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From: adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu>
Subject: (urth) 5HC: Who Is Number One?
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 20:56:09 

Earlier this year (in vol. 9 of the archives) the question was debated:
assuming, as the consensus seems to be, that Number Five's designation
arises from his being fifth in a series which also includes his "father,"
"grandfather," and "great-grandfather," who is the other member of the
series?  Robert Borski argued it was Mr. Million, while Tony Ellis argued
it was an otherwise unmentioned predecessor of the great-grandfather, (I'm
going to drop the scare quotes from now on, because they're irritating to
look at) whose clone the g-g was.  I'm doubtful about both these
solutions.  My feeling is that the g-g was the first in the "line"; had
there been a predecessor, it seems likely that the father would have
mentioned him in his oft-quoted speech: "'You are here because I did and
do, and I am here because the individual behind me did -- who was himself
originated by the one whose mind is simulated in Mr. Million.'"

Nor am I satisfied with the Mr. Million solution, though I can't disprove
it.  My problem is not that I believe, as Tony Ellis does, that Mr.
Million *is* the g-g.  It's simply that Mr. Million is not one of the
series extending from the g-g to Number Five.  He's an offshoot.

Anyway, a few hours ago I got an idea.  While I'm not sure of it, given
the way (our) Mr. Wolfe's mind works, I think it's plausible.  It's based
on three facts:

1) There is no evidence that anyone but Number Five is ever designated by
his number outside of the father's mind.  In fact, if the consensus
above is true, Aunt Jeannine must never have heard any of the other
numbers used.

2) We know that both Number Five and the father are both named Gene Wolfe,
and it seems likely that the grandfather and great-grandfather are

3) The colony is acquainted with twentieth-century science fiction.

Given all this, couldn't it be that Number One is our own Gene Wolfe?


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

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