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Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 13:42:04 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: What abos?

--- Tony Ellis  wrote:
> Jerry Friedman wrote (of the account of Robert Culot):
> >He remembers that his grandfather claimed to see abos in order to
> >annoy Robert's father (if I remember right)--not very convincing.
> Actually, you remember wrong. He remembers his grandfather as "'a most
> honest old man. He would not tell lies to anyone, you understand.'" But
> perhaps he is delusional, like Victor. Or stupid, like Doctor Marsch. Or
> lied to, like Madame Blount. :-)

Or senile.  Or the younger Culot could be lying.  Or just mistaken.

By the way, you were the one who said the real Dr. Marsch was stupid
for not recognizing Victor's clumsiness as a sign that he was an abo.
But Victor wasn't clumsy.  According to Marsch, he was an excellent
camp cook (which must involve using knives, spatulas, etc.), brilliant
with ropes, and capable of pounding tent pegs with a rock.  He just
couldn't write in the normal way or shoot.  Victor's skills with tools
could be a sign that he's not an abo--or that he's half abo.

> And that (alongside the what-a-boring-story factor) is the problem I
> have
> with the no-abos theory, which I have certainly considered many times
> during
> my re-readings of 5HC down the years. There is all sorts of evidence in
> the
> novellas indicating that the abos exist, and to say that they don't
> forces
> you to invent an excuse for every last piece of it. If it feels right
> for
> you, fair enough, but to me it just feels like struggling against the
> natural current of the story, as opposed to letting it take me where it
> wants to go.

Precisely my problem with the abos theory.  You have to invent some
really enormous excuses.  This is, after all, a future in which
anthropologists are desperate for new material.  There should be
roomsful of videotapes of the abos' quaint ceremonies.  There should
be treaties.  There should be chiefs or supposed chiefs being briefly
lionized in the capitals of Earth.  There should have been a large
reward for abo remains, so Mrs. Blount's father wouldn't have dreamed
of just leaving them for the wild animals.  These lacks seem much
harder to gloss over than the testimony of a few individuals.

Jerry Friedman

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