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From: adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu>
Subject: (urth) Liev's Postpostulate; A Story
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 15:22:40 

I just finished rereading _The Fifth Head of Cerberus_, so the recent turn
of the list's collective mind towards that topic is timely for me.  In
addition to the comments I've posted, I have a couple of questions.

1) V.R.T. in prison writes:

        She believed, though she pretended not to, that the Annese have
     devoured and replaced homo sapiens -- Veil's Hypothesis, and she is
     Veil; it has been used for years to discredit other heterodox
     theories about the original population of Sainte Anne.  But who,
     then, _Tante Jeannine_, are the Free People?  Conservatives who
     would not desert the old ways?  The question is not, as I once
     thought, how much the thoughts of the Shadow children influence
     reality; but how much our own do.  I have read the interview with
     Mrs. Blount -- a hundred times while I was in the hills -- and I
     know who I believe the Free People to be: I call it Liev's
     Postpostulate.  I am Liev and I have left. (254-5 in the Ace edition)

What is Liev's Postpostulate?  (Note that V.R.T. appears to reject Veil's
Hyposthesis.)   The fact that "Liev" is "Veil" spelled backwards suggests,
of course, that V.R.T. believes the Free People are homo sapiens who have
gone native.  There's a bit of evidence for this in his quote of Dollo's
Law, which states that "An organ which degenerates during evolution never
reacquires its original size, and an organ which disappears never
reappears; if the offspring return to a mode of life in which the
vestigial organ had an important function, the organ does not return to
the original state, but the organism develops a substitute" (231)
immediately after his explanation that he holds a pen badly because he is
unable to write at all when he holds it correctly.  This juxtaposition
could imply that V.R.T. believes himself descended from ancestors who
could hold pens correctly; i.e. humans.  Of course, this doesn't explain
how the Annese all got green eyes.  Nor does it explain how they became
shape-shifters, unless the French Lamarckially evolved the ability to
escape their persecutors.  Or possibly the Annese can't shape-shift at
all, aside from the ability of changing one's face V.R.T. attributes to
his mother and himself, which acting skill might account for.

A more radical possibility, suggested by the sentence about our thoughts
influencing reality, is the V.R.T. believes the Annese to be materialized
projections of the colonists' thoughts, as the Old Wise One in "A Story"
was a projection of the other Shadow children.  Either way, I don't know
how Mrs. Blount's story ties in, except for suggesting a tie between the
Annese and the French.

2)  What is the significance of the second novelette, "A Story"?  I
realize that it was written by V.R.T., probably in prison, but what is its
function in the novel?  In particular, what is meant by the portrayal of
the Shadow children, with their drug use, their strange naming customs,
and their embodied "Group Norm"?  (Not to mention that that the last
Shadow child in the pit, who calls down the Earthmen, gives his name as
"Wolf"!)  A full explication of "A Story" might reveal what "Liev's
Postpostulate" is, or vice versa; but as yet it's not clear to me.


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

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