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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Dealing with the inhumi (was Re: (whorl) To Adam: Christ in Eden)
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 20:07:19 

on 4/9/01 3:25 AM, Nicholas Gevers at vermoulian@yahoo.com wrote:

> Assuming (as Wolfe and Silk are, let me emphasise
> again, unwilling naively to do) that the Secret can be
> fully harnessed

To be sure: Silk explicitly states that the Secret can't be used (I'm not
sure what Wolfe thinks).  But he does say that if everyone _could_ love each
other, then the inhumi could be reduced to unintelligent animals.  And the
inhumi think the Secret can be used, so it must be at least plausible.

> it has a clear practical application.
> Note how often Horn/Silk emphasises the vulnerability
> of the poor, the elderly, and the isolated to the
> inhumi. Answer: protect them, look after them, so that
> they are no longer defenseless; implement social
> justice, stop fighting among yourselves.

Yes, this is the received view on this list.  But when I think about it, I
don't see how it would work.  We're talking, after all, about predators who
can fly.  The only way to protect the isolated would be to end their
isolation: i.e., to make everyone live in a larger settlement, like it or
not.  And people doing agricultural tasks would have to be guarded all the
time, which basically implies doing everything collectively.  And you'd also
need a centralized registry of all the humans on Blue, to stop inhumi from
insinuating themselves into people's households like Fava did.  If this is
the way to defeat the inhumi, then the colonists don't need another Jesus,
they need another Stalin.

Otoh, maybe this would only be necessary during conjunction; maybe without
the harvest during conjunction, not enough inhumi can get human blood for
the population of intelligent inhumi to be self-sustaining.  In that case,
all that would be necessary would be for everybody to shelter in a city
during conjunction.  That wouldn't be so hard.  In fact, the motive of
self-preservation alone could lead the colonists to implement it, and the
cities to bear the burden of sheltering a large population for a few weeks
every few years.  (I could be misremembering and conjunction lasts much
longer, in which case disregard this paragraph.)  But in that case, "loving
one another" doesn't enter into it.  And it's hard to see why Silk would
then say that the Secret can't be used.  (You'd still need the central
registry, though.)

> Utopia, in
> other words. And once this has been realised, by all
> means offer the inhumi a voluntary source of human
> blood; make them human, absorb them into utopia.

But Silk says that if we loved one another, the inhumi could be reduced to
animals, not made human.

> Adam: “But Horn doesn't kill Jahlee as a deterrent to
> other inhumi; he kicks her to death in anger, and is
> deeply ashamed of it afterwards.  (And if it had been
> a deterrent, then it didn't work, since it was
> followed shortly afterwards by the mass attack.)
> “I agree, though, that Jahlee's death is a plausible
> development, though not inevitable.  My complaint was
> not at the failure of the inhumi subplot to resolve in
> a utopian fashion, but at its failure to resolve at
> all (except as far as Jahlee is concerned).  The
> Secret was a big letdown (I don't buy the theory that
> Horn has concealed the real secret from us, for
> reasons I've stated before, and if I did it wouldn't
> make me happier), and the victory over the massed
> inhumi at the wedding solves nothing.
> “The more I think about that wedding attack, though,
> the fishier it 
> sounds. Such a mass attack (at least six hundred
> inhumi) seems to be
> unprecedented. It must be very rare, at least, or Blue
> would have to be far more militarized and regimented
> than it is.  Would Juganu really be able to get
> hundreds of inhumi deviate from their usual habits and
> join him in his private revenge?  And would these
> inhumi continue the attack once they saw that the
> wedding party was armed, contrary to expectations?”
> Jahlee’s death foreshadows the wedding massacre, which
> IS a deterrent.

Not really.  All it does is demonstrate that massed attack against superior
weaponry is a losing tactic.  The inhumi already know that humans will
defend themselves.

> Adam, I think you miss the real
> motives for Juganu’s attack, motives which numerous
> other inhumi share. Motive Number One: Horn/Silk and
> his wife know the Secret, and those around them may
> well have got wind of it too. So: attack en masse and
> kill them when they are all together.

If the object was to kill Silkhorn and his family, there were a lot of
better opportunities to wipe them out than during the wedding.  If the idea
was to wipe out everybody who might have heard the Secret, the inhumi should
have realized that they were bound to fail (the commotion would attract
armed men sooner or later), and the survivors would have no qualms about
using the Secret, assuming they knew it.

> Motive Number Two: Silk/Horn is a
> Messiah to the Inhumi, the human being in whom they
> have reposed much of their hope of becoming truly
> human; now he has turned against them, and they feel
> betrayed. So attack en masse and kill him. And forget
> the risks of doing so.

I really don't recall any evidence that the inhumi generally see Silkhorn as
a savior.

> In other words, the inhumi subplot certainly resolves
> itself; the terms on which humans should interact with
> the inhumi are laid down: tame them, in a nutshell,
> first by force and then by another sort of sanguinary
> suasion, as it were.

I still don't see that the wedding massacre contributes anything to this.
The colonists were defending themselves against the inhumi already.  Since
the inhumi are unlikely to repeat their tactical mistake, the colonists
haven't learned anything useful to the battle.  And if Silk did indeed have
"loving the inhumi into submission," so to speak, in his mind, he never
mentions it to anybody.  (He talks about the humans' cruelty making the
inhumi crueler, but that's not the same thing.)


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