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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (whorl) RTTW spoilers, mea culpa
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001 18:15:26 

Eek!  In my rush to express my intuition that the Silk-to-Horn/Silk
transfer happened at a very specific point in the text (when Horn/Silk sees
Pig face to face after the operation), not off-stage somewhere (nor
anywhere else in time), I temporarily forgot all the monitor-to-eyeball
"rules of possession" previously established.

I apologize for that lapse. (Especially easy since there's a monitor there
when they meet!)

Another point that I thought was very telling in the text follows: Nettle's
reaction to the news that Horn/Silk had knowingly brought an inhuma to
Lizard Island.

We can talk endlessly about subtle nuances of diction and poise, "which set
is possibly Horn, which set is probably Silk"; we can wonder if any of
Horn's children ever really believed (or "believed") that Horn/Silk was
their father in any way, shape, or form (well never "form," really); but
(Penelope) Nettle's reaction, after the build-up over the book or three
about how awful the whole inhuma thing had been, how it had all-but ruined
the marriage on both sides, Nettle's few words are enough to speak volumes
left unspoken: you are not my husband (he would never do such a thing); you
are not the hero Silk we wrote about (he fended off inhumi).

This scene is a series of painful shocks: the death of Jahlee and the
unspoken denunciation of Horn/Silk.

The death of Jahlee bugs alga more than anything else in RTTW, so I'm
surprised she hasn't mentioned it yet <g>.  Here is how I see it right now:
it is very much like the situation in HUCKLEBERRY FINN, where Twain found
himself with a problem.  The runaway slave and the white trash boy, happy
and free together on their river journey . . . are floating toward the
slave block.  Going the wrong way.  (IIRC, Twain himself put the
half-finished manuscript aside for many years, unable to work around this
problem; he finally solved it by introducing Tom Sawyer, who made a
burlesque of the whole thing).

But what if Huck had to deal with a more realistic, less forgiving
situation?  Now we switch back to BOTSS, and how happy we were when
Horn/Silk called Jahlee his daughter at the end of IGJ!  And they continued
to "flow down the river" toward Lizard Island and disaster.

But why?  Why is Jahlee so bent on it?  Well, judging by what happens, we
can guess a certain ill intent.  And what is Horn/Silk's problem that he
cannot dissuade her: is he simply too soft-hearted, to the point that he is
being taken in by "Honest John"?

Here's another analogy, this time from within genre: contrast movie "Blade
Runner" with novel it is (looosely) based on, DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC
SHEEP?.  The former makes the "feel good" case that androids are people,
too; the latter, while it makes the "feel uneasy" case of "what is human,
anyway?", it uses the aformentioned "feel good" notion as a foil that is
always being trumped by "no, androids are not human at all: they are
killing machines."  It is a powerful and nervy thing for Dick to do, since
right from the start he makes the equation that the androids are slaves
just like the slaves in America (the ads for the Mars colony mention that
it is like the ante-bellum South, iirc); so it is a natural thing for us to
want civil rights for androids.  Yet it turns into a McCarthy-esque
nightmare: the androids have built a hidden empire on Earth, and control
the popular media, and are hell-bent on destroying the humans through
polluting their minds.  (Even then, the story does not become "let's save
Earth from these body-snatchers!")

These are unsettling things.  Huck and Jim float down the river, and only a
"fakey" happy ending tacked on can save it (though some think this nearly
ruins the book).  The android hunter becomes "soft" on androids, bedding
one, etc., and she strikes back in the most pointlessly vindictive way she
can (hmmm, does that make the android "more human" <g>).  And our Odysseus
takes a viper back to his ophiophobic Penelope.

In the end, they leave the world; they don't try to wipe-out the inhumi.
(Rather like DADOES, in that way, but for different reasons.)

Other things:
Viscacha thinks Pig's language is more Scottish, and I agree, since I told
the same thing to Henry Kaiser a few weeks ago.

Re: Seawrack, and Silk.  Speculation on Seawrack containing or having the
potential to contain Kypris.  One of my initial strange thoughts about
Silk's motive for inviting Seawrack along: that she is a good body for
Hyacinth to be downloaded into.  Hard to believe that Silk would think such
a thing, but his Hyacinth obsession . . .


Sirius Fiction
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