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Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2002 11:44:40 -0500
From: James Jordan 
Subject: RE: (urth) Heavy Hyacinth

At 10:16 AM 9/9/2002, you wrote:

>I reiterate that clues that Hyacinth is human, that she is female, does not
>resolve clues that she is not. I realize that I am partly to blame for your
>skepticism for posting a theory that I had not fully developed  (just "hey!
>Look at all the suggestions that Hy is chem!"), but an alternate theory to
>explain the clues and Silk's explanation to Horn would be useful to me.

         Setting aside whether all the mooted clues are really clues or 
might just be misinterpretations: We can always fall back on thematic 
rather than literal associations. If the name Hyacinth is also a pointer to 
Apollo, this relationship stands without her having to be a male. (Look, 
Silk is NOT going to be a homosexual, or engage in homosexual acts. Not in 
anything by Gene Wolfe.) Similarly, the fact that her name can also be that 
of a rock can point to the need for human beings to "reach down" and rescue 
"lesser" humans, in this case chems, without Hy's actually being a chem. We 
get the same theme in Short Sun, where the humans must live in such a way 
as to redeem the inhumi.
         Hy needs rescuing, clearly. She needs a REAL lover, and for Wolfe 
that's always God and His agents. To add that she's positioned like the 
chems only adds to the theme. But it does not mean she IS a chem.
         All the stuff about the intelligence and personality of the chems 
and how it might come to pass is interesting, but ultimately irrelevant 
thematically. Wolfe makes them persons. Period. They are like Cordwainer 
Smith's "underpeople." Wolfe and Smith write "theological SF." So, to get 
theological for a moment, if something can "speak," it has some 
relationship to the Word of God, and thus has some relationship to God and 
God's agents. True of Oreb and the kitty cat whose name I forget also. One 
way or another, both writers are playing with this notion.
         As the Theoanthropos has come down from the Increate to redeem 
humanity, so those redeemed by the Theoanthropos have a duty to go down and 
redeem the sub-human world. Wolfe is not an environmentalist, but he is a 
conservationist. I.e., he's not a neo-Hindu but a conscientious Christian 
in his view of the animal world. Human beings should the shepherds of 
creation, not the exploiters of it. This is a large concern in some of his 
shorter writings (especially those about wolves -- duh!). So, thematically 
we should not be surprised to detect various expressions of that concern in 
these larger books.
         I say you've advanced the discussion, but thematically, not as 
regards the "literal" "facts" of the narrative.



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