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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: (whorl) (SPOILERS) IGJ first impressions
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 08:37:13 

I finished this on Friday, but haven't had access to email over the
weekend.  Also, Saturday I talked at length with another Wolfe addict
who had just finished it, which clarified my thoughts (I hope).


Some random points:

1.  The inhumi's secret (maybe) becomes a little clearer, in some
aspects:  Krait's _mother_ drank from Sinew, and I believe it may be
that when the inhumi spawn their children take their spirit (in some
sense) from (a particular, I assume) victim of the parent.

2.  The cover illustration plus a rereading of the description makes
me think the Neighbors may have borrowed their habits of dress from
Jack Vance's Pnume.

3.  The first half or so of the narration, especially the storytelling
contest, was as engrossing as anything Wolfe's written, in my opinion.
The last half of IGJ suffered some from middle-book-syndrome, in that
questions are raised just so we can get the answers later.

4.  Wolfe does a brilliant job of conveying Horn's feelings via the
narrative: in OBW Horn dwells at length on his time on the boat with
Seawrack, and it is clear that we prefers his memory of that time to
his present surroundings; IGJ has exactly the opposite: Green's
nightmare is the last thing he wants to think about.

5.  The parallels with Severian are growing stronger and more
interesting: (1) Horn(/Silk) is now "accidentally" enacting sacraments
(the Eucharist at the Neighbors' table is my favorite scene from IGJ);
(2) he has his own sword; (3) he's actually been mistaken for a
torturer (we're reminded that a Patera's costume is not unlike that of
a torturer).

6.  A further parallel is the storytelling contest; here, however, the
differences are emphasized: Horn is a participant in the contest,
rather than the judge.  One amusing similarity: in CITADEL, the
contest is never judged, while here, if it is, we're not told who won
each time.

7.  I think that another parallel may exist: it seems possible that
this travel-between-worlds thing Horn gets from the Neighbors may have
something to do with the Coridoors of Time.

8.  It's nice to have Oreb back.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066

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