(urth) In Glory Like Their Star

Nathan Spears spearofsolomon at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 29 22:00:56 PST 2007

I'm just reading Saltwater Strains, and I wondered if anyone could provide me with some insight into this story.

(spoilers follow)

This is the jist of the story as far as I can tell.  An alien landed on Earth, presumably at some distant point in the past when humans didn't possess any technology.  He lands in the desert in a big ship, goes out on a smaller craft to explore.  The smaller craft's navigation malfunctions and he can't get back to the ship until he is aided by a human, who thinks the alien is a desert spirit.  He promises the human godhood via nanobots while in a desperate, starved condition.  After he reaches the ship he realizes that he can't provide what he promised and takes off, burning the waiting human to death "in glory like their star."

In typical Wolfean fashion the narrator (the alien) is telling the story both to the reader and to another group of humans, in some other location, who also think the aliens are gods.  The narrator also makes reference to other creatures on board the main ship, but as if they are not part of his species.  I think.

Anyway, I feel as if I have missed some crucial piece to this story to provide it with some significance.  Wolfe talked in the introduction about reading another story about aliens appearing to humans that he found lacking, so maybe I should be familiar with whatever he is responding to.

Any help?

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