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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@charter.net>
Subject: (whorl) Re: godlings
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 13:20:19 

Rostrum writing:

<I thought the main objection to the godlings is that in Act 1 (New Sun) the
author goes into detail about why anything that big would have to live in
the sea or collapse under its own weight and then in Act 3 he presents us
with such a creature without giving us any hint of how it is possible, or
even a sense that we're supposed to see this as a physics-defying miracle
(and Typhon/Mainframe's wonders seem to be otherwise technological, unlike
the "miraculous" wonders of Severian or Silkhorn's astral travel).>

<(Maybe our hint is in Act 2 at the talus construction plant, but then what
do you do with the obvious hints that organic Pig (he eats, his eyes are
flesh) is a godling?)>

Would it help to suggest that the term "godling" might be a generic one used
by the human Whorlese to connote anything of unusual size, whether it's
organic or mechanical? It's never used by anyone in Mainframe if I remember
correctly; and the first time it's mentioned by Horn (OBW, 157), it's linked
with his supposition that the gods themselves might be giant-sized. ("It may
be that our gods did not come among us except by enlightment and possession
because they were too large to do so; even the godlings that they send among
the people now are, for the most part, immense.")

I've already argued that the godlings may have originally been designed to
host the gods of Mainframe, of course, giving them an alternate raison
d'Ítre. How better to preserve their prestige and awesome nature than by
taking on larger-than-life forms? Surely, whenever he got to where he was
going, Pas was not going to spend the rest of his life as a computer entity.
And there's evidence in the LS series that the gods of Mainframe can ride
not only people and animals, but chems.

Some of you also seem to believe the gravity aboard the Whorl is tantamount
to Urth's, but somewhere or other (can't find the actual passage), it's
mentioned that any potential departees with cardiac problems would be better
advised to stay aboard the Whorl because the strain is less on hearts there.
So a giant being of the size that picks up Horn would not be subject to the
same forces that preclude such magnitude here. Even if the Whorl's gravity
were earth-normal, however, there's the dinosaur parallel--are the godlings
really that much bigger than the largest of these? Plus we're also told by
Horn that "[The godlings] move slowly," (RTTW, 162) implying that even with
reduced gravity, there are constraining forces at work. Hide's dream also
contains a doll, "walking slow," which seems at least to me an obvious
parallel with Horn's slow-moving godling--implying perhaps that the godling
who picks up Horn is indeed a talus. Pig--he's something else--an organic
giant created by the same technomagic of Mainframe, only using different
components. But I'd argue that neither Pig nor the Brobdinagian who picks up
Horn are science-defying miracles, even by our own limited 21st century
standards. Just godlings--at least as the inhabitants of the Whorl define
them.

Robert Borski




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