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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) The Secret: Equine Overkill
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 09:39:56 

on 4/23/01 2:38 PM, Michael Straight at straight@email.unc.edu wrote:

> I am still unable to read "a weapon too heavy to wield" as anything but "a
> weapon fraught with (moral?) danger to the wielder."  Or maybe "a weapon
> you can't control (that will destroy more than you wish?)."
> Because if it literally means "a weapon humans and Neighbors don't have
> the power to use," then I don't see why Horn would even think of the
> Secret as a weapon.

Because although Horn doesn't think it can be used, the inhumi do.  Kind of
like Reagan and Star Wars; in a sense it was a weapon, although most
scientists believe that it couldn't work, because the Soviet leadership
believed that it could work and altered their behavior accordingly.  (If you
disagree with this example, substitute something else.)

> Given Silk|Horn's (and, I think, Wolfe's) concerns about the moral health
> of the colonies on Blue, I think the Secret is something the colonists
> could do, but that would corrupt them morally (which is why I think it has
> something to do with taking advantage of the inhumi's desire to be human).
> The Neighbors were able to do it, but declined and left the Blue/Green
> system entirely rather than become a race that could do such a thing to
> the inhumi (or perhaps they started to do it--making the inhumi their
> slaves in the process--then left when they realized how bad it was).

This is a possible reading of the passage on p. 125 of IGJ--that when Horn
says the colonists can't wield it, he means they shouldn't, and when he says
the Neighbors couldn't, he means they wouldn't--but imo an unnatural one.
In particular, the sentence "If they [the Neighbors] could not wield it,
there is little hope that we human beings can." is very strained if read in
this sense.

Also, I don't recall any indication elsewhere that the Neighbors ever had
moral scruples regarding their treatment of the inhumi.


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