(urth) Tzadkiel's ship

Tony Ellis tonyellis69 at btopenworld.com
Wed Nov 28 13:37:56 PST 2007

Jeff Wilson wrote:

>> Dan'l Danehy-Oakes wrote:
>> The fact that we're told this armorial ship is 'a ship volant' is a
>> punning clue that in this case, it's probably a spaceship.

I'm not sure Dan'l would thank you for putting my words in his mouth :-)

>Volant means flying, but could figuratively mean the ship is depicted
>moving swiftly under sail power, vide The Flying Dutchman.

The ship is on a coat of arms, and volant has a special meaning in
heraldry: 'depicted as in flight'. Or even 'with wings spread as in
flight', I see after a little Googling.

For all I know Wolfe had in mind a sailing ship with bird wings on it.
Or a 'conventional' spaceship with wings and booster rockets. I don't
think it matters. In a book where a deliberate ambiguity is created
between sailing ships and spaceships, and where the whole story is
leading up to an all-important space journey the hero will make, I
think it's a pretty good bet that for 'ship volant' on his coat of
arms we're supposed to read 'spaceship'.

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