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Date: Mon, 20 May 2002 21:15:56 -0500
Subject: (urth) TBOTSS and colonialism
From: Adam Stephanides 

David Duffy's recent reference to TBOTSS in connection with 5HC made me
realize that TBOTSS is, among other things, about colonization, though I
haven't really thought of it that way.  But when I look at the book in those
terms, what I see is disturbing, at least to me.

Unlike the colonists of 5HC, the colonists on Blue aren't displacing
anybody, since the Neighbors have left and the inhumi live on Green.
Rather, it is the inhumi who savagely and without provocation assault the
colonists, killing and enslaving them.  Silkhorn's attempt to treat the
inhumi as human beings, rather than automatically killing them as is the
colonists' usual practice, ends in complete failure.  Jahlee, whom he treats
with the most kindness, treacherously tries to murder Nettle; and Juganu,
another inhumu whom Silkhorn had treated as human, repays him by attacking
his son's wedding.  (Though Silkhorn had goaded Juganu into attacking him,
that Juganu would kill hundreds of innocents to hit back at Silkhorn
indicates his savagery.)  To top it off, we learn that the inhumi don't have
souls of their own, just souls they've stolen from humans, so it is
presumably alright to exterminate them or reduce them to animality.  In
short, the portrayal of the inhumi seems nothing less than an apologia for
genocide.  I would like to think that Wolfe actually hopes for peaceful
relations between the humans and inhumi, but imo the books don't support
this reading.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not asserting that Wolfe is a racist in real life,
or that he supports the mistreatment, much less genocide, of any actual
group.  (Though his post-9/11 statements do give me pause.)  But the inhumi
must play such a large role for a reason; and, Wolfe being Wolfe, it
presumably isn't just to give Horn monsters to fight.  If, as I think, the
purpose of the inhumi being there isn't to teach us tolerance, what is
Wolfe's purpose?



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