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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: (whorl) Hermeneutic Crocagators
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 08:27:19 

I wrote then Jason wrote:

> [re: inhumi taken along with the Nieghbors]

> >  They're not "hypothesized," dammit. The Neighbors _say_ so,
> >  in RETURN. (Don't ask me for a page cite, though; my copies
> >  of SHORT are out on loan and won't be back for a while.)

> Fine; assume the Neighbors never lie and that the narrator is
> 100% trustworthy.  That's a reasonable hypothesis, but
> nevertheless an assumption.

I disagree; it is not a reasonable hypothesis, and I make no 
such assumption. 

Bhere's a pretty simple hermeneutic principle here: I do assume
by default, unless there is some specific _reason_ to believe 
that either the Neighbors or the Narr are giving false information, 
that a given statement is true. If we don't make this assumption,
then there's no particular reason not to say "the whole damn thing 
is a lie."

Taking this to a more complex construction, Mr Wolfe has done 
something in the "Short" books that give us a set of hermeneutic
possibilities not normally present in an "unreliable narrator"
text: by providing us with explicit "editors," he has provided
us with the ability to distinguish at least five and possibly 
more degrees of trustworthiness in the Narr's statements 
(including his quoting of others):

1. Those directly corroborated by the "editors."

2. Those corroborated indirectly by the "editors" -- e.g., they
   cannot directly corroborate Horn's experiences with Seawrack
   in OBW, but they can corroborate her existence.

3. Those concerning which the "editors" would know the "truth,"
   and have the opportunity to contradict the Narr, and do not,
   e.g., most of his experiences from the battle with Soldo on.
   (Of course, here we have the problematic possibilities that
   one or more of the editors might themselves have some reason 
   for concealing the truth and letting the Narr's statement 

4. Those concerning which the "editors" would have no direct
   knowledge, e.g., those concerning his experiences from the
   time Horn departs for Pajarocu until he hooks up with Hoof,
   or is it Hide? (I find them about as distinct as Donald
   Duck's nephews...)

5. Those concerning which the "editors" directly contradict
   the Narr. (But note that we still have to judge for ourselves
   whose statement, if any, is "correct," and whether the other
   party is mistaken, lying, or something else).

> The important aspect of that assumption (or "fact," whatever) lies
> in the effects of the interaction of abilities that enables astral
> travel, or bilocation.  Maybe the Neighbors can do some things by
> themselves, others only with the inhumi.  

Possibly, but I suggest that (barring some compelling reason to 
believe so) this is needlessly multiplying entities.

> Maybe thinking about the relation between Horn's ability to
> bilocate in terms of his movement _into_ Silk, as it were, 
> and the presence of inhumi might shed some light on the pesky
> question of astral travel.

Perhaps the Narr is able to bilocate only after Horn's 
transmigration into Silk's body, and then only with the (witting 
or un-) assistance of an inhum*, precisely _because_ he is not a 
Neighbor? To put it differently: the question is not "why is he
able to do this only under these circumstances," but "why is he
able to do it at all," and the circumstances under which he can
do it should then be regarded as clues rather thanr restrictions.

> I'm also curious about Quetzal's lineage, but that seems to be
> a minor thread.

Agreed. Certainly there is very little in "Short" that bears
_directly_ on Q.

> >  > He [Quetzal] might have been born on Green, however.

> > The word seems to be "must." It appears that the inhumi 
> > can only breed on Green.

> We don't really know much about the abilities of the Neighbors. 
> They might be able to replicate inhumi breeding conditions.  

Ahem. And the key words in my cited remark are "seems" and 
"appears." Certainly the Neighbors _might_ be able to do this;
then we must ask, Is there any evidence in the text that they
(a) can and (b) have any reason to? I don't wish to be difficult,
but I'm against erecting towers of speculation when simpler
explanations are or even _might be_ available; and I think it's
clear that we're too "young" in exploring these books to be
able to say that we've exhausted the simple explanations.

> Again, the question here is-- if Quetzal was born on Green,
> by what means did he make his way to the Loganstone.  

Failing evidence otherwise, I see no reason to dismiss the
Neighbor's statement cited earlier. Have you any specific 
_textual_ reason to doubt that Q was brought there by the

> >  There are implications that it has been only a short time --
> >  I believe I first got that impression on the island with the
> >  not-very-ruined Neighbor-place in BLUE.

> Agreed.  However, a short time could mean centuries, or decades,
> depending on the technology involved and the degree of ruin. 
> Since we don't know (or, more precisely, since I can't recall
> any statements on this matter) the inhumi lifespan, this
> could involve generations.  

Or might not: the only thing we know for certain is that an inhuma
who was active shortly after Sinew was born has produced at least
one generation of offspring and is still active enough to have 
returned to Blue around the time of the opening of OBW.

> Still speculation, but pertinent for determining whether
> intelligence passes to grandchildren.

Unless we can find either a specific case of a grandchild 
(which I suspect may be difficult), or a combination of 
evidence pointing to (a) the longevity of inhumi and (b) the 
age of the ruins (which I suspect is impossible), I see no 
way to do anything _but_ speculate on this. 


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