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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Typhon's Duality
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 15:23:28 

At 09:05 PM 8/14/2000 CDT, you wrote:
>Okay - longtime lurker here. Must admit that I haven't read IGJ yet, but 
>there was so much in the last few posts that I just couldn't hold back.
>Okay, if Typhon was Neighbor-Spawned or related it _would_ help finally 
>explain the whole Why The Whorl Anyway question, but Typhon was such a 
>seemingly sinister and human critter that I have a hard time buying it. His 
>duality is parasitic and completely antithetical to both the Outsider and (I 
>think - I've only read OBW) the semi-enlightened noble savage-ness of the 
>Neighbors. Then again, the Neighbors ain't exactly what I'd call easy to 
>relate to, so perhaps Typhon was some sort of proto-neighbor, from back when 
>they were a bit more barbaric. On the other hand, I've always liked the way 
>Wolfe makes most evil human created - even we seeded Erebus and such. 
>All this talk of duality makes me think this - The vast majority of animal 
>life on Blue has eight legs, instead of our four legged variety. It's no 
>surprise then that the dominant humanoid life form on Blue has four legs 
>instead of our two. It's like the place is bursting with duality. And I, 
>uh...really don't know what to do with that. Anybody?

	Dunno much about duality. Mebbe just a way of having a "different world"
and no more. Problem with Wolfe is that since so MUCH is significant, it is
very easy to overread him!
	As to the Neighbors, you'll find in IGJ that they have a darker past. They
aren't "noble savages," but are now, perhaps, people who have finally
matured beyond enslaving others and over vicious behavior. They are like
the Green Man, perhaps. 
	If Old Pas were a Neighbor, then he came from that earlier, darker period
Neighbor history. Yet, Pas's unnatural birth might simply mean he had been
decanted, like Silk, instead of born. All the same, the Borski hypothesis
has much to commend it: an army of chems and taluses to destroy the inhumi.
	No one picked up on my suggestion that it was Neighbor ships that brought
the first inhumi to the Whorl. Did that meet with general agreement?

>Oh, and on the subject of Silk's suicide - I really wouldn't be too 
>surprised. Silk contemplating tossing himself from the airship and the 
>ensuing conversation with Horn seemed to me to be the defining moment of the 
>entire book of the long sun. Never trusted that Hyacinth woman or Silk for 
>being so gaga for her. I mean - nice guy but sometimes not too bright, 
>y'know? Then again, how many Wolfe protagonists really need to chill when it 
>comes to the ladies? Severian uses em like kleenex and Silk is a human 
>doormat. Poor dopes.

	Like many of Wolfe's harlots, Hyacinth is the Church (Mary Magdelene of
tradition), a fallen but redeemed woman, but one who has a lot of baggage.
A female Severian. Silk's love for her in spite of this is Silk at his most
Christ-like, not as "not too bright." Unlike Severian, who has his own
problems and baggage, Silk is faithful when Hyacinth is not.
	The scene where Silk is tempted to throw himself off the airship
correlates to the second of Satan's temptations to Jesus, to cast himself
down from the Temple, I believe. Silk manages to overcome the temptation,
and then has a chat with one of his disciples. But it's all very subtle,
since Wolfe is not just retelling the gospel narrative as an allegory. Silk
has also just been tempted, or is about to be tempted (I forget which) to
join Pas, which we can link with the third temptation, to bow down and
worship Satan. But, at this point, is Pas evil or good? I don't think Wolfe
provides the answer, yet, nor do we know whether Silk permitted himself to
be downloaded to sit at Pas's right hand (do we?). Moreover, of course,
these "temptations" don't come at the same place as they do in the gospel
	But you are right, that Silk has been tempted with suicide. Yet, the death
scene in IGJ still does not look like a suicide scene to me, but the
aftermath of a battle.


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