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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@charter.net>
Subject: (whorl) Re: Mysteries
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 14:38:45 

Vizcacha the wonderer writes:

<Wolfe has a habit of introducing a mystery, having Silk/Horn state that he
knows the answer, and then not saying what it is. Does anyone here know the
answers to:>

<2) RttW. Silk/Horn gives several explanations for how he can perform astral
travel without an inhumu present. He lists several explicit ones (hidden
inhumi, etc.) then a final one which worries him, but doesn't say what it
is. What is it? >

I've already attempted to answer this one, but to recapitulate: if the
Neighbors are able to bilocate the same way the inhumi are, and if
Pas/Typhon is a Neighbor, then PassilkHorn should also be able to do so. For
the Narrator to acknowledge this, however, means he has to accept he's not
simply Horn--something he avoids all the way to the end of the Short Sun
series. Thus his worriment.

<1) IGJ. Silk/Horn asks Mora(?) if she knows why her father's brother was
called Incanto, then declares that he knows why, but he never tells us the
answer. Why was Inclito's brother called Incanto?>

Wolfe gives this prominence in the PROPER NAMES section as well, adding
parenthetically under the Incanto entry: "Also the name of Inclito's older
brother, who died in infancy." So it does seem important.

Possibly we can look for clues in the two stories Salica--the mother of
Inclito and Incanto--tells during the dinner storytelling sessions. In the
first we learn that she has been married five times; not until husband
number four, however, does she finally conceive a child. Here's where
perhaps the title of her second story may become relevant: "Stuck in the
Chimney." On a Freudian level, this may be how Salica envisions her
barrenness. Her delight at eventually bearing a son may therefore be why she
names it Incanto -- "enchanted child"-- which to the newly-married couple he
surely is, at least until he dies.

But this is hardly the only mystery associated with Inclito's family. As has
been mentioned before, at one point Inclito tells Mora the following:

"...after racking my brain for long days I've finally realized who you and
your father remind me of. I knew--I felt, at least--that I had met you both
before. I won't tell you because the names would mean nothing to you."

Mora subsequently asks if they're good people, and Wolfe/Horn writes:

"'Very good people.' Without my willing it, my voice grew softer. I myself
heard it with surprise."

So obviously it's someone Horn (or Pas or Silk) cares about, although this
seems to surprise him (them), and quite probably a father-daughter tandem.

Then there's the very bizarre and disturbing scene where young Mora comes to
visit Horn wearing jewelry and scent. Notes Horn: "What ran through her head
as she thus dressed herself to visit me? I can only guess."

Several paragraphs later Horn declaims:

"I know what she is going through, poor child. And she is a child. 'I won't
ask you to disrobe,' I said, "because it doesn't matter whether I know.
You'll know if I'm right, and that's enough."

Horn then attempts a biology lesson, telling Mora how various individuals
come to maturity differently and the various factors involved; in my opinion
it's completely bogus because he tells Mora, "In general, the larger the
individual the slower the onset." This, of course, flies in the face of
evidence, because, all other things being equal (nutrition, age, etc.),
girls with a higher fat percentage tend to achieve menarche before their
thinner peers. And what exactly is it that Horn expects to see if indeed
Mora does disrobe? Her lack of pubic development? And why has Mora come to
Horn all tarted up? Is she the virgin sent to satisfy the
potentially-malicious stego?

For a while I wondered if the father-daughter tandem that Inclito and Mora
reminded Horn of were Hammerstone and Olivine (the only other potent
father-daughter combination I could think of is Pas-Scylla). Would a
disrobed Mora therefore be discernable as a chem? (Horn at one point tells
Olivine it would not be inappropriate of him to ask her to strip and calls
it "an eminently just punishment." Would a naked chem feel shame and
embarassment, or simply revealed as not-human?) This led me to all sorts of
alternate speculation, such as: do chems "grow" after being birthed,
replicating the infant-adolescent-adult growth curve? And how much
physiological fidelity is there between bios and chems? Can the latter, say,
be sexually violated, as Mora is? Also, is it possible that the occasional
chem tries to pass as human, the same way the inhumi do?

And while I am at least talking about chems, who is the woman in the north
that Olivine tells us her father, who's been gone a long, long time, has
gone in search of?

Like I said in an earlier post: lots of little mysteries in the Short Sun
series. And I love 'em all!

Robert Borski

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