FIND in
<--prev V5 next-->

From: Joel Priddy <jpriddy@saturn.vcu.edu>
Subject: (whorl) Pas-Typhon redux
Date: Wed, 7 May 97 9:15:40 EDT

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

This is my first posting here, and boy, do I hope I don't say
anything stupid. I've been a Gene Wolfe fan for a few years, more
or less in a vacuum. Now I find other people who not only have
heard of him, but are familiar with his work on a level I find
boggling. Reading this list has been tremendous fun, and has
enriched Wolfe's work for me. Thanks.

Now, to dive right into the mix:
First question: other than the cover blurbs, do we have any
reason to connect the New Sun and Long Sun books? Does it ever
actually say that Pas is Typhon? Is Pas-Typhon the only link so
   Since discovering the archives of this mailing list, I've been
rereading my Wolfe, but I've been starting with the individual
novels. The detail of the 2 series' are a little rusty for me.
Basically, New Sun strikes me a being full of super-advanced
"magic black box" style technology in a culture of such decay
that no one cares anymore. It brims with FTL... even the Undine
seems to be capable of it just by swimming. The Whorl seems to be
the result of more limited (STL) technology from a still vibrant
culture. Could Typhon have built an interstellar empire when
generation-ships were required to make the trip between stars? 
   A couple of two-headed tyrants does seem like a coincidence,
but there is a lot of repeated imagery throughout Wolfe's books.
Maybe Pas represents the two kings of Sparta from the Latro
books? I say that jokingly, of course, but the point is that
there could be a lot of reasons like that in Pas' mental make-up
that made him think representing himself as having two heads
would be a good idea. Didn't Adam originally have two heads
before God got around to experimenting with making helpmates?
Having two heads makes for an imposing figure, and I would be
likely to accept the authority of such a person when he started
ordering me around.
   Could Urth be in the Whorl's future, not it's past? Maybe the
eventual legend of Pas is what inspires Typhon to follow his
(IMHO) ill-considered route to immortality. Sorta' casting
himself as a second coming of Pas.  If the Typhon had access to
the sort of technology that even the Councilors had , it seems
he'd have been able to find a much more graceful way to preserve
himself, if the continued survival of his head were really his
only concern. Blue and Green strike me as a more likely being the
connection between the series. I have no reason to put this forth
other than the planets seem to open a lot of possibilities, and
I'm looking for something to fill in a Pas-Typhon gap. 
Hmmm... was the winged wormy thing that Severien spotted in
Father Inire's workshop an Inhumi flying across the air bridge? I
don't remember it's description too well.

Second Question: Did anyone else crack up at the description of
the collapsed shiprock wall in Exodus? Here I'd been thinking all
this time that shiprock was some sort of super-light,
super-strong miracle material like what Niven built Ringworld out
of... and it turns out to be steel-reinforced concrete.

Third Question: dredging up the Quetzal identity/motivation
topic... I don't have any copies of the second book (I'm a
library reader), but does Remora say or think something about how
"these days" Quetzal only seems to drink beef-broth tea? If this
is a recently-developed preference and is the result of being a
blood-sucker (instead of a sign of age as Remora reasonably
assumes), does this open up the possibility that the vampire is a
recent arrival in the Whorl, having replaced an original (human)
Quetzal? This explains his seeming working at cross-purposes,
namely, he ran into _Fifth_Head_of_Cerberus-style identity
problems after assuming a humans identity. Up until this thought
hit me, I was with the camp that said Q was there from the
beginning of the Whorl, because if the inhumi have to wait for
the air bridge to fly between planets, then they obviously can't
cross vacuum under their own power, and don't have the technology
to do it. But if they do have a way, and Quetzal's preference for
a meal of beef tea is a sign of being replaced by an inhumu, this
could be a marker of exactly when the Whorl arrived in the

And as a parting aside... is the Alice Turner on this list really
the Alice K. Turner of _A_History_of_Hell_? It's a favorite, and
I've forced my copy of it on friends more often than I have my
copy of _Peace_.

Apologies if I'm covering old territory.
(hmmm... the Vironese name might be... ah, gizzard?)

<--prev V5 next-->