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Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 18:20:36 -0500
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) Tracking Song

Fascinating as always, Borski. A couple of thoughts -- and I have not 
reread the story before bringing these up.
         Man-tru(e) seems a pretty obvious name. Which makes me wonder who 
he is symbolically. Cain, a true "fallen" man, or some kind of Adam figure, 
the true-man fallen, and perhaps responsible for the winter?
         The fact that the Great Sleigh circles the planet reminds me a lot 
of the Ship of the Severian Quintet. Symbolically the same. But I guess 
that's obvious....

Cutthroat is recording the progress of his quest to catch up to the Great
>Sleigh. "I want to leave a record of what has happened to me, so that if
>someone comes for me, and finds me dead, he will understand. I feel that
>someone may, though I do not know why. And I want him to understand." This 
>person who Cutthroat/Cain senses is looking for him is God, and he knows 
>why--he's killed Abel--just as he clearly does _not_ want to be 
>understood. ("Am I my brother's keeper?")

         Not sure here. God gave the mark to protect Cain against someone 
who, finding him, might kill him. Wolfe's stories can be light or dark, or 
ambiguous (duh!). Cutthroat is pursuing the Sleigh. Is he pursuing 
salvation, however dimly? Unlike Cain, Cutthroat does not go away and stay 
away and set up his own city (his own Garden of Eden). Rather, he is 
pursuing the symbolic Church/Heaven. This might be more of a "redemption of 
Cain" variant, offered by Wolfe. My guess would be that Cuttthroat's 
pursuer, to whom he addresses his recording, is God. He is the One who will 
come for Cutthroat after he is dead.
         Along the same lines, of course, is your last observation: Does 
the cherub stand to bar Cuttthroat from the Garden/Sleigh/Church, or will 
he be welcomed?

>As for the commander, when Cutthroat finally does reach the Great
>Sleigh--literally the technology of heaven if we accept that the space
>people are terraforming the world in question to make it more habitable,
>perhaps even after a long nuclear winter--the last entry he records has
>Cutthroat "regaining" his memory. "I know who you are," he says. "The small
>planet is round, and you have come back, and the time for talking into this
>black box is over. I am going to talk to you face to face. Who is that tall
>man with you? I think he has...wings?"

         This looks very redemptive to me. Talking into the box symbolizes 
prayer -- he's been talking to someone absent, but who will come for him 
when he is dead. When Christ returns, we see him face to face (1 
Corinthians 13:12).
         Certainly the Bible gives no hint of an ultimately saved Cain, and 
I know of no pseudigraphical literature that does. But it looks to me as if 
Wolfe might be playing that trick here.
         But what do you think?



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