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From: David_Lebling@avid.com
Subject: (urth) "Tracking Song" bits and pieces
Date: Tue, 3 Mar 98 12:44:30 

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

I found time last night re-read most of "Tracking Song," and I found
some interesting stuff.

* Does anyone else agree that the locale may not be Earth (or even
Urth)? It's a world with two moons and trees that are very non-earthlike
(unless I'm misreading Wolfe's description). The narrator thinks they
are odd, as well. If it isn't Mars it's a world with two moons orbiting
another star than the Sun, or perhaps a very far-future Earth, I
concede. (If Larry Niven can make the Earth a moon of Jupiter, I suppose
Wolfe can add a moon).

* Cim Glowing, who had a fairly close-up experience with the people of
the Great Sleigh, initially believes the narrator to be one of them, but
then is unsure. She thinks maybe he's one of the Wiggikki (she says he
looks like them) who has stolen the clothing of a sleigher. Dogs look a
lot like wolves. (Of course, the Wiggikki think he may be a Ketin,
because he has a hairy face).

* Mantru remarks that the Min kidnapped Cim Glowing because they are no
longer very good at distinguishing the "animals" from the "humans." The
implication is that the animals are getting more and more human as time
goes on. I think the narrator is a dog-man who is human enough to "pass"
the tests given by the Min and by Roller and the other robots.

* There's less of the narrator eating processed food than I remembered.
He eats a bite of Lenizee doe, a snow monkey, and other meat. The
Lenizee is the only "animal" he eats, however, and he does so
reluctantly. I'm nearly done with a re-reading and all he's eaten of
processed food is some bouillon cubes.

* The world where the action takes place is either coming out of a
glacial period, or being terraformed. In either case, the people on the
Great Sleigh know what's going on, and are trying to educate the
"animals" so that they will respond correctly.

I can't say yet how any of this stuff impacts my theory, but hey...

In the previous discussion, someone said that the scene where the
Wiggikki take down Nashhwonk is based on a similar scene (in Jack
London?) where a pack of wolves take down an elk.  True?  If so, which
Jack London?  I wonder if the whole skeleton of the story is similar to
that of some story of London's?  In many respects it reminds me of the
typical lost-dog story, though it isn't _The Call of the Wild_.

Also, what do you make of the epigraph?  The quote is from the _Aeneid_,
and refers to the long wanderings of the Trojan survivors before
reaching Italy and founding Rome (recall that Romulus and Remus were
raised by wolves).  Who is doing the long and frustrating wandering
here? The sleighers? No. I think it's the "animals" who are becoming

     -- viz

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