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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: Jonas's parts
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 15:46:13 

On Mon, 31 May 1999 17:13:32, Mark Millman wrote:

>>I wonder, by the way (and I don't recall whether we've discussed
this before) whether Jonas' distress mightn't be exacerbated
because he used more human spare parts than was strictly
necessary, in an attempt to pass more easily among the low-tech
inhabitants of Urth.  It's possible that his head wasn't badly (if at
all) damaged, and that he's simply using a human face as camou-
flage.  I realize that this raises questions, among others, of whether
a robot's designer would put the CPU in its head or its torso, but
assuming Jonas' is in his head, his continued existence would
argue that his head couldn't have been very badly damaged.<<

    The skimpy details we are given about the crash Jonas was in suggest
that his repairs were of the emergency, field-variety. I don't think they
were effected with an eye to passing for human -- what would have been the
point? --, but human parts were all that were available. Jonas and the crew
would have no way of knowing what the conditions were on Urth until after
the crash and after his repairs had been made. The way that Jonas phrases
it: "I needed his eyes and larynx, and I took some other parts." suggest
that he might have used more biological parts than was strictly necessary.
Besides the face and hand, descriptions of Jonas necessitate many more
biological parts used. At least part of his torso is flesh. His breathing is
mentioned several times; his face turns pale, his eyes tear and he sweats.
The first two of these imply a cardio-pulmonary system. He may or may not
actually eat, but he seems to ingest liquids. Waste functions are not
described. The incorporation of all these biological elements in an android,
even by a high-tech medical team under ideal conditions would be remarkable.
To have such repairs made by "shipmates" -- if his shipmates were anything
like the ignorant sailors Sev described on Tzad's ship -- under
less-than-ideal conditions is incredible. And why would an android,
regardless of where his "CPU" was located, need to sleep?

    Sev adjusts his estimate of Jonas's age more than once -- always
upward -- yet how old can he look, judging from the parts of flesh? 50, 60,
70 years? His face and hand are not described as looking like those of an
old man. Has Jonas found the fountain of youth? We are not given any reason
to believe so. How long ago did he crash? 30 years? 50? Longer? What became
of the other crewmembers that were on the same ship that Jonas crashed on?
Why did they scatter? How does someone such as Burgundofara or Purn ever get
a chance to sign on board a ship? Why couldn't Jonas do the same, since he
already knows the ropes, so to speak, and get back to the stars to be

    Speaking of "other parts"; Jonas's love for Jolenta seems to be of the
Eros, not Agape, sort. Even if she were willing, what could he have done
about it? When Jonas tells Sev: "Don't you understand? I will come back for
her when I have been repaired. When I am sane and whole.", he means when he
has gotten rid of his disgusting, inferior biological parts. Sev's last
words to Jonas were: "If I ever see Jolenta, I will tell her you once loved
her, and nothing more." I guess that's why Sev nailed her within a day or so
after getting out of the antechamber. Sure beats saying it with flowers!
What a good friend.


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

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