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From: David_Lebling@avid.com
Subject: (whorl) Quetzal & Pike & even Severian
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 97 09:20:28 

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


> 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.

This is an interesting theory, but I don't see any evidence for it. In
fact, we get continual clues about Q's appearance. His neck is
unnaturally long and wrinkled, his profile is nearly noseless, his head
sways from side to side, he is light but strong, and so on.  There is
also a description of him touching up his makeup (on the first page of
_Calde_):  "He had shaped and colored his face and neck with care upon
arising..."  Later, "he extracted the puff ... and applied flesh-toned
powder delicately to the small, sharp chin he had shaped with such care
upon arising."

I think what we're dealing with here is either someone who can literally
shape his face (at least), like the Face Dancers in the _Dune_ series,
or someone using putty, greasepaint, and powder.  He may even do both.

As for Pike's "ghost," I've come to like the Aquastor Theory first
proposed by alga (forgive me if I misattribute this).  In fact, the more
I think about it, the more I think that there is a possibility that the
Pike aquastor, like the ones in _New Sun_, caused a major turning point
in the past. Suppose that Quetzal was planning to attack Silk in the
manteion, and in fact had in the "real" timeline, and Pike's appearance
prevented that attack?  This would make an interesting resonance with
the life of the first Severian.


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