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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>
Subject: (urth) Hues, HORARS: II
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 14:34:16 

In a previous post I mentioned how I thought "The HORARS of War" and "All
the Hues of Hell" were part of the same story cycle. Time now to examine
what I think each means and how they may be further interrelated.

HORARS is an updated Golem story (which basically Mary Shelley's
FRANKENSTEIN also is). As God has done with us, so have we humans done with
the Homolog ORganisms (Army Replacement Simulations). But whereas God has
created us in His image out of love, we create the HORARS for less noble
reasons. We certainly don't love them; in fact there's evidence most
ordinary humans revile them. But if it's a choice between us dying in
combat with the Enemy or the HORARS, hey, we'll gladly let them be our our
corporal stand-ins, i.e., the HORARS are bodies only (whores), fit only for
acting out our vile needs. (We're their puppeteers, as we are Pinocchios,
the robot tank.)  

Of course the HORARS eventually turn on us, their masters, just as the
Jewish Golem and Frankenstein's monster do (a consequence of hubris, I
warrant; of our trying to usurp God). In this case 2910, the viewpoint
character, kills Brenner, the Synthetic Biology Services rep, who
symbolizes the HORARS' creator. (Brenner, I believe, is named after Sydney
Brenner, famed director of the Cambridge Molecular Biology Laboratory, and
whose pioneering work in genetics parallels that of James Crick and Francis

2910 also believes he is human, and much of the subtext plays to him being
a Christ figure--like Jesus, he's an intermediary, only between man and
machine--but there seems little doubt he is actually a HORAR. He is also
reporter Keith Thomas, of course, the one person besides a few key generals
who allegedly knows 2910 is human and to whom he gives his reports as field
correspondent. This is implied by the story's last two paragraphs, as well
as the name Keith Thomas. Keith means "wind" and 2910 has memories of
growing up in Chicago (aka The Windy City), while Thomas means "twins,"
symbolizing I believe he is 2910's alter ego, an implanted memory that
resurrects itself schizoaffectively every two weeks so he can "accept" and
file his own field reports.

Anybody remember the Burt Reynolds-Woody Allen sperm scene from EVERYTHING
of Hell" is somewhat similar, only the local event we're witnessing is the
creation via artificial insemination of a HORAR. It's a prequel in other
words. The Egg is the female gamete; the shadow matter is seminal fluid;
and the "demon" is an optimized DNA program, the genetic blueprints for a

Observe the following bit of dialogue, when Jansen is talking about Kyle's
"soul," which the cyborg describes in terms of a computer program (note too
that "horrors" refers to the shadow demon): "I suppose it [Kyle's soul] may
be put into one of these horrors [HORARS]. They seem more machine than
human, at least to me." [ES, p.339] Given our last description of 2910,
with his metallic leg, this seems to jibe with the "more machine than
human" description. As do the HORARS overall, who can run "miles without
tiring and only sleep a couple of hours a night."

Other evidence we're witnessing an artificial insemination: much of what we
see of the Shadow world in the monitors seems as if it could also be
descriptions of ultrasound imagery, and there's a predominance of pink and
blue, the traditional baby colors, with blue--i.e., a male fetus is being
created--coming to dominate.

And of course, because this is an immaculate conception of sorts, albeit a
scientific rather than a divine one, we have all sorts of religious
subtext. Polyaris, of course, is the Paraclete, shouting "Ghost! Ghost!
GHOST!" on one hand and warning of Danger, Fire and Catastrophe on the
other. He's also the false star of Bethlehem--like the other Polaris, a
fixed star used for navigational purposes. Meaning this is no Christ being
born and damnation may not be far off. 

There's also the character Jansen, who I believe is named after Abraham
Jansen, a Flemish artist famous for his religious paintings. Just as he
could see angels and paint them into The Adoration of the Magi, so too can
he see the captured shadow demon without special equipment. The Jansen of
Hues is also diagnosed as both dead and insane, signifying the abdication
of belief in a world where man has usurped God as prime creator.

In fact, both stories seem to be cautionary tales about the ill-advisedness
of tampering with nature, especially in regards to eugenics and attempting
to improve on God's greatest creation, you, me and all the rest of our
fellow Homo sapiens--hardly surprising caveats from a writer of Gene
Wolfe's Catholicity.  

Robert Borski 

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

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