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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: RE: (whorl) Pig's eye and astral needles
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 08:46:15 

Quoth Jason Ingram:

> The question of tangibility is distinct.  I'm not sure how to 
> delimit "physical" in this case.  

Key point. I've said before & I'll say again: it is not science
fantasy; it is science fiction that makes some relatively unusual 
(for SF) assumptions about the nature of Universe. In particular,
here, Mr Wolfe assumes (if only for the purpose of the novel) that 
"spirit" is quite real and is (or can be) in some sense "tangible."

(As a possible point of comparision, note the treatment of "souls"
in the tv series Babylon-5, which I don't recall anyone ever trying 
to call "science fantasy." Souls, in B5, prove to be (1) demonstrably
real, (2) sentient apart from bodies and (3) apparently-immortal.)

Now, "spirit" is (as noted before) related to "breath" which is,
anciently, synonymous with "life." When you stop breathing, you're
dead -- a pretty simple and obvious equation for a pre-EEG society.
But "the blood is the life," and if "life=breath=spirit," then to
steal the blood is to steal the spirit. Thus, the inhumi, stealing
the blood of humans, steal their spirit also; and hence, quite 
aside from any weird theories of inheritance, their acquisition of

> The ability of the inhumi to pass as human is in part related to a
> sort of psychic camouflage; 

That's clearly true at least on one level (Krait's statement that 
humans see what they expect seems, to me at least, disingenuous).
Also I would guess that there is a certain amount of "they look 
human because they have human spirit." We also know (from Fava) 
that the personality and physiognomy of an inhum[u|a] is at least 
partially conditioned by who-or-what s/he has most recently dined 
on, whether this be "psychic" or what.

> regarding The Secret:  it seems clear that blood passes on 
> intelligence to offspring.  This makes me curious about Patera 
> Quetzal . . . did one of his parents encounter humans prior to
> the Whorl's visit?  

Not necessarily -- we aren't very clear on how long ago (the 
last) Neighbors left, but there are some implications that it 
wasn't _that_ long ago; and we know that the Neighbors visited
the _Whorl_ and brought inhumi with them. Suppose, then, that
Quetzal originally has intelligence, not from humans, but from
Neighbors. Then Quetzal, arriving with the Neighborly "expedition," 
meets & drinks of at least one human, and so gains some amount of 
human personality & appearance.


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