FIND in
<--prev V4 next-->

From: "Kieran Cleary" <kcleary@tinet.ie>
Subject: (whorl) Re: Pike/Quetzal & Questions
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 11:43:14 +0000

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

(I'm resending this as it didn't seem to get through yesterday. 
Apologies if you already received it.)

Hi Vance:

I have to say I agree with you re Pike/Quetzal: I don't find the
previous explanations satisfactory, while not having a better one
myself! Many people have referred to Quetzal as a shape-shifter,
though the only shapes we see him assume are that of the winged serpent and
old man. Sometimes it reads as if the serpent has donned the shell of
a human body (in fact, I don't see any other way since I don't
consider Q a Shape-shifter) which he can discard and resume at will.
It's also in bad shape: Q has to continually touch it up with powder
to make it appear alive. On my first reading, I wildly thought that
this body was originally Pike's and that somehow, a la Marble/Rose,
some sort of Q/Pike convergence was happening. The timeline doesn't
really bear this out: Q was Prolocutor for many years while Pike was
alive. I presume, though, that 33 years before Silk arrived at Sun
Street, that Q looked 33 years younger. Perhaps he needed to acquire
an older body to avoid questions about his continued youthfulness
(i.e. the kinds of questions that Loris, Lemur et al had to answer).
Just a thought, though. Be ruthless!

As for your questions, roughly as far as I recollect:

1. I think that Rose sometimes imagined herself as Echidna, and the
daughter referred to in that passage was actually Scylla. 2. The White
Headed One was given to Blood by Musk. Blood clipped its wings and put
it on the roof, where it "forgot that it couldn't fly" in the fight
with Silk and fell to its death. 3. Not really sure: I think that Urus
was once part of Spider's knot and told Saba where to find Auk & co.
when they were abducted and taken to the airship.


FWIW I also agree completely that, at least at some level, the 
Outsider passages refer to Severian, who at this time is also the New
Sun zooming towards Urth, who can manipulate Severian's Urthly body
like a puppet from great distances. If we're seeking some kind of
consistent explanation of how Severian is affecting affairs on the
Long Sun, then I think that's probably it. The Increate in tBotNS
isn't a personal god: there is a complicated hierarchy of beings who
serve the Increate in the temporal universe. In no case does the
Increate explicitly intervene in  human affairs, relying instead on
the holy slaves to interact with humans. 

Kieran Cleary
Senior Research Engineer
North West Labs
Finisklin Industrial Estate
Republic of Ireland

Tel. +353 71 69441
Fax. +353 71 69451
email kcleary@nwlabs.com

<--prev V4 next-->