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From: Joel Priddy <jpriddy@saturn.vcu.edu>
Subject: (whorl) Sacrifice Mechanics
Date: Fri, 9 May 97 10:00:19 EDT

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

Here's another a idea that I'm throwing out to you without
bothering to check the text (I really need to buy copies of the
books if I'm going to keep this up, huh?): there's been some
discussion as to what happens on a "mechanical" level during a
sacrifice that gets the gods attention. If I recall correctly,
even when the gods aren't sending theophanies, the augurs are
able to make predictions from the entrails of the victims, and
these can be packed with very specific detail. I think it's at the
funeral where Silk basically reads the plotline of the book from
a pile of guts. Is there any way this could be accounted for in a
"mechanical" sense? Maybe if the gods are exerting tremndous
active control on the genetic structure of the Whorl's animal
population, and then hypnotizing people to purchase the animal
with the right message in it, but if they had that much control,
the book would never have happened. So here's the thought... The
Gods of Mainframe are real gods. Wolfe has stated his theory that
the pagan gods were real, just not worthy of worship. Perhaps
this is an illustration of that. I admit, I hope some one shoots
this down quickly and succinctly. I'd much rather keep the gods
on a technological scale where we can at least discuss them. If
they've attained a supernatural quality (as a result of worship
and sacrifice?) then they become just too unkown. But is there a
way to account for both the hunger for sacrifices and the
accuracy of augury?
Hrm... I suppose a real theophany did follow the above mentioned
sacrifice, so who knows what sorts of mental activity was being
broadcast in that instance. Are there other instances of very
specifically accurate divinations?


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