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From: "Alice K. Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (whorl) Re: Digest whorl.v005.n029
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 23:55:00 

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

> "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
> appeared."
> 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.

Well, how interesting. My own interpretation, from the first time I
looked at the passage, is much simpler. I assumed that he saw the sun
beginning to rise from the rounded horizon form of the hollowed asteroid
that is the Whorl. For that's exactly how the sun looks, especially on a
somewhat smoggy day, from a plain or the sea, like a gold-red sliver of
a giant fingernail tip here on Earth.

As for Chenille-Kypris's knife-throwing abilities, I think we could
easily assume that any supernatural being would have supernatural powers
of accuracy and strength, and rhythm too. To quibble about whether these
fit the image of the god's regional attributes is (a) silly when you're
talking about computerized god programs (someone has pointed this out);
(b) not consistent to what we know about ancient gods---look at mighty
Hera, supposedly a domestic goddess, or at fearsome Inanna, sometimes a
love-goddess; (c) face it, morts, a bit sexist. (Not that I think you're
a sexist group---I don't, you're not.)


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