FIND in
<--prev V10 next-->

From: "William H. Ansley" <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Secrets & Lies
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 01:08:28 

I have just finished OBW. I really appreciate the fact that all of the
discussion of this book was restricted to the Whorl list. I have been
archiving it, while continuing to read the Urth list, until I had a chance
to read the book. Now that I have done so, I have caught up on what you all
have been saying about it: a lot of very interesting stuff, as usual!

Now that I have the necessary data, my trivial mind is ready to spring into
action, as I will demonstrate below.

"Alice Turner" <akt@attglobal.net> wrote:

>Oh, btw the leatherskin has six legs, not eight, and three jaws. I have
>trouble with the three jaws--the best I can come up with is a Big Mac or
>club sandwich, with the jaws being the pieces of bread or bun.


ansible@cix.compulink.co.uk (David Langford) wrote:

>Like the three gripping segments of a drill chuck, perhaps? Of course our
>author must have seen a lot of those in his time.


The leatherskin very likely has twelve legs rather than six or eight. The
passage in question is:

The leatherskin, one of the largest I have ever seen, stood with six
massive legs and half its weight on the starboard gunwale, over which
silver water cascaded. [p. 62]

If this creature has only six legs and all of them are on the starboard
gunwale (rather a tricky balancing act in the first place), then how can
the gunwale be only bearing half its weight?

Since this seems to be an aquatic beast (although this is made a bit
doubtful by the fact that it has claws instead of flippers--clawed flippers
perhaps?) it makes sense (to me, at least) that it has more legs than the
land animals.

(As an aside, I find these eight-legged creatures unlikely. Unless their
bodies are much longer relative to their height than beasts of comparable
size on earth--I would say they'd have to be roughly three times longer--I
can't see how the extra legs would do anything but get in the way. Of
course, there is no reason to think that the animals on Blue don't have
much longer bodies, except that Horn doesn't mention it. And since his
descriptions of most of the animals he sees are pretty vague, this isn't
much of an argument against it.)

I agree with Dave about the jaws. I imagine that it has a fixed upper jaw
(like pretty much any large creature on earth) and two separate,
separately-hinged lower jaws (as if you split a crocodile's--for
example--lower jaw in half). The two lower jaws can close (with great
force) against the upper one, like "the slamming of double doors." [p. 61]

The three jaws suggest that this creature belongs to a different group than
any other legged animal (that is, excluding the devil/bat fish, etc.)
native to Blue mentioned in the book. If so, it could very well have a
different number of legs.

William Ansley

*This is WHORL, for discussion of Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun.
*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.moonmilk.com/whorl/
*To leave the list, send "unsubscribe" to whorl-request@lists.best.com
*If it's Wolfe but not Long Sun, please use the URTH list: urth@lists.best.com

<--prev V10 next-->