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Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 13:47:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: FW: (urth) FW: Elucidations of the Long Sun:Hyacinth 

--- James Wynn  wrote:
> Jerry Friedman says:
> By far the best clue I see that Hyacinth *could* be a chem is her name,
> as
> you pointed out.  But I see nothing to contradict the obvious
> interpretation
> that she's a bio.
> I respond:
> Ah! But then you immediately identify a very BIG one -- see below.

Which one?

>...Hyacinth's name is a flag, but only one among many.

[Snip some discussion of mythology.  My take on all of your mythological
arguments is that Wolfe is well-read in classical mythology and we
shouldn't be surprised if some of his stories resemble myths.  Even if
he's sometimes thinking of specific myths, as in the Theseus story in the
brown book or the reference to *spoiler* that you'll like at the end of
TBotSS.  But I don't think that means you can argue allegorically as
you've been doing--X represents Chi so X must have some property of Chi.]

> -----------------------------------------
> I Said:
> I consider her over-powering the pilot to be evidence that she is chem -
> not
> male.
> Jerry Friedman says:
> Why is that inconsistent with her being a healthy young human woman who
> has
> experience at fighting?  She takes the pilot by surprise, ramming her
> thumbs
> into her (the pilot's) eyes and kicking her knees until she falls down.
> Seems quite reasonable to me.  Silk thinks Hyacinth blinded the pilot,
> but
> Chenille (I think) disagrees.  This is evidence that Hyacinth is *not* a
> chem--someone with superhuman strength could (I imagine) obviously blind
> a
> person this way by breaking her eyeballs, and probably obviously cripple
> her
> knees as well.
> My Response
> Knowing how to handle yourself in a brothel cat-fight is not like taking
> on
> a trained soldier -- particularly for a very petite young woman as
> Hyacinth
> is.

Anybody out there have any experience in hand-to-hand combat?  My feeling
is that, between two people with experience in fighting, the advantage of
surprise is decisive.  The pilot simply doesn't have the reaction time to
evade the blows, and I think you'd have to be a *really* experienced
fighter to do much after painful blows like the ones described.  We know
nothing about the pilot's training, but we can guess that it has focused
on piloting and that the combat part of it has focused on fighting with
weapons, which is far more useful for soldiers.  So the pilot may have
little more experience than Hyacinth.  We also don't know how big the
pilot is, do we?

> Silk caught Chenille and Hyacinth in a lie in the very exchange to
> which
> you're referring, so she's really not credible. Actually, that
> conversation
> suggested both that Hyacinth is hiding something and that Chenille is an
> accomplice in it.

True, but the lie may simply be one of Hyacinth's attempts to seem cute
and kittenish.

> Anyway, Silk has another take on it. Here's a subject-to-subject
> run-down of
> Silk's
> conversation with Horn after he asks why Silk tried to kill himself --

Even before this, Silk was suicidal (if we can believe Horn).  He thinks
it would be a blessing if the airship crashed into the lake, and I think
there's something else.

> after
> Horn says, "Won't you please tell me what's wrong? Please, Calde?"
> 1.    Silk says the Plan of Pas has gone awry and cites the plight of
> the
> chems as an example. There aren't enough female chems.
> 2.   Horn alludes to his suspicions regarding Silk's true heritage, to
> which
> Silk finally answers, "There are so many lies in the whorl...May I
> instance
> you one more? Hyacinth subdued our pilot, Hyacinth alone." How is that a
> lie
> if the fight went the way you describe it? If it went like Marble's
> fight
> with Musk (as I infer) then there really is something else going on.

I described it pretty much the way Horn described it.  It's possible Horn
was wrong for some reason--I forget whether he was a witness.  Is that
what you're saying?

> 3.    Silk compares Hyacinth over-powering the pilot to the idea of
> Incus
> over-powering Auk. This is an interesting analogy because Incus has just
> acquitted (him)self quite well in battle. Everyone has seen Incus
> "bewitch"
> the Trivigaunte's weapons. The only reason it DOES apply  is that
> Incus is a woman in disguise.

This is contrary to your argument.  Incus acquits himself (?) well in
battle despite being relatively weak and timid, even (if you're right)
despite being a woman, so it's evidence that Hyacinth's success is
possible to a woman.

> 4.    Horn compares Hyacinth with the female lynx, Lion (male name),
> acting
> kittenish for Mucor's approval. Here is a second character in disguise -
> this one in two ways.
> 5.    Horn says that Hyacinth and Hammerstone have a rather unique
> relationship. They behave as equals.

I admit this one is suggestive, but it may just tell us something about
Hyacinth's personality.

> He does NOT say Chenille also shares
> this relationship with "Stoney" even though she is also a tough
> prostitute
> with an actual history with him as comrades-in-arms. This may be a false
> memory but one of the things on my list to look for in a re-reading is
> the
> reference to Hammerstone's impressive chin (I think it's while he's in
> the
> tunnels with Auk and Chenille. Of course Chenille goes on about
> Hyacinth's
> chin (conversation on the airship).

Though about its beauty, not its impressiveness, and for all we know its
beauty could be thanks to Crane.

> 6.    Silk talks about his wedding night - that it was "wonderful" yet
> there
> was a "taint" to it that did not come from either of them.

It came from Adam and Eve.  The prudish and enlightened Silk in the
Catholic Lupiverse considers that something is wrong with premarital sex
and maybe with all sex that's not for the purpose of procreation.  There's
evidence for Silk's belief in TBoTSS, a line about going clean to one's
marriage bed.

> 7.    Silk says that the Outsider created the gods and that evil serves
> the
> Outsider because it draws us to him.
> 8.    Then Horn asks again why Silk tried to kill himself, and Silk
> says,
> "It's obvious, isn't it?"
> Well maybe it isn't so obvious, but I think I get the gist of it. I
> recommend you re-read this conversation and between Silk and Horn after
> they
> return to the airship. See if my reading doesn't fit. Silk IMO is saying
> the
> following:
> "This whorl is a humongous turd-shaped cluster-f, a "shag-up" as
> Hammerstone
> called it, an unresolveable knot from the sphincter of Escher. It is so
> screwed-up, so far beyond correction or reform, that even love is
> tainted.
> The love Hyacinth and I share (the first thing that either of us have
> done
> that we now rightly consider worthwhile) is a screw-up arrangement from
> the
> very start.
> "Because female chems are so rare, it is unlikely any particular male
> chem
> will ever find love.  So the one I love has taken perhaps the only
> opportunity to escape the loveless life of a chem.

This is where you need your claim that Hyacinth is male, right?  If so, he
had another opportunity--to pass for a male bio and love a woman.  Why not
do that instead of (I imagine) getting a black mechanic to reorient his
sexuality?  Or are there gay male chems?

> I myself am an
> "artificial" thing, a thing made by Pas -- constructed from flesh rather
> than metal. So is the whorl we live in.  I myself have just left a long
> love-affair with the Nine whom I now know to be artificial constructions
> at
> best, demons at worst. There is no resolution, there is no fix, no going
> back to a time when things were right and starting over (because no such
> time existed). The Outsider doesn't want to *fix* this whorl. He wants
> save
> us right out of it -- not to Blue or Green either, that's just a picture
> of
> what He wants to do. I wanted to force that by killing myself and
> escaping
> to Him, but that's just one more screwed-up plan of a creature of this
> whorl."

I pretty much agree with you, but Hyacinth's being a chem is unnecessary
to you argument.  Silk is disappointed at the way she's deceived him (and
may be thinking that he played up to her in the same way--and of course he
feels guilty about losing his virginity).
> -----------------------------------------------
> I said:
> The most straight-forward clues that Hyacinth is male are the following:
> 1. Hyacinth's statement:
>  "You know what I look like without all this [make-up and
> clothes]?...Like a
> boy, only with tits down to my waist."
> Jerry Friedman says:
> She doesn't mean she has a penis....I don't think this comment is
> particularly amazing for a slender young woman who has had a breast
> enhancement and tends to speak of her appearance deprecatingly.
> Incidentally, it brings up what I think is one of the stronger
> criticisms of
> your theory: would Silk really have sex with someone he knew was a chem,
> and
> if not, could he really be fooled?
> I respond:
> Chems don't have penis. Obviously she has made modifications in order to
> carry out her rouse. I don't think Silk knew that she was a chem until
> the
> wedding night, and then only after he was enlightened for the second
> time.

How could he not have known that the woman he was in bed with was not a
biological human?  (On the other hand, the narrator of "Seven American
Nights" does have a comparable surprise--but one or the other of his
experiences may have been a hallucination.)

> I
> think Oosik knew she was a chem, that's why he went out of his way to
> remind
> Silk how lucky he was. Chenille did the same thing. Those that knew she
> was
> a chem didn't care, perhaps it made her more appealing as a whore. Using
> someone as a prostitute is an act that in itself "objectifies" the
> person --
> using them as a "thing."

This is certainly possible, but I'd expect liking chem prostitutes to be
rather a minority taste.

> It WAS a problem for Silk. Consider his reaction after she takes out the
> pilot, consider that he does not have sex with her after their wedding
> night (at least up until his conversation with Horn on the airship).

I don't think they had much time.

> But he loved her. There is no evidence that sex with a chem (for a
> laymen)
> is a sin in his religion -- still, it bothered him.

If you're saying he didn't know she was a chem while they were having sex,
I guess it doesn't matter whether it bothered him because the Outsider
enlightened him and told him sex with nonhumans is sinful, or because he
just considered it unnatural, or whatever.

> It struck him as
> unnatural, "awk", and screwed-up BUT when he considered it, it was not
> Hyacinth but Pas' Plan that was screwed up and the whole whorl he
> created.
> And after all, Silk himself is no thing of "nature," nor is the whorl
> they
> live in. The fact that everything was so screwed up that even good acts
> have
> an awk element in them is why Silk tried to kill himself.
> ---Consider Silk's "meritorious deed" of trying to save his falling
> apart
> mantaeon from destruction - he realizes later that "saving" it will mean
> razing it and rebuilding it from scratch - then he realizes that
> "saving" it
> means leaving the structures behind and getting its PEOPLE out of the
> whorl ---
> He finally chooses, rather than reform the evil in the whorl, or to
> reject
> everything in which he finds evil (like Horn for instance) to depend on
> the
> Outsider's rescue.

Again, I more or less agree, but don't see the connection to Hyacinth's
being a chem rather than just not entirely candid.

Jerry Friedman

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