macronaut at yahoo.com
Wed May 17 07:56:57 PDT 2006
I agree. And I would argue that, as a candidate for epitome of Earth, Baldanders represented the Earth-that-was-punished with a black hole: mankind as amoral exploiter of nature and enslaver of fellow man. In fact, the contrast presented when the heirodules bow down to Sev instead of Baldanders is pretty momentus foreshadowing because it ties so many inferences together, ie. that (a) Sev will be epitome of Earth; (b) Sev represents a different mankind than Baldanders; (c) judging by Baldanders' example ("human under glass, anyone?") that version is a kinder, gentler, more noble one; and (d) as such, he will succeed in expiating Man's sins and bringing the New Sun. Baldanders is a would-be Typhon -- his self-alteration is just one more clue tying the two together.
Finally, I think there's also something to be found in the fact that Baldanders starts off as a very small man who grows to bloated size as the result of his depradations against his fellow man -- it suggests Napoleon, which if intentional can be read as a symbol of mankind's conquering arrogance. And is it any coincidence that Wolfe simultaneously casts Baldanders as the freak in a travelling road show (and one watched with dismay and amusement by the heirodules at the House Absolute)?
David DiGiacomo <david at slack.com> wrote: >Apologies if this sounds like a facile question, but after searching the
>list, doing other web searches and reading Solar Labyrinth, I'm still at a
>loss as to what or who Baldanders is.
I believe that he is a human who modified himself to extend his life
(through the SFnal mechanism of unending growth). Otherwise he would not
be a candidate for Autarch/epitome.
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