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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) woof
Date: Sun, 1 Mar 1998 20:03:46 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

>We had a long and very enlightening discussion of "Tracking Song" a few
>months ago.  I had a new thought about it last night, literally as I was
>lying in bed falling asleep.
>I think the narrator is a dog, specifically a domestic dog who has
>fallen out of (or ejected from) the car his humans are riding in. The
>fall gave him amnesia, favored plot device of writers.  How can you tell
>he's a dog?  He has the marks on his neck of a leash or collar; a
>"birthmark" that goes "from one side of the hair on the back of my neck
>to the other."  He only comes up the shoulders of the Wiggikki, who are
>wolves (few dogs are as large as a wolf).  When he finally meets the
>proprietors of the Great Sleigh, they are angels.  What dog owner is not
>an angel to his dog?
>Of course, I'm not saying the narrator _is_ a dog literally, but in the
>same sense that the Wiggikki are wolves, and so forth.  The robots obey
>him because he is "human," not literally, but of all the human-like
>animals they encounter, he is the most human; more human than Mantru,
>who is a-human or ex-human, mostly likely a homunculus (in the TBotNS
>sense). The narrator does exactly what you would expect a loyal dog to
>do: find his masters again; though, being a dog, he's distractable on
>the way. He eats the artificial food because it's what a dog raised on
>kibble would be used to (the moral dimension aside).
>Again, I'm not claiming this story is the dream of a dog, but that that
>the narrator fills the dog's role in the story.
>What do you think?

I was a major participant in that discussion---I got quite obsessed with it
for a while. And I'm quite taken aback by this new thought---and quite taken
with it too. This is one of those interpretations that I think the author
may never have thought of, and that may yet have truth. I'm going to think
about this for a while. Viz, I had thought about writing about this story,
but I could never find a hook that satisfied me. Why don't you think about
writing about it instead? I can help--I help with this sort of thing for a


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