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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (whorl) [Blue notes, spoilers, etc.]
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999 20:28:41 

Well, what a novel!

My first impressions:

Horn is a Greek hero, mostly Odyesseus.  How wonderful!  I suppose I might
have anticipated this, with all the Greco-Roman grounding of the Long Sun,
but that series had a gloss of Father Brown modernism.  Visiting the witch;
insisting upon hearing the song of the siren; feeding cow blood to "the
dead" for tricks and treats.  Taking an eye from an ancient woman, that's

The letter of summons to the lander reminds me quite strongly of the Letter
from Prestor John to the Pope.  And as in that case, there is much
speculation on where the kingdom is located--it has =moved= over the

(But in the beginning it was thought to be on the . . . Silk Road!)

The inclusion/intrusion of TBOTLS within the tale reminds me strongly of
the second part of DON QUIXOTE, where similar things happen.  Rather than
THE 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS, where there is tale-within-tale-within-tale, but
nobody ever says, hey, I read about you in ARABIAN NIGHTS, or hey, buy my

I, too, felt a very Vancean current to ON BLUE'S WATERS; and I, too, felt
that it was a different one than the DYING EARTH . . . but what, then?
Perhaps it is the more "paranoid" Vancean science fiction, like the Durdane
trilogy (which has secret alien invaders and a bad ride in starship to
alien world where humans end up as slaves) mixed with a bit of NOPALGARTH
(where invisible aliens ride humans like psionic vampires, iirc).  I think
it is something more than just the fairytale "hero sets out on seemingly
doomed quest" thing, which Vance often uses as well; it is something more
Vancean than just fairytale logic or plot.

Ah, the Horn who is writing (aka "the Rajan of Gaon") is one eyed and white
haired, like Odin.  But he also has a hurt ankle, is sometimes confused
with Silk by others (just because he's wearing the clothes, walking the
walk, talking the talk <g>), often confuses the names of his own twins
("Horn [sic] and Hide") as well as writing of Horn in the third person, and
even, in the very end, says that =he= caught the ball (at the beginning of
TBOTLS)!  He =is= Silk, in some as-yet-unspecified way. Not to mention the
intriguing "Passilk"!

(An interesting aside: the twins Hoof and Hide have names that form a
semi-canting phrase meaning "run away and conceal yourself"!)

Must read again before too long.

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