism in the book.  Many characters
refer to it as like a paradise, or the last paradise they have, or
something.  There's no concrete support, only the symbolism.  This is
all there is, however, so I think it's what I have to go by.  He might
have put this in as misdirection, but I don't think so.  Even if I'm
wrong, this is unimportant to the picture of events I have, anyway.

Why do I think that the Shadow Children came to Sainte Anne in ships
and the Hillmen and Marshmen changed into human form rather than vice
versa, as the Old Wise One eventually says?  Well, for many reasons. 
Pink is the color of the sun, and the dawn.  The only people
associated with pink are the Hillpeople (and probably Wetlanders) who
have pink skin and give the name name Mary Pink Butterfly and others 
to one's child. The light (pink) must come before a shadow forms.  The
shadows also cannot exist unless a true form exists beforehand.  They
shadow (repeat) the actions the Hillpeople's ancestors performed
(assuming they came from Earth, or at least from another planet). 
Also, the Hillmen/Marshmen have green eyes, the color of Sainte Anne. 
Color symbolism is very important in the books, and I think it says a
lot that the H/Ms are associated with the two native colors of where
they live.

The Shadow Children are really like children (small, younger).  The
Hillmen are older because they're as old as the HILLS.

More important than this symbolism is the fact that if the H/Ms are
really the descendents of humans from Earth, why did they become
primitive?  No reason is given, implied, etc.  However, if the SC are
humans who came from Earth with technology, they would have lost this
technology because of their drug use.  If they are the more original
inhabitants, they wouldn't have lost anything when they started drug
use, but we know that someone's technology was lost for some reason,
and the only implied reason for which any information or clues are
given is that drug use.

This scenario is also approximately what the Old Wise One first told
Sandwalker.  However, at the end, he becomes confused about who came
first and says that the Shadow Children were there first and the H/Ms
came from Earth in ships.  So why do I think it's what he said first? 
When he tells it originally there are many SC and only one Hillman, so
he can distinguish which is which and knows what the SC think happened
.  He can tell because six are different than one, and that's how the
SC think.  All the SC think the same thing and so that's what forms
the group norm.  When there's only one Hillman and one SC he can't
tell which is which, one and one are the same, right?  He can't figure
out what parts of the story go with which half.  As alga has said, the
SC have a real problem with determining identity normally. Also, in a
normal (non-Wolfe) story the information that a character knows at the
end should be more true than what it was at the beginning because
they've learned more.  Wolfe uses turnabout (again) and has the
information at the end be worse than near the beginning.  Remember how
Wolfe once complained about how readers ask why a character describes
something differently than how it was seen to happen?  He said that
they're wrong or lying, it's just not stated.  Of course, it's
possible that the OWO was just confused first for some other reason,
but this is not supported by the rest of the evidence I presented. The
additional evidence supports the H/M first conclusion, and the OWO's
statements could support either one, so it probably supports the one
that has other evidence.

And if the SC first theory is right, why don't SC use mental powers to
prevent Hillmen from coming?  Why do Hillmen devolve?  Why does Old
Wise One first think SC are more recent?  Why called SHADOW Children? 
Why do eaters go if others who eat it stay, or if later eaters eat
what may be the same thing and don't have to go at that time?

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