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From: David Wells <adw@ovum.com>
Subject: (whorl) Zany Outsider clarification
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 11:58:00 +0000

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

(apologies it this arrives twice, the first attempt seems to have bounced)

>so Typhon had two gods engineered for himself: a
>big daddy ghost in the machine and a bleeding heart vivimancer real
>god ("real" in the sense of being outside Main Frame) on the side, to
>be used in case of emergency only?

I didn't make the "zany" theory clear enough. The idea is that after
being "cast out" of Mainframe, Typhon/Pas exists in several emergency
backup forms (some of which we definitely know about). One of these
forms manifests itself as the Outsider (which may be a low-power
last-chance backup - hence its considerably more enigmatic influence than
the very earthy/direct/"Greek" Mainframe Gods).

The idea that Silk's "enlightenment" - rejection of the false Gods, and
belief in the Outsider - is yet another falsehood seems interesting,
and in keeping with some of the dark  nature of BOTLS
(e.g. the "inhumi picnic" scenario). It's also very consistent with
Silk's personality - it has been pointed out here many times that he
has a superstitious tendency to leap to conclusions/explanations.
Mainframe is full of false gods, so the next "god" he stumbles upon
MUST be a true one. Mustn't it?

Your response raises an interesting question: "why should Typhon engineer
two Gods for himself?" Why _not_? He is a monomaniac with aspirations
to immortality!

Which brings me to another pet theory, which I don't think has yet been
discussed here. The ability to transfer a personality to a machine and the
further ability to "download" into a human host seems to have an obvious
application, given Typhon's personality. When the Whorl arrives at
Blue/Green, the Gods download themselves into suitable receptacles
and lead the cargo/colonists as (demi?)gods.

Given that we know this to be technically possible, it seems inconceivable
to me that this is not the Plan, although I don't recall any specific clues
in the text(?).
But the really interesting question is how the Gods would choose "suitable"
receptacles. Store them as frozen embryos, perhaps..? With suitable
genetic enhancements to suit the whims of the designer-"God". Typhon,
for example, might well choose a receptacle who was charismatic,
handsome, and unnaturally attractive to the opposite sex. (Things which
Isuspect Typhon himself was not). Oh yes, and supernaturally tough,
a born sword fighter, etc.
Hopefully this time it's clearer where this train of thought is leading.

I would dearly love to be able to interpret the "Pas-with-Silk's head"
scene as being a confirmation of this idea, but I can't find a completely
convincing match. (On the other hand, I have very little idea what that
particular vision signifies at all).
Again, the idea that the 'basically kind and decent hero' might come to
understand that he is a deliberately-engineered construct intended as
a receptacle for an appalling tyrant seems interesting. It even, perhaps,
links to the "zany Outsider" theory. If Silk is the (or at least _a_)
proto-Typhon, then it makes sense that
Typhon-emergency-backup-as-Outsider should choose him to "enlighten".

It also leads me to further speculation - which other frozen embryos (or
those we suspect as such) seem particularly suited as which Gods'
"fantasy embodiments"..?
There are some obvious potential matches, I think.

Dave W
(I suppose if I had to choose a Vironese name, "newt" would be a suitable

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