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From: Donn Seeley <seeley@sover.net>
Subject: (whorl) wild speculations
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 12:06:29 

I have finally caught up with the Whorl list after reading JUNGLES
and I would like to contribute to it, but I seem to have missed the
lander, er, boat.  I shall send this epistle to the list in the hope
that someone is still reading it...

Reading the archives, I see that I have ideas about the SHORT SUN
that haven't been discussed (or I missed the discussion by skimming
over it :-).  I find myself somewhat annoyed that I didn't make it
to Readercon this year to talk some of this over with John Clute
-- I went hiking in Colorado instead.  Mea culpa.

Anyway, here are some questions and (for some of them) my provisional
answers.  I'll offer them even though we're only a couple of months
away from the advent of RETURN.  Boy, am I an optimist!

(1) Why does the narrator of JUNGLES seem so different from the
narrator of WATERS, given the short amount of time that seems to
pass between the events in the foreground story at the end of WATERS
and the beginning of JUNGLES?

The question was discussed on the list, but I don't remember reading
any comments that matched my own reaction.  The figure in the
shadows at the end of WATERS was the Outsider.  The reason for the
confusion between Babbie and Horn is that Babbie is to Horn as Horn
is to the Outsider.  Horn discusses the relationship between owners
and pets / slaves [p. 368-369 WATERS]; I felt the emotional connection
here before the intellectual one.  From that step, I jump to the
conclusion that the Outsider (partly?) healed the rift in Horn that
prevailed through WATERS, allowing some of the Silk nature to appear
in Horn in JUNGLES.

(2) Why does Fava seem to know how to speak when she meets Horn on
Green in her second story?

Some messages that I've seen on the list seem to assume that Fava
comes to consciousness in an egg, and that she breaks out of the
darkness of the egg to reach the world.  Fava notes that she couldn't
simply break out of the container, however -- she had to rip at it
with her claws.  My own impression is that Fava wasn't in an egg
but rather some sort of cocoon.  The food wasn't a yolk sac, but
a paralyzed prey creature.  I vaguely recall reading about parasitic
insects that wrap a living prey with their larva as food.  Of course
the 'prey' here is a human.

(3) Why does Horn seem to think that he doesn't look like Silk?
Why did Oreb depart for a year to 'find god'?  What did the remark
about the 'surgeon' and 'Passilk' mean?  Why does the transmigrated
Horn find himself covered with blood next to Hyacinth's body in an
otherwise empty house?

My wild guess:  when Horn arrives, Silk has two heads, and Horn
gets the non-Silk head.  The scene is bloody because the Silk head
has been fighting with the Pas head.  Thus Horn has Silk's body but
not Silk's head.  For this to work, the Silk head must be removed
in RETURN so that the body has a single head.  Horn's search for
Silk from Gaon in WATERS leads me to believe that he thinks that
Silk was transmigrated (or surgically implanted on yet another
body?), and survived.

My sketchy reasoning: (i) Silk's amazing abilities are surely due
to the fact that he was created as an embryo to be the host for
Pas.  (ii) Pas is recognizable because he has two heads; surely
the resurrected Pas would also have two heads?  (iii) We know that
Typhon and Piaton fought; why not Pas and Silk?

If this scenario is correct, then why does Horn seem to have so many
mental and spiritual resemblances to Silk now?  I think it's because 
he 'drank' Silk's blood, and we know that it's a principle of the
Urth/Whorl universe that consuming the flesh of another can cause
the consumer to acquire some of the soul of the consumed.  Horn is
Silk in the same way that Severian is Thecla or that Fava is Salica.
(Or that any who partake of the Eucharist are God.)

Oreb went looking for 'god' and came back.  I think that may be an
indication that he found the transmigrated Silk.  If so, then Silk
is probably on the scene in WATERS and/or JUNGLES and we haven't
recognized him:

	'Oreb, why did you come back to me?' I asked him.

	'Find Silk.'

	'I'm not Patera Silk, Oreb.  I've told you -- and everybody
	-- that over and over.'  I ought to have asked him to find
	Silk for me, but I felt sure he could not unless he discovered
	some way to return to the WHORL, and I do not want to lose
	him again.  'Where did you go, Oreb?'

	'Find god.'

	'I see.  Passilk?  I think that's what the surgeon called
	him.  Did you find him, and is that why you returned to me?'

	'Find Silk.'  [p. 369 WATERS]

Are we going to meet Silk on Blue in RETURN?  Another clue:

	Oreb has been pulling my hair.  'Go now?  Go Silk?' (Or
	perhaps it is, 'Go, Silk!'  I cannot be sure.) [p. 355

(Huh -- is 'Quadrifons' Horn's name for Silk's original head?
Is that why finding 'Silk' is finding 'god'?)

I'm sure that this speculation will sound silly in January, but
the idea seemed just so cool...

(4) Why did the Whorl come to Blue and Green?

Here I'm really stepping off into the deep blue waters...

The Neighbors abandoned Blue and Green to the inhumi.  The inhumi
descended into near-animal state, although they retained some subset
the Neighbors' abilities that allowed them to improve their

A small ship arrives in the system bearing humans.  Some inhumi
feed on the crew.  They acquire human characteristics and develop
the skills to pass as human.  An inspiration occurs to them about
how to restore the inhumi race to its previous level of intelligence.

The human ship returns to Urth with a crew of humans and inhumi.
The inhumi (passing as human) persuade Typhon to launch an enormous
'colonization' vessel to Green and Blue.  Perhaps they play on
Typhon's vanity...  In any event, millions of prey are sent on
their way to the inhumi.  The inhumi on the Whorl boarded it on

(5) What secret did Horn learn from Krait about the inhumi?

I actually don't know the answer to this one, but I wanted to say
a couple of things about it.  One is that we have surely been shown
the secret in action in WATERS and JUNGLES, but we haven't realized
what it is.  Horn is using it to control the inhumi who serve him.
My second point is that the secret is NOT the Golden Rule, or at
least not the Rule alone.  Horn explicitly denies that the Rule is
the secret in JUNGLES, and I believe him.  However, I do believe
that the answer is at least partly spiritual in nature.

One very strange tangent: In WATERS, Horn shakes the hand of a
Neighbor, then stops himself from describing more of the experience.
Is this because it would reveal part of the inhumi's secret somehow?
I can't think of any other good reason why Horn would clam up here.

(6) Are the inhumi natural or artificial?

This subject comes up often enough with Horn (and on the list :-)
that I think there must be something to it.  I think the grabber
/ colorcat is provided as an example of a native Green predator
that uses camouflage in an essential way, just like the inhumi.
That suggests that the inhumi are at least partly natural.  But I
then begin to wonder -- were the inhumi 'improved' by the Neighbors
as weapons?  Horn certainly uses them as weapons.  If that's the
case, then that might explain how the inhumi acquired the extreme
abilities to reshape themselves and to cross the vacuum between
Green and Blue.  It's clear that humans have been reshaping animals
(and themselves) for quite a long time before the Whorl sets off.
Maybe the Neighbors provided a similar service to the inhumi?

(7) Why does Horn seem to have such a prejudice against 'things'?

Horn's relationship with animals and pets is an interesting one.
I think Seawrack's diatribe [pp. 336-341 WATERS] is fundamental to
the story.  Evil characters like Rigoglio in SHORT SUN and for that
matter in NEW SUN and DEVIL IN A FOREST and other Wolfe books seem
to be evil in major part because they don't respect the moral
obligation that they have to those whom they lead.  That moral
obligation is based on an appreciation of personhood, an appreciation
that Horn originally lacks, but is gradually growing into.

	...  'What I'm trying to say is, there are two people on
	this boat you don't think are people at all, Babbie and
	Krait.  You don't think they are, but you're wrong.  You're
	wrong about both of them.'

	Sinew muttered, 'He doesn't think I'm anybody either.'

	'Yes, he does!'  In the chill starlight, I could see her
	turn to face him.  'You've got it exactly backwards.  No
	wonder you're his son.'

	While Sinew was wrestling with that, she added, 'It's the
	other part he doesn't like, the thingness.  You try to be
	less of a person and more of a thing because you think
	that's what he wants, but it's really the other way.'  ...
	[p. 337 WATERS]

Horn is learning to be more of a person and less of a thing.  Part
of that lesson is to see others more as persons than things.

It's interesting to view the Eucharist scene in JUNGLES in this
light.  Up to this point, it has been acceptable to sacrifice
animals to the gods.  After this point, the gods have sacrificed
one of their own instead, so His blood may substitute for the
animals' (and ours).  Horn's cooperation with the baletiger is an
example of his new view of things.  (But he still seems to resist
granting personhood to inhumi.  Maybe that breakthrough awaits us

(8) Some questions that I have no answers to at all:  Is the
reference to Hyacinth as Seawrack on p. 121 of JUNGLES a typo?
What happened in the City of the Inhumi after Horn's force cleared
it of inhumi and inhumans?  What happened to the lander that Horn
almost rebuilt on Green?  Is Green's orbital eccentricity natural?
Why are there no annotations from Hoof and Hide in JUNGLES?

Having way too much fun with this stuff,


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