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From: "Tony Ellis" 
Subject: (urth) Beastly
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 11:20:47 +0100

Nutria wrote (of 5HC):
>Jerry, also notice that it is a whorehouse, the opposite of the church
(Bride of Christ) in the
>Book of Revelation (The Great Harlot). Thus, 666. Also, the place is
guarded by Cerberus
>who guards the gates of hell.
>(Anyway, the abode of the antichrist is hell until he appears on earth,
when "they want us.")

I can't think of anything in this very secular SF story about family and
self that would benefit from having Number Five turn out to be the

The number 666 is the only explicit link to Revelation, and no one calls it
the Number of the Anti-Christ. We call it the Number of the Beast. The
Beast, like Cerberus, is many-headed, and that, I think, is the only
connection we are supposed to make: that Number Five and his family are a
single, many-headed monster.

The evidence that we're supposed to read anything more into this is pretty
tenuous. Cerberus guards the entrance to the underworld of Greek mythology,
not the Christian hell. Given that classical Greek culture is explicitly
name-checked in at least two other places in the story, this just doesn't
feel like a Christian signifier.

And does a whorehouse automatically have to be the bride of the anti-Christ?
Can't it just be a whorehouse? There are more than a few prostitues and
houses of ill repute in Wolfe's fiction, bless him. If the Maison du Chien
had formerly been a church, like the brothel in the Long Sun book, fair


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