FIND in
<--prev V12 next-->

From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: VRT's MOM; Celestine's Age; Musique du Soleil
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 15:59:35 

To Tony Ellis, re VRT's Mom:

Hey, I now think you're dead on about the woman in the cell next to
VRT--she almost certainly must be his mother! Congratulations. Any chance
you think her name might be Three Faces? (Symbolically, like the Sphinx's
man-riddle, she could wear a wild abo face in the morning, a domestic
mother-wife face in the afternoon, and a distraught prisoner's face in the
evening.) It'd also be nice if we could ascertain her eye color, to see if
it's green like her son's (Victor specifically mentions this in his prison
writings, so I feel it's important).

A few things still kinda bother me, however, and while I don't think they
invalidate your deductions, I wonder if you had any additional thoughts:

How is it that a poor abo girl like VRT's mother, who previously had to
settle for Trenchard and was, as you say, ill equipped for life in human
society, managed to find her way over to Sainte Croix? After all, it's not
like hopping a freight train hobo-style. How would she pay her way across?
(I envision a sort of interplanetary Concord, with rather steep
prices--Marsch/VRT probably had university underwriting to help him.) And
why would an illiterate backwoods girl even want to leave the planet of her
birth, her abo kin (including little Victor), and the only world she knows,
and go to that strange big blue place in the sky? Also, wouldn't she need a
passport of some kind--given the paranoia the government of Sainte Croix
seems to be exhibiting, wouldn't they scrutinize the arrival of each new
immigrant? And wouldn't both planets document her coming and going, given
the tension between each? Marsch/VRT specifically mentions going through
customs _and_ being questioned by the military police and _then_ being
visitors papers. (p. 198). Surely the same proceedures would be applied to
her, as well would be questions about her financial means, especially if
she arrived dressed like the abo equivalent of Liza Doolittle ready to take
in the big sights.  

These objections notwithstanding (and my problem with them may be more
Wolfeian than Ellisian), clearly I think you're onto something.

Now then, back to an earlier argument. 

When we talk about ages of people in FIFTH HEAD, we need to take into
consideration not one important astronomical factor, but two: i.e., not
only are the years longer than ours (+42 days), but so is the daily
periodicity (hence Marsch's complaint about the "too long days and
stretched nights" that he first experiences at Roncevaux). Depending on how
long you calculate the day, the Annese/Croixian year could be anywhere from
67 to 100.5 _additional_ days longer than ours, depending on whether we go
with 28 or 30 hour days ( {the additional hours x 42 extra days}/24hrs.)
This translates in local year terms to one that may be anywhere from 109
days longer (67+ 42) to 142.5 days longer (42 +100.5). These extra days--.3
to .4 of a Terran year--must then be factored into all attempts at figuring
out ages. Celestine Etienne, at 28 years Croixian, would then be our
equivalent of a 34.5 to 39 year old woman! These numbers also help resolve
a few other age-related difficulties I have, from Number Five's and VRT's
maturity at 18 and 20 years, respectively, to how Cassilla the slave girl
is starting to look old at 21. But more importantly they help validate my
earlier contention that Celestine Etienne is David's mother. David,
depending on how old you feel he is, would have born been to Celestine when
she was the equivalent of  16 to 18 years Terran. So given some of the
other factors I mentioned in my earlier post, I still feel she's in the
running for the mysterious lady in pink, the woman I believe is his mother.

Finally then, some music to recommend while reading New Sun. For its
baroque, medieval pulse, Dances from Tersichore by Michael Praetorius (make
sure it's recorded with period instruments, though); for its coloration and
epic scale, Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky; and for its
evocation of timelessness, Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph
Vaugh Williams.

Postpenultimately as well: CAVE CANEM can now be had from me in .txt form
if your ISP can't handle .doc/Word 6.

Robert Borski

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

<--prev V12 next-->