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From: "Kieran Cleary" <kcleary@tinet.ie>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Pike/Quetzal, and other ?s
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 14:55:04 +0000

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

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 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

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