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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Neighbor + Inhumu + One?
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2000 22:10:07 

At 11:17 AM 8/22/2000 -0400, you wrote:
>Hmmm...  Alga's mapping to Origen's ideas is interesting, but I'm not
>convinced.  Universalism doesn't strike me as being particularly
>Wolfean, given the number especially of short stories that are quite
>comfortable in damning a protagonist ("Bed and Breakfast" certainly
>doesn't carry much hint of demonic free will).  Also, despite some
>obvious intentional points, a simple mapping of the inhumans to demons
>or the Neighbors to angels seems false--the Neighbors seem more like
>post-Urth Severian, of the "human" order of creation, but
>transfigured.  The inhumi are different in that their nature is a
>mirror of their prey (their will is reduced but present) but they are
>in this a biological analogue also of Wolfe's chems and machine
>intelligences--a mirror in this case of their prey rather than their
>makers, of course.  This doesn't strike me as very Origenist, in that
>except in Severian's visit to get the New Sun I don't think we see
>anything that is really meant to be of an angelic nature.

	FWIW, I find the inhumi rather like Cordwainer Smith's underpeople in some
ways. I don't think they represent the demonic realm in the symbolic
substructure of the series; rather, they mirror the evil in mankind. A much
closer, and very obvious, mirror of angels and demons are the gods of
mainframe: promixate agents of the all-controlling Pantocrator. The essence
of the demonic, in Christian thought, is to tempt and to teach falsely, and
I don't see the inhumi in that role at all. A secondary aspect of the
demonic is to oppress, but in Christianity that is definitely secondary
(while in Manichaean thinking it is primary, since power is the basic
category there); and the inhumi don't get to do much oppressing either; or
rather, they have learned oppression from their human and neighbor
associates. The only thing specifically demonic about them is that they are
	Additionally, I interviewed GW rather closely about his theological
beliefs, because I wanted to understand the Memoirs of Severian better. He
claims to be fully orthodox as a Roman Catholic, and learned from St.
Thomas and of course Chesterton. Of course, he can USE the more heretical
aspects of Origen's thought in a novel if he chooses, but I don't see real
evidence for this. He denied employing gnostic thought as the substructure
of the Severian books, which I had at first thought he was doing -- and of
course, we're in the same fictional universe here. So, I'd be surprised if
Slimina were right on this.
	BTW, thanks from me too, Alga, for the quick list of all the limping
heroes! Fascinating how frequently the motif is encountered, even though it
means different things in various mythic contexts. 
>Oreb: I'm still puzzling over which God rides Oreb--and part of me
>says "the Outsider, silly."  Does "The Night Chough," which I haven't
>read, make this more explicit?  I also find it very interesting that
>Oreb, who I think we can all agree is very much a Holy Spirit figure,
>is also the primary comic relief in Long and Short Sun.  I think this
>is fitting with his Spirit of Truth nature as well, and it reminds me
>very faintly of the way Muriel Spark and Flannery O'Connor make use of
>terrifying or comical Holy Spirit symbolism.

	I tried to speculate on how Oreb could be "ridden" by both Scylla and
Outsider (and, I suggested, be also related to Kypris). Actually, the
solution is quite simple. The Outsider IS God, and is outside the creation.
Thus, He can enter and either override or work with anything inside the
creation at any time. The gods of mainframe simply take people over like
robots, and I guess Oreb also (on occasion, anyway). The gods are part of a
continuum of being, and are more powerful then men. The Outsider is outside
the whole continuum, and is more subtle. Recall The Ruler in "Westwind,"
who says, "I prefer not to interfere directly," or words to that effect.
The Outsider can use Scylla any way He wishes (whether she like is, or is
aware of it, or not), and thus is behind Scylla's riding of Oreb when she
does so.
	I don't know if the Spirit as Comic Relief is in Chesterton, but of
course, Christianity as THE Comic Relief is pure Chesterton, and thus a
huge part of Wolfe's thinking. Oddly, Wolfe's books end in ways that can
suggest tragedy, the pagan opposite of the Divine comedy. But they always
point beyond the end of the story to a final happy ending (e.g., the green

Patera Nutria

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