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From: "Josh Levitan" <josh_levitan@hotmail.com>
Subject: (whorl) The Inhumi-Destroying Secret
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 13:05:48 PST

David Wells wrote:

>a) I agree with several posters that the "you are what you eat" theory is 
>far the most morally/philosophically interesting candidate for the inhumi
>secret, and also the most consistent with what I would expect from Wolfe.
>But it doesn't seem to fit with Horn's description of the secret, as has
>also been pointed out. (And let's assume that this isn't just because Horn
>is far from the brightest bulb in the chandelier, and is also a somewhat
>incoherent and inconsistent narrator).
>A much more boring variation, but one which might fit the known facts
>better, is a bit more physical/literal. Suppose that it's _particular
>chemicals_ - e.g. adrenaline - which make the inhumi more
>intelligent/humanlike. So if the humans organise themselves to stay a bit
>calmer and be a little less afraid of the inhumi, the latter would become
>gradually less intelligent (and maybe eventually even our heroic narrator
>would be able to outsmart them ;-).
>I know this sounds like an old Star Trek script, and I rather hope it's
>_not_ the secret, but it seems to work a little better with respect to
>Horn's description of the secret. It allows the humans to continue to be
>intrinsically sinful creatures, but encourages them to try not to _act out_
>their sins, because this would fill their bloodstreams with
>inhumi-stimulating chemicals. Hmmm...

The problem with this is, it doesn't work any better than either the 
"you-are-what-you-eat" theory or the do-unto-others theory.  Trying to 
control involuntary glandular secretions (which are secreted as a reaction 
to dangerous creatures) on a society-wide scale is not workable (and 
probably not possible, with the technology the Blue colonists possess).  
Nice thought, though.

And then Alga wrote:

>Look, you guys, you're all familiar with the author--what on earth makes 
>you think that Wolfe is going to give you the secret before Book III (if 
>then)? Would that be in characacter? Of course not! Not that it isn't fun 
>to speculate in advance, but (IMO) the speculations have been spectacularly 
>un-Wolfean to date. Sweetness and Light is hardly his game.

As I said before, I think the sheer number of references made to the secret 
in the text sort of hint at its solution.  This seems, knowing Wolfe's 
favorite authors, like a deliberate reference to Borges' "The Sect of the 
Phoenix."  I'm sure the secret will be made abundantly clear at some point, 
perhaps in "Green," but I think we've got enough info to figure it out now, 
although nobody has yet.

To reiterate, in the hopes somebody will crack this:
We've got a secret that Krait imparts to Horn, mainly because of the close, 
father-son bond the two developed.  It's a secret that is extremely 
dangerous to the inhumi, and can return them to the level of ignorant 
predators.  It's obviously something that can be acted on fairly quickly, 
something relatively simple (i.e., it doesn't require a high level of 
technology), and, if the Rajan/Horn (whomever) spreads the secret, that will 
pretty much enable everyone to act on it.  This rules out things like 
preventing the inhumi from biting humans or changing society into a textbook 
Christian one, because these are not workable, and one person who doesn't 
follow these "cures" would screw the whole thing up for everybody.

Narwhal (my new Vironese name -- thanks Alga, for your input on this)
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