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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: RE: (urth) 5HC: Shadow Children in the Lupiverse?
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 09:21:12 -0700

Tony Ellis responds to me:

> > Possible explanations exfoliate:  It's _fairly_ clear, though,
> > that the Shadow children are the first, French, colonists.

> They can't be. 'A Story' ends with the arrival of the French colonists.

Why, yes; so it does (or seems to -- certainly, it ends with the arrival
of _some_ colonists). But how much of 'A Story' should we take literally?
Even the title is reversed: it isn't really "A Story" by John V. Marsch;
it is a story by "John V. Marsch." All in Part 2 of 5HC is shadows and/or
reflections, and all is told by Victor for some specific purpose. Find
(in part 3) his purpose for telling the story, and learn what to believe.

And, no, I haven't found his purpose yet.

> That leaves us with two possibilities that I can see. Either the Shadow
> Children are indigenous or, as you say there is

> > the somewhat vaguer possibility that the Shadow children are not
> > the French at all but a much earlier round of colonists -- among
> > the names the great WOO remembers for their ancient home are
> > "Atlantis or Mu -- or Gondwanaland, Africa, Poictesme, or the
> > Country of Friends."

> This is the explanation we are set up to believe for most of the
> story. But - and it's a very big but - toward the end the Old Wise
> One does a complete about-face, 

... the reversal of the reflection of the Shadows ...

> and admits that his race was already here when the first,
> prehistoric Earth colonists came:
> "Now I am half a man, and know that we were always here..."

So why does Victor tell us this? What is -his- reason? What does
he hope to gain?

(We don't even know whether he wrote "A Story" before or after 
he was arrested!)

> > Another possibility occurs to me -- perhaps the abos are not
> > shapeshifters

> Heh. I've been saying this for years: the abos are -not- shapeshifters.
> There's not a scrap of evidence to suggest that they are, 

Here I must disagree. The direct evidence is the ability of Victor's
mother to become young or old at will. 

Actually, I suspect the truth of being more complex than that. 

(Complexity? In a Wolfe text? Say it ain't so!) 


Long ago, as in your timeline, Ste-Anne was inhabited by the 
ancestors of the Shadow children: psionically gifted shapeshifters,
less intelligent than humans as individuals but capable of producing
a group mind (the Wise Old Ones). 

The early human colonists came. Their arrival was utterly traumatic
for the Shadow children, who chose to distort space so no _more_
colonists could come. 

Thousands(?) of years pass after the arrival of the "Free People."
Some genetic(?) exchange takes place between them. The Shadow
children become more intelligent and more human-like in many ways.
The "Free People" gain some limited ability to change, not their
shape properly speaking, but their appearance.

Does this work?  I think it does.



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