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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (whorl) Horn's body, Green's orbit, and candles
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2000 14:52:58 

alga wrote:
>Since Horn is going to inhabit Silk's body[...]

From reading the archive, this seems to be the consensus.  It is clear
that Horn is in a new, or at least transformed, body.  I have a problem
with this body being Silk's, though: if Horn is inhabiting Silk's body,
why doesn't he know it?  That he doesn't know it is shown by Horn's
thoughts on p. 66: Silk "might have landed on some part of Blue remote
from us.  (This still seems possible to me, as I wrote when I began this
straggling history.) ... Here I am in a part of Blue a very considerable
distance from New Viron, and hear nothing of Silk; but that means
nothing.  If he were a hundred leagues east of Gaon and me--or on
Shadelow--it would explain everything."  From this passage, it seems
clear that Horn does not even know whether Silk was on the Whorl when he

It could be argued that Horn is referring to another lander that
returned from the _Whorl_ after Horn's revisitation, which Silk might
have been on; but the wording of the next-to-last sentence, which
implies that Silk is not now at Gaon _or_ New Viron, makes this
unlikely. Furthermore, if Horn has Silk's body, and Silk is on Blue,
it's presumably in another body, in which case there would be no need to
invoke distance to explain why Silk is unknown.  (Horn clearly thinks
that if Silk is on Blue, he is trying to avoid being found.)

And if Horn knows he is in Silk's body, why doesn't he say so?  True, he
never explicitly says that he is in a new or transformed body either. 
But if he were in Silk's body, this would have more relevance, given his
frequent references to his failure to find Silk.

> Well, we learn about this in OBW. The orbits of the planets are irregular,

I have a great deal of trouble putting together the fragmentary
information in OBW on the orbits of Blue and Green.  At first I assumed
that they orbited each other, like Earth and the Moon or St. Anne and
St. Croix (possibly because I'd read the speculation that Blue and Green
were St. Anne and St. Croix).  But then I read Horn's words on p. 182:
"We know that conjunctions with Green occur every sixth year.  That
interval is determined by the motion of both about the Short Sun."  This
seems to say that Blue and Green independently orbit the Short Sun, and
simply come near to each other in their separate orbits every sixth
(Blue) year.  And if Green orbited Blue, and conjunction occurred only
every six years, that would mean that Green's orbital period around Blue
was six times as long as Blue's around the Short Sun, which I doubt
would be possible.

But then I came to p. 223, where Horn refers to "the slow circling of
the Short Sun and the other, more distant, stars, and the somewhat
quicker rising and setting of Green."  Unless Horn is being pedantically
accurate, this suggests that Green moves significantly with respect to
the stars in a single night, something I don't think is compatible with
Green being an independent planet with an orbit close to Blue's.  And
again, on p. 195 when Horn is in the pit, he writes: "I remember seeing
Green directly above my upturned face, and later seeing it no longer,
but only the innocent stars that had fled before it and returned when it
had gone."  This also suggests that Green moves visibly with respect to
the stars in a single night.  True, it might just be a clumsy way of
saying that the stars moved and Green moved with them; but elsewhere
Horn's narration is neither clumsy or pedantic.  Furthermore, as someone
else once pointed out, if Blue and Green's orbits brought them into
conjunction as frequently as every six years, they would not be stable:
the repeated perturberations from each other's gravity would pull them
into new orbits.

I'm not sure what kind of "irregularity" would solve this problem. 
Neither Blue or Green can have orbits that are too eccentric and remain
habitable for humans.  The best I can come up with is that Green
normally orbits the Short Sun, but every six Blue years makes a sort of
figure eight around Blue.  I have no idea whether this is even possible,
let alone stable, but I suspect it isn't.

> and at "confluence," and only then, the inhumi are able to suspend breathing (as in > the burials) long enough to to fly from Blue to Green (and back, presumably).

Has anyone figured out what is the minimum possible distance Green can
approach Blue at confluence?  Green has to be a lot heavier than the
Moon to retain a breathable atmosphere (unlike Lune, presumably, neither
the inhumi or the Neighbors have the technology to artificially supply
Green with an atmosphere).  And while Green's tides are stronger than
the Moon's, they aren't so strong as to destroy everything on the
coast.  I suspect that these two facts, taken together, imply that Green
can't approach any closer than the Moon does the Earth, but I haven't
done the calculations.

While we're on the subject of science, I just noticed something else. 
On p. 223 again, Horn says "everyone has seen the flame of a candle
disappear in sunlight and knows that the invisible flame will burn a
finger."  I've never seen this, and I've never even heard of it.  Is
this true on Earth?  If not, is it telling us something about the Short
(or Long) Sun?  Or just about the candles Horn has seen?  Or about
Horn's accuracy?


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