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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (whorl) The Light & Murk
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 97 00:47:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #9645979 from WHORL@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET03#


The "light outside" is LAKE ch. 10, last page.

"Craning his neck to look behind him, he saw a thin crescent of
blinding light at the utmost reach of the plain.  At that moment
it seemed to him that the Outsideer had grasped the entire whorl
as a man might grasp a stick--grasped it in a hand immensly greater,
of which no more than the tip of the nail on a single finger had

Please grasp a cylinder--a pencil will do, or a soupcan.  No thrusting,
just rotate it along its axis so that the crescents of your fingernails
slowly appear over the top.  Or, more accurately: look at the can,
then grasp it so that just your fingernails appear (i.e., no
rotation--just grasping).  That is how I interpret the passage.

You write:

>possession grants the possessed person abilities far beyond what
>the original digitized person was capable of.  Are we to believe
>that Kypris the concubine could throw a knife as Chenille does?
>Or that Typhon the tyrant was able to understand and repair any
>mechanical device as Auk does?

But your analogy is a bit mix 'n' match: because "Kypris" is a minor
goddess (of Love and prostitutes, but not specifically "dagger
throwing") based upon Typhon's un-named mistress, a mortal we know
nearly nothing about (she's blonde, twenty-three years old, seems put
off by mass executions, likes parties); Pas is a major god who has
"pan mechanical" power as his job description as creator of the whorl
but is based upon Typhon (whom we know has mind control powers, but
we don't know if Typhon has supreme engineering skills).

IMHO it isn't "possession" so much as it is digital deification
that makes the =gods= have possibly different skills than their
mortal models had; or possibly cross pollination between the gods as
they fight and play; but possession would appear to grant powers from
a specific god or goddess rather than open access to a third "warehouse of
skills and powers" party.

Furthermore, I'm sure we can agree that it is one thing to throw a knife
well (Kypris in Chenille) and another thing to lead armies (Kypris in
Mint).  We might well imagine a prostitute learning the former as defense
against rough customers and criminals; the latter skill, while clearly
within the category of "martial arts," is contextually so far removed from
the world of the prostitute that we are at a loss to explain how she would
learn it--and we imagine, don't we, that it would be considerably more
study involved than that for knife throwing.

Most of the possessions are murky.  Mint is possessed by Kypris, very
clear and straightforward, but it is a botched operation in that a
fragment is left behind.  How is this different from "normal"
possession?  Or am I misremembering it--maybe it was a normal
theophany which botched into a possession?

(Then again, a possible vector for the third party "warehouse of
skills" could be the worshippers during a theophany.  If the god or
goddess really goes into their minds, looks around, and comes back
out with information, this would offer the god a chance to pick up
free new skills.  Is there a general in the house during a

(Oh ye Gods!  Who were all those fellows tumbling with =Hyacinth=?!)

(heh, heh, heh.)

<lick finger, draw a one in the air.>

{Russario: Well, the good news is that mantis continues to find himself

In any event, Mint didn't parade around as the Goddess Incarnate,
which is how Chenille was while possessed by Scylla.  (This could
well be just a personal choice on the part of the respective
goddesses--Scylla would be that way, after all; and hunted Kypris
would be quiet as a churchmouse. <g>)  And the military genius didn't
bloom until Mint refused to look Echidna in the eye.  Before a big
battle, Mint sees in her mind's eye "a naked woman with yellow
hair--a wild eyed fury . . . wielding a scourge" (CALDE ch. 5).

"Yellow hair" matches Kypris; "naked woman" matches Kypris; but "wild
eyed fury"?  "Wielding a scourge"?  ("Ah, yeth--that would be a
lether known manifethtation--Kyprith the kinky dominatrix.")

And where =is= Sphigx, anyway (whom Silk calls a tawny virago--which
is a nice way of saying "yellow haired dominatrix")?  And why hasn't
anybody seen her since the rebellion, hmm? <g> (I remain curious as
to this constellation of factoids.)

Re: Hyacinth as a nasty fighter when she needs to be.  Fact is, she's
just plain nasty whenever Silk isn't looking!

Re: Mint the warrior inspired by Kypris as a paragon of either
sensual pleasures or Christian Love "exemplified by one who endures
suffering for his beloved"?  I'm afraid you've lost me there.  The one
who endures suffering would be Silk, clearly.  Mint is out there meting
out pain--promoting suffering for her beloved!


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