(urth) Fava in the Whorl, and where the Neighbors went

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Tue Aug 23 21:12:48 PDT 2005

On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 18:54:32 -0700 don doggett 
<kingwukong at yahoo.com> wrote:
>It seems to me that there are four possibilities for
>the neighbors travel.
>1.  They physically left the planet in ships.  Maybe
>treeships, like the one in that SF poem Genesis.
>2.  Astral travel.  If that's really what Silkhorn is
>doing, or as some have posited . . .
>3.  Time travel.  Perhaps they have gone to the future
>(or the past).  That would explain their continued
>presence on Blue and account for the speculation that
>they'd found a new short sun whorl.  After all, a Blue
>of the future would be a new place.
>4.  They haven't gone anywhere and are just spirits of
>trees tied to their world.
>I'm just trying to set parameters for this discussion
>so it makes sense to me.  Are there any I'm missing?

I'd include:

5. Travel by BOTNS-style mirrors. One little thing you could use to 
support this: Silkhorn says that neighbors on at least one occasion 
reminded him of images multiplied between facing mirrors, left 
behind when the actual source of the image had gone. (Somewhere 
near start of IGJ, as part of the sewer story.) I don't believe it, 
but it's possible.

My personal views: 

[1] is most consistent with everything else we are told. Neighbors 
went to "a [real] new whorl circling another short sun" [in ships, 
possibly FTL,] and return to visit ancestral places on Blue via 
astral travelling. [2] leaves open the question of where the 
Neighbor bodies are & what they're doing when they're not astral 
travelling. If you explain that using [4], you've moved into Grand 
Unified Tree Theory territory which I don't believe in, but YMMV. 
You also have to explain away the Neighbors' lying when they claim 
that they have, in fact, gone away. [3] is like the GUTT; I don't 
find a shred of support for it in the text, though it could make a 
good story.

[5]is kind of attractive. It would also provide a mechanism for 
Neighbors getting real, physical inhumi onto the Whorl (as they did 
- this is as solid as anything ever is in Wolfe). But I don't know 
of any evidence for it, apart from the IGJ passage mentioned above, 
which doesn't have to imply it.

Whatever theory you pick has to deal with inhumi-related things:

- How did the Neighbors get inhumi onto the Whorl? If they don't 
have their own ships, they must either have used undocumented pre-
Exodus human landers, or something like [5].

- How do Neighbors breed new inhumi to sue as mirrors for 
themselves? Either they have undocumented abilities to breed inhumi 
on their new whorl, or they have to be able to ferry inhumi to & 
from Green. In the latter case, [1] and [5] again seem to be the 

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