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Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 19:55:21 -0500
Subject: (urth) Liev's Postpostulate
From: Adam Stephanides 

On p. 255 of the Ace edition, Victor in his cell writes "I know who I
believe the Free People to be: I call it Liev's Postpostulate"; but he never
says what Liev's Postpostulate is.  Somebody once suggested, iirc, that it
was "the humans killed the abos."  After reading the book again, I now think
this is only half the story.  Veil's Hypothesis is "the abos killed the
humans and took their places"; so logically Liev's Postpostulate should be
"the humans killed the abos and took their places."  That is, the people who
now call themselves the "Free People," among whom are Victor's mother and
Victor himself, are not the descendants of the original Annese.  Rather,
they are descendants of French colonists who had given up "civilization" to
live in the "back of beyond" (as some North American colonists joined the
Indians), and these descendants have come to believe that they are actually
indigenous Annese.  Victor shared this belief until sometime between
Marsch's death and the writing of those words.

In addition to being logical, this interpretation ties in with Victor's
remark just before he mentions Liev's Postpostulate: "The question is not,
as I once thought, how much the thoughts of the Shadow children influence
reality; but how much our own do."  (I admit I don't know how Mrs. Blount's
interview fits into this.)  It also is the only way I can think of to
account for Victor's statement to Number Five: "'The abos are gone.'" (75)
You could argue that this is just Victor's way of rejecting Number Five's
charge that he is an abo; but if he believes the Free People are abos, then
not only does his statement to Victor contradict the story he tells his
interrogator, but it leaves him having done three years of fieldwork with
nothing to show for it.

So Victor believes that the Free People are not Annese, but humans believing
themselves to be Annese.  But is it true?  I don't know, but I suggest it's
quite possible.

Pro: It's certainly more plausible than either prehistoric waves of
colonization (in either direction) or genetically unrelated Annese who can
interbreed with humans.

Pro: For those into this sort of thing, "Liev" can be unpacked as "unveil,"
though I don't put too much weight on this argument.

Con: Wolfe's interview, quoted by Borski.  But it's clear that Victor is not
actually a Shadow child; and if Wolfe mistakenly referred to an Annese as a
Shadow child, he could have mistakenly referred to a human believing himself
Annese as a Shadow child.  And, as I said before, the interview was
twenty-six years after the books were published, so his memory may not be
completely accurate.

(It may seem that I'm being hypocritical, since I've declared myself an
intentionalist.  But I never said this meant that whatever an author says
about his or her work must be taken as gospel, which is obviously an
untenable position.)



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